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The Latest in River Cruise Routes

Set off for brand-new adventures along Egypt's Nile,
Europe's famed waterways and more

By Rebecca Matheson Ortiz

Vacations Magazine: The Latest in River Cruise Routes
Peyton Lea/U River Cruises
This year, set your sights on Earth's wending waterways for a relaxed travel style that covers a lot of ground (er, water) while supplying stellar views, a bounty of port calls and the intimacy of smaller ships. Keeping things fresh for 2020, 14 itineraries are making their debut, from a barbecue-themed jaunt on the Mississippi to a grand European adventure.

Browse the latest offerings -- along with departure dates, rates and any available discounts -- at the river voyage site of Vacations To Go.

"Treasures of the Main and Rhine"
Eight days with AmaWaterways
Board the AmaDante in Nuremberg, Germany, bound for an exploration of the country's storybook-like towns, towering palaces and fantastic flavors before the cruise's conclusion in Amsterdam. Sample smoky beers and Hornla pastries in Bamberg. Learn the art of pretzel-making in Wertheim, cycle through the Rheingau wine region and sip Cologne's celebrated Kolsch beer with a side of potato pancakes at an inviting tavern.

Immersive tours await in each port of call while onboard cultural performances delight guests. Four cruise-only options depart from May to September and a special wine-themed sailing in August are priced from $3,699.

"Kiev, Black Sea and Bucharest"
12 days with Viking
Follow an ancient trade route along the Dnieper River and Black Sea aboard the Viking Sineus. Kick off the journey with a sightseeing tour that spots the Romanian Athenaeum, home to a philharmonic orchestra, and the 1724 Stavropoleos Monastery in Romania's capital. In Odessa, Ukraine, catch a performance at a 19th-century theater and go underground amid some 1,500 miles of catacombs before sailing to Kiev for a tour of the glittering 11th-century St. Sophia's Cathedral.

Passengers will enjoy included performances and vistas from river-view staterooms on the nine departures available from May to September. Prices start at $4,299.

"Amsterdam and Brussels Bound"
Eight days with U River Cruises
Cruise from Amsterdam to Brussels in style aboard your elegant ship, The B. New spins on tours mean exciting shore excursions that range from a "crime cruise" delving into Amsterdam's 1980s lawlessness to a walk through a potato fries museum in Bruges, Belgium. Join a photographer in Antwerp, Belgium, for a guided tour-turned-professional photo shoot in dreamy locales.

Shore options run the gamut, so if you're not up for these unique outings, you can scout out local breweries, diverse food scenes and art and architecture. Five departures remain from April to September, with prices from $2,949.

"Spectacular South of France"
12 days with Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours
Savor southern France's gastronomic excellence as you hop on a train from Paris to Lyon to board the Scenic Sapphire for a Rhone and Saone sailing. Freechoice excursions offer something for everyone, from a cooking demonstration at Michelin-starred chef Georges Blanc's restaurant in Vonnas to walking tours and wine and chocolate tastings. Cruisers also are treated to exclusive performances like a classical concert at Avignon's 14th-century Palace of the Popes.

This luxurious sailing features the onboard Scenic Culinaire program in a kitchen classroom that houses cooking stations, a cheese and wine cellar, local ingredients and expert instructors. There are 13 departure options from April to October, priced from $6,845.

"American River BBQ Challenge"
Eight or nine days with American Queen Steamboat Co.
Discover America's heartland along the Mississippi River with the help of a paddle-wheel steamboat. Culinary teams battle regional barbecue masters on the route between Memphis, TN, and Alton, IL. Visit museums dedicated to quilting and Popeye the cartoon sailor, and historic sites like the 1852 Greek Revival-style Lloyd Tilghman House and Civil War Museum in Paducah, KY. Sample strong sips at The Moonshine Co. after a tour of the stills.

Hop-on, hop-off coaches make it easy to explore ports, and the Mark Twain Gallery and engine room tours entertain guests on the boat. Four departures are available from May to October, from $2,099.

"The Seine, Paris and Normandy River Cruise"
Eight days with Riviera River Cruises
A history buff's dream, this French itinerary cruises round trip from Paris on the MS Jane Austen. In Les Andelys, gaze upon a 12th-century chateau built by Richard the Lionheart, and in Rouen, spot the Gothic cathedral that captivated Claude Monet. Other historic points include a D-Day landing site at Gold Beach and Paris hot spots like the Eiffel Tower.

Soak up Seine sights from the ship as you sail past quaint villages and rolling hills. There are 12 departure options from spring to fall, with an additional option for solo travelers on March 31. Prices begin at $2,439.

"Rhone River Cruise"
Eight days with Adventures by Disney
Embrace a French waterway on a trip for the whole family, hosted by an AmaWaterways vessel. Each day is met with an assortment of excursions in the Rhone Valley's charming towns as the AmaCello makes its way from Lyon to Arles. Highlights include outings to a silk workshop, olive oil mill and the Cite du Chocolat in Tain l'Hermitage, as well as truffle hunting at an organic farm.

This itinerary boasts private sightseeing and exclusive activities suitable for all ages. There are three embarkation dates in May, June and July, with an additional three for an adults-only vacation, from $5,169.

"Rhine, Moselle and Blissful Baden-Baden"
12 days with Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
Preface a serene sailing past Germany's vineyards and villages with a restful escape in the Black Forest spa town of Baden-Baden, home to 12 natural springs. Board the River Queen in Strasbourg and cruise to a tasting at a Speyer vinegar estate before moving into the Moselle Valley for hiking, biking and a wine tour that include sips of the region's sweet rieslings. A chairlift ride in Rudesheim touts views of the Rheinknie, a river bend known as the Rhine's "knee."

Wellness opportunities and active excursions keep health-focused cruisers feeling their best. More than a dozen departures are available from April to October, with prices starting at $4,849.

"Cruise on the Nile: The Land of the Pharaohs"
11 days with CroisiEurope
Sail the Nile River on a journey to antiquity. Start in Cairo with an expedition to the iconic Great Pyramid of Giza before flying to Luxor, where you'll embark on the Jaz Royale for a round-trip cruise. Learn to make papyrus, engage with local villagers and encounter ancient structures like the Temple of Horus, built between 237 and 57 B.C. In the Valley of the Kings, step inside the burial chamber of Ramses III and inspect the vibrant wall paintings.

An Egyptologist will be on hand to host immersive lectures and activities on this fascinating civilization. More than a dozen departures embark throughout the year, from $3,482.

"Flavours of Burgundy and Provence River Cruise and Paris Escape"
10 days with Emerald Waterways
Lovers of French cuisine board the Emerald Liberte in Lyon for a gourmand's delight, a round-trip voyage filled with eats and other treats. Foodie favorites include sampling aromatic Burgundy truffles in Tournus, sipping Beaujolais wines and browsing an Avignon food market for local produce and more. On board, indulge in cheese tastings as well as a Provencal dinner hosted by Fabien Morreale, a former competitor on the French "Top Chef."

A smorgasbord of excursions awaits, from hiking and biking to vineyard visits and city tours. A single sailing departs this July, with prices from $4,090.

"A Taste of the Rhine"
Five days with Avalon Waterways
Take in Rhine River views through the wall-to-wall, opening windows in your Avalon suite during this short getaway. On your jaunt from Amsterdam to Mainz, Germany, you can see the Dutch countryside's famous windmills, the 1285 Muiderslot castle and antique instruments at Siegfried's Mechanical Music Cabinet, and walk among Cologne's Jewish heritage sites.

Local guides lead tours focused on history, culture and active pursuits, but cruisers also enjoy live musical performances and more on board. From May to November, seven trip options are available, with prices starting at $1,999.

"Villages and Vintages: Cruising the Douro River Valley"
Eight days with Tauck
Discover the home of port wine as you cruise Portugal's Douro River Valley, a region with 2,000-plus years of winemaking heritage, on the new MS Andorinha. Stroll the bohemian neighborhoods and riverfront streets of Porto and descend into the wine caves of Vila Nova de Gaia to see how the fortified beverage is stored. In Peso da Regua, attend an optional cocktail-crafting workshop before enjoying a wine-paired dinner at a family estate.

You won't want to miss this Douro River sailing, complete with private Tauck excursions and exclusive opportunities. Two trips are available in June with prices from $4,190.

"Festive Danube"
11 days with Crystal River Cruises
Round out your year of travel on the Danube River, spending the holidays strolling medieval town squares and viewing Baroque buildings. In Austria, take in Melk's Benedictine abbey and its magnificent library, or use leisure time to shop the Christmas markets of Vienna. Germany offers picturesque spots like Passau and well-preserved Regensburg, left virtually unmarred by World War II. Disembark and wrap up 2020 in Budapest, Hungary, by seeking out New Year's festivities like galas and midnight fireworks displays.

Embrace the region's heritage on board with a lecture series and entertainment showcasing select destinations. A single holiday departure embarks on Dec. 23 and is priced at $11,898.

The information in this story was accurate at the time it was published in Winter 2020. Please visit Vacations To Go or call (800) 510-4002 for current rates and details.

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