After Europe, what's next?: Travel Weekly

Nicole Edenedo

Do you have clients who are looking for a river cruise that takes them beyond the cobblestone streets and medieval architecture of Europe? A number of river cruise lines can do that, sailing the most adventurous waterways around the world.

The season for traveling to some of the most sought-after destinations filled with everything from exotic animals, ancient temples and stunning natural landscapes is upon us starting this fall, with some seasons coming to a close just before the end of the year.

River cruise season in Egypt runs from September to June, and 2022 is an exciting season to set sail there as the country prepares to mark the 100th anniversary of the discovery of King Tutankhamun’s tomb, which happened on Nov. 4, 1922. A number of new ships and itineraries have all launched offerings on Egypt’s Nile River as well as new tours that visit the highlights of the area.

The newest Viking ship, the 82-passenger Viking Osiris, launched in late August and sails the company’s 12-day Pharaohs & Pyramids itinerary roundtrip from Cairo, joining its sister ship on the Nile, the Viking Ra. The company offers a pair of four-night pre- and post-cruise extensions to Jordan and Jerusalem.

• Related: The Viking Osiris is christened on the Nile

AmaWaterways’ AmaDahlia, which launched in September 2021, offers an 11-night Secrets of Egypt & the Nile itinerary. The itinerary begins with three nights in Cairo, then journeys to Luxor for a roundtrip, seven-night sailing on the Nile and ends with one final night in Cairo before guests return home.

Avalon Waterways offers two itineraries in Egypt, the 10-day Taste of Egypt, which visits only one country, and the 14-day Taste of Egypt and Jordan, which also includes visits to a number of historical sites in Jordan, from the Dead Sea to Petra.

Uniworld offers a 12-day Egypt & the Nile itinerary that begins with three nights in Cairo before guests fly to Luxor to begin their seven-night river cruise on the Nile, followed by three more nights in Cairo prior to the trip’s end. Guests who want a more robust experience can opt for a four-night extension to Jerusalem with three days of excursions or a five-night extension to Jordan that includes stays at the St. Regis Amman and a night at the Mazayen Camp Wadi Rum.

Travelers looking to explore more of Africa also have options to do a safari river cruise with AmaWaterways on its charter ship, the Zambezi Queen. The company offers five safari itineraries: one 10-day Discover Africa; three 13-day sailings — Rivers & Rails of Africa, Wildlife & the Falls and the Stars of South Africa; and a 15-day Golden Trails of Africa. Most cruises begin with three nights in Cape Town, followed by four nights sailing the Chobe river as well as two nights spent in Victoria Falls, with the option to add nights in Johannesburg. The longest itinerary, Golden Trails of Africa, includes seven nights in Tanzania and explores Serengeti National Park.

Variety Cruises is also an option for travelers looking to explore West Africa. The small ship and luxury yacht company has two eight-day river cruise itineraries from Dakar, Senegal, and Banjul, Gambia, where guests will have the chance to explore wildlife reserves and naturally rich areas where few river cruises venture. The best time to do an African safari river cruise is between March and November, but Variety’s West Africa cruises sail from December and well into February.

Sailings in Asia

Asia remains a popular destination for river cruising with its season running from August to April, with eight river cruise lines offering departures on the Mekong River. Avalon, AmaWaterways, Scenic, Emerald, Viking, Uniworld, Aqua Expeditions and Pandaw all have ships sailing the Mekong in Vietnam and Cambodia, with some lines offering itineraries that include visits to Thailand.

China-based Century Cruises offers several river cruises on the Yangtze River. The company’s four itineraries range between three and 14 nights sailing between Chongqing and Shanghai, with stops in Nanjing and the scenic Three Gorges area.

India is also a must for clients looking for something exciting and new in Asia. Avalon offers five itineraries ranging from seven to 21 days, while Uniworld offers one 13-day itinerary sailing the Ganges from New Delhi to Kolkata. For those wanting an in-depth experience from a local’s perspective, Kolkata-based Antara Luxury River Cruises offers a wide variety of river cruises in India from as short as four days to as long as eight, along with its newest 53-day cruise that sets sail in March 2023. The Grand Cruise is set to sail between Prayagraj on the Ganges
River and Shivsagar on the Brahmaputra River, spanning the course of 27
rivers. The voyage will take place aboard the Ganga Vilas, an 18-suite vessel built to accommodate 36 guests.

Adventures on the Amazon

South America should also be on your clients’ radar when it comes to adventurous river cruising. Few river cruise companies venture here, but Avalon and Uniworld are among those with Amazon River offerings. Avalon offers four itineraries between 11 and 20 days that include several nights on the Amazon and land tours that take guests to famed Incan sites like Machu Picchu and other Peruvian destinations as well as in Ecuador. Uniworld offers two itineraries that explore the Amazon as well as the rainforest’s other waterways for a robust exploration into Peru’s ancient history.

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