The cruises sailing down the world’s greatest rivers

From Ghent to Ganges, the cruises sailing down the world’s greatest rivers with lectures, fine food and even dancing to boot

There are some fantastic cruises on the great rivers of Europe and Asia next year.

For instance, a seven-night cruise from Amsterdam stopping at Ghent, Antwerp and Rotterdam includes lectures, a cookery demonstration and dancing. 

Meanwhile, luxury cruise company Pandaw is set to deploy three flat-bottomed vessels in India this December, offering more opportunity to explore the far reaches of the Ganges. Here’s our pick of the best cruise journeys ahead…

Belgian beauty: The historic town of Ghent reflected in the glassy waters of the Leie River

Belgian beauty: The historic town of Ghent reflected in the glassy waters of the Leie River

  • The first Tulip Serenade spring cruise aboard new ship Amadeus Star begins on a high note with a performance of sea shanties by a local band. Excursions include a cruise of Amsterdam’s canals and a visit to the flower market, a city tour of Arnhem and a trip to see the millions of tulips in the Keukenhof Gardens. You’ll sail to the fascinating cities of Ghent, Antwerp and Rotterdam, too. On board there will be lectures, a cookery demonstration and dancing. The inaugural, seven-night cruise from Amsterdam aboard Amadeus Star starts on April 12, 2019. amadeus- rivercruises.co.uk, 0800 035 6411.
  • A Cities Of The Beautiful Danube cruise will take you to three capitals – Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest – and you’ll explore other historic gems and sail through eye-popping scenery. Starting in Nuremberg, Brabant’s first call is Regensburg, nicknamed ‘Germany’s medieval miracle’ for its preserved buildings. From Linz you could take a trip to Salzburg, popular with fans of The Sound Of Music and Mozart, or stay in town and have a slice of linzertorte in a cosy cafe. Enjoy the dramatic beauty of the countryside from the observation lounge or the deck as you sail through the Wachau Valley and the loops of Schlogener Schlinge. Brabant departs Nuremberg for a seven-night voyage to Budapest on April 26, 2019. fredolsencruises.com, 0800 035 5242.

There will be more opportunities to explore the far reaches of the Ganges from December when Pandaw relocates three vessels from Burma to India

There will be more opportunities to explore the far reaches of the Ganges from December when Pandaw relocates three vessels from Burma to India

  • Making her debut next year, Emerald Harmony is the first ‘Star-Ship’ from Emerald Waterways on the Mekong. Smaller than her European sisters, with only 42 cabins and suites – plus a swimming pool with retractable roof that converts to a cinema – Harmony will be nimble enough to sail into Ho Chi Minh City. A one-week cruise will show you the contrasts between busy Vietnam and slower-paced Cambodia, as well as temples, pagodas and colonial-era French architecture. You can be on the inaugural cruise as part of a 23-day Grand Tour of Vietnam & Cambodia departing on August 20, 2019. emeraldwaterways.co.uk, 0808 115 6269.
  • River cruises are an ideal way to sightsee with the minimum of physical effort, but there are lots of ways to stretch your legs on an Active Discovery on the Rhine itinerary, new for this year. Join a jogging tour in Amsterdam, a run round Cologne, hikes in the forests around Duisburg and through the vineyards of Eltville, and guided bike rides through the German countryside. Departures are still available for this year, and from May to October 2019. avaloncruises.co.uk, 0330 058 8291.
  • There will be more opportunities to explore the far reaches of the Ganges from December when Pandaw relocates three vessels from Burma to India. Pandaw boats are small but powerful and have a shallow draft, allowing them to navigate remote and narrow tributaries. RV Orient Pandaw, the pride of the fleet of boutique boats, has a spa and 30 cabins, each with a veranda, and will sail the Lower Ganges. One-week cruises from Calcutta will take in remnants of French, Dutch and British colonial rule, temples and the Hazaduari Palace. pandaw.com, 020 8396 7320.

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