If being out at sea makes you nervous, try a river cruise. These ships navigate through the most ideal freshwater waterways in the world. Recently, riverboats have become a very attractive option for tourism. On board and from a privileged vantage point, passengers enjoy the bond between culture and landscape, visiting large and small towns, imposing castles and vineyards.
Europe offers countless options for sailing and tourism. You can travel through France along the course of the Seine, the Rhone and the Saone; the mighty Danube takes you through Slovakia, Hungary and Austria; Germany boasts the Rhine— also called the Medieval Highway— as well as the Moselle; the Maas and the Scheldt cross the Netherlands, and Russia’s Volga, the river of the tsars, links Moscow with St. Petersburg. In Africa, the Nile is the king of rivers and river cruises, while the Mekong and the Ganges reign in Asia.
River boats are not as colossal as ocean liners (usually accomodating around 200 guests), although the facilities and amenities they offer are equally luxurious. The modern cabins are elegant and sophisticated and some are even thematic in design. In the Czech Republic, the Elbe river will take you from the city of Decin in North Bohemia, to Dresden in Germany, and if you make the trip in November you will enjoy a tasting of the best Czech wines, or if you travel in December, a colorful exhibition of Advent products paired with the traditional mulled wine, essential for coping with the cold winter days.
And, of course, there are luxury river cruises. The Australian company Scenic Cruises, for example, offers river cruises from 2,200 euros, about $ 2,500, per person across Europe and Russia, in spacious cabins and suites with, designer showers, sheets of Egyptian cotton, 32 inch HDTV and internet access through high-speed Wi-Fi, as well as other amenities. These state of the art vessels usually include a gym, several restaurants, and a game room.
Other companies that offer river tours are Panavision Cruises, which sails around Europe and the Yangtze River in China; CroisiEurope, specializing in the Old Continent; Politours River Cruises, Iberostar Grand Amazon, which sails through Brazil, and Aqua Expeditions, a new experience at the highest levels in the Amazons. Discover here more exciting ways to travel the world: luxurious and legendary trains. ■