Blue Water Holidays
Blue Water Holidays - ABTA - ATOL - CLIA
Experts in River and Small Ship Cruising Holidays since 2002
01756 706500 +44 1756 706500
Blue Water Holidays - ABTA - ATOL - CLIA
01756 706500
+44 1756 706500

Blue Water Holidays River Cruise Guide

Blue Water Holidays has been a leading river cruise specialist since 2002. Our knowledgeable independent experts have first hand experience of ships and destinations, and can advise on the right choice for your holiday. With exclusive offers and superb discounts, we can offer you the best value for money.

What makes a river cruise holiday different?

On a river cruise there are no sea days! Every day brings new sights and enjoyment, with different views to admire, exciting destinations to explore, and no chance of seasickness!

Fewer passengers, more space

River ships are smaller and more intimate than ocean ones. In Europe there are around 100 to 180 passengers. In Asia the ships are often smaller. Lounges and public areas offer plenty of space to relax, with a sun deck offering 360 degree views over the river.

Fine dining with complimentary drinks

Dining rooms are large enough for all passengers to eat in one sitting. Breakfast is usually a buffet, lunch a buffet or served at table. Dinner is often a 4 or 5 course fine dining experience. Many companies now include wine, beer and soft drinks with both lunch and dinner, some include complimentary drinks at all times. Alternative dining areas may be available at no extra cost. Some ships and cabins include a butler service, with an option of in-cabin dining.

All cabins with view

River ship cabins have outside windows with views over the waterside scenery. Many ships have French balconies, with large sliding doors or a drop-down upper section to create an open-air experience. Some ships have full sit-on balconies. Others offer a twin balcony, with both a sit-on and a French balcony.

See the scenery as you journey

On a river cruise much of the travelling through the best scenic areas is done during the day. Unlike a sea cruise, little time is spent in a cabin because it overlooks only one side of the river. Sightseeing is best done from the lounge areas, with their panoramic views, or from a shaded or sunny spot on the sun deck.

Moor in convenient locations

River cruise ships are usually able to moor close to the centre of waterside towns or cities - you can often walk from the ship to explore the sights and sounds. Guided excursions to local highlights and major sights are included with many river cruise lines.

Large choice of rivers and countries

Every year new river cruise destinations become available. In Europe the traditional Rhine and Danube crises have been augmented by many other rivers, the latest being the Loire and the Bordeaux areas of France. In Asia, the Yangtze and Mekong are very popular, and more recently the Irrawaddy in Burma and the Ganges in India. In the USA, the very distinctive steamboats travel the Mississippi river. More distant destinations are usually visited on a cruise-tour combining the river trip with a land tour of major sights. In Europe there are often pre- or post-cruise hotel stays in interesting cities.

New ships with new features

New ships with enhanced features arrive each year. Free shipwide wi-fi is increasingly common, or a gym, spa, library, even a swimming pool. With such a wide range of ship and route choices available there will be a river cruise to suit your requirements - call our experts for independent advice on the best options.

Amadagio at Durnstein, Austria Viking Longship Cochem on the River Moselle Venice - CroisiEurope ship

Europe Rivers and Destinations

Blue Water Holidays offers the widest choice on the major rivers of Europe from the top cruise lines.

Read our destination guides, find your ideal itinerary and ship, and call us to reserve your cabin.

  • Rhine
    Explore the Rhine or Moselle through Germany from Amsterdam in Holland to Basel in Switzerland, or just through the scenic Middle Rhine.

  • Danube
    Follow the Danube through the heart of Europe to Vienna, Budapest and Bratislava. See Germany, Austria, Hungary and Slovakia.

  • Rhine to Danube
    Discover the Main-Danube Canal, joining the Rhine and Danube in Germany. Typical itineraries go from Amsterdam to Vienna, or to Budapest in Hungary.

  • Danube to the Black Sea
    The Danube flows through Serbia, Hungary and Romania towards the Black Sea. See the famous 'Iron Gates' and enjoy a visit to Bucharest.

  • Bordeaux and Dordogne
    Explore the beautiful wine-growing area of Bordeaux in Aquitaine, south west France, with a range of options from Bordeaux into the Gironde, Dordogne and Garonne.

  • Douro
    Discover Portugal’s 'River of Gold' from the coast at Porto into Spain past picturesque villages and terraced vineyards. Options for stays in Lisbon.

  • Rhone
    See Burgundy and Provence on the Rhone through famous wine growing areas of France. Visit historic Avignon, Roman Arles and pretty wine villages.

  • Elbe
    The Elbe flows from the Czech Republic through Germany. Visit Dresden, Meissen and Wittenburg and stay in the capital cities of Berlin and Prague.

  • Seine
    Follow the Seine through Paris to the sea at Honfleur and return via Monet’s Giverny and Rouen, with excursions including the Palace of Versailles.

  • Loire
    From the sea at Nantes cruise the Loire goes upriver into the region of famous chateaux. Excursions to the St Nazaire shipyard and top chateaux

  • Spain and Andalucia
    Journey from Seville to Cadiz along the Guadalquivir and the Andalucian coast. Excursions may visit Cordoba, Grenada and Gibraltar.

  • Venice and the Po
    Explore Venice and see the islands of the Venice lagoon from your floating central hotel. City breaks or longer holidays available.

  • Holland at Tulip Time
    Explore the waterways and canals of Holland and Belgium in the Spring, visiting Amsterdam, Bruges, Antwerp and the colourful Dutch tulip fields.

  • Russia
    Explore Russia between Moscow and St Petersburg visiting ancient towns and crossing unique lakes..

  • Festive
    Enjoy the atmospheric Christmas Markets of Germany and Austria, or celebrate Christmas or New Year on a superb seasonal festive river cruise.

Europe River Map Castles along the River Rhine Hungarian Parliament, River Danube, Budapest River Douro at Porto Kalemegdan Fortress, River Danube, Belgrade Pont d'Avignon and Pope's Palace, River Rhone

Top Ten Highlights of Europe River Cruises

Castles on the Rhine

The 60 Kilometres (38 miles) of the Middle Rhine river between Koblenz and Rudesheim are overlooked by no less than 17 castles, many still occupied.

Lorelei Rock and Katz Castle

At Koblenz the River Moselle joins the Rhine, overlooked by the massive Ehrenbreitstein Castle. Travelling south upriver three castles mark the riverside village of Boppard. Nearby Maus Castle and Katz Castle face each other in a cat and mouse display.

Next is the famous Lorelei rock, where a narrowing river and strong currents made navigation dangerous in the days of sail, before reaching Pfalz Castle in its stunning mid-river location. Six more castles overlook the river before it reaches the wine village of Rudesheim.

The Middle Rhine is usually part of a seven-night Rhine river cruise. It is also included on two-week Amsterdam to Budapest routes and the one-week Luxembourg to Nuremberg voyage. See River Rhine Cruises.

River Main

The narrow and winding River Main is a complete contrast to the wide Rhine it leaves at Mainz, and has a lock almost every 10 km of its 380km (240 miles) length.

Wurzburg - Marienberg Fortress

Soon after Mainz the River Main passes Germany’s financial centre of Frankfurt with its Manhattan skyscraper skyline. It then flows past ancient riverside villages of half-timbered houses steeped in history. Aschaffenburg is overlooked by the impressive 1600’s Johanissburg Castle, Miltenberg’s old market square is a highlight, and attractive Wertheim was rebuilt after the 1618-1648 war.

The scenic gem of the Main is Wurzburg, noted for the Bishops Residenz of the prince-bishops built from 1720, easily reached from the river past pretty historic buildings. Riverside ship moorings face the imposing Marienberg Fortress with vineyards on the hillside below, and the Kappele, a lovely small chapel nearby.

Just before Bamberg the Main-Danube Canal leaves the Main for Nuremberg and the River Danube to Budapest. Cruise the Main on one-week voyages between Amsterdam or Luxembourg and Nuremberg, and longer routes to Budapest. See Rhine to Danube River Cruises.

Upper River Douro

The River Douro in Portugal flows past hillsides covered in vines grown to produce port wine. The upper section becomes very narrow and scenic as it winds between rocky cliffs.

The Upper River Douro

Portugal’s ‘River of Gold’ (D’Oro) meets the sea at Porto, notable as the base of port shippers for hundreds of years, and where ‘rabelos’ – small sailing boats – brought the casks of port downriver from the vineyards. This ancient town has terraces of houses overlooking the river, and a famous iron bridge over the river built by Gustav Eiffel of tower fame.

Upriver from Porto the river rises rapidly, with a number of extremely deep locks carrying boats uphill. Riverside towns such as Regua and Pinhao are a base for excursions. Further upriver the Douro narrows and bends through rocky channels to the Spanish border at Barca d’Alva and Vega de Teron.

All cruises on the Douro cover the length of the river, starting from and returning to Porto. Various excursions are offered, including historic Salamanca in Spain, and extensions to Portuguese capital Lisbon. See Douro River Cruises.

Wachau Valley and the River Danube

The western section of the River Danube flows from Germany into Austria and Vienna, and through the dramatic hillsides of the Wachau Valley from ancient Melk Abbey on to Durnstein village.

Durnstein in the Wachau Valley

Going east from its junction with the Main-Danube Canal, the River Danube is crossed by the 12th century stone bridge at Regensburg. The town has 1300 listed buildings, and next to the river the oldest sausage kitchen in Germany!

Further on, some river cruises start at attractive Vishofen, others from Passau where the rivers Inn and Ilz join the Danube. The Wachau Valley starts at Melk, whose massive stone abbey overlooks the Danube, and nearby Schonbuhel Castle.

Rolling hills with steep vineyards frame the Danube in the Wachau, but the scenic gem is Durnstein. The blue and white baroque church of the Convent is a riverside icon. The village has attractive winding lanes of old houses, and above is the ruined castle where King Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned in 1192.

This section of the Danube is traversed by two-week Amsterdam to Budapest routes, and shorter cruises starting in Nuremberg, Passau or Vilshofen eastwards to Vienna and onwards to Budapest. See River Danube Cruises.

Paris and the River Seine

River cruise ships moor close to the centre of Paris on the River Seine. This gives superb opportunities to visit the attractions of Paris through guided excursions, the Paris Metro, or perhaps on foot.


Paris is one of the world’s most visited cities, with sights such as Notre Dame, the Louvre, Champs Elysee, Eiffel Tower, Montmartre and Sacre Cour. Other options include the left bank area of St Germaine des Pres, and the Musee d’Orsay with its Impressionist paintings.

River Seine cruises from Paris may include an excursion to the stunning Chateau de Versailles, and visits to Monet’s house and his frequently painted garden at Giverny. The Seine continues through Normandy to Rouen, where Joan of Arc was executed in 1431, and on to the Channel coast at the scenic port of Honfleur.

Most river cruises on the Seine cover the whole river from Paris to the Normandy coast, some in both directions, others just one-way. Various excursions are available. See Seine River Cruises.

Main-Danube Canal

Only completed in 1992, the Main-Danube Canal links the River Main with the River Danube. It reaches a height of 1330 feet near Nuremberg, the highest commercial waterway in Europe.


Crossing over 100 miles through Bavaria the Main Danube Canal provides a through route from the North Sea to the Black Sea. Its 16 locks, many exceptionally deep, take the canal up and over the Continental Divide.

At the western end of the Canal, Bamberg’s Old City is a World Heritage Site reflecting its historic prosperity. Perched on a bridge, the Old City Hall has a spectacular exterior. Above the town, the cathedral dates back to 1237, and opposite is the grand bishop’s New Residence. The town is also noted for its many breweries, and particularly its dark Rauchbier (smoked beer).

Medieval Nuremberg was long identified with German culture, and was appropriated by the Nazis as a venue for rallies, later becoming the site of the War Trials. Its ancient walls with their many watchtowers and gateways still remain.

Cruise the Main-Danube Canal on one-week voyages between Amsterdam or Luxembourg and Nuremberg, or between Nuremberg and Budapest, or the two-week Amsterdam to Budapest voyage. See Rhine to Danube River Cruises.


Although big ocean ships are being banned from the waters of Venice, river cruise ships are able to sail in the Venice lagoon and to its islands including Murano and Burano.


River ships in the Venice lagoon are able to moor close to the centre of Venice, not far from St Mark’s Square, the Doge’s Palace, and the Bridge of Sighs. They act like a city centre hotel, but at reasonable prices and with the benefit of all meals, possibly drinks as well, saving a fortune on Venice prices.

Venice river voyages do not travel far – maybe within the lagoon to the islands of Burano and Murano, and possibly onto the River Po south of Venice. Italian regulations do not allow river ships to sail with passengers onto the Adriatic Sea so itineraries involving the River Po make extensive use of coach transport, particularly for excursions to nearby highlights such as Padua, Ferrera, and Verona.

There are varying length river cruises in Venice, from 4 nights to a week. The former will be based in Venice, longer journeys will access the River Po and visit major attractions in the area. See Venice River Cruises.

Dresden and the River Elbe towards Prague

Upriver from Magdeburg near German capital Berlin, the Elbe heads towards the Czech border to reach Dresden and the fantastic rock formations of ‘Saxon Switzerland’.

Dresden and the River Elbe

Dresden was a noted cultural centre of Germany, with fine buildings overlooking the Elbe. The ruined Frauenkirche became a symbol of the extensive damage from the heavy bombing raids of WWII, but now following reunification Dresden’s historic Frauenkirche and the Neumarkt area nearby have been restored to former glories. River ships can moor close to the centre on the Elbe waterfront.

Close to Dresden are the Elbe Sandstone mountains known as Saxon Switzerland. These have been eroded into amazing shapes, and attract many climbers and visitors. The Czech border is nearby, and most Elbe cruises will continue into the Czech republic with a final coach transfer to Czech capital, Prague. This lively city is one of the most attractive in Europe, with a castle, nearby cathedral, many bridges and a range of activities for all.

River cruises on the Elbe generally travel from Magdeburg near German capital Berlin to near Prague in week. Many will offer extension pre- and post-cruise in both Berlin and Prague. See Elbe River Cruises.

Avignon, Arles and the River Rhone

The River Rhone flows through the wine areas of Burgundy, joins towns and cities with an ancient heritage going back to Roman times, and continues through Provence to walled towns in superb scenery

Avignon and the Palais des Papes

Avignon is well known in song for its famous ‘pont’ extending to the centre of the river. Avignon is home to one of the most visited attractions in France, the Palais des Papes (Palace of the Popes), home to seven popes in the Middle Ages, the square around it and the ancient city ramparts. These are UNESCO World Heritage sites. Arles has one of the best preserved Roman ampitheatres, and is associated with the paintings of Van Gogh who lived there for 2 years.

A Rhone journey may start in the Lyon area, visit Beaune, the centre of the Burgundy wine trade and home to the famous medieval tiled roofed Hospice de Dieu, and continue south towards the Mediterranean coast. It may be possible to explore the Camargue region famous for its bulls and white horses.

Most river cruises on the Rhone are one week in length, with possible extensions. It may be possible to combine a week on the Rhone with a week on the Rhine or Seine for a fascinating two week cruise. See Rhone River Cruises.

Bordeaux and the Wine Country

Bordeaux is a World Heritage Site with English connections back to 1152 when Eleanor of Aquitaine married Henry II. The growth of the claret wine trade strengthened the links.

The riverfront at Bordeaux

Nowadays Bordeaux is noted for its impressive 18th century buildings and its long riverside promenade along the banks of the River Gironde. Inland there are castles and fortifications built by Henry II and some 10,000 wine producing chateaux near the Gironde and its feeder rivers, the Garonne and Dordogne. These include some of the top chateaux wines of France.

River cruises in the area centre on Bordeaux, with some short voyages to the mouth of the Gironde and upriver on the Garonne and Dordogne. Highlights are Pauillac for the Medoc, chateaux visits and tastings, an excursion to St Emilion and its famous catacombs, and Bordeaux itself.

Voyages in the Bordeaux area are up to a week’s duration, with a main mooring close to the centre of the town and its extensive pedestrian areas. Possible extensions include the Arcachon Basin south of Bordeaux and the amazing Dune of Pyla. See Bordeaux River Cruises.

World Rivers and Destinations

Experience the local sights and culture of a region on our carefully selected holidays on the major rivers of the world.

Consider China's Yangtze, the Mekong in Vietnam and Cambodia, Burma's Irrawaddy River, the Mississippi in the USA and the Ganges in India. We also offer exciting expedition voyages on the upper Amazon.

  • Mekong
    Take an exotic journey along the Mekong River through the tropical greenery of Vietnam and Cambodia. Discover Ho Chi Minh City, Phnom Penh, ancient temples and the fascinating natural wonders of South East Asia.

    Our Red River cruises visit Vietnamese capital Hanoi and travel into rural north Vietnam. Another option is to travel the Upper Mekong through the mountains and forests of Laos.

  • Yangtze
    Our superb options cover all China's must-see highlights. These include voyages through the scenic Three Gorges, plus Shanghai and Beijing stays, with visits to the Great Wall and the Terracotta Army.

  • Burma
    Burma (Myanmar) is an exciting must-see destination. This mysterious and atmospheric country is deeply spiritual with thousands of magnificent Buddhist temples, colonial-era architecture, welcoming people and spectacular scenery.

  • Mississippi
    Explore the atmospheric Deep South of America on these superb Mississippi riverboats from vibrant New Orleans and the home of the Blues, Memphis.

  • Ganges
    Tour the famous sights in the Golden Triangle of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur combined with a fascinating cruise on the River Ganges from Kolkata.

    Also in India, take a Brahmaputra river cruise and visit the renowned Kaziranga Nationa Park for an elephant safari in search of tigers and rhinos.

  • Africa Safari
    Exciting African luxury river safaris with options for land tours in Southern Africa including Cape Town, Okavango Delta and the Serengeti.

  • Amazon
    Take a thrilling voyage to the heart of the Amazon, exploring some of the most untouched wilderness upstream on the River Amazon in Brazil or Peru.

Angkor Wat in Cambodia Great Wall of China The Temples of Bagan in Burma Elephant safari in Kaziranga National Park

Top Ten Highlights of World River Cruises

As most world river cruises are further afield, it is normal for these cruises to add additional land tour sections to create a cruise-tour visiting the major sights of a region.

The Temples of Angkor, Cambodia

The Angkor archaeological area is a World Heritage site home to amazing sights and structures, with the massive temple of Angkor Wat probably the most famous.

Bayon Temple at Angkor

Near the Cambodian town of Siem Reap the site at Angkor was the centre of the Khmer kingdom between the 9th and 15th centuries. Its temples are noted for the art, carvings and symbols in their stonework and the area has extensive water systems built to support the large population.

Ta Prohm Temple at Angkor

Angkor Wat is a large well preserved temple complex with courtyards and different levels reflecting the Khmer social order. Major temples such as Bayon, Preah Khan and Ta Prohm can also be visited, with the atmospheric Ta Prohm left as it was discovered, with trees and roots growing through its walls and buildings.

Siem Reap and Angkor are visited at the beginning or end of a Mekong river cruise tour. If water levels allow, some ships may cross the Tonle Sap lake to near Siem Reap. Because of the uncertainty, most remain on the Mekong river with a coach trip through the Cambodian countryside to or from Siem Reap. More information and cruise collection at Mekong River Cruises.

The Cities of the Mekong River

Two of the major cities of south east Asia are joined by the Mekong river - Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), the former capital of South Vietnam, and Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia.

Ho Chi Minh Statue in the city centre

Ho Chi Minh City is connected to the Mekong via the Saigon river, and is now a thriving and busy city reflecting the growing economic power of Vietnam. Impossible to ignore is the main local transport of 5 million motor bikes! Phnom Penh is noted for its royal palace complex opposite the Mekong river promenade, and cyclos are more gentle transport! Both cities show signs of their French Indo-China past.

Phnom Penh Royal Palace

Vietnam and Cambodia are rated as two of the safest countries to visit. Yet each possesses a sombre recent history. In Ho Chi Minh City the Cu Chi Tunnels and the War Remnants Museum recall the Vietnam war. In Phnom Penh the former Tuong Sleng prison and the 'Killing Fields' reflect the fate of the millions of people who disappeared under the infamous Khmer Rouge rule.

Many Mekong cruise-tours start or end with a stay in Ho Chi Minh City. Mekong ships moor at a quayside in central Phnom Penh. Find cruises visiting Ho Chi Minh City and Phnom Penh at Mekong River Cruises.

The Terracotta Army and the Great Wall of China

The Yangtze River crosses central China to reach the sea at Shanghai. In addition to the cruise and sights of Shanghai, many river cruise tours also include Beijing and the Great Wall, and visit Xi'an to see the remarkable Terracotta Warriors.

Great Wall of China

Allegedly the only man-made structure visible from space, the Great Wall of China extends almost 4000 miles across China, travelling up and down hills and over mountains. Sections are easily walked, and can be visited on day trips from Chinese capital Beijing as part of a longer stay within the cruise tour.

Terracotta Army at Xi'an

The Terracotta Army was discovered by accident in 1974 when local farmers digging a well broke into a pit containing 6000 life-size terracotta figures. To date the remains of nearly 8000 warriors have been recovered - life-size, and individually modelled in clay. They guarded the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, builder of the Great Wall, and some 2000 are visible at this World Heritage Site in Xi'an.

The cruise portion of a Yangtze cruise-tour travels the river in the Three Gorges Dam area. Beijing and Xi'an are visited on most cruise-tours, with sightseeing to the Great Wall and Terracotta Army, and internal flights included. Check out China cruise-tours and more information at Yangtze River Cruises

The Irrawaddy River from Bagan to Mandalay, Burma

Following the democratic developments in Myanmar (Burma) the country is expanding its tourism capability. Top attractions are Bagan and Mandalay, joined by the Irrawaddy River.

Temples at Bagan

Bagan was the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan during the 9th and 13th centuries. The kings ordered over 10,000 Buddhist temples and monasteries to be built, spread over the Bagan plain. Approximately 3000 still remain. Highlights include the spectacular Shwezigon Pagoda, the holiest site in Bagan, and the temple of Gubyaukgyi with ancient well-preserved wall frescos.

Kuthodaw Temple at Mandalay

The old British colonial capital of Mandalay is the second largest city in the country after Yangon. Ascend Mandalay Hill for a view over the city, and appreciate the impressive walls and moat of the huge Mandalay Palace destroyed by fire in World War II. The Kuthadaw Pagoda houses the 'largest book in the world' with a page in stone in each of 729 stupas. The holiest temple in Mandalay is the Mahamuni Buddhist Temple with a huge bronze Buddha covered in gold leaf. At nearby Amarapura is the U Bein Bridge, the world's longest teak wood bridge.

River cruises on the Irrawaddy river now extend from the capital Yangon (Rangoon) through the temple city of Bagan to Mandalay and further upriver. Some may take a shorter route; others may travel into more remote areas or add a stay at the Inle Lake. Find out more about Irrawaddy cruises and view our cruise collection at Burma River Cruises

Delhi, Agra and Jaipur - India's Golden Triangle

India is a fascinating mixture of old and new, wealth and poverty. A tour of the Golden Triangle coves all aspects, and features some of the most outstanding sights in the world - including the Taj Mahal.

Red Fort, Delhi

In Delhi the relative calm around the government and diplomatic areas contrasts with the hectic activity in the narrow streets and markets of Old Delhi as the traffic of cars, tuk-tuks and public transport grows daily. The massive Red Fort built in 1648 and the Qtab Minar, started in 1200 and the tallest brick minaret in the world, are much visited World Heritage Sites.

Taj Mahal at Agra

The road to Agra passes Delhi's new commuter suburbs to reach Agra, a city of 1.5 million inhabitants best known for the Taj Mahal. Commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, the Taj Mahal is a massive building recognised the world over and attracting 7 million visitors a year. It is the centrepiece of a 42-acre complex on the bank of the Yamuna River.

Amber Fort at Jaipur

From Agra travel west to Jaipur, the 'pink city' in recognition of its pink painted buildings. A major attraction is the huge Amer Fort situated on a hill outside the city, a World Heritage Site as is the Jantar Mantar, a fascinating outdoor collection of ancient astronomical devices for telling time and date located near the Maharajah's City Palace.

The Golden Triangle is featured as part of cruise-tours based around a Granges river cruise from the old British colonial capital of Kolkata. Extensions may include the spiritual centre of Varanasi on the Ganges. View our cruise-tours visiting the Golden Triangle at India River Cruises.

Steamboat cruising on the Mississippi from New Orleans

Sailing from New Orleans on a traditional style paddlewheeler evokes the heyday of the Mississippi, and cruises to the 'Blues City' of Memphis give added opportunities to explore the music and traditions of the US Deep South.

Mississippi Steamboat

New Orleans is famous for its 'laid-back' vibe, distinctive cuisine, and the sounds and sights of its historic and atmospheric French Quarter. Don't miss the jazz sensations of Bourbon Street.

The paddlewheelers resemble the great steamboats of the past, but with modern amenities. The river route passes great houses on former plantations, sites of American Civil War battles, and towns with fascinating pasts and historic buildings.

Memphis is noted as the home of the Blues, and an evening stroll on Beale Street is unmatched for the sounds and atmosphere. In contrast visit the Civil Rights Museum housed in the Motel where Martin Luther King was assassinated. Outside town is Graceland of Elvis Presley fame.

Our most popular Mississippi cruises travel between New Orleans and Memphis, and give access to vibrant Nashville in Tennessee. At certain times of the year routes may extend as far as St Louis or Pittsburgh, and maybe further. View our voyages from New Orleans at Mississippi River Cruises.

Tigers in Assam on a Brahmaputra river trip

The Brahmaputra flows from high in the Himalaya mountains through Tibet before joining the Ganges in Bangladesh. The Assam Valley in North East India is one of its highlights with UNESCO protected national parks offering wildlife to match Africa.

Safari by Elephant

Our river cruise on the Brahmaputra sails through the scenic Assam valley to national parks, visiting remote rural villages where tourists are an unusual sight. It includes excursions to tea plantations as well as exotic monasteries and temples.

The highlights of this adventure are the elephant, boat and jeep safaris into the World Heritage Kaziranga National Park to seek one-horned rhinoceros, Bengal tigers, bison, vultures and a variety of animals. With one of the greatest varieties of wildlife outside Africa, Kaziranga is known as the 'Serengeti of India'.

The cruise starts with a night in Kolkata and a flight to Assam. On some dates a visit to the mountain kingdom of Bhutan may be possible. More details at India River Cruises. For an alternative wildlife cruise-safari see our Africa Cruises section for a cruise-tour combining safaris with a Chobe river voyage.

Upper Mekong river through the mountains of Laos

The Mekong river flows from China through Laos, then via Cambodia to the sea in Vietnam. The river cruise in Laos travels deep into the forests and remote areas through dramatic scenery and gorges.

Pak Ou Cabves, Laos

Starting with a one-night stay in Vientiane, the old French colonial capital of Laos, this river expedition crosses Laos to the Thai border. It includes two nights at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang, the ancient Laos capital and temple city.

There are visits to tribal villages and explorations into jungle and countryside, and a visit to the famous Golden Triangle between Laos, Thailand and Burma, once the heart of opium growing and now being opened to tourism.

This cruise travels into remote areas, and the itinerary is flexible to meet changing conditions. On certain dates an extended cruise travels from Vientiane to Jinghong in China. More information at Mekong River Cruises.

The Amazon River into the heart of South America

Large ocean going ships can travel the wide River Amazon as far as the inland city of Manaus. Small river cruise ships can penetrate the upper reaches of the Amazon to get up close to the plants and animals of the tropical rainforest.

Mazon Macaws

From Manaus travel by small ship upstream into the Brazilian Amazon or sister river Rio Negro to explore small tributaries and see abundant flora and fauna at close quarters. With naturalist guides, observe exotic birds, anteaters, caiman and porcupines amongst a treasure trove of fauna and flora.

An alternative river adventure travels the Peruvian Amazon from Iquitos, again with opportunities to see wildlife close-up, and search for elusive river dolphins and nocturnal animals.

There are many different cruise options on the Amazon River. The Peruvian Amazon small ship itinerary includes hotel stays in Peru capital Lima, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. Check out the options available at Amazon River Cruises.

Halong Bay to Hanoi and rural north Vietnam

Inland from the amazing limestone formations of Halong Bay, Vietnam's capital Hanoi lies on the right bank of the Red River, named because of the reddish brown silt carried down from the rural areas to the north.

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Hanoi

Based around Vietnam's fast growing capital of Hanoi, this river adventure starts with an overnight cruise amongst the limestone islands and floating villages of Halong Bay before returning to Hanoi for sightseeing. It then travels as far as navigable up the Red River deep into the highlands of north Vietnam through mountain scenery.

As this voyage travels into remote areas the itinerary is flexible to meet changing conditions. It could be combined with a Mekong cruise from Siem Reap to Ho Chi Minh City. More information on the Red River voyage at Mekong River Cruises.