Does milling around with thousands of people on a cruise ship trip seem a little daunting? Then you should consider a river cruise. With the same premise of meandering the waterways with scheduled stops, this is a smaller scale version of a cruise but with a more personal service on offer. Here are three of the best…

EUROPE

EXPLORE: Amsterdam, Rotterdam and belgium
LENGTH: Eight days
COMPANY: Scenic Tours
PRICE: From £1,695 per person all inclusive (including flights and transfers)

Set sail in a Scenic ‘Space-Ship’ (a luxury river cruiser) to visit Amsterdam, the capital of Holland, the tulip-filled Keukenhof Gardens, Bruges, Rotterdam and the World Heritage-listed windmills of Kinderdijk. Starting in the canal-dissected, cobbled Amsterdam full of culture and character, you can visit the city of Bruges, a chocolate box pretty, World Heritage-listed city or go to Antwerp, the diamond capital of the world.
With stops at Veere, Rotterdam and Horne on route you can then enjoy a visit to Keukenhof Gardens, which have delighted visitors for over 60 years. You can immerse yourself in the stunning sight and scent of millions of flowering tulips.

Accommodation: Suites with the option of your glass balcony drawing back and converting into a Scenic Sun Lounge so you can enjoy the riverside views on your journey.
On offer: The food is freshly prepared taking inspiration from the regions you travel through and there is a Free Choice option to visit as many or as few places of interest and culture that you want to. Everything is included in the price including drinks and every guest is offered a butler, there to give you five-star service during your trip. For more information: Visit www.scenic.co.uk

GO WITH THE FLOW
Over the past five years, river cruises have seen a 10% annual passenger increase

Russia

EXPLORE: Moscow and St Petersburg
LENGTH: 13 days
COMPANY: VIKING RIVER CRUISES
PRICE: Inclusive price from £4,000 per person including flights and transfers

Immerse yourself in Russian culture with multiple days in the cities of Moscow and St Petersburg. You’ll have the chance to see Moscow’s Kremlin and Red Square, and the Catherine Palace and Hermitage in St Petersburg. But, on this luxury river cruise you will also see a less explored side of Russia, taking in quaint Golden Ring towns like Yaroslavl and Uglich that are rarely seen by tourists. Along the route you will see opulent palaces, fortified monasteries and visit ornate, frescoed churches and cathedrals.

Accommodation: Choice of staterooms, including suites, junior suites and staterooms with verandas and French balconies.
On offer: A concierge on board and shore excursions led by guides, with the option to use a high-tech audio headset system giving you spot-on historical facts. You can enjoy food cooked by Swiss-trained chefs on board, too.
For more information: Visit www.vikingrivercruises.co.uk

MAKING WAVES
The era of the steamboat began in America in 1787 when John Fitch (1743-1798) made the first successful trial of a 45ft steamboat on the Delaware River on 22 August, 1787, in the presence of members of the Constitutional Convention. His steamboats plied rivers and lakes and demonstrated the feasibility of using steam for water locomotion.

AMERICA

EXPLORE: Mississippi taking in the cites of New Orleans and Memphis
LENGTH: 10 days
COMPANY: Shearings holidays
PRICE: From £2,819 full board including flights and transfers

The American Queen is the largest paddlewheel steamboat ever built and you can enjoy the opulence of the American Victorian era and soak up history on this fascinating trip that meanders up the scenic Mississippi River.
Starting in the historical New Orleans, Louisiana, one of America’s oldest cities, you will sail through dramatic landscapes, passing towns and palatial mansions, taking in the deep history from Civil War cemeteries to the soulful sounds of Memphis. Stops include Oak Valley and Helena, featured in the Johnny Cash biopic Walk The Line.

Accommodation: Staterooms with bay window or an open veranda.
On offer: Chill out in the boat’s opulent library or take a cocktail in the main lounge and bar. With traditional elements such as a gentleman’s card room and a ladies’ parlour, there is also a Grand Saloon showcasing on board entertainment. For more information: Visit www.shearings.com

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