Forget the High Seas: Here are 11 of the Best Riverboat Cruises Money Can Buy

Meet the cruise ship’s edgier, more worldly older brother

By The Editors
March 9, 2016 9:00 am

Things you won’t find on a riverboat cruise: putt-putt courses, all-you-can-eat buffets and Norovirus.

Things you will find: peace, quiet and layovers at some of the remotest destinations on earth.

What river cruises lack in the way of theme-park amenities, they make up for in actual adventure. Translation: you’ll get up-close access to dazzling points of interest without 3,000 of your craziest aunts standing beside you.

Bon voyage.

Voyage to Nagaland
Kalewa to Homalin, Seven nights

This expedition on Burma’s Chindwin River navigates passengers through the land of the Naga Warriors, a band of tribes who headhunted their enemies as recently as the 1960s. The boat can host up to 10 guests, and you’ll be provided with kimonos and slippers, a 24-hour laundry service, ultra premium wine and spirits, themed dinners and mountain bikes for off-ship excursions.

When to go: September
Where to stay before and after: Hotel by the Red Canal | Belmond Governor’s Residence

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Elegant Elbe
Prague to Berlin, Eight days

This cruise along Germany’s Elbe River visits four UNESCO heritage sites, following in the footsteps of German church reformer and theologian Martin Luther. On-deck entertainment includes baroque chamber music, Czech folklore performances and lectures on the Velvet Revolution. Or opt for relaxing on the private French balconies and taking in the scenery over some local wines and cheeses.

When to go: March-November
Where to stay before and after: Included

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Aria Amazon
Iquitos to Iquitos, Seven days

Glide through the Peruvian Amazon on the only vessel that can claim to have made the maiden voyage of the world’s lengthiest stretch of river. The 32-passenger ship, designed by renowned architect Jordi Puig, delivers a den-esque luxury feel with comfy sofas, a bar, a library and a sun deck with whirlpool. The venture will also guide guests deep into the jungle on private skiffs. Expect monkeys and river dolphins. Don’t expect WiFi.

When to go: Year-round
Where to stay before and after: La Posada de Lobo

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Pathway to the Pharaohs
Cairo to Cairo, 12 days

Stop off at the Pyramids on the way through Cairo before cruising the Nile to Luxor and Aswan. On deck, enjoy in-depth knowledge from your Egyptologist guides, a Nubian evening affair and off-vessel excursions by way of camel.

When to go: November-February
Where to stay before and after: Included

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The Blue Danube
Amsterdam to Bucharest, 24 days

This remarkable cruise on the 264-passenger Blue Danube winds through the Netherlands, Croatia, Serbia and Romania before dropping anchors in the Black Sea. You’ll pass grand cathedrals, medieval monasteries and historic citadels on the Main-Danube Canal and the Iron Gate, with private shore excursions to UNESCO World Heritage sites.

When to go: May-July
Where to stay before and after: The Toren | Grand Hotel Continental

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Maritime Jewels of the British Isles & Ireland
London to Edinburgh, 15 days

On this British Isles adventure, you’ll explore tiny islands and remote ports along the coast of Wales. Through fishing villages and among monumental castles, experience the charm of Scotland and the history of the Orkney archipelago on the regal 98-passenger Corinthian.

When to go: May-August
Where to stay before and after: Included

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Imperial Waterways of Russia
Moscow to St. Petersburg, 13 days

An expedition for history buffs that stops by monuments to 15th-century czars and extravagant cathedrals. Glide past rolling countryside on the Golden Ring and wander through artsy St. Petersburg on the stately River Victoria.

When to go: May
Where to stay before and after: St. Regis Moscow | State Hermitage Museum Hotel

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The Riches of the Mekong
Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, Seven days

Setting out from bustling Hanoi, you’ll pass through the gateway of the ancient Khmer empire in Cambodia, rural villages and floating markets with a stop at a Buddhist monastery on board the 124-passenger AmaDara. Also on the itinerary: folklore dancing, live music and cultural talks. Oh, and a sun deck pool and spa for whenever you damn well please.

When to go: Year round
Where to stay before and after: Included

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Ameritage! Four Rivers & Wine Country
Portland to Portland, Eight days

A tour of the Columbia, Snake, Willamette and Palouse Rivers with visits to nine wineries aboard the 88-passenger S.S. Legacy, a vintage steamer replica. Guests will discover the Northwest wine region as well as natural gems like Multnomah Falls and Palouse Falls Canyon. On deck, there’s daily yoga for detoxing and the Pesky Barnacle Saloon for re-toxing.

When to go: April-October
Where to stay before and after: Hotel Monaco | River Place Hotel

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India’s Golden Triangle & the Sacred Ganges
New Delhi to Kolkata, 13 days

The opulent Ganges Voyager II sports high ceilings and hand-painted murals, and guests will experience all the luxury they’d expect of a five-star hotel on rudders. Beginning in colorful and exotic New Dehli, your adventure will take you to the Taj Mahal and the fortresses of Rajasthan on the way to the Pink City of Jaipur.

When to go: September-October

Where to stay before and after: Included

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Classic Cities & Moorish Traditions of Iberia & Morocco
Lisbon to Malaga, 10 days

Channel your inner Casablanca on a trip through the heart of Spain’s southern territories. Guests will experience the dichotomy of old world Moroccan palaces and the more modern resort cities that dot the Mediterranean coast.

When to go: April
Where to stay before and after: Olissippo Lapa Palace | Barcelo Malaga

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