Best APT River Cruises in 2016
Pack up your troubles, say hello to adventure and set sail on a river cruise this year. Here are five delights from APT sure to float your boat.
This is the staple river-cruise itinerary but, if you haven’t done it, still provides a wonderful journey through Europe between Amsterdam and Budapest. Over 15 days, you drift through five countries (Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary), meet a real Hapsburg princess at her castle in Germany, cruise through the fabled Rhine Gorges, admire baroque palaces and medieval towns, and take a Sound of Music whirl through Salzburg. Passau, Regensburg and Würzburg are three of the continent’s prettiest river ports, and Vienna and Budapest are leading, magnificent cities.
This 13-day trip is topped and tailed with hotel stays in New Orleans and Nashville, the USA’s most musically minded cities. A seven-night cruise along America’s mightiest river from New Orleans to Memphis brings you through the heartland of the Deep South in suitable style aboard a paddlewheeler. A shore visit to Louisiana plantation house will make you feel like you’re in Gone with the Wind. You’ll also explore the restored, historic town of Natchez, Civil War settlement Vicksburg, and the rock-and-roll history of Memphis, including a visit to Elvis Presley’s home, Graceland.
Seven days sailing through Portugal followed by a visit to venerable university town Salamanca in Spain and three nights in Madrid – olé to that! You embark on the MS AmaVida in Porto, a charming baroque town known for port wine, but with a lively contemporary vibe. The Douro River has rugged banks terraced with centuries of vineyards and dotted with stunning monasteries, castles, religious sanctuaries and wine cellars. You’ll also enjoy World Heritage-listed Guimarães, Portugal’s first capital, which bursts with medieval squares, lively student taverns, and textile and pottery shops.
Spirit of India
The fabulous “golden triangle” of sights that takes in Delhi, Agra (home to the Taj Mahal) and fort-topped Jaipur is an Indian travel must, and for good reason. But now you can add a seven-night Ganges River cruise and see another side to this ancient, spectacular country. The cruise component of the 16-day tour starts in Kolkata (Calcutta) on sleek new RV Ganges Voyager and sails upriver as far as Murshidabad. Highlights include a palace visit, encounter with a Hare Krishna community, Mother Theresa’s house, colonial riverside settlements and village bazaars.
APT is launching Bordeaux cruises this year with five MS AmaDolce itineraries in vineyard-clad southwest France. The eight-day round trip from Bordeaux is a delightful exploration of French regional history, wine and food along the Dordogne and Garonne Rivers and the Gironde Estuary. Shore excursions visit medieval Cadillac, citadel-crowned Blaye and famous wine town Saint-Émilion, with plenty of lingering in Bordeaux, surely one of Europe’s most gorgeous cities. Highlights are a Sauternes dessert-wine sampling at Château Smith Haut Lafitte, a visit to Cognac, and a tour of a caviar estate in Libourne.