TOP RIVER CRUISES rates its top river cruises.
The big one: Along the Danube, Main and Rhine rivers through photogenic scenery from fairytale castles and classic European cities, to medieval villages from Amsterdam (Netherlands) to Germany, Austria, and finally Hungary.

For culture vultures: Russia’s Volga River for opulent gilded palaces and grand museums in St Petersburg and Moscow to a simpler life in remote villages amid birch forest, and remote towns offering real insight into a turbulent Soviet past.

Slow boat to China: The Yangtze River reveals exquisite misty landscapes that inspired artists and poets, en route to soaring cliffs of the Three Gorges where ancient pagoda hang off peaks, the tranquil Lesser Three Gorges, and the massive hydroelectric Dam.

 The magic Mekong: This languid river offers a laidback look at South East Asia as it winds through Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Buddhist monks and temples, villages, lush rice paddies, and ancient crafts are all part of the experience.

Down the Nile: From Cairo’s pyramids and mythical sphinx to Luxor’s massive Temple of Karnak, and the Valley of the Kings where Tutankhamun’s tomb is bereft of antiquities that are now housed in Cairo’s Egyptian Museum.

A taste of France: The rivers of France – from the Seine in the heart of Paris,to the Soane, Rhone, Garonne, and Dordogne – have fast become the “hot” spots on the European river scene for a feast of history, culture, cuisine, and wine.

Mysterious Myanmar: Once a hermit kingdom Myanmar, has well and truly opened to tourists who cruise the Irrawaddy River to see gold spired pagodas, visit remote villages that have stood the test of time, and buy precious stones.

Mighty Mississippi: A paddle steamer along the Mississippi River is the classic way to see the Deep South, taking in jazz and Dixie tunes as well as grand plantation mansions, Elvis Presley’s Graceland estate, and vibrant New Orleans.

Laidback Portugal: Take in the capital, Lisbon, for fado music and flamenco, before a cruise along the UNESCO designated Douro River, with steep hillside vineyards, ancient villages, and Porto, the world’s HQ for the rich liqueur Port.

Indian insights:  The tropical backwaters of Kerala, in Southern India, is the  gentle way to enjoy some of India’s most scenic landscapes. Recently, the Ganges River is also in vogue with a side trip to the iconic Taj Mahal.

For more: River cruise lines include APT,; Avalon,; Pandaw,; Scenic,; Uniworld,; and Viking,

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