The Top River Cruises

By Magdalena Seymour, Marketing Specialist with Adams & Butler

While there are many ways of exploring the world, a river cruise can yield an exceptional, unique experience, surpassing the ordinary tourist trails. Most of these cruises are small-scale operations, ensuring that guests will receive luxury accommodation and unparalleled hospitality. We have explored some of the world’s largest and remote waterways – The Amazon, Zambezi River, Yangzi River, the rivers of Burgundy and Myanmar – to find the ultimate river routes around the globe.


Exploring China via a river route – in particular the Yangzi River – is an utterly unique experience. There is no better luxury mode of transport through China’s largest waterway than aboard the Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer. Fusing contemporary furnishes with local antique period pieces, the Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer boasts a luxurious yet authentic aesthetic. All the suites feature wooden trellis walls, authentic Chinese artwork, and stylish textiles. Moreover, the vessel’s design further pays homage to the nation in which it passages, as it enables guests to marvel at the passing countryside and villages through grandiose floor-to-ceiling windows. While aboard, holiday-goers possess the opportunity to partake in private Tai Chi lessons, stroll through remote local food markets, and explore magnificent, ancient forest landscapes home to the iconic golden monkeys. Cruise itineraries include stops in Fengdu, Chongqing, and Yichang – just to name a few.


Launched in 2015, the one hundred forty-foot-long Aria Amazon provides river voyagers with an unparalled level of service and accommodation. Extremely generous dining and lounging areas include an outdoor, river-facing Jacuzzi. Furthermore, each guest cabin boasts floor-to-ceiling windows and are situated close to the water level, bestowing guests with remarkable views that seemingly immerse them into the surrounding nature. If you opt not to relax in the jacuzzi, you can always hop off the vessel and join one of the four professionally-trained naturalist guides on an expedition through the Amazon rainforest. During these excursions, embark on rewarding wildlife discoveries in the most biodiverse rainforest and river system on Earth.

The Aria Amazon was the first river voyage unveiled by the now world renowned cruise operator Aqua Expeditions. Since this inception, Aqua Expeditions has expanded its offering portfolio of offerings, granting holiday-goers access to more of the world’s most ecologically and culturally significant locales, including the Mekong river in Cambodia and Vietnam as well as the seas of East Indonesia.


Burgundy should truly be about floating and dining, surrounded by wine and decadent food. Belmond brings this to a literal level, as patrons explore the beautiful countryside of France aboard a collection of boutique barge vessels. Guests aboard will travel from Dijon to Vandenesse-En-Auxois, stopping at chateaux and vineyards along the way. While aboard, take a dip in the heated pool or enjoy the stylish, decorative accents in your luxurious cabin.


When one thinks of an African safari, your mind tends to envision the landlocked wildlife across the bush. The Zambezi Queen redefines the notion of safari, as it brings travellers to experience game from the water. While aboard the Zambezi Queen, guests are surrounded by all sorts of wildlife – from elephants and hippopotami, to endangered bird species and zebras. Moreover, the vessel herself is undoubtedly the most luxurious boat on the Zambezi River. The houseboat offers fourteen tasteful and luxurious suites, all with outer decks so you can truly soak up and appreciate uninterrupted views of the unique African landscape beyond.


Cruising along the Ayeyarwady River, Belmond Road to Mandalay is unrivalled in style. The forty-two cabins in this graceful river cruise seamlessly blend revered traditional furnishings with contemporary luxurious accents. The boat also has a large pool on the upper-deck, where guests can take in views of the rolling mountains. While cruising, guests can not only take advantage of Asian spirituality with the yoga program offered aboard, but also discover the hidden treasures of this exotic region that reside just on shore. From markets of amber-coloured spices to lush green tea fields, Myanmar’s unspoilt beauty surely draws you in. Cruise itineraries include stops in Ava, Bagan, and Mandalay – just to name a few.

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