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UK river passenger numbers saw record figures last year with 166,900 passengers taking a river cruise, an 11 percent increase on 2015 By the end of 2016, 18 new river cruise ships will have joined the 170 ships that already cruise the world’s rivers, followed by another four in 2017. Europe remains the most popular region accounting for 87 per cent of river cruises taken by UK passengers, and the Danube is becoming one of our most popular rivers, thanks to its major attractions such as Budapest, Vienna and several Austrian and German wine destinations. Luxury brand, Crystal Cruises chose the Danube to launch its first river cruise product, Crystal Mozart. The 154-guest capacity vessel, is the largest afloat on the Danube, and made its maiden voyage in July 2016. The first out of five of Crystal Cruises’ new river ships. Europe’s other shining stars, including our most popular European river the Rhine, as well as the Rhône, known for their enchanting castles, medieval towns and dramatic landscapes.

THE RHINE
From the North Sea to the mountains of Switzerland, the Rhine passes through not only a rich variety of countries but also a wealth of river scenes. Sail from the canals of Amsterdam to Basel, crossing Germany and France. One of cruising’s great experience is the Rhine Gorge, lined with castles and fortress ruins, and home to the Lorelei, a huge rock protruding as the river almost doubles back on itself. The delights include Heidelberg, where you visit the red-walled castle with its Great Vat (a 49,000-gallon wine cask) and Cologne with its Gothic cathedral.
Rhine River Cruise Search     Rhine/Danube River Cruise Search     Rhine/Moselle River Cruise Search

THE DANUBE
Glide past the medieval town of Dürnstein, the Danube curving behind and in front, hazy hills of the Wachau Valley giving way to hazier mountains, and you could be in another age, with nothing other than the sleek ship to break the spell. And one of river cruising’s iconic scenes is the Parliament Building in Budapest, the start or finish of most Danube cruises, many of which concentrate on the stretch to Nuremberg in Germany. The section features Vienna with its elegant centre. You also pass through Regensburg, one of Germany’s best-preserved medieval cities, and Bratislava, capital of Slovakia.
Danube River Cruise Search

THE RHÔNE
A glorious river that flows majestically from the Alps to the Med, passing some of the planet’s best vineyards. Many cruises start in Lyon, then sail north to Chalon-sur-Saône, a pretty town snuggled in the Burgundy wine region, before doubling back to call at Mâcon, gateway to the Beaujolais. Tournon is dominated first by the 16th-century castle and Roman ruins, and then by the craggy face of the Massif Central, France’s third largest mountain range. From here the scenery becomes ever more sun-drenched, with lavender-filled landscapes, before reaching Avignon, a dazzlingly historic town. The final stretch takes you through the wilds of the Camargue to Arles, where the gem is the Roman amphitheatre. Rhone River Cruise Search

THE ELBE
A placid journey through central Europe across the eastern regions of Germany and through the Czech Republic. In the former, cruises usually start in Wittenberg (an easy drive from Berlin, which is usually included in any holiday) and in the latter finish in the medieval city of Prague, docking in the heart of things. The journey, much of it through pleasing farmland and rolling hills, passes through Dresden with its many ornate buildings. There are also the towering rock formations of the Saxon Switzerland region, with a visit to the spa town of Bad Schandau. From the Bastei (bastion), a rock tower formed by water a million years ago, there are stunning views back down the river. Elbe River Cruise Search

THE SEINE
Sail through the world of Claude Monet, whose works often featured the riverside town of Vernon, as well as his gardens at Giverny. This is an elegant river that will take you from Paris to within a brushstroke of the North Sea and back again. Cycle to Giverny, walk up to Château Gaillard, the 12th-century stronghold of Richard the Lionheart. Dock in the city of Rouen, where the Gothic Notre-Dame cathedral was another Monet subject. From here the river curves between hilltop châteaux, farms, pretty villages and rocky bluffs. Near the sea, there’s the chance to see the Normandy beaches and the medieval port of Honfleur. Seine River Cruise Search

THE VOLGA
From the military might of the Kremlin to the beauties of the Winter Palace, Moscow to St Petersburg, Russia is like no other country. From classical cities to peasants in far-flung fields, the sheer scope and space is riveting, like scenes from an 18th-century novel. Cruising here links St Petersburg and Moscow via the Volga and the Svir, as well as the Volga Baltic Canal. The waterways regularly spill out into sea-like lakes – Lake Onega, White Lake and more. On the former, is the picture book island of Kizhi, a UNESCO World Heritage site, home to ancient wooden buildings from across the vast country. On the latter is Goritsy, a village and the Kirillo-Belozersky (St Cyril) Monastery. The cruise takes you from one city centre to the other with breathtaking sights every day. Excursions include, in Moscow, a visit to the Museum of Cosmonautics with the chance to meet a cosmonaut, and, in St Petersburg, a private ballet concert at the Palace of Prince Vladimir. Volga River Cruise Search

THE DOURO
From the time it rises in Spain and drops steadily through the fertile valleys of both Spain and Portugal, the Douro is a river like no other. The scenery has a rare beauty, hills dropping steeply down to the water, lined with row upon row of stone terraces for the sweeps of vineyards. As well as wine, this is port country. The sun-drenched setting is home to ancient, red-roofed towns, quiet villages and little farms. Tours take you to the wine houses, the quintas, such as the grand Quinta do Seixo for tastings. Marvel at Mateus Palace, the historic house pictured on the shapely wine bottles. And take a tour to the ancient town of Salamanca. Douro River Cruise Search

Exotic River Cruises

Nile
If you only take one river cruise in your life, it should be this route, sailing along the Nile between Luxor and Aswan. It’s worth it just for the temples at Luxor and nearby Karnak, Tutankhamun’s tomb at the Valley of the Kings, and Nefertari’s tomb in the Valley of the Queens. But there’s more: from Luxor most cruise ships sail to Edfu for the temple dedicated to falcon-headed god Horus, then on to Kom Ombo temple, dedicated to crocodile god Sobek. And at colourful Aswan you can take a trip to the Aswan High Dam and the temple of Philae, or fly to Abu Simbel’s temples. To get the most out of the country, combine a Nile cruise with a few days in Cairo to see the Pyramids at Giza and the Egyptian Museum.Nile River Cruise Search

yangtze
Many UK-based travel companies offer Yangtze River cruises as part of a wider tour of China’s sights, often starting with several nights in Shanghai before flying to Wuhan and transferring to the Yangtze hub of Yichang. The Three Gorges – Xiling, Wuxia and Qutang – are the cruise highlight, with stops at the enormous Three Gorges Dam and Chongqing, home to lively markets. Longer cruises include: Nanjing, the ancient capital of several dynasties; historic Huangshan; Wuhan where you can visit Chairman Mao’s Villa and Yichang, surrounded by forests and mountains Yangtze River Cruise Search

Amazon
There are many ways to navigate the world’s largest river, but by far the most comfortable is by cruise ship. Itineraries usually call at the picturesque city of Santarem, where the River Tapajós meets the Amazon. Other colourful destinations include Parintins known for its Boi-Bumbá folklore festival every June; the wooden village of Boca de Valeria, and Manaus, the State of Amazonas capital

Mississippi
A trip along Ol’ Man River from Memphis to New Orleans reveals an impressive slice of the United States’ cultural and historic richness. You’ll see Elvis Presley’s Memphis, Civil War sites such as Helena and Vicksburg, and the Southern belle towns of Natchez and St Francisville with their beautiful antebellum houses. Baton Rouge is the spiritual home of folksy Cajun music and spicy Cajun food and then there’s jazz-soaked New Orleans, now recovering much of its nightly Mardi Gras atmosphere.Mississippi River Cruise Search




we are pleased to be agents for all of these Splendid River cruise lines: