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10 unusual rivers to cruise

This series of interconnected canals and rivers – plus occasional sheltered Atlantic bays – runs from Florida to Rhode Island along America’s east coast, with a variety of routes visiting interesting destinations such as Virginia’s Yorktown (associated with the Revolutionary War) and beautiful university towns. city ​​of Annapolis in Maryland. Southern cities such as Charleston, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia, have elegant historic architecture and a languid atmosphere.
See americancruiselines.com

Elbe, Germany/Czech Republic

This compact and sometimes too shallow river – avoid the late summer season – meanders through northern Czech Republic and eastern Germany, where the sandstone cliffs provide beautiful scenery in a region nicknamed Saxon Switzerland. Cultural highlights include the baroque city of Dresden and the beautiful treasure museum of the Green Vault, the porcelain factory and no less than Castle Hill in Meissen, and historic Wittenberg. Cruises often start and end in Prague or Berlin, accessible via land transfers. See vikingrivercruises.com

Ohio River, USA

The Ohio, which cuts diagonally from Pennsylvania into the Mississippi River in southern Illinois, separates the Midwest from the American South. Cruises often sail between Pittsburgh and music-rich Memphis or Louisville, which is associated with bourbon and horse racing. Madison is a historic steamboat port and Cincinnati has the raw appeal of a city at the crossroads of river and rail routes. Meanwhile, Marietta, Ohio is a charming cultural center. See aqvoyages.com

Chobe River, Botswana

Itineraries of just a few days on very small ships and along a short stretch of river make this more of a sightseeing tour than a cruise. The reward? A collection of beautiful animals in the Chobe National Park, with its flat but beautiful floodplains. You’ll see meandering giraffes feeding on acacia trees, kingfishers fluttering between clumps of papyrus and hippos snorting with delight. The highlight may be a herd of elephants drinking at the water’s edge. See zqcollection.com

Loire River, France

A castle on the Loire.

A castle on the Loire.Credit: iStock

The Loire is France’s longest river and, where it flows west of Paris, it is known for its associations with royal history and especially for its wealth of castles. But it is surprising that it is still little visited, and that only CroisiEurope is active there. The routes pass some of the most beautiful castles, including those of Azay-le-Rideau, Villandry and Chenonceau, but ships sail downstream as far as the cities of Angers, Nantes and the shipbuilding town of Saint-Nazaire on the Atlantic coast. See croisieurope.travel

Amazon River, Peru

The Amazon rainforest from above.

The Amazon rainforest from above.Credit: iStock

Some cruises sail through the Brazilian Amazon, but most depart from Peru’s ramshackle, former rubber-producing port city of Iquitos, which has the distinction of being the largest city (population: half a million) without road connections to the outside world, although it does. have an airport. The muddy river and its lagoons and tributaries are surrounded by immense rainforest inhabited by wildlife such as monkeys, toucans, sloths and sparkling butterflies. Occasional villages add human interest. See expeditions.com

Brahmaputra River, India

This mighty river, one of the largest in the world, changes its name several times between Tibet and the Bay of Bengal. Some cruises sail between Jorhat and Guwahati before joining the Ganges-Hooghly to end in Kolkata, others sail round-trip from Guwahati. Not only will you see the Himalayas on the horizon, but you can also visit national parks that protect rhinos, elephants and tigers. Hindu temples, Buddhist monasteries, tea plantations and silk weaving villages are other attractions. See pandaw.com

The writer has traveled as a guest on numerous river cruise companies.

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