RIVER CRUISING GUIDE
CALIFORNIA WINE COUNTRY: Through the waterways of the Sacramento Delta to the state capital, Sacramento. The Petaluma and Napa Rivers lead to wine tasting in Napa Valley.
HUDSON RIVER: From New York City's skyscrapers to sleepy river towns, past mansions of the Gilded Age. Visits to West Point and Albany. Especially popular for fall foliage cruises.
INTRACOASTAL WATERWAY: Part river, part bay, part protected waters, the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway wanders the southeast from Florida to Maryland. Along the way it takes in the Old South's gracious towns, such as Savannah and Charleston, elaborate summer homes on Jekyll Island and wildlife on uninhabited Cumberland Island. From the Chesapeake Bay, the James River leads to Confederate history in Richmond and the Potomac River leads to colonial and revolutionary history in Alexandria and visits to Washington, D.C.
MISSISSIPPI RIVER: The mighty Mississippi changes personality as it flows from Minneapolis/St. Paul to New Orleans. The upper Mississippi flows through America's heartland, to former trading posts and river ports, to big cities and little river towns. The lower Mississippi, from Memphis to New Orleans, is the Old South: grand plantations and restored antebellum homes, Civil War battlefields and Cajun heritage.
MISSOURI RIVER: Between St. Louis and Parkville, a suburb of Kansas City, the Missouri echoes with memories of the beginning of the Lewis and Clark expedition, of great steaks, barbecue and ragtime and of Harry Truman in Independence, Mo.
OHIO RIVER: From the rural scenery and quaint river towns to Pittsburgh, the home of the first steamboat; and Cincinnati, formerly a busy steamboat port, trips along the Ohio River include visits to Louisville's Bluegrass region, historic sites in Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia.
RIVERS OF THE HEARTLAND: The Arkansas River features Civil War history, scenic beauty and Little Rock. Attractions on the Illinois River range from the natural wonders of dramatic rock formations to Chicago's big city beat.
RIVERS OF THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST: The Columbia, Snake and Willamette Rivers. Cruises from Astoria, Oregon, to the twin cities of Lewiston, Idaho, and Clarkston, Washington, follow the route of Lewis and Clark. The scenery is varied and grand: lush forests, rolling hills, wheat fields and meadows and granite cliffs. Most cruises are one-week round trip from Portland, and there are also shorter cruises on the Columbia River.
RIVERS OF THE OLD SOUTH: The Atchafalaya, Red, Ouachita and Tombigbee: Cajun culture, swamps and bayous, Civil War history and restored homes.
RIVERS OF THE WILDERNESS REGION: The Kanawha reveals West Virginia's beauty; the Tennessee features rugged scenery, Victorian neighborhoods and Civil War history at Shiloh; the tranquil Cumberland boasts of Davy Crockett, Sam Houston and Nashville, the home of country music.
ST. LAWRENCE RIVER AND SEAWAY: Sail to Quebec City and Montreal on the St. Lawrence River, then continue on the St. Lawrence Seaway, the deep-water international navigation route to the Great Lakes. Trips include a lift in the Seaway locks up 226 feet into Lake Ontario, then a cruise through the Thousand Islands region, an 80-mile network of river channels and coves.
NILE: The world's longest river sails through the heart of Egypt, taking passengers to extraordinary archaeological treasures, works of art and architecture. The cruise is usually combined with a land trip in Egypt. Highlights included the Aswan Dam and the temples at Luxor.
AYEYARWADY: Highlights are Myanmar's (formerly Burma) religious heart, visiting temples and pagodas, shrines on a lush volcanic peak and the remains of the ancient capital of Pagan. This is usually part of a more comprehensive land tour.
YANGTZE: This is the heart of China, home to the sublime Three Gorges. It's also the site of the world's largest construction project, the Three Gorges Dam, which will transform those gorges' dramatic passageway into a placid lake. Ten and 11-day cruises sail 1,540 miles between Shanghai and Chongqing. Four- and five-night cruises go through the Three Gorges. Most trips combine the cruise with land trips to Beijing, Shanghai and Xian.
AMAZON RIVER: Cruises through one of the world's richest habitats, visiting small Indian settlements, stately Manaus, and remote, unusual sites. Cruises include guided nature walks in rainforests, birding and nighttime game viewing.
MURRAY RIVER: This is the world's fifth-largest river. There are 350 species of birds in this area, so trips include birding as well as guided nature walks and trips to Aboriginal rock art and archaeological digs.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA
SEPIK RIVER: A look at traditional customs and cultures, through music, art, markets and schools in river villages, some built on stilts.
RIVER CRUISING GUIDE