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River Cruise Travel Guide

Climb aboard a river cruise to learn about a new destination from a unique point of view, or return to someplace you love to see it with new eyes from the ship deck. Take a study cruise along the Amazon to learn about the rainforests of Brazil. Visit the Holy Ganges to learn more about the daily rituals that take place along its spiritual shores. Enjoy an epic voyage along the Mighty Mississippi to study the life of Mark Twain. Or sail along the calming waters of the Dordogne or Loire Rivers, stopping to learn about winemaking along the way. Experiencing a region of the world via its waterways can be an amazing way to get to know the landscapes, flora, fauna and more at a relaxed pace and from a different perspective. Bon voyage!

Why Riverboats?

An educational experience by riverboat offers a relaxed voyage with special advantages: A nimble riverboat can dock in the center of town instead of at a remote cruise port and can access inland destinations that larger ships can't reach. The experience is akin to a small floating hotel. You'll get to learn about and observe daily life along the river, and while riverboats vary in size from 30 passengers on the more intimate ships to over 400 passengers aboard the American Queen, you’ll generally share your ship with fewer than 150 people.

While leisurely sailing through a country’s interior, you’ll become immersed in the heartland in a warm and inviting way. See what life is like beyond the big cities as the countryside gently rolls along and authentic culture takes center stage. These river experiences feel little motion, as these waterways are calm and flat, with locks controlling the current of many larger rivers.

The relaxed, more intimate experience is best embodied during meals, when all passengers eat during the same sitting. Unlike many larger ships, riverboats typically only have one restaurant that is smaller and feature an open-seating policy, allowing you to sit wherever you choose and interact with other passengers aboard. Restaurant staff typically go into port each day to collect fresh ingredients and prepare authentic samplings of local cuisine.



Educational River Cruises

“This program provided us with a serious immersive experience in the land and people of North India. We were able to witness a large variety of Indian life through its spiritual lens. The river portion was especially engaging, allowing us to see rural India in a way not possible through land travel.”

— Rosemary, from Frederick, Md. | Road Scholar Class of 2016 —