by Jane Archer, The Telegraph, February 19, 2019
If you'd like a mix adventure and wildlife from a river cruise, a sail along the Nile or a safari cruise on Lake Kariba could be the answer. Alternatively, there are many voyages in the Americas taking in culture, natural wonders, wildlife and a diverse menu.
Here we round up some of the best cruises to try in Africa and the Americas for 2019.
Return to the Nile
Scenic celebrates renewed demand for the destination with a luxury holiday that pairs five nights in Cairo including a visit to the pyramids with four days’ sailing from Luxor to Aswan. The cruise is on Sanctuary Retreat’s Sun Boat III, and includes tours of temples in Dendera, Kom Ombo and Aswan, a felucca ride and excursion to the Valley of the Kings. An early-morning flight to Abu Simbel reveals the temple of Rameses II – moved to escape rising waters caused by the Aswan Dam.
A 12-day Treasures of Egypt holiday costs from £4,995 per person, departing Nov 1 2019 (0161 236 2444; scenic.co.uk).
Cruise like a king
To really get into the spirit of the Nile look no further than the SS Sudan, on which Agatha Christie sailed. The wood-panelled vessel was built in the late 1800s for Egypt’s King Fouad and starred in two film versions of her novel Death on the Nile. The ship has just 23 cabins and suites. Stay in Cairo and Luxor ahead of a five-night cruise from Luxor to Aswan. Ports of call include Abydos, Edfu and Kom Ombo, with a final hotel night in Aswan.
A 10-day Taste of the Nile holiday costs from £3,600 per person departing Sept 11 2019 (020 7978 7333; originaltravel.co.uk).
Wildlife safari cruise
Embark on a safari around Lake Kariba, the largest man-made reservoir in the world, on the 16-passenger river boat African Dream. The three-night cruise navigates the Gache-Gache and Sanyati rivers, with small boat and Jeep safaris every day in search of elephants, hippos, crocodiles, buffalo, lions and bird life. Passengers will wake to see animals on the river bank, hear lions roaring while having dinner and go to sleep to the sounds of a grunting hippo.
CroisiEurope bundles the cruise with three nights in its Cascades game lodge near Chobe National Park and a night at Victoria Falls.
From £5,103 per person cruise-only for a nine-day Southern Africa cruise-tour departing May 3 2019 (020 8328 1281; croisieurope.co.uk).
Footsteps of the pioneers
Relive the trials and tribulations of the families who followed the call to go west, on a voyage along the Columbia and Snake Rivers with American Cruise Lines. This is an extraordinary cruise through ever-changing landscapes. There are visits to waterfalls, volcanic Mount St Helens and interpretation centres that depict the hardships endured by the early pioneers. From Astoria, an excursion to a replica of Fort Clatsop tells the story of US explorers Lewis and Clark, who were tasked in 1803 by US President Thomas Jefferson to find a water route to the Pacific Ocean.
From £3,945 per person departing July 28 2019 through Fred River Cruises (0800 035 0237; fredrivercruises.co.uk).
Explore Mark Twain’s Mississippi on a cruise from St Louis to St Paul on the American Queen Steamboat Company’s paddlewheel boat, American Duchess. There’s an opportunity to delve into the early career of President Lincoln, while a visit to Twain’s house and a live “radio" rendition of Huckleberry Finn are on the agenda in his home town, Hannibal.
A nine-day St Louis to St Paul cruise costs from £3,275 per person departing Aug 4 2019 (01223 568904; lightbluetravel.co.uk).
Rolling on the river
For a slightly different take on Ol’ Man River make the American Queen paddlewheel boat your home on a cruise between Memphis and New Orleans with Titan Travel. The ship calls at Vicksburg, Natchez and Baton Rouge, for tours to museums, mansions and markets, while pre-cruise stays in Nashville and Memphis take in Studio B, where Roy Orbison and Dolly Parton recorded their early hits, and Elvis’s Graceland. The holiday ends with two days in New Orleans to enjoy live jazz on Bourbon Street.
A 16-day Journey on the Mighty Mississippi costs from £4,399 per person departing Dec 4 2019 (0800 988 5823; titantravel.co.uk).
Gourmet cruise from Iquitos
Savour the tastes of the Amazon and Peru on a cruise hosted by acclaimed Latin American chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino on a five-night cruise with Aqua Expeditions, preparing traditional Amazonian and Peruvian dishes as well as leading a tour to Iquitos market. The cruise, on the Aria Amazon, includes skiff sailings by day in search of river dolphins, monkeys and turtles, and after-dark to spot the nocturnal wildlife. A stop at a Manatee Rescue Centre rounds off the cruise.
From $5,400 per person for a four-night cruise departing Nov 18 2019 (0065 6270 4002; aquaexpeditions.com).