River Cruising Guide – Exceptional Excursions
The banks of the world’s most iconic waterways are home to quaint villages, remote towns and enclaves that you may have never heard of, and further inland lie destinations that may not be your usual choice of holiday. Many of these places welcome river cruising passengers with open arms, and a rich array of cultures can be discovered within their landmarks, cuisine and ways of life.
Excursions found on the river are very different from those on the ocean, as these intriguing trips are a key part of a passenger’s exploration. With the help of knowledgeable and humorous guides, who bring each destination to life through stories and interactive experiences, you’ll be transported back in time to the most incredible landmarks and towns, where myths, legends and old wives’ tales never cease to exist.
Our River Cruise Experts have chosen six of their favourite excursions! Read on to discover more…
Riviera Travel – Lucerne & Bernese Oberland Excursion
- Return transfers, mountain railway pass and packed lunch included.
- This excursion would cost over £200 per person if carried out independently.
Lucerne is well worthy of its title as Switzerland’s most beautiful city, where mountain views seemingly lie around every turn. Modern-day visitors are in esteemed company; the city has been welcoming tourists for two centuries, with Queen Victoria among the most notable. There’s no shortage of ways to spend your time here, but an invigorating stroll along the Chapel Bridge, a unique covered wooden walkway crossing the lake is perhaps the most impressive. Supported by stilts and lined with colourful flower-filled window boxes, not only is it the city’s most iconic structure, but it’s also a superb place to absorb Lucerne’s regal atmosphere.
When you think the scenery can’t become even more stunning, Bernese Oberland in central Switzerland will quite literally take your breath away. This is the grand alpine heart of Europe with some of the finest mountain scenery on earth, described by the composer Mendelssohn as “the most wonderful of all in this unbelievably beautiful country”. On viewing the legendary snow-capped peaks of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, you’ll be quite simply awestruck. The views only improve, as a mountain railway towers high above the crystal-clear lakes that reflect the meadows and forests below.
Experience it for yourself whilst moored overnight in Basel on the 2023 & 2024 Rhine Cruise to Switzerland. Departure dates available between May 2023 to October 2024.
View Rhine Cruise to Switzerland Here >
Scenic River Cruises – Bassins de Lumières Excursion
- Return transfers, entry to Bassins de Lumières and a glass of champagne included.
- This excursion is exclusive to Scenic River Cruises so you wouldn’t be able to carry it out independently.
Bordeaux’s Les Bassins des Lumières beckons once nightfall descends. Even if you wouldn’t consider yourself an arty type, it is nothing short of impressive; the audio-visual spectacular is housed within Bordeaux’s former submarine base, where there are two exhibits to enjoy. Prepare to be illuminated by the art that’s projected onto the walls of the fascinating space – it’s one of the biggest fixed multimedia installations in the world and is really brought to life through this Scenic Enrich excursion.
After the doors have closed to the public, you will be welcomed with a glass of Champagne to Les Bassins des Lumières. You will then be treated to an exclusive show, customised and curated just for Scenic guests in an experience that will stay with you for years to come.
Experience it for yourself whilst docked in Bordeaux for the day on the Beautiful Bordeaux river cruise. Departure dates available between April to October 2023.
View Beautiful Bordeaux River Cruise Here >
Viking River Cruises – Tournon Steam Train Excursion
- Return transfers, a walking tour of the city and railway pass included.
- The Train des Gorges would cost 17 Euros per person if carried out independently.
The wilds of the Doux Valley remain one of France’s most picturesque destinations, yet often remain untouched by fleeting visitors. Following a short walking tour of Tournon, embark on a train journey that brings this stunning area to life. But this isn’t just any locomotive. The Train des Gorges is a meter-gauge steam train and engine, both of which are listed as French historic monuments, which only add to the sense of occasion as you explore these landscapes.
You will head deep into the verdant Doux Valley, a conservation area where panoramic views appear at every turn. This untouched region is inaccessible by road, making it a pristine wilderness of unrivalled beauty and clean air. You will skirt along the Doux River, chugging through the serene countryside as you dip into vibrant valleys and wonderful woodlands. After your scenic journey, return to Tournon and head back to your ship with the feeling that you have spent your time ashore doing something that bit special.
Experience it for yourself whilst docked in Tournon for the day on the Lyon & Provence river cruise. Departure dates available between March 2023 to November 2024.
View Lyon & Provence River Cruise Here >
AmaWaterways – The Tomb of Queen Nefertari Excursion
- Return transfers and special tomb pass included.
- AmaWaterways is the only cruise line to offer this excursion.
- This excursion would cost £60 per person if carried out independently.
Egypt is steeped in history that’s unrivalled anywhere else in the world, and a Nile river cruise is your opportunity to explore it in depth. Whilst docked in the captivating city of Luxor, AmaWaterways offers its guests the chance to visit the tomb of Queen Nefertari, which is one of the most exclusive tombs within Egypt’s famous Valley of the Kings & Queens. This has long been considered one of the largest and most striking Egyptian tombs, famed for its wall paintings and exceptional preservation.
AmaWaterways transports guests to see this incredible slice of history up close, and is the only river cruising company to do so. Be mesmerised by the hundreds of stars painted on the ceiling and satisfy your need for intrigue and cultural immersion on this once-in-a-lifetime shore excursion.
Experience it for yourself whilst docked in Luxor for the day on the Secrets of Egypt and The Nile river cruise. Departure dates available between February 2023 to December 2024.
View Secrets of Egypt and The Nile River Cruise Here >
APT – Liechtenstein’s City Palace Private Recital Excursion
- Return transfers, private recital and selected drinks included
- This excursion is exclusive to APT Touring so you wouldn’t be able to carry it out independently.
Vienna is one of the most popular river cruising destinations – and with good reason. Docking right in the heart of the Austrian capital puts the city within easy reach, and APT’s Signature Experiences make sure visitors really make the most of their time there. Liechtenstein’s City Palace is an imposing building that is every bit as impressive inside as it is out, and it is here that you will be treated to an exclusive cocktail party and private recital.
This is a perfect and quintessential way to spend an evening in the city that has become synonymous with some of the finest classical music ever to be composed. A full orchestra will perform classical masterpieces by Mozart and Strauss, and you will also be enchanted by an operatic recital and performance by a selection of members of the Mozart Boys’ Choir.
Experience it for yourself whilst docked in Vienna for the evening on the Magnificent Europe river cruise. Departure dates available between April 2023 to December 2024.
View Magnificent Europe River Cruise Here >
Saga River Cruises – Melk Abbey Excursion
- Transfers and entrance to the abbey included.
- A tour of the abbey would cost 16 Euros per person if carried out independently.
Melk Abbey is among the most impressive baroque buildings you will encounter along the Danube. Perched on a rocky outcrop, the abbey dates as far back as 1089 and contains the tomb of the Irish Saint Coloman of Stockerau and the remains of several members of the House of Babenberg, Austria’s first ruling dynasty. In his novel The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco named one of the protagonists Adso of Melk, as a tribute to the abbey and its famous library.
When you embark on a Saga river cruise, you will take a short bus ride to the Benedictine monastery. On a guided tour, you will discover more about the building that was reconstructed in the early-18th century, as well as the church with frescos by Johann Michael Rottmayr, the marble hall, and the world-famous library with more than 80.000 books. Be sure to look up and see the overwhelming ceiling fresco by Paul Troger. Enjoy an exceptional view of the Danube valley from the terrace during your free time, or take a stroll through the abbey gardens.
Experience it for yourself whilst docked in Melk on the Capitals of the Danube river cruise, departing in June 2024.
View The Capitals of the Danube River Cruise Here >