You’ve heard me talk a lot about European, Nile, Amazon, and Mekong, river cruises, but there are also some pretty fabulous river cruise experiences to be had in the US and Canada. River cruise companies have expanded these options during the pandemic with the idea that many of today’s travelers are more comfortable staying closer to home while still enjoying the excitement and fun of a river cruise.
Here are my top picks:
The Mighty Mississippi
While not a new cruising destination, there are more options than ever; in fact, Viking River Cruises has launched its own cruises which cover either the northern or southern Mississippi, or the full 15-day cruise from St. Paul, MN to New Orleans, LA. The “Heart of the Delta Cruise” embarks from New Orleans and ends in Memphis on an 8-day journey where you'll immerse yourself in the history and heritage of this part of the country. Soak up the rich French and Acadian cultures that infuse the Lower Mississippi, and be inspired by the stories of famed musicians and civil rights heroes. Savor delicious Cajun and Creole cuisine, as well as Memphis’s famous BBQ while savoring the rhythms of Dixieland jazz, Delta blues, and gospel.
The Columbia and Snake Rivers
I like Lindblad Expeditions (partnered with National Geographic) for this itinerary which operates in April, September, and October. A highlight will be spring departures specially scheduled to navigate these spectacularly scenic waterways when wildflowers are blooming, waterfalls are brimming, and salmon fishing is at its peak. Aboard the nimble, 62-guest National Geographic Sea Bird, you’ll experience a unique, up-close perspective on this remarkable region’s geologic, historic, and wild wonders.
Highlights include rafting the crystal clear White Salmon River through spectacular basalt canyons into a lush forested valley on an optional half-day guided trip, spending a lively day in bountiful Walla Walla, Washington, including lunch and tasting at one of the city’s celebrated wineries, savoring some of the world’s best salmon, plus locally sourced dishes featuring spring-inspired delicacies and ingredients, and capturing these unique landscapes alongside a National Geographic-Certified Photography Instructor. Cruises operate between Portland, OR, and Clarkston, WA on an 8-day journey.
The St. Lawrence Seaway
The luxury cruise line, Ponant, has a captivating itinerary that explores the St. Lawrence, a great ocean-like river that is home to a rich ecosystem. You'll begin your voyage in Montreal and end in Gloucester, MA. This cruise combines beautiful vistas at the end of the Indian summer along with the history of the first American settlers. You'll visit Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as Acadia National Park in Maine. Sailing on the St. Lawrence is a great ocean-like river that is home to a rich ecosystem.
Sound appealing? Get in touch with me to learn more!