Exploring the world by river ship is an elegant way to uncover new places – and these river cruise deals are some of the hottest for the year ahead

American Queen on the Mississippi River, USA
American Queen on the Mississippi River, USA

Mighty Mississippi

Save up to £100 on Titan’s Journey on Mighty Mississippi cruise, which includes seven nights on authentic paddlewheel steamboat American Queen plus a week’s escorted land-based tour. Free excursions of Atlanta and Nashville are also included.
*16-day Journey on the Mighty Mississippi cruise-tour, departs 30 May 2018, from £5,949pp (two sharing) including return flights, transfers, hotels and cruise, onboard wine and beer with dinner and VIP door-to-door travel service (0800 988 5175; titantravel.co.uk/cruiseinternational).

Classic Rhine

It’s easy to get off the beaten track on a river cruise and Emerald Waterway’s new Amsterdam to Mainz cruise includes a few lesser-known Rhine River towns such as Xanten, where there’s a free EmeraldPLUS visit to the Roman Archaeological Park, and Andernach, with a free visit to the world’s tallest cold water geyser. Book by 28 February for January sale price.
*Eight-day Classic Rhine cruise from £1,395pp (two sharing), departs 23 September 2018, including flights and transfers (0808 115 9798; emeraldwaterways.co.uk).

Indochina & Mekong

A mix of land tours and river cruise down the Mekong, this trip from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam via Cambodia is another new itinerary for Scenic this year. There’s a two-day Ha Long Bay cruise past limestone pillars and islets, two days visiting the temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia and several days cruising on the Mekong to see the Silver Pagoda at Phnom Penh and markets at Sa Dec.
*19-day Highlights of Vietnam, Cambodia & Luxury Mekong cruise-tour, departs 16 July 2018, from £7,390pp (two sharing) including flights, excursions, internal transport, onboard drinks and private transfers (0808 278 7213; scenic.co.uk).

Amsterdam to Mainz

Go back to the 1970s with Titan’s 40th Anniversary Cruise on its river ship MS Serenade 1. The operator’s exclusive charter of this four-star ship means it can indulge in purely British onboard entertainment which, for this celebration cruise, will include the sounds of the 1970s and a special 40th anniversary gala dinner. The five-day cruise from Amsterdam to Mainz on the River Rhine includes free city tours of Cologne and Koblenz plus a free visit to Deinhard Wine Cellar Museum.
*Five-day 40th Anniversary Cruise, departs 27 October 2018, from £999pp (two sharing) including flights, transfers, wifi, drinks package and VIP door-to-door travel service and onboard wifi (0800 988 5175; titantravel.co.uk/cruiseinternational).

Holland & Belgium

New for Emerald Waterways in 2018 is its eight-day round trip from Amsterdam through Holland and Belgium. Free excursions include EmeraldACTIVE guided bike tours of Amsterdam and Hoorn. Another nice touch is the onboard clog painting workshop. Book by 28 February for January sale price.
*Eight-day The Charms of Holland & Belgium cruise, from £1,395pp (two sharing), departs 22 September 2018, including flights, transfers and tips (0808 115 9798; emeraldwaterways.co.uk).

Rouen & Honfleur

Titan’s 40th Anniversary Mini Cruise is on board Braemar and leaves Southampton to cross the Channel and sail up France’s River Seine to Rouen. There’s time to visit Normandy’s beaches or see UNESCO-listed Le Havre before a late evening departure back to Southampton.
*Five-day 40th Anniversary Mini Cruise, departs 28 September 2018, from £579pp (two sharing) including Titan’s VIP door-to-door travel service (0800 988 5175; titantravel.co.uk/cruiseinternational).

Three Rivers

Combine the intimacy of a river cruise with the facilities of an ocean-going ship in Voyages to Antiquity’s The Three Rivers cruise. Aegean Odyssey’s maiden trip from London to Lisbon via France’s most romantic waterways – the Seine, Loire and Gironde – calls at Rouen, Nantes and Bordeaux as well as Spain and Portugal’s Atlantic ports.
*15-day The Three Rivers cruise, from £2,695pp (two sharing) departs London (Tilbury) on 20 August 2018, and includes eight tours, onboard gratuities, wine with dinner, two nights in a Lisbon hotel and return flight (01865 565816; voyagestoantiquity.com).

Pharaohs & Pyramids

Viking’s new ship Viking Ra, specially designed to sail the Nile in Egypt, launches this March.
*12-day Pharaohs & Pyramids fly-cruise, departs 24 August 2018, and other dates, from £5,995pp (two sharing) including flights, transfers, hotel stays and 11 guided tours
(0800 298 9700; vikingcruises.co.uk).

The Nile

A four-day Nile cruise is part of Scenic’s Treasures of Egypt cruise-tour that comes with Earlybird Fares if booked by 15 February. In Cairo there’s a chance to see the Tutankhamun treasures at the Egyptian Museum.
*11-day Treasures of Egypt tour including four-day River Nile cruise, departs 27 April, 2018, from £4,595pp (two sharing) including flights, excursions, internal transport and private transfers (0808 278 7213; scenic.co.uk).

Yuletide Markets

Riviera Travel’s new Christmas markets cruise for 2018 includes a day in Bratislava and Vienna.
*13-day The Danube’s Imperial Cities & Yuletide Markets river cruise, departs 1 December 2018, and other dates, from £729pp (two sharing) including return flights, transfers and some excursions (01283 888207; rivieratravel.co.uk).

Ganges River

New from Riviera Travel is a cruise along the River Ganges, visiting some of India’s best-known sights.
*13-day Journey on the Ganges, departs 27 September 2018, and other dates, from £3,499pp (two sharing) including return flights, transfers, hotel stays, domestic
flights, some tours and some meals (01283 888207; rivieratravel.co.uk).

Holland & Belgium

Book by 28 February for low deposit holidays on Avalon Waterways’ river cruises including its Tulip Time trip from Amsterdam.
*Eight-day Tulip Time fly-cruise, departs 6 April 6 2018, from £1,787pp (two sharing), with return flights and transfers (0800 668 1843; avaloncruises.co.uk).

Amazon Adventure

Avalon’s new Worldwide cruises include the Peruvian Amazon, starting with two nights in a hotel in Lima then a flight to Cusco in the Andes to spend a day in the Sacred Valley of
the Incas followed by two days at Machu Picchu – the lost city of the Incas. The holiday also includes a three-night Amazon river cruise.
*12-day Inca Empire to the Peruvian Amazon fly-cruise, departs 7 October 2018, from £5,384pp (two sharing), including return flights, transfers, hotel stay and tours (0800 668 1843; avaloncruises.co.uk).

Imperial Russia

Book by February 15 for a 25 per cent saving on Scenic’s Imperial Russia cruise from Volgograd (formerly Stalingrad) to Moscow. This new itinerary includes two days in Volgograd to see memorials to the Second World War’s Battle of Stalingrad and other historic sights.
*15-day Imperial Russia cruise, departs 14 October 2018, from £3,045pp (two sharing) including flights, excursions, onboard drinks and private chauffeur transfers (0808 278 7213; scenic.co.uk).

Mekong Journey

Riviera Travel has a selection of new river cruises for 2018 including a trip along the Mekong.
*15-day A Journey on the Mekong cruise, departs 3 November 2018, from £3,259pp (two sharing) with return flights, transfers, hotel stay (01283 888207; rivieratravel.co.uk).

Danube Christmas Markets

Save up to 40 per cent off Scenic’s Danube Christmas Markets cruise. Book by 15 February for discount.
*Eight-day Danube Christmas Markets cruise, departs 16 December 2018, from £1,520pp (two sharing) including flights, excursions, onboard drinks and door-to-door chauffeur transfers (0808 278 7213; scenic.co.uk).

Grand China

A three-night cruise down the Yangtze River to see the Three Gorges and remarkable countryside is part of Riviera Travel’s new 16-day escorted tour that includes Shanghai, Beijing, the Great Wall and Terracotta Army.
*16-day Grand Tour of China Including Yangtze Cruise, departs 29 May 2018, from £2,949pp (two sharing) including return flights, transfers, hotel stays, domestic
flights, most tours and some meals (01283 888207; rivieratravel.co.uk).

Majestic Rhine

The popularity of river cruises has led to more diverse itineraries and excursions, such as Emerald Waterway’s new Rhine River trip between Mainz in Germany and Basel in Switzerland. Free excursions include an EmeraldACTIVE hike to Altes Schloss in Baden Baden and EmeraldPLUS canal boat tour in Strasbourg. Book by 28 February for January sale price.
*Eight-day The Majestic Rhine cruise, from £1,395pp (two sharing), departs 30 September 2018, including flights, transfers, excursions and gratuities (0808 115 9798; emeraldwaterways.co.uk).