The new year heralds in big changes for river cruising.
We’ll see lines heading to new destinations like Egypt and the Americas, but we will see some chic and sophisticated options sailing down well-known rivers like the Main and Rhine in Europe as well as the Mekong in Asia. Here is a list of what’s coming for 2020, and how you can be one of the first on these new vessels.
AmaWaterways with APT
Launch: July 2020
Set for a July launch date, AmaWaterways with APT will be unveiling a new ship. The AmaSiena, the sister ship to the AmaLea and AmaKristina, is set to amble up and down the Main, Rhine and Mosel rivers. She’ll host 156-passengers on seven to 11 nights itineraries where she will call at places in France, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, the Netherlands and more. She’ll be modern, with bright accents in her public spaces like fun floral carpet and orange back chairs. The ship will have expansive twin balcony staterooms and new in-suite entertainment services. For all guests, they can stay connected with the line offering free WiFi throughout the cruise. Cuisine onboard will reflect the country the AmaSiena is travelling in so the produce and ingredients will be fresh. Aside from the Main Restaurant, the ship as The Chef’s Table specialty restaurant for those looking for something decadent. Other facilities on the ship include a swim-up pool bar, fitness room and complimentary bikes for onshore exploration.
Itinerary: A seven-night Enchanting Rhine cruise which sails from Basel to Amsterdam, is priced from around $4,800 per person.
American Cruise Lines
The new modern ship from American Cruise Lines will be starting her inaugural season on the Lower Mississippi in August of 2020. She’ll be sleek and chic, like her sister vessels. The line is making a big to attract new river cruises to the region with amenities onboard their ships like full-sized bathrooms, plush public spaces as well as a Grand Suite which will have a wraparound balcony, and a living area that host cocktail parties or private dinner events. One of the features on American Cruise Lines’ new ships is the five-storey glass atrium in the centre of the ship which gives you great views of the banks of the Mississippi. Other facilities available onboard include an exercise room, a putting green on the top deck and guests get complimentary wi-fi, cocktails during cocktail hour each evening and much more.
Itinerary: A seven-night Lower Mississippi River cruise which departs from New Orleans and takes you to Memphis, is priced from $6,500 per person, twin share.
Expected to arrive after her sister ship, the American Melody which will be the fourth ship from American Cruise Line. Like her sister ships, the American Song, American Harmony and American Jazz, she will have a modern design unlike the other paddlewheel vessels currently sailing the Mississippi. Aside from large staterooms, she will also have a retractable gangplank – a very new feature for any other the ships on the river. The 195-person vessel is expected to commence her sailings by the end of 2020.
American Queen Steamboat Company
There is a lot of activity on the Mississippi in 2020, with American Queen Steamboat Company deploying another ship. The American Countess, while is not a new ship, will be undergoing a complete reconstruction and she’ll even be lengthened an extra 60 feet. The traditional paddlewheeler will be refitted with modern staterooms and public spaces so guests get the best of both worlds. There will be 123-staterooms onboard, a Fitness Centre, The Theatre which will have Broadway-style shows every evening and several dining venues. The ingredients sourced for the daily menus will be fresh produce from the areas the American Countess sails through. Guests will see indigenous wildlife, river museums and much more on this cruise. The 245-passenger ship will sail from April 2020.
Itinerary: An eight-day Memphis to New Orleans cruise starts from $1,699 per person, twin share.
Luxury river cruise line Aqua Expeditions are currently building a second ship for the Amazon River. The stunning ship will have large double windows so guests, as they arise from their sleep, can look out to the exotic vista of the river. Designed with lots of wood and modern open spaces in hues of tan and green to emulate the forest that surrounds you. The ship will only have 20 suites, each comes with their own butler. Onboard, there are indoor and outdoor bars, a screening room where lectures are held, a games room, an outdoor cinema as well as a top deck gym. There are also two spa treatment rooms, one single and one double for couples. There are also interconnecting suites for larger families. The ship will be able to accommodate 40 people.
Itinerary: A four-night Explorer Cruise from Nauta to Iquitos in Peru starts from $6,800 per person, twin share.
The newest edition to Avalon Waterways’ fleet will be the Avalon View. She’s bound for the Rhine and like her sister ships, she’ll have the award-winning Panorama Suites that feature a wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling window so it feels like you are part of the surrounds. The beds in the suites will face the window so you’ll enjoy the European vistas as you sail past. The ship will also have a state-of-the-art Fitness Centre, an Adventure Centre for bikes and active gear as well as an Avalon Adventure Host that can offer tips and advice for active shore excursions. The ship will also have a number of dining venues as part of the line’s FlexDining options. Guests can choose between the casual Panorama Bistro, al fresco Sky Grill, or Dining Room. The ship can accommodate for 164-passenger.
Sailing on the Chobe and Zambezi Rivers. CroisiEurope’s Zimbabwean Dream will be launching next year. The stunning ship will have eight exterior-facing suites, an observation deck as well as a cozy terrace to see the regions majestic animals. The ship has a panoramic restaurant and daily jeep excursions are led by local experts. The Zimbabwean Dream will sail through game drives in some of Southern Africa’s most beautiful national parks, including Matusadona National Park and Chobe National Park. The latter is home to a variety of wildlife and has one of the densest populations of wildlife on the African continent. Encounter elephants, giraffes, leopards, lions, gazelles, zebras and buffalos, and many more on excursions by boat or open-air vehicle
Built for cruising to the historic quintas (wine producing estates) and quaint villages along Portugal’s Douro River from the coastal town of Porto to the Spanish border, the new build has spacious accommodation for 84 passengers in 12 suites and 20 cabins. There is a small swimming pool on the sun deck. The ship has a main dining room, the Compass Rose, an alternative eatery, Arthur’s and al fresco dining on the sun deck. Tauck offers unlimited complimentary beverages including regional wine, beer, premium spirits and specialty coffee. Enjoy wine tasting hosted by wine makers who will acquaint you with the Douro Valley wines. She will be deployed in 2020.
Itinerary: An eight-day Douro Discovery voyage including two nights in Lisbon, will cruise from Porto visiting Coimbra, Peso da Regua and Guimaraes. Prices start from $5720 pp.
The new Travelmarvel Polaris river ship will offer itineraries from Budapest to Amsterdam. She will feature three dining options, a formal restaurant on the main deck, lighter meals at the Vista Lounge and “pub-style” casual dining at McGeary’s Bar. There is also a rooftop bar, terrace garden and heated whirlpool on the top deck. The ship will also have a gym and walking track. There will be 91 staterooms ranging from 14.2 to 24 sq m in size. She’ll be sailing the Danube, Rhine and Main and will be able to accommodate 182 passengers.
Itinerary: Prices for a 15-day European Gems cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam start from $6695 pp.
Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
S.S. La Venezia (formerly River Countess)
The design of this river ship has been inspired by Venetian culture. It has 63 suites including two Grand Suites, three dining venues, an Italian kitchen on the upper deck. The ship also has a spa, library, a lounge and bar. Cruising on Italy’s Po River, the river ship offers a variety of itineraries from Venice to the Gems of Northern Italy including visits to four UNESCO World Heritage sites. She will launch on 27 March 2020 and sail on Italy’s Po River.
Itinerary: An eight-day Venice to Venice voyage will visit Chioggia, Polesella, Porto Viro and Venice Islands. Prices for departures on April 5 next year start from $4409 pp including a 30 per cent discount.
S.S. São Gabriel
Uniworld’s SS Sao Gabriel will debut in April next year as the line’s newest, luxury ship on the Douro River. Butler service will be offered to guests with the option of dining at any time. There will be a pool on the sun deck, a main restaurant, lounge and bar. The 50 suite-ship will be able to accommodate 100 passengers. As the ship cruises the Douro from Portugal to Spain, passengers will be able to take in the changing scenery from steeply terraced hillsides to well established vineyards. The cruise will visit Regua, Pinhao, Barca d’Alva, Pocinho and Vega de Terron. They will have private tastings of port, Douro Valley wine and meet the wine makers. In Salamanca, Spain, they will be able to see the city’s famous university.
Itinerary: Prices for an eight-day cruise from Porto to Porto in April next year starts from $7799 pp.
Uniworld will launch the new SS Sphinx river ship on the Nile early next year which will feature two dining venues, a swimming pool, massage room and 42 suites with French balconies. The ship interiors will have Egyptian artwork and hand-carved furnishings
Itinerary: A 12-day Splendors of Egypt and the Nile from Cairo to Cairo will visit Luxor, Esna, Edfu, Kom Ombo and Aswan. Passengers will visit the towering ruins of the Temple of Karnak, the Temple of Luxor and temples in Hathor, Horus and other mythological figures. They will also visit Egypt’s first female ruler at the Temple of Hatshepsut and the ancient burial grounds of Egypt’s royalty. The 84-passenger ship will sail from 4 January 2020.
Itinerary: Prices for a 12-day Cairo to Cairo itinerary departing on 26 September next year start from $9999 pp.
Uniworld’s new all-suite Mekong Jewel will replace the Mekong Navigator. It has been built with sustainable, eco-friendly materials and have two dining venues, a swimming pool, spa, sauna, steam room, gym, two lounges and a library. The 34-suite ship will cruise the mighty Mekong and visit Vietnam and Cambodia from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap. Highlight of the cruise will be exploring the jungle temple complex of Angkor Wat. The 68-passenger ship starts her itineraries from 3 January 2020.
Itinerary: Prices for a 13-day Times Wonders of Vietnam, Cambodia and the Mekong start from $9299 pp with departures from 3 January next year.
Viking River Cruises
Viking Seine Ships
The line will be expanding its France river cruise fleet with the launch of four new Seine class ships. The ships will sail the eight-day Paris & The Heart of Normandy itinerary. Viking Kari, Radgrid, Skaga and Fjorgyn will feature identical interiors as other Viking Longships, but the ships will have customised hull and engines built to navigate the Seine River.
The ships will also be carrying a slightly smaller crowd of 168-guests (compared to the 190-guest Longships), and they will dock at Paris’ Port de Grenelle.
Itinerary: Viking’s eight-day Paris & the Heart of Normandy cruise from Paris to Paris starts at $3,695pp for November 2020 departures. Sailing on the Viking Radgrid begin in May 2020.
Viking Osiris is the line’s new upscale river ship to ply the Nile in Egypt. Specifically built to navigate the Nile, the ship has clean, elegant, Scandinavian interiors with 41 staterooms, a pool and sun deck, Aquavit terrace and lounge, a main restaurant, bar and library. All sailings in 2020 have been sold out.
Itinerary: The cruise from Luxor will visit Esna, Edfu, Kom Ombo and Aswan. Prices for a 12-day cruise Pharaohs and Pyramids departing on 21 April 2021 start from $7695 per person.