One of my favorite trips of all-time remains a Nile river cruise I did about 10 years ago. Since then, I have become quite a small-ship cruise enthusiast. I love being able to visit several cities and often countries without having to pack and unpack. Plus, the walk home after dinner is my sort of commute. Total immersion and absolute intimacy — it’s the best way to see the world’s most mysterious and mythical places. When you’re river cruising in style, as you do on newer, high-octane journeys, there’s no better excuse to unveil your inner adventurer.
Year after year, Avalon Waterways unveils new ways of navigating the Old Continent with its fantastic themed journeys through Europe’s gorgeous rivers, the Seine and Moselle included. This year, the company transports guests beyond Europe and to the final frontier with its latest ship, the Avalon Visionary, which recently enjoyed a space-themed inaugural voyage. The vessel’s state-of-the-art spacious cabins, open-air bistro and Sky Deck, featuring wall-to-wall panoramic views, bring the outside world in for a sweeping journey through the Rhine, Danube and Main rivers. The main attraction, however, surpasses worldly comforts: a visit to the Netherlands’ Eisinga Planetarium, which was built in 1800 and is the world’s oldest working planetarium. The suspended solar system model — entirely handmade using now primitive materials and operating in real-time — is a knockout, evoking a modern-art piece that wouldn’t be out of place at the Guggenheim.
Seeing the world through an intergalactic eye definitely puts things in perspective, making destinations here on earth all the more exciting. For more of my top picks for river cruising, check out the latest issue of The Travel Curator.