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TOP 10 RIVER CRUISES; Bookings for river cruises are booming. With drinks, tips and transfers often included in the package, now's the time to go with the flow...

Byline: MARJORIE YUE

1 ROMANTIC RHINE From PS1,645pp for seven nights Topping the river cruising chart is the classic seven-night Rhine cruise from Amsterdam to Basle. Avalon Waterways' Romantic Rhine cruise sails past the remarkable Rhine Gorge to view the legendary Lorelei Rock. There's also guided sightseeing in Cologne, Koblenz and Strasbourg, Heidelberg, a cruise on the canals of Amsterdam and a chance to sample Riesling wines in Rudesheim. Add an extra night in Amsterdam (from PS85pp) to visit the newly re-opened Rijksmuseum.

THE DEAL: The seven-night full-board cruise costs from PS1,645pp including return flights departing October 20, home pick-up, wines with dinner, airport transfers and onboard gratuities. www.mirror.co.uk/traveltop10

2 SAGA MYSTERY RIVER CRUISE PS1,548pp for 10 nights If you like surprises, Saga's Mystery cruise is sure to keep you guessing with an itinerary which is only revealed day-byday... the only clue is that you will be sailing from Amsterdam. The Regina Rheni II, chartered exclusively for Saga, will call at 10 ports - half will be old favourites and half new to Saga. There will be plenty of on-board activities and great food.

THE DEAL: Departs April 1, 2014 and costs from PS1,449pp full board, including return coach travel, eight excursions, drinks with meals and insurance. www.mirror.co.uk/traveltop10

3 DOURO RIVER CRUISE From PS1,895pp for nine nights Glorious scenery, vibrant cities, colourful history and fine food are packed into the new River of Gold cruise with Viking River Cruises. Sailing on the Douro, known as Portugal's River of Gold, the Viking Douro winds past terraced vineyards, picturesque towns and dramatic castles. On the itinerary are visits to Porto and Salamanca with two nights in Lisbon.

THE DEAL: The nine-night River of Gold starts at PS1,895pp for November departures including return flights, all meals on board, wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner, eight guided tours. Early booking discounts of up to PS2,000 per couple on 2014 cruises. www.mirror.co.uk/traveltop10

4 CULINARY CRUISE From PS1,529pp for seven nights Foodies can indulge their passion on several AmaWaterways river cruises which include exclusive tours called Culinary Delights - Bites and Sights. These explore the dishes on offer in cities visited on some European itineraries as well as browsing food markets, visiting cookery schools and going on excursions to local distilleries and chocolatiers.

THE DEAL: AmaWaterways' sevennight Tulip Time cruise costs from PS1,529pp, including daily tours and excursions, all meals, wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner, wi-fi and use of bicycles.

www.mirror.co.uk/traveltop10

5 SPAIN AND PORTUGAL From PS1,272pp for seven nights Explore some of Spain and Portugal's fascinating towns and cities on a seven-night cruise along the Guadiana and Guadalquivir rivers on board the MS Belle de Cadix. A packed itinerary takes in a visit to Seville for its impressive cathedral and Alcazar Palace as well as a visit to the traditional Algarve village of Alcoutim along with an excursion to the city of Granada, home to Moorish citadel, the Alhambra.

THE DEAL: Shearings' Treasures of Andalucia seven-night full board cruise costs from PS1,269pp including return flights for departures until October. www.mirror.co.uk/traveltop10

6 CHRISTMAS CRUISE PS679pp for six nights Spend the festive season on MPS Amsterdam on a Christmas cruise to Amsterdam, Antwerp, Ghent and Bruges. Departing December 23, the threestar ship sails to Rotterdam before reaching Antwerp on Christmas Day, where there's a chance to walk off Christmas lunch along the Schelde River. On Boxing Day, join an optional tour of this medieval town before moving on to Ghent and Bruges.

THE DEAL: River Cruise Lines' six-night full-board trip starts PS679pp based on two sharing cabin with return ferry from Dover to Calais and coach transport from a choice of regional departure points. www.mirror.co.uk/traveltop10

7 THE RHINE AND MOSELLE PS899pp for seven nights It's not hard to see why Germany's magnificent Rhine is a perennial favourite. It's one of the most relaxing ways to enjoy beautiful landscapes, picturesque scenery and wonderful towns. Cosmos Tours & Cruises takes in both the Rhine and Moselle on an eight-day journey with Trans River Line. Sailing from Cologne on board Prinses Christina, highlights include Andernach, Boppard, Rudesheim, Koblenz, Konigswinter and Cologne.

THE DEAL: Seven-night Majestic Rhine & Moselle full-board cruise from PS899pp including return flights to Cologne from Gatwick on June 9 or 16, and transfers. www.mirror.co.uk/traveltop10

8 RUSSIAN RIVER CRUISE PS1,699pp for 10 nights A river cruise from Moscow to St Petersburg is a perfect introduction for first-time visitors to Russia. The famous sights of these two historic cities are on the itinerary for Archers Holidays' 10-night cruise on board the MS Nikolay Chernyshevsky. Book to depart on June 4 or 25 and take advantage of optional evening excursions to St Petersburg for the city's White Nights Festival, with ballet, music and opera celebrating the midnight sun.

THE DEAL: Archers Holidays 10-night Russian River Cruise costs from PS1,699pp including return flights departing June 25. www.mirror.co.uk/traveltop10

9 MAGIC OF THE MOSELLE PS799 for 10 nights Glide through the scenic beauty of the mighty Moselle on a seven-night cruise on board the MPS Rotterdam. Historic Cochem, the pretty wine-growing town of Bernkastel and picturesque Andernach, one of the oldest towns in Germany, are on the varied itinerary for dates between May and August.

THE DEAL: Save up to PS330pp on the 10-day Magic of the Moselle cruise departing May 28, plus hotel and return coach travel now costing from PS799pp. www.mirror.co.uk/traveltop10

10NILE CRUISE From PS710pp for seven nights The Nile cruise is on everyone's wish list, ranking as one of the most memorable journeys of a lifetime. This is the classic way to see Egypt's ancient wonders, drifting along the water alongside traditional feluccas, with stops to visit temples, tombs and gardens. Watch out for fishermen on the riverbanks and farmers tending their crops as you pass by.

THE DEAL: A seven-night full-board Egyptian Nile Cruise on board RAII with Thomas Cook Signature starts at PS710pp, sailing from Luxor with flights on Egypt Air to Luxor from Heathrow on June 3. www.mirror.co.uk/traveltop10 Visit the mighty Alhambra on a Shearings' cruise

CAPTION(S):

Plenty of surprises on the Saga Mystery tour

Cruise like a Viking on Portugal's Douro river

Explore the food markets of Europe with AmaWaterways Visit the mighty Alhambra on a Shearings' cruise

Stop off in Bruges around Christmas

Watch Germany glide by on a Rhine cruise

Visit the delights of Russia with Archers

Magic of Moselle trip

Put a Nile cruise on your bucket list now

Kick off in Amsterdam for Romantic Rhine
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 5, 2013
Words:1130
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