Scenic and National Geographic Expeditions have announced their third season as river cruise partners – expanding the offerings to now including Russia, Egypt, France’s Rhône River, and a Rhine Christmas cruise. The new offerings, along with the existing sailings on the Rhine, Danube, Main and Moselle Rivers, and Portugal’s Douro Valley, will combine Scenic’s river cruise experience with National Geographic’s 130-year legacy of science, conservation, and exploration.
Every sailing offers guest the opportunity to learn from leading National Geographic experts and photographers, listen to presentations, participate in informal discussions, and hone photographic skills. Guests will have a menu of excursions to choose from, ranging from hikes and bike rides to in-depth learning experiences that focus on the natural world, culture, and history.
Highlights of the new itineraries include:
- Rhône River Cruise: In Southern France, the National Geographic expert and guests will explore the Pont-d’Arc Cavern, featuring reproductions of the prehistoric drawings found in the Chauvet Cave. This sailing also includes a gala dinner and classical concert at the Popes’ Palace in Avignon, the largest Gothic palace in the world; a visit to the culinary school of Michelin-star chef, the late Paul Bocuse, for a master class in French cuisine; truffle hunting in Burgundy; exploration of the towns and valleys that inspired van Gogh, and a tour of the monastery where he painted several celebrated works, including “Starry Night.” A two-day pre-trip extension adds a stay in Paris before riding the train through the Burgundy countryside to Chalon-Sur-Saône and the cruise.
- Rhine Christmas Cruise: An eight-day indulgence of glühwein (heavily spiced mulled wine) and roasted chestnuts is had by guests as they visit Christmas markets. This itinerary features a behind-the-scenes visit to the Neanderthal Museum in Mettmann and a visit to Grube Messel pit, the famed fossil site featured in National Geographic magazine where “Ida”—the world’s most complete primate fossil—was found.
- Russia: A voyage of discovery as a National Geographic expert joins guests on the Scenic Tsar, exploring cities and palaces, medieval monasteries, and villages along the Volga River between Moscow and St. Petersburg. This cruise includes a guided tour of one of the world’s most famous museums – The Hermitage; a meeting with a real cosmonaut at the Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics; taking in the architecture of St. Petersburg including the country estates of Catherine and Peter the Great; walking with a National Geographic photographer in the Gorky Central Park of Culture and Leisure; and enjoying a Russian ballet concert at the Palace of Prince Vladimir, which was the last Imperial palace to be built in St. Petersburg.
- Egypt: Glide past villages, palm forests, and the remnants of Egypt’s multilayered history on the recently refurbished, luxury 36-guest Sanctuary Sun Boat III as it sails along the Nile between Luxor and Aswan. Learn from National Geographic experts as they accompany guests while visiting some of the greatest wonders of the ancient world — from the Pyramids at Giza to the tombs in the Valley of the Kings. Meet National Geographic grantees working to excavate the ancient stone quarries of Gebel el Silsila and enjoy dynamic performances of traditional Egyptian dance and music. A 10-day extension is available that offers exploration of Jordan.