Ocean cruises have been a popular way to vacation for decades, and for good reason. They’re affordable, convenient and offer travelers peace of mind knowing that everything they need for a fantastic getaway is all in one place. What could be better than that? Well, consider a river cruise.
You might think that the words “inland” and “cruise” are incompatible. Well, let me show you on AmaWaterways just how superbly well they go together. AmaWaterways river cruises combine all the comfort and convenience of an ocean cruise with the excitement of European excursions at each port of call.
To all cruise-lovers, perhaps it’s time to shake up the ocean liner experience for an entirely new way to explore the world’s waterways. Let us book you on an AmaWaterways river cruise that will take you inland for a unique and relaxing tour of Europe.
Here are the top 10 reasons we know why you’ll love river cruising, specifically on AmaWaterways!
1. Expand Your Options
While ocean cruises take you to countries, river cruises take you through them. There simply is no way to reach river cruise destinations on mega cruise ships.
2. Intimate Experience
River cruising offers a more intimate setting. Most ships range from 144 to 196 passengers. This means that you’ll never have to wait in line, which means you’ll have more time to enjoy all the amenities and have a more personal experience with other passengers and crew. From ordering a beverage to getting on and off the ship, you’ll enjoy the absence of long lines.
3. Dive into the Local Culture
Get away from the touristy ports and explore hidden gems. Large ocean liner ports can receive up to 20,000 visitors on the same day but with a river cruise, you’ll arrive into port with only a few hundred visitors. Not only will you avoid long lines at your destination, but you’ll also enjoy leisurely excursions at each incredible port of call. You’ll be able to take in the local culture and history of every unique town that you visit.
4. No Need to Rush Back
With many departures from the destinations being later in the afternoon or evening, you’ll have the chance to enjoy the nightlife in select ports of call. Whether you choose an evening walk through cobblestone streets, a local show or performance, or one last glass of wine after dinner
Here’s the great thing about dream vacations: No matter what time of the year, it’s never too late to plan an escape to an exotic location.
You’ll have plenty of luxurious resorts to choose from in 2020. The new year brings grand openings from New York to Vietnam, although some of the places on this list date back to the early 20th century. Luxury really is timeless.
We’ve included destinations across the globe, so break out your bucket list and feel free to let your mind wander—perhaps you’ll soon follow.
The Most Luxurious Resorts in Africa
Banyan Tree Tamouda Bay – Morocco
With cities on the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, Morocco continues to grow as a tourist destination. Banyan Tree Tamouda Bay is a regal resort on the Mediterranean with white, Islamic architecture, a private beach, and indoor and outdoor pools. The Mediterranean and Thai cuisine gives visitors a mix of flavors in a distinctly Moroccan setting.
Ellerman House – South Africa
Built in 1906, The Ellerman House sits at the edge of the world and the peak of luxury. The hotel overlooks Cape Town and the South Atlantic Ocean, making for panoramic, breathtaking views. The all-inclusive package features breakfast, spirits, wine tasting, a private chef, and more. The Ellerman House made Condé Nast’s Gold List for 2019.
The Oberoi Beach Resort – Mauritius
For an exotic getaway with stunning natural wonders all around, look no further than the Oberoi Beach Resort in Mauritius. The luxury rooms come with their own perks: pavilions with floor-to-ceiling windows, garden villas with open-air dining, and villas with private pools. Adventurous travelers can go scuba diving or explore the lush jungles that surround the resort.
The Most Luxurious Resorts in Asia
Four Seasons Tokyo – Japan
The Four Seasons Tokyo does the impossible: It provides an intimate, luxurious stay in the world’s most populous city. Visitors will live the high life, relaxing in the spa, sauna, or traditional Onsen bath. The proximity to ancient and modern Tokyo keeps you close to major tourist stops as well.
Mandarin Oriental – Vietnam
Mandarin Oriental has made its name by delivering lavish experiences in the world’s most famous locales. Now, the brand is heading to Vietnam, where a 227-room hotel will open in Saigon in 2020 with six restaurants and bars and an outdoor pool.
Soneva Kiri – Thailand
With its isolated beaches and lush jungles, Soneva Kiri delivers the kind of all-encompassing escape to paradise everyone dreams of. The discovery experiences set the resort apart, with treepod dining a favorite among visitors. Thailand needs to be on your bucket list, and places like this are a big reason why.
The Most Luxurious Resorts in Australia & The South Pacific
Conrad Bora Bora Nui – French Polynesia
Bora Bora is synonymous with paradise, and for good reason. Its beachside villas and crystal-blue waters are second to none. You’ll find both at Conrad Bora Bora Nui and more: a blue lagoon foreground and volcanic background covered in jungle. Stay in an overwater villa for the complete experience.
Matangi Private Island Resort – Fiji
Have you ever wanted to stay in a treehouse overlooking the South Pacific? You do now. The Matangi Private Island Resort, located on Fiji’s Horseshoe Bar, provides that unique arboreal lodging. You’ll also enjoy the tropical gardens and cultural village tours, and leave knowing why the island was named one of the 1000 Places To See Before You Die.
Tiwi Island Retreat – Australia
Deep-sea fishermen flock to this resort, but there’s something at Tiwi Island Retreat for everyone. Take a helicopter adventure to remote swimming holes, or simply relax by the 12-meter, waterfront pool. The spacious outdoor bistro and bar makes for an ideal end to your evening.
The Most Luxurious Resorts in the Caribbean
Amanyara – Turks & Caicos
When you combine a brand like Aman and a tropical paradise like Turks and Caicos, you get one of the most luxurious resorts in the world. Amanyara features a private beach nearly a mile long and unforgettable stays in open-air pavilions and villas with infinity pools. It’s just a short flight from Miami and New York, making Amanyara both accessible and remote.
Cabrits Resort and Spa Kempinski Dominica – Dominica
Opening in 2020, the Cabrits Resort and Spa Kempinsky Dominica will raise the profile of this Caribbean island nation as a travel destination. Choose a room with a view of the Caribbean Sea or the mountains of neighboring Cabrits National Park.
Rosewood Little Dix Bar – British Virgin Islands
Rosewood Little Dix Bar is at times understated and always unforgettable. As if the 500 acres of untamed gardens weren’t enough of a natural getaway, the resort gives you access to secluded beaches. The beachfront cottages also feature outdoor garden showers.
The Most Luxurious Resorts in Europe
Blue Palace – Crete
Greece’s island of Crete is ancient, mythical, and wonderfully modern for travelers. The Blue Palace welcomes you to the Mediterranean, where you’ll find a variety of lodging options, all of which are unique to this corner of the world.
Nobu Hotel – London
You may associate England with overcast skies and dreary days, but there’s luxury there, too. Wellness and well-being will be at the forefront of your stay at the Nobu Hotel in London. The welcome includes a champagne greeting and access to otherworldly spa treatments. Grab a room with a private balcony for the full effect.
Vila Vita Parc – Portugal
The Algarve Region in Portugal continues to be a popular destination, and resorts like the Vila Vita Parc make it so. The outdoor areas that feature infinity pools and spacious gardens certainly stand out. So, too, does the swim-up Whale Pool Lounge and Bar. If staying fit on vacation is a goal of yours, you’ll love the yoga pavilion and wellness courses the resort offers.
The Most Luxurious Resorts in North America
Aman – New York
The terraced gardens of Aman New York will welcome visitors to Manhattan in style, starting in 2020. The luxury hotel is in the heart of the action but exists as an oasis in the sky. It’s the perfect place to take in all that New York City has to offer.
Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo – Costa Rica
Escape to the rainforests of Central America, where you’ll feel like the Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo was made especially for you. It’s secluded in the best way, with jungle all around and four beaches nearby to dip your toes in the ocean.
Viceroy Los Cabos – Mexico
You can explore the resort city of San José del Cabo before returning to the stunning property at Viceroy Los Cabos, surrounded entirely by water. White beaches are plentiful, as are adventures ranging from surfing, fishing, and hiking to oceanside yoga.
The Most Luxurious Resorts in South America
Belmond Palacio Nazarenas – El Peru
This self-described “fairytale hideaway” brings luxury to the Andes. Settle in for a mountain retreat in the beautiful, remote Belmond Palacia Nazarenas. The stay itself is a treat, but so is the luxury train that travels between Cusco and the ruins of Machu Picchu.
The Singular Patagonia – Chile
The brilliant snow-capped mountains provide a breathtaking backdrop for the Singular Patagonia. The floor-to-ceiling windows at this historic resort, which was established in 1940, are the only things separating you from the edge of the Southern Hemisphere.
JW Marriott Hotel Rio De Janeiro – Brazil
Hey, it’s Rio. Why not live it up at a swanky hotel? The JW Marriott sits right on Copacabana Beach, and if that wasn’t enough, it has a rooftop bar and private pool. Explore the famous Brazilian culture, then retire to your own slice of Rio.
As much as your wedding is a celebration of love, it can feel like a whirlwind. There are relatives whose names you can’t quite remember. There’s the endless planning and the pictures that didn’t quite turn out right.
In other words, your wedding may not be perfect—but your honeymoon can be.
The world is filled with natural wonders, and in each corner, you’ll find destinations that promise you’ll be gushing about your stay for years to come.
From the Caribbean to the South Pacific, the Rocky Mountains to Amalfi Coast, here are 10 hideaways that make for an unforgettable, romantic honeymoon.
Antigua | Hermitage Bay
With direct flights from New York, Miami, Atlanta, and Charlotte, Antigua is just a few hours away once you step out of that bridal suite. At Hermitage Bay, an all-inclusive boutique, you’ll find a haven that makes the most of its natural surroundings. You’ll feel like you’re walking directly from the jungle to the beach with a secluded, cozy individual cabin to return to once you get your fill of relaxation.
Belize | Cayo Espanto
The island resort off the northeast coast of Belize features a range of lodging options, all with private beach fronts and pools. Lounge as you please or take part in activities such as fishing and scuba diving. Either way, the seclusion and bungalows are more reminiscent of the South Pacific than the Caribbean, albeit with much shorter travel from the United States.
Colorado | Beaver Creek
Looking to buck the trend of tropical getaways and beachside lodging? Perhaps the Rocky Mountains provide the perfect setting for your honeymoon. Located some 9,500 feet above sea level, Trappers Cabin at Colorado’s Beaver Creek has everything for adventurous couples craving a private hideaway: a champagne greeting, fireplace, hot tub, gourmet kitchen, Wi-Fi, balcony, housekeeping services, and ski-in/ski-out access, among other amenities.
Fiji | Likuliku Lagoon Resort
If you and your spouse love each other to the edge of the world and back, you can prove it here. The Likuliku Lagoon Resort sits in Fiji’s Mamanuca Islands, just west of the International Date Line. You’ll find stunning ocean and jungle views with clear blue water all around. Likuliku delivers “subtle luxury,” according to its website, although there’s nothing subtle about the location—its beauty is overwhelmingly evident.
Iceland | Silica Hotel
Once a barren outpost in the North Atlantic, Iceland has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. You can still find your escape from the crowds at the Silica Hotel. Located next to the famous Blue Lagoon, Silica provides exclusive guest access to its geothermal waters. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch the Northern Lights while you’re there. No matter what, Iceland promises unforgettable experiences at every turn, from dining in a restaurant built into a lava wall to exploring the architectural delight that is the Icelandic capital, Reykjavik.
Italy | Le Sirenuse
Writing in 1953, American novelist John Steinbeck described Positano, a cliffside village on Italy’s Amalfi Coast, as “a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone.” Le Sirenuse puts you in the middle of that idyllic setting, a historic hotel that overlooks the Bay of Positano with all the Italian cuisine and wine you could want.
Mexico | Campera – Hotel Burbuja
A honeymoon in Baja California is the ideal getaway if you’re seeking a Mexican vacation away from tourist traps and a location that is both accessible and remote. The Campera – Hotel Burbuja (literally “Bubble Hotel” in English) offers slumber beneath the stars after long days spent exploring the so-called “Napa Valley of Mexico” in the Valle de Guadalupe. The chic hotel is also less than 100 miles from San Diego, which makes travel convenient.
Puerto Rico | St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort
Travel to the Caribbean without leaving American soil and find paradise while you’re there. The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort features two miles of secluded beaches with all-encompassing experiences at your fingertips. Go hiking, horseback riding, or explore nearby El Yunque National Forest for an active and relaxing honeymoon.
Seychelles | MAIA Luxury Resort & Spa
Arrive in style on Mahe Island, fresh from your post-wedding flight, by taking a helicopter to the MAIA Luxury Resort & Spa’s private helipad. Once on land, you’ll be greeted by a personal butler for your stand-alone villa that carries a “beyond all inclusive” package, featuring daily yoga, non-motor watersports, and scuba diving. You can’t beat the view—a secluded hillside overlooking the Indian Ocean—either.
St. Lucia | Jade Mountain
On a beautiful island, this may just be the most beautiful resort. Individual bridges lead to Jade Mountain’s “sanctuaries,” complete with their own infinity pools. Each provides open-air views of the surrounding mountainside, jungle, and, of course, beaches.
So where will you go? Wherever you choose, just know that “happily ever after” starts with the honeymoon.
Africa is renowned for its extraordinary wildlife and stunning natural wonders, and no vacation there would be complete without a multi-day safari.
Whether you’re looking for a 12-day excursion, or a small tour, here are some of the best African safaris to check out:
1. Kenya Exclusive Tented Safari 2019
This luxury safari takes guests on a whirlwind experience that marries exploration and discovery with romantic intimacy. Guests stay in tented accommodations in absolutely stunning locations. Days are filled with open-vehicle safari tours and Kenya’s most sought-after wildlife, while nights are replete with African sunsets, candlelit dinners and roaring fire pits.
2. 10-Day Cape & Kruger Safari
Explore Cape Town and Kruger like never before. Throughout 10 days, you’ll visit the breathtaking Table Mountain, winelands, and other natural wonders, while observing a vast array of wildlife, such as African penguins, white rhinos, kudus, impalas, giraffes, cheetahs, elephants, reedbucks, klipspringers, and warthogs, to name just a few!
3. 8 Days Rwanda, Congo, Uganda Safari
If gorilla trekking and chimpanzee tracking are on your bucket list, this safari will be perfect for you. You’ll hike Mount Nyiragongo, an active stratovolcano, with its red, glowing lava creating an otherworldly vision at night. Sunset cruises, game drives, and more round out this amazing experience, along the way, witnessing lions, elephants, buffalo, baboons, hippos, crocodiles and more.
4. Serengeti and Selous: A Week-Long Safari for Families
A perfect, adventure-packed trip for families, this dream vacation even includes a private guide to help you decide your daily activities, which is especially helpful when planning around specific needs and/or children. Plane rides, open-air 4×4 game vehicles, and river rides enable you and your family to enjoy this special journey via air, land and water!
5. The Hemingway Wing Safari
A tribute to both old Africa and Ernest Hemingway’s deep love for it, this unforgettable safari features old-fashioned, three-tent camps, and five flights to showcase the very same stunning landscapes that charmed “Papa.”
6. Kenyan Safari – For the Love of Elephants
Perfect for those who want to get close and personal with African elephants, this spectacular safari is jam-packed with both thrilling activities, and plenty of time for relaxation. You’ll meet elephants, enjoy breakfast with giraffes, learn about big cats, ride camels, spend time with local Maasai & Samburu tribes, and witness the vast wilderness and wildlife of the Maasai Mara National Reserve from a hot air balloon, among much more!
7. Hwange Walking Safari
This remarkable exploration through Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe spans several ecosystems and a wide diversity of flora and wildlife, including lions, buffalo, spotted hyenas, blue wildebeest, impalas, leopards, and countless bird.
8. Luxury Jordan 2019
While not located in Africa, we just had to include this phenomenal excursion. At the crossroads of Asia, Africa and Europe, this Arab nation in Western Asia offers adventurous travelers guided historical tours through ancient cities and ruins, exploring caves and inspecting artifacts along the way. Stops include Amman, Madaba and Petra, where you’ll visit tombs, archaeological sites, and even take a dip in the Dead Sea!
9. 7 Days Rwanda Safari Tour
Trek the gorgeous landscape in search of mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, and other primates. Whether a canopy forest walk, afternoon canoe ride, or beautiful Twin Lakes, there are plenty of opportunities to spot these majestic creatures, a well as golden monkeys, vervet monkeys, rarely seen silver monkeys, owl-faced Hamlyn’s monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, olive baboons, grey-cheeked Mangabeys, and so much more.
10. Madagascar Wildlife Safari
There’s nothing quite like experiencing a safari on the fourth-largest island in the world. Madagascar has something for everyone, whether you want to take in the flora and fauna, get lost inside an enchanting rainforest, or spend a few nights on the remote island of Tsarabanjina snorkeling and scuba diving. You’ll encounter include a variety of lemurs, exotic birds, reptiles, and invertebrates, among many fascinating creatures!
There’s more to Mexico than Cabo and Cancun. Don’t get us wrong—those places are great. But in a country with more than 761,000 square miles of coastlines, mountains, deserts, and jungles, not to mention a vibrant culture with Spanish and indigenous influences, there are bound to be some hidden gems.
Here are six extraordinary honeymoon destinations in Mexico to consider for your next trip:
Valle de Guadalupe
This Baja California locale has earned a reputation as “the Napa Valley of Mexico.” Unwind at the Monte Xanic winery, Mexico’s first boutique winery and the one that makes Valle de Guadalupe a must-visit for vino enthusiasts. Foodies will also love the Valle Food & Wine Festival, started in 2017, which attracts celebrity chefs from around the United States and Mexico. For lodging, the Campera Hotel Burbuja is one of the most unique hotels on the continent, with clear, bubble rooms—yes, bubbles—so guests sleep comfortably under the stars. Its proximity to San Diego (less than 100 miles by car) makes travel to Valle de Guadalupe a breeze.
Located in the central part of the country, Guanajuato has been called the most beautiful city in Mexico, and with good reason. The proximity of buildings creates a mosaic that explodes with color against the surrounding mountainsides. Guanajuato has something for everyone: It’s a university town with plenty of cafes, bars, and markets, and a romantic getaway where couples can secure their happiness by kissing in the Callejon del Beso. On the other side of the spectrum, el Museo de las Momias, the mummy museum, is a rather unusual tourist attraction that should be on any visitor’s itinerary.
Tulum has become a go-to destination on the Yucatán for its beautiful Caribbean beaches and variety of offerings. In search of history? Check out the Tulum Mayan ruins along the beach, or head into the jungle to Coba and climb Nohoch Mul, the tallest pyramid on the peninsula. On a family getaway? Xel-Há—part ecological waterpark, part natural aquarium—is home to 90-plus marine species and has activities for all ages, from swimming with dolphins and snorkeling to a lazy river. Tulum is also considered a haven for hipsters, with its vegan restaurants and yoga studios. Escape the noise of all-inclusive resorts by booking a cabana mere steps from the sand.
Travelers seeking a blend of activity and relaxation will find paradise in Sayulita. A surfing haven on the Pacific Coast, Sayulita promises fun for the aquatically inclined—fishing, snorkeling, whale-watching—as well as those more interested in rugged experiences, such as horseback riding, hiking, and jungle canopy tours. The village also boasts numerous art galleries and casual cafes, so time spent away from nature is just as worthwhile. If yoga is your thing, grab a room at the Hotelito Los Sueños.
Day of the Dead Celebration in Pátzcuaro
Looking to add some authenticity to everyone’s favorite dress-up holiday? Consider a trip to Pátzcuaro for Día de los Muertos, Day of the Dead. The area is filled with festivals on November 1, while come nightfall, locals on the island of Janitizio illuminate their town and Lake Pátzcuaro with candles in remembrance of deceased loved ones, a ritual known as Noche de Muertos. In addition to the traditional Mexican holidays, Pátzcuaro offers stunning mountain views and colorful markets. Direct flights from several American cities to Morelia International Airport, about an hour drive from Pátzcuaro, make travel to Pátzcuaro surprisingly inexpensive.
Whether you’re in search of cultural, culinary, or historical enlightenment, Oaxaca is the place for you. Explore the Monte Alban ruins, remnants of one of the earliest cities in Mesoamerica. Go on a mezcal tour to sample local spirits. Or wander the streets of Oaxaca City, where there’s seemingly a festival every week. Instagram users, be sure to make the trek to Hierve el Agua, a rock formation that looks like a petrified waterfall. The Templo de Santo Domingo, completed in 1731, is a must-see for honeymooners, too.