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Ashleigh on Jul 06, 2015

Try something a little different with an Australian river cruise

River cruising in Europe is an incredible alternative to exploring the outline of the continent by ship. The colourful cities, stunning landscapes and enchanting history are even more unforgettable close up - and river cruising allows you to explore these highlights in a much more intimate setting.

If you'd rather not head so far afield as to travel all the way to Europe, you can skip the long plane journey and simply jump across the Tasman. Captain Cook Cruises are the Australian operator of scenic river cruises, taking passengers along one of the world's longest rivers - the Murray River. Cruisers love the small size of the ship as it allows them to take the backroads of Aussie's waterworld and explore the outback in-depth. Although it's a whole different holiday to an island cruise around the Pacific, kicking back as you take in iconic Australian sites is a wonderful change of pace.

The vessel

Earning the title of largest paddlewheeler in the Southern Hemisphere, the PS Murray Princess was built specifically to cruise the waters of the Murray River. You can enjoy an authentic journey aboard this vessel - it dates back to the late 19th century, a time when boats were the main mode of transport in the area.

The small size of the PS Murray Princess allows it to pass along the Murray with ease - a feat that no mega-ship could dream to do. Fitting just 120 passengers onboard, quantity makes way for quality as passengers are treated to an intimate atmosphere with the possibility to really get to know your fellow shipmates. 

Despite being much more petite than its larger counterparts, this ship boasts a range of facilities to make your trip as memorable onboard as it is on land. Relax on the sundeck or in one of the bars or lounges, break a sweat in the sauna or gym, relax in the spa or library, or peek out at the ocean from the comfort of your own cabin or stateroom - even the lowest categories have a porthole so every passenger can take in the view!

The stats:

  • 1,500 tonnes
  • 67 metres in length
  • 15 metres of beam
  • Just 1.2 metres of draft!
  • 6 knots top speed

The cruises

The focus of river cruises is a little less about time onboard and more on what lies on the banks of the river. Although you'll find everything you need on the ship, the regular stops in port and short travel times give passengers time to really explore the many destinations at a pace that suits them. Either take the trip by foot or on a tour, and get involved in the history and beauty that awaits in each town and village - you certainly won't be bored!

With three, four and seven-night itineraries available on Captain Cook Cruises, there's something for everyone. Transfers are a breeze thanks to the complimentary coach running from Adelaide's Central Bus Station.

You can forget about forking out extra money for shore excursions as river cruises offer inclusive tours and even a coach tour through the Barossa Valley - the perfect opportunity to take in this world wine country on the seven-nighter.

Depending on which itinerary you choose, you'll be treated to highlights including scenic cruises through the gorges and cliffs of the upper river, unravel the history of the Murray Bridge, enjoy a wildlife tour aboard a discovery vessel around the backwaters and socialise with your fellow cruisers at the Captain's Dinner and Cocktail Party on your first night onboard.

The itineraries include ports such as Caurnamont, Coolcha, Craignook, Fromms Landing, Mannum, Mundarra, Sunnydale, Swan Reach and Younghusband.

Keen to explore the Australian outback yourself? Take a look at our river cruise deals and jump aboard the PS Murray Princess. Perhaps you'd like to tick a few things off the bucket list and head to Europe? With trips up the Rhine, the Danube and many more, you'll have an incredible time there, too. Whichever you choose, you'll be sure to enjoy a unique experience that you won't be forgetting in a hurry!

I'm new to the cruise industry, but travel is definitely something close to my heart! Last year I spent time in the UK, as well as Tokyo, Paris and Shanghai, but I still have a long list of places I'd like to visit. Cruising is the perfect way to make your journey between destinations as memorable and enjoyable as the time you spend in new cities, and I'm looking forward to helping you create the perfect trip.

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