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Scenic, NatGeo expand river offerings to Russia, Egypt, France

PHOTO: Courtesy of Gillies and Zaiser Public Relations
National Geographic experts will be aboard each sailing, including along Egypt's Nile
Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours and National Geographic Expeditions announced an expanded third season as river cruise partners in 2020. Destinations will include Russia, Egypt, France’s Rhône River and a Rhine Christmas cruise.

These are in addition to the existing sailings on the Rhine, Danube, Main and Moselle rivers, and Portugal’s Douro.

The cooperation combines Scenic’s all-inclusive luxury river cruise experience with National Geographic's 130-year legacy of science, conservation and exploration.

Every sailing offers the opportunity to learn from leading National Geographic experts and photographers. Passengers can also choose from a menu of rich, experiential excursions, ranging from hikes and bike rides to in-depth learning experiences that focus on the natural world, culture and history.

Pope's Palace and Paul Bocuse culinary school

Highlights of the new Rhône cruise include exploring the Pont-d’Arc Cavern, featuring reproductions of the prehistoric drawings found in the renowned Chauvet Cave. This sailing also features an exclusive gala dinner and classical concert at the sumptuous Popes’ Palace in Avignon. Plus, travelers can take a master class in French cuisine at the culinary school of the late Michelin-star chef Paul Bocuse, go truffle hunting in Burgundy and explore the evocative towns and valleys that inspired van Gogh, along with a tour of the monastery where he painted celebrated works like '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.

Christmas markets and fossils

The Rhine Christmas cruise is an eight-day indulgence that visits some of the world’s oldest Christmas markets. An exclusive, 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, round out the sailing.

The Hermitage, cosmonauts and ballet

In Russia, a National Geographic expert joins Scenic Tsar as it explores grand cities and palaces, medieval monasteries and timeless villages along the Volga River between Moscow and St. Petersburg. This cruise includes a guided tour of The Hermitage, a meeting with a cosmonaut at the Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics and the chance to see architectural masterpieces of St. Petersburg including the country estates of Catherine and Peter the Great. Travelers can walk with a National Geographic photographer in the Gorky Central Park of Culture and Leisure and attend a private Russian ballet concert at the Palace of Prince Vladimir.

Egyptian archaeological excavation

In Egypt, cruisers will glide past bustling villages, lush palm forests and the striking remnants of Egypt’s multilayered history on the recently refurbished, luxury 36-passenger Sanctuary Sun Boat III as it sails the Nile between Luxor and Aswan. Travelers can learn from National Geographic experts as they accompany visits to some of the greatest wonders of the ancient world—from the Pyramids at Giza to the elaborate tombs in the Valley of the Kings. There will be opportunities to meet National Geographic grantees working to excavate the ancient stone quarries of Gebel el Silsila and see performances of traditional Egyptian dance and music.

A 10-day extension is available that offers an in-depth exploration of Jordan.

Departures can be booked directly through National Geographic Expeditions or Scenic.

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