Life Afloat

Messing about on boats

You don’t have to go on an ocean cruise to enjoy life on the water. Travel editor Winsor Dobbin explores a couple of options.

There is something wonderfully soothing about the sound of water lapping against your boat, that gentle rocking motion when you are on a river or canal.

Whether you choose to take a luxury river cruise, or to pilot your own small craft, here are a couple of intriguing options.

Aqua Expeditions runs a range of luxury river cruising options from the Mekong in the heart of Asia to the mighty Amazon in South America.

With a small-ship capacity of only 32 to 40 passengers on each sailing, travellers can easily mingle with and get to know other guests on each of these ships at meals and on active biking, hiking, fishing, swimming, and kayaking excursions.

Guests are encouraged to take advantage of the luxury onboard amenities including relaxing spa treatments, cooking classes, evening entertainment programs and a lively bar scene (depending, of course, on how lively your fellow travellers are).

Many of Aqua Expeditions’ solo guests incorporate their cruises into a longer travel itinerary in which they may choose to visit the temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, stay in Phnom Penh or Ho Chi Minh City (Aqua Mekong cruises) or take a trip to Machu Picchu or Lima (Aria Amazon cruises).

Aqua Expeditions is committed to employing local expert guides on its cruise vessels, whose passion for sharing knowledge of the Mekong and Amazon regions helps create a memorable adventure for travellers.

The naturalist guides – many of whom grew up on the rivers – lead guests on daily expeditions.

Aqua Expeditions will waive the single supplement on the following cruises for the
remainder of 2018 (a great opportunity for solo travellers):

Aqua Mekong
3-night Discovery Cruise from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, Cambodia
November 13-16. Priced from $US4050 per person twin share or single

4-night Explorer Cruise from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh, Cambodia
November 30-December 4. Priced from $US5400 per person twin share or single

Aria Amazon
3-night Discovery Cruise return to Iquitos, Peru
October 1-15, November 2-5, November 9-12, November 16-19. Priced from $US3825 per person twin share or single.

Bookings for Aqua Mekong and Aria Amazon cruises are available through travel agents or
Aqua Expeditions Australia on 1300 124 204 or

Discover the luxury Amazon river cruise – the Aria Amazon. Discover the luxury Mekong river cruise – the Aqua Mekong

For those who prefer to be masters of their own destiny, how about a Canadian canal cruise?

I have several family members living in the improbably picturesque Canadian city of Kingston, Ontario. Both Kingston and its surrounds are very pretty during the summer months, if a tad chilly in winter.

Le Boat, Europe’s largest operator of self-drive boating vacations, has just begun operations in Ontario, on the historic Rideau Canal.

With no boating experience required, Le Boat has opened-up this UNESCO World Heritage-listed destination on a route that takes travellers down a chain of lakes, rivers and canals between Ottawa and Kingston.

There are plenty of land and water activities along the route from fishing, paddle boating and canoeing to hiking, biking and bird-watching.

Le Boat offers two bases for the 2019 cruising season, the main Smith Falls Base located midway between Ottawa and Kingston, and a new base in Seeleys Bay, a village closer to Kingston.

Suggested routes are offered and a full guide to the Rideau Canal is available, however, travellers have complete flexibility with their itinerary and the freedom to cruise as much or as little as they want, just as long as they ensure the boats are returned at the agreed date and time.

Le Boat is celebrating its 50th birthday in 2019. All its craft feature fully-equipped kitchens, comfortable furnishings, showers and bathrooms.

Le Boat launched in Canada this year with a fleet of 16 state-of-the-art Horizon cruisers, with several more being added to the fleet for next season.

All Horizon Cruisers offer large forward staterooms and a roomy upper deck with sunbathing area equipped with open-air dining amenities.

Each en-suite cabin comes with air-conditioning and heating system as well as plenty of USB ports accessible for passengers to recharge their portable gadgets.

The 2019 cruising season runs from May 17 to October 14. Seven-night

cruises start from $2,215 – which makes for a very affordable break on the water.

For more information contact Le Boat on 1800 118 940 or see

Words: Winsor Dobbin