Theme cruises provide some of the best travel experiences as the focus is all about a specific interest. This relatability is what that draws specific groups of people to these sailings, and the camaraderie is practically guaranteed before stepping aboard the ship.
In 2023, river cruise line AmaWaterways curated its unique Soulful Experience cruise, which quickly sold out and was well received by participants. Focusing on Black heritage, history and culture, the tremendous response to this sailing prompted AmaWaterways to offer more opportunities to join a Soulful Experience cruise in 2024 and 2025 to allow this untapped audience to create relatable and meaningful moments throughout each sailing.
Soulful Experience Cruises focuses on Black heritage, history and culture within key stops throughout each journey. As demonstrated during its first sailing in 2023, AmaWaterways’ guests enjoyed the Colors of Provence itinerary which sailed along the Rhône River for 7 nights and visited such cities as Marseille, Avignon, Tournon, Vienne and Lyon which provided cruisegoers the opportunity to explore numerous historically relevant locales in France.
On the 8th day of the sailing, guests traveled on France’s high speed TGV train from Lyon to Paris where they experienced a deep dive in the Black history of Paris over a 3-night period, including a tour which took participants through the steps of Josephine Baker’s life when she performed and lived in Paris and its surrounding areas.
Upcoming Soulful Experience cruises in 2024 and 2025 will sail along the beautiful waterways of South Africa, Portugal, France and Egypt.
In addition to the historic excursions that are offered with a Soulful Experience sailing, regional historians provide lectures onboard the sailings. On the first Soulful Experience cruise, Boris Klein (professor of history & geography at Lycée La Martinière-Duchère in Lyon) discussed the France’s role in the transatlantic slave trade and its impact on the country and the world.
Jazz music and various culinary highlights are also offered, and this is in addition to recreational offerings that are standard for every AmaWaterways river cruise sailing, like wine tastings, active excursions ashore, complimentary bicycles, and regional dining and entertainment onboard and on-shore.
Given the success of its first sailing in 2023, AmaWaterways expanded its Soulful Experience sailings to four special sailings in 2024. And recently, five special sailings for 2025 were revealed (all of which are available to book right now):
Soulful Experience: Secrets of Egypt & the Nile: May 17-28, 2024 and May 14-25, 2025
A 7-night river cruise and 4-nights pre-cruise stay in Cairo
Exclusive access to the tomb of Queen Nefertari
Private lunch at the Abdeen Presidential Palace;
Meet with Nubian people
Soulful Experience: Colors of Provence: June 13-23, 2024, June 17-27, 2024 or August 21-31, 2025
7-night cruise with either 3-nights in Alres pre-cruise or 3-nights in Paris post-cruise.
Explore the cultural history of Marseille
Enjoy guided tours with a focus on Black heritage, showcasing jazz, food and wine
Commemorate Juneteenth in Paris
Experience an exclusive Black History of Paris Tour which includes visits to the Monument to the Abolition of Slavery, Montmartre's jazz roots, visit to Little Africa, a tribute to Josephine Baker and much more.
Soulful Experience: The Enticing Douro: November 13-23, 2024and November 11-21, 2025.
7-night cruise with 3-nights pre-cruise in Lisbon.
Dive into the history of the Black and African diaspora in Lisbon and throughout your journey along the Douro River
Enjoy 2 authentic Portuguese dinners with Port at local wine estates; Experience Portuguese fado music.
Soulful Experience: Stars of South Africa: June 13-27, 2025
4-night cruise and 10-nights post-cruise excursion
Celebrate both South Africa Youth Day (June 16) and Juneteenth (June 19)
Experience safaris by land and river
Visit the Cape of Good Hope
Witness African penguins in their natural surroundings on Boulders Beach
Visit one of Soweto’s unique neighborhoods
Walk in the footsteps Nelson Mandela and visit his Soweto home
Souful Experience: Magic of Colombia: October 15-25, 2025
7-night river cruise through the heart of Colombia
Dance to a variety of Latin American musical styles including Cumbia and Vallenato
Enjoy an exclusive Carnaval experience in Barranquilla that’s just for AmaWaterways guests.
Interact with locals of diverse backgrounds
These Soulful Experience river cruises with AmaWaterways are all currently available for booking, but will likely sell out quickly. Booking well in advance will be key to securing a spot on these departures.
However, thanks to their increasing popularity, it’s highly likely AmaWaterways will continue to add to its Soulful Experience lineup of river cruises.