There are few things as romantic as a river running through a city. And everyone loves a good river view, right? Well, it’s time we get one thing straight: the rivers of the world are not just for taking pictures next to.
Rivers have served incredible purposes for travel and trade over the course of human history. But ever since the advance of cars, trains, and planes, the capabilities of the rivers of the world have dwindled and been neglected. But they’re still there – and honestly, can you think of a more epic way to get from city to city than to float from one to the next on a beautiful river?
Well, you don’t have to. There are plenty of river cruises just waiting to offer to transportation from one beautiful country to the next, and in style, too. These cruises are a place of luxury, keeping you comfortable while you introduce yourself to a series of new, unique places and cultures.
If it’s not already on your to-do list, make sure you add one of these 5 most epic river cruises into your near future:
Douro River Cruise
This trip floats you through Portugal and Spain, passing many medieval villages and rollings hills along the way. Most often includes visits to local vineyards, castles and cathedrals.
Kerala River Cruise
This trip through India’s backwaters goes through and by many natural canals and lakes, with day ventures including smaller personal boat outings on local kettuvallams through both fresh water bodies like canals and lovely lakes, and even some salt water from the Arabian Sea.
Danube River Cruise
The second-longest river in Europe, the Danube passes through nine different countries: Austria, Bulgaria Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Romania Slovakia, Serbia and Ukraine. The length of the trip can be anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, but either way travelers can be sure they’ll pass by castles, old fortresses, and certainly some of Europe’s most beautiful and diverse cities and cultures.
The Yangtze River Cruise
The Yangtze River is the longest in Asia, and the third-longest river in the world. On this cruise travelers can see the stunning Three Gorges (Qutang, Wu and Xiling Gorge), some of China’s most impressive landscapes, and can even hit the shores to see ancient temples and old ghost towns.
Nile River Cruise
Egypt was one of the most powerful kingdoms in history, with a long-lasting impact on our world – and it all happened on the banks of the Nile River. So a Nile cruise is a great way to see everything that remains of ancient Egypt as well as what it has grown into, including the pyramids and the Sphinx.
From Tom Hanks to Kim Kardashian – 25 Stars Whose Health Struggles Inspire Us
Over the years, many celebrities have opened up about living with a chronic disease in hopes of raising awareness. We’ve put together a list of these celebs who have shared their stories – their moments of pain, hope, and pushing through…
Michael J. Fox
Since sharing his struggle with Parkinson’s disease, Michael J. Fox has been fighting to help find a cure and ways to prevent more cases of the condition. The actor started the Michael J. Fox Foundation that has raised more than $800 million towards medical research.
The Jane the Virgin actress was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease, the most common cause of hypothyroidism when she was 19. Her diagnosis came with denial, and the actress has said that she “rejected the fact that she had a disease.” Hashimoto’s leads to an underactive thyroid, which changes the way your body puts energy to use. The actress gained weight and suffered from memory issues. As she got older, she realized that the rebellion of not taking care of herself couldn’t exist anymore – she takes medication, adjusted her diet, and has added daily activity to her routine.
Grande opened up about her struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in an emotional speech at the 2018 Billboard Music Awards. “I want to say that I find it interesting that this has been one of the best years in my career and, like, the worst of my life,” the singer said on stage. This was not the first time that Grande has been open about PTSD since the attack that killed more than 20 people at her concert in Manchester, United Kingdom, in May 2017. The singer has recieved endless support from fans on social media platforms, urging her to take time off and heal.
When her husband, Michael Douglas, was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2011, it triggered Zeta-Jones’s depression, which in time was diagnosed as bipolar II disorder. This illness that is classified by longer low periods can be triggered by stress – it comes as no surprise that the actress was affected by her husband’s cancer and that her symptoms came to a peak as a result of it. The actress sought treatment by checking herself into a mental health facility in 2011 and then again in 2013.
During an emotional speech to her audience at a 2018 London concert, Jessie J revealed that her hit song, “Four Letter Word,” is about her struggle with fertility. Four years prior, in 2014, the singer was told that she was infertile and may need to undergo a hysterectomy. Jessie J explained that she battles with adenomyosis, a condition similar to endometriosis that causes the tissue lining the uterus to grow into the uterine wall. The international pop star shares her journey and hopes to one day conceive naturally.
“I only get one life, and I will not let fibromyalgia take the joy from living it,” Morgan Freeman has said in regards to his condition. He has spoken up about his chronic pain several times, explaining how it affects his arm, calling the pain up and down his arm excruciating. Although fibromyalgia is known for being a crippling condition affecting day-to-day life, the Academy-Award winning actor has not let it get the best of him.
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills personality and mother of Gigi and Bella Hadid has been fighting Lyme disease, which is contracted through tick bites, since 2012. She has opened up about her battle, admitting that she has lost the ability to read, write, or even watch television because it is hard for her to process information. Through social media, Instagram in particular, she has been sharing her experiments with new ways to try and limit the symptoms. “The journey of recovery from chronic disease is a long and winding road of small victories,” she shared on her social media pages.
The young actress has been fighting kidney dysplasia since she was a child. The condition occurs when the internal structures of a fetus’s kidneys develop abnormally in the womb. Hyland underwent a kidney transplant in 2012 and a second in 2017 when her body rejected her first transplant. In 2017 she used social media as a platform to clear the air about her weight and address the speculation that she suffers from an eating disorder, opening up about her health struggles.
In 2018, the actress revealed that she underwent a complete hysterectomy in an attempt to end her long battle with endometriosis. This painful condition causes tissue that normally grows inside the uterus to grow on the outside. It is known to affect one in ten women during their reproductive years. Dunham has been very open about her journey throughout the years, and in an essay she wrote in 2015 she explained, “I also know that I am one of many women who grasp for a sense of consistent well-being, fight against the betrayals of their bodies.”
In March 2013, the rapper revealed that he has epilepsy – a neurological disorder characterized by seizures. After being hospitalized, he addressed his condition. He opened up about it not being his first or second, and that he has had them for years the public just has never heard about them. The rapper canceled shows in 2017 due to his seizures, and he was found unconscious in a hotel room. It took doctors a significant amount of time to diagnose Wayne with the condition – there was controversy over the fact that the seizures were substance-induced. The rumors were proved to be false.
Sjogren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disease that attacks the glands that make tears and saliva, and it causes a dry mouth and dry eyes. In 2011 Williams told the New York Times that her struggle with the syndrome caused her “fatigue that is hard to explain unless you have it.” She continued by elaborating that she always feels some level of tiredness, and the more she tries to push it through it, the tougher it gets.
The singer was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 22, after years of suffering from addiction and eating disorders. “It’s possible to live well, feel well, and also find happiness with bipolar disorder or any other mental illness they’re struggling with,” she said in an interview with Women’s Health. Since her diagnosis, she has recieved treatment and is motivated to spread awareness for mental health conditions while ending the stigma surrounding them. She has done so by becoming an advocate for Be Vocal: Speak Up for Mental Health.
Elliot first disclosed the fact that she was diagnosed with Graves’ disease in 2011, coming out with a statement that she was diagnosed with the autoimmune condition in 2008. Graves’ is a condition that attacks the thyroid, causing an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism). It is a condition you live with your whole life and is manageable through medication, diet, and exercise. The rapper revealed that she was on medication for a while but decided to manage her condition through sport and the right diet.
This may come as a surprise to many, but the Hollywood heartthrob was in an accident that led to his ongoing struggle with chronic pain. He opened up expressing his acceptance that he would have to beat his pain on a different level, calling it “almost psychological.” He went to a pain-management specialist who came up with the idea to not mourn how he used to feel because he’s never going to feel that away again. Clooney came to terms with the fact that his day to day life looks much different than it used to.
Elisabeth Hasselbeck, who is most famously known for co-hosting The View, is living with celiac disease, which makes her gluten intolerant. Her road to the diagnosis was not and easy one, she lived for a decade with severe abdominal symptoms – doctors were convinced she had irritable bowel syndrome and prescribed her with medication that didn’t help. After joining the cast of Survivor in 2001, she realized that during the show’s taping, her symptoms were minor, maybe because she had hardly eaten wheat? After extensive research, she diagnosed herself with celiac disease and has been gluten-free ever since.
The Olympic gold medalist revealed that following every Olympic games, he would fall into a deep depression and even thought about ending his own life at one point. The swimmer said that it started in 2004 some time after Phelps was arrested for driving under the influence. Through the Michael Phelps Foundation, he works to provide children with stress management programs, helping them open up – he claims that suicide rates are going up because people are afraid to talk and express themselves when they feel anxious.
In her memoir, Lessons: My Path to a Meaningful Life, the supermodel shared her ongoing battle with panic attacks. During an interview with PEOPLE magazine, she said that she sometimes felt like she was not allowed to have these anxious and panicked feelings, a thought train that would only make her condition worse. She explained, “Why should I be feeling this?’ I felt like I wasn’t allowed to feel bad. But I felt powerless. Your world becomes smaller and smaller, and you can’t breathe, which is the worst feeling I’ve ever had.”
One of Hollywood’s most beloved actors has Type 2 diabetes. The actor announced he had type 2 diabetes in an interview with late-night host David Letterman in October 2013. Hanks is no stranger to gaining and losing weight for roles, so after Letterman commented on his thin figure, he responded, “I went to the doctor, and he said, ‘You know those high blood sugar numbers you’ve been dealing with since you were 36? Well, you’ve graduated! You’ve got type 2 diabetes, young man.'”
The Crown actress’s parents divorced when she was eight, and in an attempt to keep the peace and please everyone, she became lovely and well-behaved. Consequently, she started overthinking her actions, and in time this turned into difficult anxiety. She is now in therapy and can disassociate herself from it more, and she knows it is something that is a part of her and also knows that it is something she can take care of.
It’s hard to believe that with the stunts she pulls during the Grammy’s, the gravity-defying edgy pop star suffers from asthma. Asthma is a chronic condition that most commonly causes swelling in the airways, which leads to wheezing and shortness of breath. Pink has been dealing with serious respiratory problems since she was two years old. The singer was born with a collapsed lung and was hospitalized in 2006 after she suffered severe asthma attacks. To continue singing, Pink learned how to sing from her abdomen, rather than her lungs.
Retired NBA legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson has been living with HIV for over 25 years. The Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner and has learned how to live and thrive despite the disease. After going public with his diagnosis, he started the Magic Johnson Foundation, an organization that raises awareness and funding for HIV and AIDS. “I’ve done the things I was supposed to do,” said Johnson. “And if you do that, you can live for a long time, and that’s why early detection is the key.”
In 2015 Gomez revealed that she has lupus – an inflammatory disease that causes the immune system to attack its tissues. In the singer’s case, lupus caused harm to her kidneys, and she underwent a kidney transplant in 2017. Her kidney donor was one of her closest friends, actress Francia Raisa. At the Lupus Research Alliance’s Breaking Through Gala, Gomez said, “Maybe I wasn’t necessarily really good at knowing what that meant, so it got to a point where it was life-or-death.”
Frankie Muniz suffered from a total of nine sports-related concussions as a kid and during his car-racing career. Doctors believe that the outcome of these accidents lead to the 15+ transient ischemic attacks the Malcolm in the Middle star has gone through since. A transient ischemic attack is a stroke that lasts only a few minutes – as a result of the actor’s temporary brain clots, Muniz has revealed he doesn’t remember much from his Malcolm days, but that isn’t stopping him from staying positive and looking forward.
Adenomyosis is a chronic illness that causes endometrial tissues to grow into the uterine wall. The condition causes heavy periods and pelvic pain and is often linked to fertility issues. Gabrielle Union, who was diagnosed with adenomyosis, has been very open about her struggles with fertility, admitting she had lost track of how many miscarriages she has experienced. With the help of public speaking, Union is on a mission to help others who are “suffering in silence.”
The lead singer of Imagine Dragons first felt weakening back pain eight years ago – it was so painful, he couldn’t get on stage or sleep at night. Reynolds admitted he couldn’t perform without standing perfectly still. After numerous consultations with a range of doctors, there didn’t seem to be an explanation for his pain. It was the singer who ended up asking about Ankylosing spondylitis, a chronic condition that causes joint inflammation. He has since found relief through yoga and a healthier diet and has become and advocate for AS awareness.
Lady Gaga first opened up about living with chronic pain in 2013 but only revealed the cause in 2017 when she released her documentary, Gaga: Five Foot Two. The performer exposed the difficulties of living with fibromyalgia, a long-term condition which causes pain all over the body, in her documentary. With the release of the movie, she wished to raise awareness and connect people who are living with the condition, hoping to “share what helps/hurts.”
Supermodel Bella Hadid, daughter of Yolanda Hadid (who also suffers from Lyme disease) told Glamour in 2016, “it starts with brain fog; for a while, I couldn’t put sentences together.” As a model who travels around the world for work, it was tough for Hadid to cope with the condition, she was constantly tired but knew that if she kept rescheduling shoots someone else would take her jobs instead. Bella explained that despite her condition and the hardships that came with it, she pushed through.
Known as the Pop Punk Queen of music, Avril Lavigne was diagnosed with Lyme disease when she was just 30 years old. Although potentially curable, doctors still haven’t figured out how to cure Lavigne herself of the disease, which essentially kept the singer bedridden for two years. According to the star herself, she felt as though she was being “gaslighted” and “trapped” by her body. Although, “I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want to relive it,” Lavigne revealed during an interview with Billboard Magazine, “But it’s my responsibility.”
American dancer and actress Julianne Hough was diagnosed with endometriosis at 20 years old when a bout of cramping sent her to ER, although she started experiencing symptoms at 15. Although her husband is incredibly understanding and supportive, the disorder itself “can be really frustrating.” While she used to feel as though she had to push through the pain and just work, Hough has realized that her “body is very precious to me, I didn’t think of it that way before. If I don’t feel like working out that day, then I don’t do it. If I want to sleep in, then I will.”
The Pretty Little Liars actress was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in September 2017, until then, she had no idea what was going on and didn’t know how to take care of the pain she was constantly feeling. PCOS is a hormone imbalance that causes many different symptoms, such as weight gain and irregular periods. After her diagnosis, she finally understood what was happening to her body, and it has been easy for her to cope with the symptoms.
According to statistics, two to three times more women have Multiple-sclerosis than men, Sigler was diagnosed at age 20 and has been living with the condition for nearly 20 years. In 2016, the actress opened up as she told Glamor that when she was diagnosed with the condition, her doctor assured her that she would be able to do anything she wanted in this life. She has commented on the illness, saying that MS is a part of her, but it is not who she is.
In a video recorded for the Child Mind Institute’s #MyYoungerSelf campaign, The Good Place actress Kristen Bell opened up about how she has suffered from anxiety and depression since she was 18 years old. During the video, Bell also passed on some advice to those that suffer from the same thing. “Don’t be by this game of perfection that humans play,” she said. “They strive for a certain aesthetic, and everything looks so beautiful and people don’t seem like they have any problems. Everyone’s human. Everyone has problems. Everyone feels yucky on the inside sometimes…”
This may come as a surprise to some considering that he’s known for his silly antics and great sense of humor, but even Deadpool actor Ryan Reynolds suffers from anxiety. During an interview with the New York Times, the 43-year-old got very candid about the fact that he’s dealt with anxiety his entire life. According to the actor himself, “I have anxiety, I’ve always had anxiety,” he said. “Both in the lighthearted ‘I’m anxious about this’ kind of thing, and I’ve been to the depths of the darker end of the spectrum, which isn’t fun.”
Alyson Stoner — you may remember her from Cheaper by the Dozen or even the Step Up franchise. In any event, the 26-year-old opened about via Instagram about dealing with depression, anxiety, and even an eating disorder. In her post, Stoner stressed the importance of trying to love herself at every phase. The actress explained that she thinks “the magic begins when you start accepting yourself in every phase, not getting too attached to an image, but letting an appreciation for the magnificence of your body guide decisions in self-care. That helped me through EDs, depression, and anxiety.”
In September of 2018, Melrose Place and Desperate Housewives actress Marcia Cross shared a photo via Instagram that made her battle with cancer public. Unfortunately, Cross was no stranger to the big “C” word as her husband was diagnosed in 2009 with throat cancer. Although Cross suffered from hair loss due to the cancer treatments, she revealed that she’s now officially “post-cancer. All good now. Hard journey, but I am HEALTHY, happy, and more present and grateful than ever. Thank you from the bottom of my ever-expanding heart for all of your LOVE.”
During an interview with the Washington Post, singer-songwriter Carrie Underwood shared that she had three miscarriages in two years. According to Underwood herself, she had planned for 2017 to be a year of working on new music and having a baby with husband Mike Fisher. When they got pregnant in early 2017 and it didn’t work out, they just thought it wasn’t the right timing but that they’d bounce back. However, when Underwood suffered from another two miscarriages after that, it got to the point that she thought, “Okay, what’s the deal? What is all of this?”
Similar to Carrie Underwood, Australian actress Nicole Kidman has also had miscarriages during her marriage to actor Tom Cruise. In an interview with Tatler magazine, the award-winning star shared the massive grief she felt after miscarrying at 23 years old due to an ectopic pregnancy — a pregnancy in which the fertilized egg implants outside the uterus. According to Kidman herself, “There’s a huge, aching yearning. I know the yearning. And the loss! The loss of a miscarriage is not talked about enough.”
Pete Davidson is a comedian and actor especially known for being a cast member on the late-night live television sketch comedy and variety show Saturday Night Live. During an interview with Variety, the 26-year-old opened up about having borderline personality disorder and dealing with suicidal thoughts. According to Davidson himself, depression follows him everywhere he goes. “I wake up depressed, but now I know my steps. I have to go outside and be in sun for a little bit, or go for a walk. It’s all just programming yourself to trick your brain.”
Alyssa Milano is an actress known for her roles in Who’s the Boss?, Melrose Place, and Charmed. In an essay published in Time Magazine for Mental Health Awareness Month, Milano opened up about anxiety and motherhood. Above all, though, she emphasized the importance of being able to talk about your story. According to the actress herself, “Here’s the thing about mental illnesses — you don’t always look sick, and the answers are not always clear or black-and-white. But we should not confront these challenges by placing more hurdles in front of Americans who desperately need the care.”
Willow Smith, the daughter of actors Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, had a lot to talk about on an episode of Red Table Talk with her mother and grandmother, Adrienne Banfield Jones. During the segment, Willow revealed how she felt like she had lost her sanity early in her career. After the release of “Whip My Hair,” Willow had stopped taking singing lessons and was in what could be considered a limbo-type state. She began questioning her purpose and listened to a lot of depressing music. Willow had gotten to such a dark place that she began hurting herself.
Renowned for her five-octave vocal range, singer-songwriter Mariah Carey was first diagnosed with bipolar II disorder in 2001. It wasn’t until 17 years later that the award-winning star came forward about her diagnosis for the first time. During an interview with People, Carey revealed that “until recently I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me. It was too heavy a burden to carry and I simply couldn’t do that anymore. I sought and received treatment, I put positive people around me and I got back to doing what I love — writing songs and making music.”
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson
There’s no denying that Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is a powerhouse of a person. Not only was he a professional wrestler but he was also a football player for the University of Miami. From there, he moved onto acting and ultimately became one of the highest-grossing box-office stars of all time, which isn’t much of a surprise considering his charming looks and his loveable personality. Still, even this star dealt with depression throughout his life and witnessed his mother’s suicide attempt when he was 15. According to Johnson, “We both healed but we’ve always got to do our best to pay attention when other people are in pain.”
Chrissy Teigen is a model and essentially Twitter’s ‘Funny Girl.’ Even with a sense of humor like hers, though, Teigen has still dealt with her fair share of baggage. During an interview with Glamour, Teigen spoke openly about experiencing late-onset postpartum depression after giving birth to her and John Legend’s first child, Luna. According to the model herself, “I think the most surprising thing for me was that it happened three months after. I thought postpartum was, you have the baby and you’re sad but it sneaks up on a lot of people. That’s why I thought it was important for me to talk about.”
Award-winning actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus became a household name in 1989 with a nine-season run playing Elaine Benes on Seinfeld. In September of 2017, Louis-Dreyfus took to Twitter to announce that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer, just one day after receiving a Primetime Emmy Award for her role in Veep. Luckily, she had “the most glorious group of supportive and caring family and friends, and fantastic insurance through my union.” In October 2018, she was a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in which she revealed that she’s now cancer-free.
Social media has become an amazing platform for stars to let fans in on their personal lives. The singer opened up about her battle with depression when she shared an Instagram post that she had sought treatment from a team of healthcare professionals for her mental health struggles. Williams posted on none other than Mental Health Awareness Day in 2018 as she advocated for anyone that felt the same to do so if they felt like they may need help to get through their hard times.
Kim Kardashian West
Kim has been dealing with psoriasis for years. It is an autoimmune skin condition that causes raised, red patches to appear on the skin. Like many stars with psoriasis, Kim was shocked and worried about her diagnosis because haters always have something to say about her appearance. Throughout the past couple of years, she has been using light therapy to treat her skin condition. Her mother, Kris Jenner, was also diagnosed with psoriasis at age 30.
Some stars have been living with their disease since they were children – the lead singer of Poison is one of them. Brett Michaels was only six years old when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. He has lived with the condition since and has been a strong advocate for the American Diabetes Association. When the singer won The Celebrity Apprentice in 2010, he pledged the full award ($250 thousand) to the nonprofit organization.
Nick Jonas went public with his type 1 diabetes in 2007, he is among the 1.25 million Americans living with the chronic illness. He said that his symptoms included weight loss and thirst and that when he was diagnosed, his blood sugar was over 700 (normal blood sugar levels are between 70 to 120). The singer was diagnosed when he was 13, a pivotal moment in his life when he started making music with his brothers. It was something he thought would slow him down before his career even started.
“Finding out that I had endometriosis was the most bittersweet moment because it meant I wasn’t crazy!” Halsey wrote on Twitter. She added that finding out about her condition made her feel validated that she had every right to feel the way she was feeling but that on the other hand, her world was caving in. Halsey experienced a miscarriage in 2015, which she now recognizes was because of the endometriosis, she went on stage to perform hours later because she was scared that not performing would hurt to career.
Selma Blair shared her diagnosis with multiple sclerosis in October 2018 in an Instagram post. The actress has since continued to be candid about her battle with the condition on social media, letting fans be a part of her fight with the disease. Multiple sclerosis is a condition that affects the brain and central nervous system, Blair has admitted in interviews that she had felt off for years, that she had noticed symptoms for quite some time before being diagnosed. The actress now rocks a cane as she proved that MS has yet to get the best of her.