Q My friend has just been diagnosed with cancer. She is still well enough to do some traveling, so we want to take a trip. She doesn’t believe that she would tolerate an intercontinental air flight. And she isn’t interested in a warm-water or Alaskan cruise, as she’s done that.
In the past, she has loved riverboat cruises down the Mississippi, but we’re told the companies that used to provide them are now out of business. The riverboat trips I’ve found now require passengers to disembarque to a hotel each night. That’s not what we’re looking for. Any ideas? Train trips? I read about New England to Quebec City cruises, would you recommend something like that? We’re pretty open to new ideas.

A I hope your trip is filled with joy and laughter. Appreciating what will help keep your friend comfortable — like no long-haul flights — is a good start.You are right about Mississippi River cruises. The riverboats that once carried overnight passengers stopped running in 2008. Fortunately, there’s a nice alternative. The Great Lakes Cruise Company (1-888-891-0203) offers many itineraries. You can cruise the Great Lakes from Duluth to Toronto (or visa versa), explore the New England islands (including Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard) or opt for a Fall Colors tour of New England (with floats down the Hudson River and the Erie Canal). The boats are intimate, too. Except for one larger boat, none hold more than 100 passengers. I think you’ll be intrigued after a visit to its website. And I hope that wherever you go, your trip will be restorative, uplifting and memorable.