In November 2013, I went on my first European river cruise aboard the AmaWaterways Amacerto. We boarded the ship in Budapest, Hungary. It took us up the Danube to Melk and Vienna in Austria with a side trip to Salzburg, Linz, Passau, Regensburg, and Nurnberg in Germany, and ended with a bus ride to Prague in the Czech Republic. To say that I love this way of traveling would be an understatement. It’s one of the best and easiest ways to travel Europe. Once you’re aboard, you never have to unpack, schlep luggage, or worry about transportation. The ship drops you off in historic city centers that have had small ports on the river for centuries.
Another reason I love river cruising is that it’s an intimate experience. There were only 149 passengers on the ship with about 50 crew members. Our daily tours were arranged so that we would have dinner, and sometimes lunch aboard the ship. This gave us an opportunity to socialize with the other passengers. The ship also provided fun activities while we were en route to our next destination, which on our trip included a beer and sausage party, a strudel demonstration and live musical performances.
Our cruise director Monika was exemplary. It blew my mind how organized she and the entire crew were in coordinating tours and schedules. She would show up at exactly the right time and everyone made it back on the ship when they were supposed to.
The food onboard was gourmet and delightful. In addition to the regular dining room, the Amacerto has a specialty restaurant that you can choose to eat in for an even more luxurious experience. Our meal was elegantly presented and the service was excellent.
A river cruise is typically smooth as silk, unlike an ocean vessel that must navigate through rough seas. It’s rare to ever experience a bump or jolt and, except for the gorgeous scenery, you almost forget that you’re on the water.
On the Danube, our ship had to maneuver through 21 locks. It did this mostly when we were either on a land tour or in the middle of the night. Going through the locks was an intriguing experience, although it may be unnerving for someone who is claustrophobic.
It was chilly outside in late November, early December so we weren’t able to take advantage of the pool area located on the top deck but otherwise the weather was pleasant. We were on the Christmas Market tour after all. The ship was festooned in all its holiday glory and there was always an abundance of gourmet coffee, festive desserts, and delectable appetizers.
For more details on this trip, click on the links below:
AmaWaterways Amacerto Travel Photo Gallery
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I seriously cannot wait to go on another river cruise and am always open to opportunities.
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