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seasons

NEW RIVER CRUISE SEASONS OFFER NEW REWARDS

At AmaWaterways, innovation is part of our DNA and we are always looking for new experiences to please our guests. Our new expanded European river cruise seasons in November and December and our newest series of Danube and Rhine cruises starting in February have received wonderful feedback from guests traveling during these periods of the year. Besides encountering fewer tourists, they have also found local communities settled into a more relaxed pace of life with more time to share their unique culture and delicious food and wine. And in addition to cruise and airfare savings, there are many unexpected rewards for those that are open to trying something different.

February’s Splendor on the Danube and Rhine

Perhaps you hail from a warmer climate and yearn to experience all the wintertime delights Europe has to offer. There is nothing quite like waking up and parting the curtains in your twin-balcony stateroom to see a castle peeking through the fog. On shore, you may experience the romance of a quiet cityscape dusted in snow or the joy of lacing up ice skates while admiring Budapest’s beautiful architecture. After your day on shore, our wonderful crew will welcome you home with a mug of hot mulled wine or a steaming cup of lemon tea. February is also the perfect time to visit one of Budapest’s famous Szechenyi Baths. While on the Rhine River, a guest-favorite excursion in Rüdesheim is watching locals make Rüdesheimer coffee with Asbach brandy. The presentation of the coffee cups being lit aflame always delights our guests, and the strength of the drink, enjoyed here or while castle-watching on the sun deck cruising through the Rhine Gorge, helps everyone warm up!

November’s Seasonal Wonders

A highlight of November in Europe is the golden hues from the colorful autumn leaves best appreciated during one of our guided bike tours through Strasbourg or Dusseldorf or a hike on the Philosopher’s Path in Heidelberg. In autumn, many cities decorate their town squares in harvest themes, and in Austria, you can still find some lively Heuriger (small rustic wine taverns) open to sample the season’s new wines. Starting mid-November, guests can enjoy our festively decorated ships and may even visit early season Christmas Markets in cities like Vienna and Budapest when the crowds are small and the market stands are freshly filled with the most sought-after holiday souvenirs.

Easier Access and Shorter Lines

February is a great time to visit local museums as there are typically less groups and shorter lines. From Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum to Vienna’s Museum of Fine Arts and House of Music, our guests often enjoy more personal space and quicker access as they move about the collections on display.

More Time to Personally Interact with the Locals and Provide Benefit to the Communities Visited

Whether you are making a purchase from a local vendor in Avignon, France or dining in a Michelin-rated restaurant in Lyon, traveling when there are less crowds overall makes it easier for you to have unhurried personal conversations with those who live and work in the towns where our ships dock. We believe travel is a force of good in the world, and having the time to linger in shops and interact with locals leads to a deeper connection with the people and places we visit. Extending employment and economic benefits of tourism over a longer period of time in the year is also a benefit to the local communities and adds to the sustainability of river cruising.

More Time to Experience Shipboard Amenities

Whether the chill in the air brings you back to the warmth of the ship earlier in the day or as a past guest having visited the region before, our river cruises during the new expanded season often give you the perfect opportunity to experience more of the ship’s amenities. Often overlooked is our complimentary all day tapas menu served in the Lounge and our delightful afternoon teatime on board, a perfect time to relax with a selection of teas and a tiered tray of petite sandwiches and miniature fruit tarts and cakes. Our onboard Wellness Hosts also offer a variety of fitness classes throughout the day – or you may prefer to treat yourself to a massage. For guests traveling on the Danube on board AmaMagna, we also have a cozy onboard cinema, an expansive wellness studio and will even keep the heated sun-deck pool and hot tub open for those that relish an invigorating dip!

River cruising during these new expanded seasons offers a chance to mix with the local communities and experience popular cities and tranquil towns in ways much different than those offered at other times of the year. For more travel ideas, you might enjoy reading our Connections article, Hidden Gems of the Off-Peak Seasons and checking availability for our Holiday Triple Savings Offer, February 2025 departures for Magna on the DanubeEnchanting Rhine and Captivating Rhine plus November and December dates for Enticing Douro in Portugal.

FAQ

Top FAQs for First-Time River Cruisers

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Find out everything from what’s included to how to dress on board our river cruises.

Planning to cruise with AmaWaterways for the first time but not sure what to expect? We have curated a list of questions submitted by first-time river cruisers to give you a better picture of the unparalleled experiences you will have while traveling with us.

What makes AmaWaterways different from other river cruise lines?

One point that sets us apart is our European heritage. Our Co-Founder, Rudi Schreiner, grew up in Europe along the Danube River. Each of our itineraries is thoughtfully curated with his guidance. His expertise and relationships forged throughout the years have enabled us to offer exclusive experiences just for AmaWaterways guests, such as our year-round Oktoberfest celebration in Vilshofen, Germany, as well as our private tour of Lahneck Castle on the Rhine River. We warmly welcome multi-generational families on board and accommodate our guests with their choice from up to eight enriching guided excursions each day, as well as three unique activity levels on our walking tours – all of which is included in our river cruise fare. For more points of distinction, click here.

Which meals and beverages are included in my river cruise fare?

Every breakfast, lunch and dinner during your river cruise will be included on board. This includes dinner at The Chef’s Table specialty restaurant, all-day tapas, afternoon tea delights and more. Every lunch and dinner includes unlimited complimentary fine wines, beer and soft drinks. And each day you will be treated to a complimentary Sip & Sail cocktail hour with wine, beer, spirits and soft drinks. Select itineraries, such as our Secrets of Egypt & the Nile, Enticing Douro and Flavors of Portugal & Spain sailings, also include a select number of meals on shore. Guests reserving our optional land packages will also find daily breakfast at their hotel included in the price of their package.

How do I make reservations for The Chef’s Table restaurant?

Every guest will have the opportunity to enjoy a complimentary multi-course dining experience one evening at The Chef’s Table specialty restaurant. Reservations are made on board at the Reception Desk. You may inquire about available times once you embark. Please note: The Chef’s Table is not available in Portugal.

I have food allergies/dietary restrictions. Will AmaWaterways be able to accommodate me?

AmaWaterways happily provides delicious alternative meals, desserts and snacks for guests with food allergies, or who require low-sodium, gluten-free, vegetarian or vegan diets. Please let us know of any dietary accommodations you require at the time of reservation. For severe allergies, we also recommend meeting with a member of our Culinary Team once you embark. Although we do not have a kosher kitchen on board, we are able to provide “kosher-friendly” meals.

I have somewhat limited mobility and occasionally walk with a cane. Will I be able to participate in AmaWaterways’ excursions?

On AmaWaterways’ European ships, there are a limited number of canes with small sport seats as well as Nordic walking sticks to assist our guests who need extra support during excursions. We also offer “gentle walkers” tours which typically move at a comfortable pace and make more frequent stops. Due to uneven terrain, a lack of handicap amenities, and a fair amount of stairs, our Portugal itineraries are not recommended for guests with limited mobility. In addition, our Mekong River itineraries sometimes require embarkation or disembarkation via a narrow gangway or local tender boat, or occasionally require crossing a dirt or grass-covered surface to reach the ship. Please inquire with your travel advisor or our Reservations Team to ensure which itineraries and destinations are the best suited for your needs.

If I get seasick on boats or on ocean cruise ships, will I get seasick on the rivers?

Absolutely not! The rivers we sail are calm bodies of water and our ships experience no waves or rocking motions – the primary cause for seasickness. Our ships also move along at a gentle pace and you can always see land on both sides of the river, removing any additional anxiety for those who may feel stranded out on the open water.

What kind of equipment is available inside your fitness rooms?

While our fitness rooms vary from ship to ship, they will typically include a treadmill, elliptical machine or spin bike, as well as an assortment of free weights. During our complimentary onboard wellness activities, yoga mats and other equipment such as resistance bands will be available and will be thoroughly cleaned after each use. Most of our ships in Europe include a fleet of complimentary bikes for you to use on our guided bike tours or for your individual exploration ashore. Exclusively available on board AmaMagna, the Zen Wellness Studio also includes outdoor spin bikes, two massage rooms, a hair and nail salon and a juice bar as well as a fully equipped full-sized pickleball court on the Sun Deck. Our ships in Europe and on the Mekong River also offer a complimentary Wellness Program with host-led activities in the Main Lounge, shoreside or up on the Sun Deck – weather permitting.

What if I want to explore a port on my own – are we required to stay with the group on AmaWaterways’ excursions?

While we offer a wide variety of included excursions to suit your individual interests and encourage you to join us, you are of course welcome to explore on your own. We will be happy to provide you with a map of each port at our reception desk, and you will find the city’s highlights marked. Your Cruise Manager can also help recommend restaurants, shops, museums, bars and more. In addition, you may choose to reserve a complimentary bicycle to pedal further along the river or into any port city. Just be sure to check your Daily Cruiser onboard newsletter to ensure you are back on board the ship before it departs for the next port. On very select rivers and itineraries, the Personal Audio Device we use for shore excursions can also be used for your individual exploration, as pre-recorded commentary may play, based on your current GPS location. Your Cruise Manager will explain more when applicable.

What should I bring to wear for my river cruise? Do I need formal attire?

Plan to pack attire that is casually elegant; and something a little dressier to wear to the Captain’s Dinner or an evening concert. Bring comfortable walking shoes for shore excursions and one pair of dressier shoes. You may be traveling through different climates and altitudes, so layering is advisable. For more helpful information by destination, click here.

Can I bring my curling iron or hair straightener on board?

For safety reasons, the use of your personal curling iron or hair straightener is restricted on board the ship. A limited number of curling irons / hair straighteners are available for you to borrow at reception. However, you may leave your hair dryer at home as there is one in every stateroom.

How are gratuities handled – and what is the suggested amount?

Although we leave gratuities to your discretion, many guests have asked for general tipping guidelines. Gratuities may be charged on a credit card or given in cash. For a 7-night cruise in Europe, the below is recommended:

Ship’s Crew: The entire amount will be divided equally amongst all crew members. Recommendation: 100 Euros per cruise, per guest. (AmaMagna: 120 Euros per cruise, per guest)

Cruise Manager: Your Cruise Manager is not part of the ship’s crew and is the AmaWaterways representative who also accompanies you on any pre- and/or post-cruise land packages you may have reserved. Recommendation: 25 Euros per cruise, per guest; 4 Euros for each additional day, per guest for pre- and post-cruise land packages.

For tipping guidelines in other destinations, click here.

Still have questions? Visit our FAQs page, learn more about river cruising with AmaWaterways, contact S.T.S at 469-846-8004. We hope to see you on board soon

Foodie

Are you a self-proclaimed foodie? The Rhine River will take you through the Black Forest of Germany where you can enjoy an afternoon tea, complete with their famous chocolate cake. Entrees will include hearty meals featuring sausage and pork. Fine wine will also be available in the form of Rieslings which are produced from the grapes in the area.

Local specialties on the Danube River include Goulash and Schnitzel, pastries, and traditional apple strudel. Street food favorites such as Hungarian Langos and Chimney Cakes can be enjoyed year-round. And don’t miss the famous Apricot Brandy made in Dürnstein, Austria.

Photoshoot

Custom Photoshoot: One of the best ways to capture that perfect shot is to hire a professional photographer while on vacation. In addition to getting some great candid shots and scenery while you can stay in the moment, you can plan a custom shoot focused on a particular outfit. For example, you can have a session of you in a flying dress with the stark white buildings and blue rooftops as your backdrop in Santorini, Greece. Or maybe you want to commemorate your experience being dolled up like a geisha in Kyoto, Japan. 
So, which destination or experience is at the top of your bucket list? I can’t wait to help you plan your next Instagram-worthy vacation.

AmaMagna

7 Reasons Why You’ll Love AmaMagna

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Not-to-be-missed amenities and services on our most innovative ship

Our groundbreaking flagship, AmaMagna, is twice the width of traditional European river ships, offering the luxury of enhanced personal space, four unique dining venues, and a variety of leisure opportunities as you sail along the legendary Danube River.

Here are seven reasons we know you’ll love our award-winning AmaMagna.

1. The Suite Life

Measuring from 355 to 710 square feet with full balconies, the suites aboard our one-of-a-kind AmaMagna comprise more than 50% of the ship’s staterooms and are some of the largest accommodations on the river. Plus, with special included amenities such as a welcome gift with champagne and complimentary laundry, you’ll love the “suite life” on board. Get a glimpse of our spacious suites with a 360° tour and join Godmother Samantha Brown on a video tour as she shows off the ship’s staterooms and more.

2. Four Unique Dining Venues

You’ll always enjoy impeccable table service and exquisite multi-course meals across our fleet as well as within AmaMagna’s Main Restaurant and The Chef’s Table specialty restaurant—where the usually hidden kitchen becomes part of the entertainment. However, only on AmaMagna can you savor fresh, masterfully prepared vegetable-forward cuisine within the intimate Al Fresco Restaurant. And, exclusive to AmaMagna, Jimmy’s Restaurant, named for AmaWaterways’ beloved late co-owner, Jimmy Murphy, offers a fun, convivial family-style dining atmosphere. All of these dining venues are included in the price of your cruise. So, go ahead—indulge!

Get a closer look at AmaMagna’s restaurants as Cristian, one of our fabulous Hotel Managers, tours the ship with NBC’s Open House TV.

3. A Focus on Wellness

AmaMagna’s expansive Zen Wellness Studio offers you the opportunity to participate in complimentary small-group classes focused on stretching, cardio and circuit training led by a professionally trained Wellness Host. You can also spin with a view on outdoor spin bikes exclusive to AmaMagna; sip refreshing, infused detox waters at the juice bar; stop in one of two spas; or get a manicure and pedicure for a gentler approach to wellness. On the Sun Deck, enjoy the all-new pickleball court, where you can grab a paddle and “dink” the ball around with other fellow cruisers. The first full-size court of its kind on a river cruise ship, experience our innovative spirit while playing this fun, friendly game.

4. Innovation

With design details that enhance space, sunlight, fresh air and sustainability, AmaMagna is our most innovative ship to date and her groundbreaking amenities and entertainment accommodate every kind of traveler. Whether you prefer to watch a movie or pass your time playing video games, the chic onboard cinema is a perfect place to spend a relaxing evening. To provide equal opportunities for guests of all ages, the ship’s complimentary bicycles include child-size bikes. AmaMagna also offers both a refreshing pool and whirlpool, as well as a walking track and pop-up sky bar.

5. A Pledge of Sustainability

AmaWaterways is committed to minimizing our impact on the environment and protecting the precious natural ecosystems we sail through. In addition to such features as solar heating systems and energy-saving LED lights found on our other ships, AmaMagna takes sustainability to the next level with an innovative 10-engine configuration that reduces fuel consumption by up to 20%. Recyclable tetra-pak water containers are also distributed on board to guests to replace plastic water bottles during our included shore excursions. AmaMagna also features new solar panels on the roofs of its balconies to maximize our usage of renewable energy and began using the River Track Pilot Navigation System for greater safety and fuel efficiency.

6. Exclusive Concierge Golf Program

AmaWaterways has created a match made in heaven—luxury river cruising and golf. Our exclusive Concierge Golf Program is available on select departures aboard AmaMagna, taking you to some of Europe’s most prestigious golf courses such as the Adamstal Golf Resort outside of Vienna, Austria – host of the Austrian Open. This exclusive program includes one round per golfer at each golf course, private luxury Mercedes transportation to and from the courses, concierge service including club care and cleaning and more.

7. Unparalleled Service

From the moment you step aboard AmaMagna, you’ll be greeted by her warm and welcoming crew who always go above and beyond to ensure you have a wonderful experience. Whether it’s a special anniversary cake made by our talented pastry chef or your morning coffee delivered to your table just the way you like it (without having to ask), these are just a few of the gestures you can expect when you sail aboard AmaMagna on our Magna on the DanubeGems of Southeast Europe or Grand Danube itineraries.

Get inspired by an episode of NBC’s 1st Look as Maria Sansone explores Europe with AmaWaterways on AmaMagna. Or take a virtual tour with our Co-Founder Rudi Schreiner and Insider Travel Report’s James Shillinglaw.

Ready to experience the ship for yourself? Contact S.T.S at 469-846-8004 to reserve your suite on AmaMagna today!

THE IMPORTANCE OF SUSTAINABILITY

Sustainability is the top and ever-present responsibility of every company in the travel industry. Sustainable tourism is more than just reducing our carbon footprint – it also needs to promote respectful engagement with local traditions, support local economies and create opportunities for community development. To celebrate Earth Day on April 22, we have asked Captain Niels to highlight just some of the ways we are working to safeguard the planet and ensure future generations will also have the opportunity to discover the world around them, which you can enjoy in this short video.

Each of our ships, and every itinerary we operate, is thoughtfully designed to minimize fuel consumption, protect the riverbeds and minimize sound disruption while still ensuring our guests have ample time in the destination to appreciate the culture and pursue opportunities to support the local economy.

We work very closely with our local partners in the ports where our ships dock. To mark World Recycling Day on March 18thAmaKristina was chosen to host the launch of a new waste collection service by our long-time partner SERVIS in Lyon, France. The new service is designed for a more  efficient and sustainable solution for sorting and revalorizing waste coming from river cruise ships. In 2020, AmaKristina, was the first river cruise ship in the industry to receive the prestigious Green Award which recognizes ships in Europe for their quality, safety and environmental performance.

Since then, another 19 river cruise ships in AmaWaterways’ European fleet have earned the Green Award certification which is so important to accessing prime docking locations.

This year, AmaMagna welcomed a brand-new feature: solar panels on the awnings of select staterooms which will reduce fuel consumption related to heating and cooling of staterooms. Also of note are the refillable soap and shampoo dispensers in our showers which reduce the use of single-use plastics. Pure Herbs is produced by ADA Cosmetics which is the only hotel amenities manufacturer whose product portfolio has been awarded the coveted Cradle to Cradle certification – the global standard for products that meet strictly verified standards over five categories of sustainability performance.

AmaWaterways works closely with local communities to ensure that tourism activities are sustainable and respectful of the local culture and environment. We collaborate with community leaders to develop responsible tourism projects that showcase local talents and traditions like our weekly Oktoberfest celebration in Vilshofen, Germany, our exclusive wine events in Spitz, Austria and Bourg, France and our onboard entertainment showcasing local artists performing traditional dance or music. We offer a wide range of small group excursions on each itinerary, working with local guides who are knowledgeable about the cultural heritage of the region, thus enhancing the cultural experience for guests while providing employment opportunities for local communities.

Developing our new river cruise and land program on the Magdalena River in Colombia has offered us wonderful opportunities, and a great responsibility, to collaborate with local authorities and community leaders to open up many towns along the river that have not received tourists until now. The history, music, dance and culinary traditions are so rich within Colombia and it is our great privilege to work with Pro-Colombia tourist board and all the local government representative to bring this richness forward, starting in January 2025, in a responsible and sustainable way. We are currently building our two newest ships in Colombia and are proud to be working hand in hand with local architects, designers and suppliers to ensure we are not only properly incorporating and honoring this beautiful destination’s natural resources and culture but also enhancing the lives of the local residents along the Magdalena River.

We have also introduced new river cruises during off-peak periods of February and March on the Rhine and Danube rivers and November and December on Douro River in Portugal. Not only does this extend the economic benefits to the towns we visit but our guests are able to enjoy a different experience on an itinerary and benefit from less crowds and lower airfares.

Sustainability is an ever-changing and multi-faceted topic that brings with it challenges and wonderful opportunities. At AmaWaterways, we firmly believe that economic success and environmental responsibility go hand in hand and thank our guests, travel partners and suppliers for all they do to keep sustainability in the fore front of our current operations and our future plans.

20 Favorites

Count down with us and discover the moments and excursions you won’t want to miss on your next sailing.river-cruisesWe asked our AmaWaterways family about the included experiences and excursions that have inspired them the most on our river cruises through Europe, Asia and Africa. Below are some of our favorites, which we encourage you to add to your travel “must-see” list.

20. Witnessing the lifecycle of a tulip at a family-run farm boasting more than one million of the colorful flowers while on your small group excursion in Hoorn, Netherlands

Reserve It: Tulip Time

19. Taking a spectacular photo as you sail the Seine River towards the iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris and sharing a digital postcard with your family back home using our innovative myAmaCruise app

Reserve It: Paris & Normandy

18. Spinning with a view in the open air exclusively aboard AmaWaterways’ award-winning AmaMagna while sailing past Budapest’s glorious Hungarian Parliament Building

Reserve It: Magna on the Danube

17. Marveling at the fairytale castles of the Rhine Gorge while sipping Rüdesheimer coffee on the Sun Deck as one of our extraordinary Cruise Managers regales you with tales of the fortresses’ history

Reserve It: Captivating Rhine

16. Biking through the French countryside from Blaye, meeting your ship in Bourg and being welcomed back on board with a refreshing chilled face towel and cold water

Reserve It: Taste of Bordeaux

15. Toasting a wonderful journey with Bavarian beer, fresh pretzels and a live performance of traditional music at an exclusive Oktoberfest celebration in Vilshofen – just for AmaWaterways’ guests

Reserve It: Romantic Danube

14. Indulging in a complimentary multi-course tasting menu at The Chef’s Table specialty restaurant – only available on AmaWaterways’ ships – while watching your chef prepare each mouthwatering, regionally-inspired dish

Reserve It: The Chef’s Table included dining experience – reserve on board in Europe and Asia

13. Gazing in awe at a herd of elephants as they drink at the banks of the Chobe River

Reserve It: Africa Safaris & Wildlife Cruises

12. Relaxing out on your balcony in a cozy AmaWaterways bathrobe while cruising past the striking rock formations of the Iron Gates Gorge, widely considered the most picturesque area on the Lower Danube River

Reserve It: Gems of Southeast Europe

11. Delighting in the wonderous glow of Colmar’s seasonal Christmas Markets before returning to the most elegantly decorated ship on the river where you’re greeted with a mug of hot glühwein and a tree trimming party

Reserve It: Christmas Markets on the Rhine

10. Exploring the unique rooms and spectacular pebble mosaic grotto at Grein’s Greinberg Castle before being treated to an exclusive folklore show and wine reception reserved for AmaWaterways guests

Reserve It: Melodies of the Danube

9. Dining on authentic Portuguese cuisine at a local quinta while sipping Port wine – an experience that is complimentary for our guests on every Douro River cruise

Reserve It: Enticing Douro

8. Practicing Tai Chi on the Sun Deck of the beautiful AmaDara alongside your Wellness Host while crossing the border from Cambodia to Vietnam and reflecting on the Buddhist Blessing Ceremony you experienced in Oudong two days prior

Reserve it: Charms of the Mekong

7. Sipping hand-selected local wines at historic European vineyards and cellars located in iconic wine regions alongside a dedicated Wine Host

Book It: Celebration of Wine River Cruise

6. Pedaling through Northern France’s wine regions and fascinating cities on up to nine included bike tours in just seven nights, each led by a local guide

Reserve It: Essence of Burgundy & Provence

5. Entering the Tomb of Queen Nefertari on a private tour just for AmaWaterways guests in Egypt’s ancient Valley of the Queens

Reserve It: Secrets of Egypt & the Nile

4. Paying your respects on the historic D-Day landing beaches of Normandy and participating in a moving wreath-laying ceremony honoring the lives of fallen soldiers

Reserve It: Impressions of the Seine & Paris

The top three experiences in our list were mentioned by guests just like you on our AmaWaterways Loyal Guests Facebook Group. Thank you for sharing what most fills your heart with joy!

3. Renewing your vows on the Sun Deck while surrounded by postcard-perfect views on either side – following a morning of pampering that included massages and a nail or hair salon service

Reserve It: On any Europe itinerary – contact your travel advisor for details

2. Sailing through charming villages in Austria’s vineyard-rich Wachau Valley, a stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site – and having the opportunity to taste the apricot wines and products for which this region is renowned

Reserve It: On several Danube River itineraries

1. Making memories with kind-hearted people you meet along the way – especially your wonderful Cruise Manager who accompanies you throughout your journey, including on optional pre- and post-cruise land packages

Reserve It: On any AmaWaterways river cruise! Please note: 3-night Bangkok package on our Mekong River cruises is locally hosted.

Contact S.T.S. 469-846-8004 to plan your journey of a lifetime – including one or more of our favorite river cruise experiences – today!

Greece

Groups Specialist Update on Greece: 10 Questions with Cristy Patterson

Cristy Patterson, our Europe Team Lead for Groups, recently visited Greece on a work trip. We caught up with Cristy to learn about travel in Greece at this time and to get some invaluable insight on sharing tips to our clients traveling to Greece.

1. WHERE DID YOU TRAVEL?

I went to Athens, the capital of Greece.

2. WHAT IS THE NUMBER ONE THING CLIENTS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT GREECE?

Despite it being a great country, Greece is not really an accessible-friendly nation. It has a lot of steps and uneven surfaces. Those travellers with mobility issues may find it tough to get around Greece in some cities.

3. WHAT IS THE BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION ABOUT GREECE?

That Athens is dirty—it’s not true! Yes, the city is covered in graffiti, which a lot of North Americans may associate with being dirty, but in Greece, the locals use graffiti as a form of expression on political issues, to spread positivity, and, most importantly, to express themselves artistically. It adds a lot of personal flavour to the streets.

4. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE HOTEL?

The Amalia Hotel Athens was my favorite stay. It’s quiet, clean, comfortable, and in an excellent location. We also get great rates with our suppliers for this hotel, so it’s great value for our groups.

5. WHAT NEW THINGS DID YOU LEARN ABOUT GREECE?

I learned that Greece is the top cotton producer in Europe, and that they have tons of linens and cotton goods available for very good prices. I also learned that the town of Arachova is a very popular ski destination in the winter for travellers who want to ski Mount Parnassus. Skiing is not typically an activity you’d associate with Greece, but a lot of people go skiing there!

6. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE LOCAL EXPERIENCE?

I loved the cooking class! We got to chat with a lot of locals and visit the markets with time to do our own shopping (I bought Greek sea salt and paprika), which was then followed by an excellent cooking class with lunch.

7. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE INDIVIDUAL LANDMARK?

The Temple of Poseidon, which was a pleasant surprise. It was a lot like the Acropolis, but there was almost no one else there and we visited at sunset, so the pictures were amazing. The Acropolis is gorgeous, but it’s very busy, so the Temple of Poseidon is a great alternative spot.

8. WHAT WERE YOUR FAVOURITE LOCAL DISHES OR DRINKS?

The spanakopita (cheese pies) was great! They are layers of phyllo dough filled with garlic, onion, feta, and spinach. When dipped in tzatziki they are so delicious!

9. WHAT WOULD BE THE PERFECT COMPLEMENT AS AN EXTENSION TO THIS TRIP?

For a traveller on the 8-day Athens & Classical Greece itinerary, which takes them to Athens, Delphi, and Meteora, I would add a few nights on a couple of islands, such as Naxos or Paros. The 9-day Greece Deluxe, which adds on Santorini and Crete, or 10-day Greece Deluxe, which adds on Paros, Naxos, and Ios, are good extension options.

10. WHAT IS YOUR TOP THREE TIPS FOR CLIENTS WHO WANT TO SEE GREECE?

One: Branch out from the main islands and add on one of the more unique and less-travelled islands to give your clients a real sense of the local culture.

Two: Shoulder season brings pricing down from the levels in peak summer. Along with slightly lower pricing, your clients will also enjoy milder temperatures as Greece is very hot in the summer!

Three: Your clients should bring non-slip shoes because everything is made out of polished marble in Greece. Sure, footing is a must.

Utrecht

Discover Utrecht’s picturesque canals, whimsical castles, and underground history

river-cruisesExplore the captivating wonders of Utrecht on our Best of Holland & Belgium itinerary – or, beginning in 2026, on your Captivating Rhine or Enchanting Rhine itinerary. With its canals and street cafés, this Dutch city is reminiscent of Amsterdam. However, the intimate haven lies off the beaten path and boasts its own unique history and appeal. 

Utrecht’s Split-Level Canals

In the Middle Ages, Utrecht thrived as the cultural center of the Netherlands, as the Rhine River once flowed through the town. However, during the 12th century, the locals decided to change the course of the river, and thus the Oudegracht (Old Canal) was born. Eventually, this canal area was built up with shipyards and vast cellars to conveniently store ship parts at water level. Over the centuries, Oudegracht’s shipyards transformed into shops, restaurants and homes, creating a “split-level” canal formation. With this unique structure, people can sit at cafés next to the water or stroll by shops and homes a level above.

A Castle Out of a Fairytale

Just outside the city is the picture-perfect Castle de Haar. Straight out of a storybook with turrets, moats and drawbridges, the castle is the biggest and most luxurious in the Netherlands. It is so large that when it was built in 1822, the entire village of Haarzuilens had to be moved to make space for its walls. Today, the historic monument plays host to guided tours and lavish events. The grounds hold an expansive park and lush gardens covering 135 acres. Among the most beautiful are the Rose Garden, with over 1,200 roses in 79 different varieties, and the Roman Garden, featuring ponds, canals, bridges and more. Our included visit to De Haar allows guests to explore the castle grounds and luxurious interior.

Above and Below Dom Square

The 14th-century Domplein Square, called Dom Square for short, is home to Dom Tower, the tallest church tower in the Netherlands at 369 feet high. Adventurous visitors may climb the 465 steps to reach the top for a spectacular aerial view of the surrounding city. 

The DOMUnder is a new cultural center of Utrecht. Two thousand years of Dutch history can be uncovered within the pillar foundations of the medieval Gothic Dom Cathedral underground. Those who choose to descend beneath the town’s square will learn through an archeologist’s lens, uncovering history by torchlight. These special lights activate stories and animated films, bringing the past to life. 

A Self-Playing Orchestra

Imagine for a moment a time before iPhones and cassette players, when self-playing musical instruments, or musical automata, were all the rageWith its focus on an impressive collection of such instruments, the Museum Speelklok lies in the heart of Utrecht and declares itself to be the most entertaining museum in the Netherlands. During our included tour of the museum, guests may experience the cheerful mix of music that radiates from all corners as musical clocks, orchestrions (self-playing orchestras) and traditional Dutch street organs play throughout the day. 

With enticing stories and engaging sites, Utrecht offers something intriguing for every type of traveler. Contact S.T.S. at 469-846-8004 today and uncover the charms of Utrecht on your Best of Holland & Belgium or, beginning in 2026, on your Captivating Rhine or Enchanting Rhine sailing. 

Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboy’s Thanksgiving Game with New York Giant’s

on November 27-29, 2024

Turkey on the table, football on the field. It’s a Thanksgiving tradition with America’s team. 🏈🦃 

The Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving game is an annual tradition that brings family, friends, and football fans together. This year, the excitement was ramped up even further as the Cowboys faced off against the New York Giants in what promised to be a thrilling encounter. Held at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, the game was not just about football; it was a spectacle of entertainment, with high stakes for both teams in the competitive NFC East.

The Cowboys, known for their dynamic offense, came into the game with high expectations. Quarterback Dak Prescott, along with stars like Ezekiel Elliott and CeeDee Lamb, were ready to put on a show for the home crowd. On the other side, the Giants, led by Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley, were not to be underestimated. They brought a gritty, determined play style to the field, aiming to disrupt the Cowboys’ Thanksgiving celebrations.

The game typically includes a halftime show that adds to the festive atmosphere, featuring performances from top musical artists that draw viewers even beyond the football fans. Additionally, the event is known for its philanthropic side, highlighting and supporting various charitable causes, which adds a layer of community spirit to the proceedings. Whether you’re a Cowboys fan, a Giants supporter, or just love the game of football, this Thanksgiving game is a highlight of the NFL season, offering both high-quality sports and a chance to bond over shared traditions.