Blog

Dubai Frame

The Dubai Frame. One of the first places to visit should be The Dubai Frame, one of the UAE’s most recent cultural landmarks. This iconic
structure holds the Guinness World Record for the “largest picture frame in the world” and frames extraordinary views of Old and New Dubai. It connects the Emirate’s rich past to the exquisite city it has become present day. Built in 2018, it is 150 meters high and 95 meters wide. This structure showcases contemporary Emirates Towers and Burj Khalifa (new city) on one side, and Deira and Karama (old city) on the other side.

Tours are offered most days from 9 am to 9 pm. Be sure to check hours during major holidays such as Ramadan. You can also purchase tickets ahead of time to avoid long waits. Guests are asked to wear respectful clothing at all times, shoulders and knees are to be covered when visiting as a general policy.

Ship Features

Our 20 Best Ship Features

river-cruisesView our ships’ features that set AmaWaterways journeys apart from other river cruises

Our innovative river cruise ships have a wealth of wonderful amenities and unique spaces that have earned us dozens of awards and rendered them the highest rated river cruise ships in Europe. From the largest staterooms to the smallest of details, learn about our 20 best ship features that help ensure a memorable journey.

1. Our signature view-enhancing twin-balcony staterooms where both a French balcony and an outside balcony await with fresh air and the everchanging landscapes outside your window, available on most ships in Europe and the AmaDara on the Mekong River.

Learn More About Our Twin Balconies

2. Exquisite locally-sourced cuisine included in the price of your cruise – in multiple dining venues, including The Chef’s Table Restaurant. Our expert chefs hand select only the freshest seasonal ingredients from markets on shore, ensuring that every dish, from our flavorful vegetable-forward soups to our exquisite breakfast jams (made with no added sugar) to our beautifully plated main courses, such as our asparagus risotto, always offer the most delightful culinary journey for your palate.

Learn More About Our Dining

3. High-quality complimentary Wi-Fi on board, ensuring you are able to stay connected, whether with your workplace, the news of the world, or your loved ones back home.

Learn More About Staying Connected

4. Our complimentary fleet of bicycles and Nordic walking sticks, available on our ships in Europe, enabling active travelers to explore the world on our included hiking and biking tours or independently. We were the first river cruise line to offer bicycles on board!

Learn More About Our Active Excursions

5. Green Award Certification – Twenty of our ships in Europe have been honored with this prestigious certification for industry-leading safety, quality and environmental performance. Our commitment to sustainability means that our ships have energy-saving LED lights, special insulated windows to reduce energy needs, solar heating systems and more.

Learn More About Sustainability

6. Impressive storage space in staterooms – Most of our ships have the following: a three-door wardrobe with space to hang plenty of clothes as well as shelves; ample room to store luggage underneath the bed; and an extra rolling drawer or compartment beneath the bed to unpack. There is also a personal safe to store valuables, as well as storage in the bathrooms for toiletries and makeup bags. In addition, most of our staterooms have a mini-fridge in which to store goodies purchased during your journey, such as wine or chocolates.

Prepare For Your Cruise

7. Thoughtful details that anticipate your needs on board – High-quality umbrellas in your stateroom and warm blankets on the Sun Deck ensure you are able to experience every fascinating destination and enjoy every scenic view, regardless of whatever Mother Nature sends our way. You’ll often be greeted with refreshing towels and bottles of water after hikes, bike rides and warm-weather excursions, while hot mugs of gluhwein and tea are available to warm you up when temperatures cool down.

8. With floor-to-ceiling windows in the Main Lounge, you will never miss a view in any season or weather condition, whether we are sailing through the idyllic French countryside, past the iconic windmills in the Netherlands, through Austria’s vineyard-rich Wachau Valley or through Germany’s castle-laden Rhine Gorge.

Learn More About Our Views

9. Expansive, Amenity-Filled Sun Decks – All of our ships feature a heated sun-deck pool or whirlpool (or both on board AmaMagna), and many of our newer ships include a swim-up bar. In addition, there is a walking track and space for wellness activities led by a Wellness Host, with additional amenities such as a golf putting green or giant chess board on select ships.

10. Our ships were purposefully built with a low draft – This means that the bottom of the ship is very shallow, so if ever water levels are not ideal, we’re able to continue carrying you along the rivers further than most other European river cruise ships.

11. Coffee and tea station available 24/7 – Whenever our guests are looking for a pick-me-up, we want to ensure they never have to wait – and that a quality brew is always available. To that end, we ensure our coffee machines are state-of-the-art and our guests have confirmed that the beverages they receive are top notch! We also have a variety of teas available to accommodate your unique tastes at any time of day, as well as during our afternoon teatime, which includes a delightful assortment of cakes, tarts and sandwiches.

12. Innovative activities, on board and on shore – From scenic hikes to our onboard Zen Wellness Studio, we have long been known for our innovative approach to active river cruising. We strive to offer our guests the latest and greatest activities on our river cruises, such as our newly unveiled pickleball court aboard the AmaMagna! As the first river cruise ship featuring a full-sized pickleball court, the AmaMagna gives you the opportunity to indulge in America’s fastest-growing sport while creating lifelong memories.

13. Every ship offers a well-equipped fitness center with high-quality contemporary exercise equipment from treadmills to spin bikes to resistance bands and more. The expansive Zen Wellness Studio on AmaMagna also features outdoor spin bikes and a juice bar.

Learn More About Our Wellness Program

14. Onboard hair salons and spas, to provide you with the pampering and relaxation you deserve and ensure you always look and feel your best. In addition, our AmaMagna and AmaDahlia also have a nail salon on board. All services are available for a nominal fee.

15. Spacious staterooms that range from 140 sq. ft. to up to 710 sq. ft. in AmaMagna’s suites, as well as connecting staterooms on select ships that are perfect for families. All staterooms across the AmaWaterways fleet offer such amenities as state-of-the-art fan coil air conditioning units and daily replenished water bottles, ensuring that you can unwind in comfort at the end of the day’s journey.Learn More About the Luxury of Space

16. Contemporary, destination-inspired décor. Each ship in our family is unique, whether you are sailing on board our distinctive AmaDara, with its intricately carved French colonial-style dark woods and artifacts created by local artists, or our AmaDahlia, with its subdued tones and lovely Chef’s Al Fresco Restaurant.

17. Onboard Entertainment – Dance floors, onboard musicians and local performers ensure that each evening following dinner is a joyful celebration on board. Of course, sometimes you simply want to relax in your own personal space, which is why our stateroom TVs feature Entertainment-On-Demand with English-language programming, music and movies. On the AmaMagna, a chic and intimate onboard cinema is also available, playing sports games, movies and even video games.

Learn More About Our Entertainment

18. A Festive Holiday Atmosphere – During Christmastime, our ships are the most elegantly decorated ships on the rivers, with trees, garlands, lights and snow globes to spare. But we also love to decorate during the colorful spring Tulip Time cruises and surprise our guests with spooky Halloween celebrations on board as well!

Learn More About Our Christmas Markets Itineraries

19. Our People: The Heart of our Ships – Our ships are the hardware, but our extraordinarily warm and welcoming crew and Cruise Managers serve as the “heart” of each ship and are the reason AmaWaterways has continued to sail the world’s rivers for so many years.

Learn More About Our Service

20. Our Guests: Inclusive, diverse, open and curious about the world around them, our guests bring a deep sense of family to each journey and help us create memories that last a lifetime.

Contact S.T.S at 469-846-8004 to learn more about our river cruise ships and the incredible destinations through which we sail!

TAGS:

20TH ANNIVERSARY

SHIPS

Ocean Cruisers

What inspires ocean-cruising travel advisors to keep coming back to the river.

river-cruisesAlonzo and Sheila C. own Our Gang Travel, one of the oldest minority wholly-owned travel agencies in the Northeast United States. From the very start, Alonzo stated, “We wanted to do something educational, experiential and totally different.”

Throughout the agency’s 35 years, this has included everything from bringing their own personalized entertainment – including art auctions – on ocean cruise ships to taking communion over the grave of John the Apostle in Ephesus, Turkey. But until more recently, the travel advisors had always been skeptical about river cruising and its appeal with Our Gang Travel’s predominantly ocean cruising clientele.

Personalized Attention

As top sellers with an ocean cruise line, the couple was used to being treated to a kind of “elite status” while sailing aboard ocean liners. Although river cruise ships are much more intimate vessels, they certainly weren’t expecting to receive as warm a welcome as they did when they ventured out as first-time river cruisers with AmaWaterways on the Danube River.

“With Ama, every single guest receives special attention,” said Sheila, “not just the people staying in suites.” She and Alonzo were surprised and delighted that every AmaWaterways crew member remembered their names almost immediately, from the front desk staff to the dining room. “It was like we were on our own personal yacht,” Alonzo shared.

Overall, Sheila recalled, “The included tours were out of this world and the food and wine were indescribable.” There was no doubt after their first river cruise that Alonzo and Sheila would return with their infamous groups.

Unique Experiences

Early on, Alonzo, Sheila and their clients were encouraged to enjoy one of AmaWaterways’ complimentary guided bike tours. However, knowing their guests’ interests reasonably well, they really didn’t think biking would be their group’s cup of tea. “To my surprise,” Alonzo laughed, “the bikes are now somewhat of a magnet and our guests always ask us if there will be bike tours on their next river cruise.”

Now several sailings in and proud members of the AmaWaterways family, the couple has made many incredible memories on board. Sheila recalled one sailing in particular where Our Gang Travel brought a well-known entertainer from Atlanta, Georgia on board to personalize the experience for their guests. Another group of French guests traveling together thought Our Gang’s entertainment – and guests – made their sailing the best vacation they’d ever had. “We welcomed so many guests into our group. It was a melting pot,” Sheila said. “We had an unbelievable time and it was an experience we’ll never forget.”

AmaMagna – Redefining the River Cruise Experience

Sheila and Alonzo have also had the opportunity to sail aboard our most innovative ship to date, AmaMagna, during her inaugural year on the Danube River in 2019. Twice as wide as traditional river cruise ships and personally designed by Co-Founder and President Rudi Schreiner, AmaMagna offers the luxury of space with more than 50% ultra-spacious suite accommodations and a number of welcome enhancements for all guests – especially those who have only previously cruised on ocean liners.

“The ship is unbelievable,” raved Alonzo. “The spacious suites, the layout of the dining areas and even the onboard boutique – they were all incredible. It was the epitome of what I would want on my own yacht.”

Sheila’s favorite things on board were AmaMagna’s chic cinema and the ability to choose from four unique dining experiences, including two new AmaWaterways restaurants: Al Fresco, which offers light vegetable-forward dishes with panoramic views, and Jimmy’s, with its warm, family-style dining atmosphere. “We appreciated having more space and more areas to go. I also loved the Zen Wellness Studio,” she recalled fondly of the expansive space that encompasses a fully equipped fitness room with outdoor spin bikes, a relaxing juice bar, two massage rooms and a hair and nail salon. “I don’t ever take a cruise without a spa treatment – and it was fabulous!”

A Personalized Experience

Although they were a little skeptical before their first AmaWaterways river cruise, Alonzo and Sheila now feel that river cruising has a wide appeal. With a variety of included excursions offered each day – including tours for gentle walkers – as well as active guided hikes and bike rides, and immersive culinary-themed Special Interest Tours, every river cruiser can personalize their AmaWaterways experience, no matter what their activity level or interest.

“People want to know if it’s only for mature travelers,” said Sheila, mentioning some children she’s seen connecting with one another on board. “It’s definitely not – and I can’t wait to get my grandchild and grandniece on a river cruise with us in the future.”

At the same time, Sheila noted, you’re never “too” mature to sail with AmaWaterways. “We took my mother when she was 90 and we have a client that is over 90 who has sailed with us,” she said. “We call her the Energizer Bunny because she’s been all over the world and is always out on the dance floor. Whatever age you are, you do it for the memories.”

Join us aboard our award-winning ships, including AmaMagna – contact S.T.S at 469-846-8004 to reserve your next unforgettable vacation today!

Multi-River Journey

10 Reasons to Sail a Multi-River Journey with AmaWaterways

river-cruises

Why now is the time to sail two or more rivers – or reserve an extended journey.

Discover the not-to-be-missed amenities and experiences that will advance our multi-river journeys to the top of your travel wish list.

1. Cruise through the heart of multiple countries or regions during a single journey. Experience the diverse culture and indelible history of Europe on our 14-night Grand River Cruises itineraries, many of which cruise two or more rivers. Alternatively, customize your ideal extended vacation by reserving multiple sailings together as a combination river cruise.

2. Our extraordinary Cruise Managers take care of you throughout your journey. Your friendly and knowledgeable Cruise Manager will be there for you every step of the way, going above and beyond to help you create memories you’ll cherish for a lifetime. They accompany you on our optional land packages before or after your cruise as well – unique in the industry.

3. Cruise aboard the most innovative and highest rated river cruise ships in Europe. With innovations such as our view-enhancing twin-balcony staterooms and sustainable features from LED lighting to solar heating, our award-winning ships are floating hotels offering the luxury of space for an average of 150 guests and provide all the modern comforts you need and more.

4. Our multi-river itineraries have been thoughtfully curated by experts. The visionary co-founders of our company grew up along European rivers. Their intimate knowledge of these regions and their heritage on the rivers means that we provide you with the most authentic and immersive experiences, with choices to personalize every moment of your time on shore.

5. You have endless choices in how to spend your day. variety of included excursions are available, whether you prefer to learn more about a destination through its history or get active along its bike paths and hiking trails. Visiting a port for the second or third time during your journey? Take a deeper dive into its culture with one of our immersive special interest tours that include culinary demonstrations and tastings of local specialties. On board, relax with scenic cruising, take a dip in the sun-deck pool, or visit our spa for a soothing massage.

6. Enjoy exclusive included experiences just for AmaWaterways guests. Our relationships forged throughout the years have granted us access to special exclusive experiences only available to our guests. Attend our authentic Bavarian Oktoberfest celebration in Vilshofen, Germany. Or enjoy a private visit to the medieval Burg Lahneck Castle on the Rhine.

7. Our award-winning chefs prepare exceptionally diverse menus with plenty of choices. As members of La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs and Tables et Auberges, we pride ourselves on serving exquisite, regionally-inspired cuisine prepared with the freshest seasonal ingredients often sourced from local ports. With multiple dining venues, including The Chef’s Table, and four unique restaurants on board AmaMagna you will be treated to a variety of dishes at every meal, with complimentary fine wines served during lunch and dinner. Plus, whether you are gluten-free, vegetarian or need low-sodium options, we are happy to accommodate you. And you are always welcome to try the local food on shore!

8. Our Wellness Program ensures you can enhance your best self no matter how long you sail. Whether you wish to extend your healthy lifestyle on board or try something new, our complimentary wellness activities are offered multiple times a day. From yoga and core strengthening classes to active wellness walks, our onboard Wellness Hosts will help you recharge. You may also stay on board and treat yourself to a massage or a haircut, or even a manicure or pedicure aboard AmaMagna.

9. Complimentary laundry service. To pamper you with convenience and comfort, you will receive one complimentary laundry service when you reserve one or more combination river cruises reducing the amount of clothes you need to pack.

10. Surprises and delights! From our crew’s heartfelt efforts to thoughtful touches on board, we ensure that, from the moment you reserve to the moment you return home, you feel like the most special member of our AmaWaterways family.

Ready to reserve your multi-river journey with AmaWaterways? Contact your preferred travel advisor today, learn how you can save 10% on your next subsequent sailing.

Pairing Wine & Chocolate

Pairing Wine & Chocolate

river-cruisesFred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Johnny Cash and June Carter, red wine and chocolate. Some of the best things in life just go even better together.

After all, chocolate and wine have so much in common. Naturally intoxicating for both wine-addicts and chocolate-addicts, the two are sometimes called sinful, one of life’s little luxuries or a Dionysian pleasure. Wine and chocolates are among the most popular gifts for Valentine’s Day… or really, any day… and come in a large variety of flavors and weights and residual sugars. And while wine and chocolate may start out differently (one’s beginnings come in the form of a grape, while chocolates start off as a bean), they are both fermented with the same type of yeast.

Of course, not all chocolate and wine pairings work quite as beautifully together as others. Just like complimenting the right food to the right wine, one must know how to best pair wine and chocolates together for the best flavor combination.

For example, red wines with notes of berries and cloves pair beautifully with chocolate’s rich, creamy, sweet flavors. Dark chocolates, with its high percentage of cocoa, are to be savored with a robust, bold red… not merely enjoyed. This is the magic of finding the perfect flavor combination.

And where better to learn the nuances of wine and chocolate pairings than in a castle in France? AmaWaterways brings guests to the splendid 16th century castle, the Château de Tournon. Listed as a historical monument since 1938, the castle offers lovely views and a very authentic atmosphere. A local expert will guide you through a special presentation and delicious pairing that is sure to entice your taste buds.

As you’ll learn (and undoubtedly return home to impress all your friends), the choice of wine should always be sweeter than dessert. And when considering what best goes with what, remember to consider both texture and taste.

Just like the staggering variety of world-class wines, there are numerous tempting options for a choice in chocolate. Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, caramel chocolate, even nutty chocolates and chocolates mixed in with fruits, pretzels, popcorn, the mouth-watering list goes on and tantalizingly on.

A warm chocolate soufflé is quite different from a store-bought cold piece of chocolate which is quite different from a gourmet bag of popcorn coated in chocolate. The wine selection might be considered appropriately.

Explore the beautiful pairing of wine and travel with our Celebration of Wine River Cruises throughout Europe.

PRINT

SEE FEATURED ITINERARIES

TAGS:

FRANCE

FOOD & DRINK

EUROPE

RHÔNE

TOURNON

Soulful Experience

A Meaningful Soulful Experience in France

river-cruisesGuests Monique and Karen reminisce about our first-ever river cruise highlighting Black history and culture.

In August 2023, after more than 12 months of careful planning and anticipation, AmaWaterways debuted our premier Soulful Experience – a specially curated 10-night Colors of Provence river cruise and land journey celebrating the Black and African diaspora in Paris and along the Rhône River. With guided tours curated to showcase Black history and culture of Marseille and Paris, as well as an excursion to a truffle farm, jazz concerts, and exquisite food and wine, this first-ever experience for AmaWaterways received immediate and enthusiastic support from travel advisors and guests within the Black community.

“I could say so much about the journey to our Soulful Experience, but the one word that immediately comes to mind is ‘support,’” said Jazzmine Douse, AmaWaterways’ Director of National Accounts. “It takes a lot for a company to look inward and be honest about where change or improvements are needed. The proposal, execution and support for this venture was a true testimony to the open and transparent nature you find at AmaWaterways. A company committed to growth, inclusivity and a welcoming environment for all – AmaWaterways truly leads by example and not just intention.”

A Surreal Mother-Daughter Getaway

Mother and daughter duo and Texas residents Karen and Monique were excited for their first Black travel experience. “When Monique first told me about this journey with AmaWaterways, I said, ‘Sign me up!’” recalled Karen, happily. “I wanted to be with other cruisers that looked like me.”

Even before stepping on board our beautiful AmaKristina in Arles for their 7-night cruise to Lyon, Monique was surprised to see so many Black travelers at the airport in Marseille. Strangers for a mere moment, they congregated together, bonding almost immediately. “That first day in France was very surreal,” she observed.

The Excitement of Customized Excursions

Among a plethora of included excursions typically included on our Colors of Provence itineraries, such as a visit to Avignon’s Papal Palace and a steam train ride in Tournon, AmaWaterways planned special experiences throughout the journey highlighting the Black and African diaspora. One of these excursions traced the footsteps of legendary entertainer and civil rights activist Josephine Baker during the land package portion in Paris, which was included for all guests as part of the 10-night Soulful Experience.

“Growing up as a little girl, I was a jazz and tap dancer and would remember our dance teacher celebrating Josephine Baker especially during Black History Month,” recalled Monique. “Being in the same locations where she performed was an amazing experience for me.” She was also surprised and delighted to see beauty supply stores and hair salons with women inside having their hair braided while visiting Paris’s “Little Africa” village. “It reminded me of home,” she remarked.

However, what struck Monique the most was the attention and respect each of the guests gave AmaWaterways’ phenomenal tour guides. “They were 100% hands-on-deck, soaking it all in,” she remembered.

“I felt like a child on Christmas morning waiting to see where we were going – I could hardly sleep at night,” Karen giggled. For her, it was the warmth of the intimate community formed during the cruise that she appreciated most. “I felt like I was with family. If I missed taking a picture of something, someone said, ‘I got you,’ and sent it to me. They really showed me love. It was wonderful!”

Soul Train Lines and Tears

Evenings were a highlight of the Soulful Experience for the 122 guests on board. According to Monique, there was plenty of great music, dancing, and soul train lines each night after dinner as guests excitedly congregated together in the Main Lounge. “We even thought we were singers at times,” laughed her mother, Karen. “I never once spent the evening in our room. And I never got anywhere on the ship fast because everyone was so nice and always wanted to chat!”

Jazz bands performed both on board and on shore, an intentional choice for this specialty cruise. However, the guests were particularly fond of AmaWaterways’ onboard musician, David. “He brought tears to our eyes,” remembered Karen. “He was very appreciative of all the love we gave him and for the chance to play for an entire ship of Black guests – just like him.”

High Praise and Parting Words

Our June 2023 Soulful Experience was in the very capable hands of AmaWaterways’ extraordinary South African Cruise Manager, Crystal. According to guest surveys, she was a tremendous part of what made the experience so successful – and memorable.

“There are no words to explain how amazing Crystal was,” professed Karen. “If I could rate her on a scale of one to ten with ten being the best, I would give her a hundred. She and the crew on board AmaKristina treated us like kings and queens.”

Monique shared similar praise for Crystal and her level-headedness as well as her ability to overcome the little “hiccups” that come along with any travel experience. However, Monique was also introspective about the rare opportunity this sailing gave her, not only to enjoy a travel experience curated for the Black community, but to strengthen her bond with her mother. “We’ve never really gotten the chance to spend so much time together,” she stated. “It really meant the most to me to create these memories with my mom.”

Even employee Jazzmine Douse was emotional summing up the river cruise. “Exploring the cultural history of France among such a large and incredible group of fellow Black travelers and witnessing so many moments of high emotions and pure joy firsthand was one of the most unforgettable experiences in both my personal life and professional career,” she said.

As for the rest of us at AmaWaterways, we cannot wait to share this experience with more travelers in 2024 and beyond.

Limited staterooms are still available on our four incredible Soulful Experiences departing in France, Egypt, and Portugal in 2024, but space is filling fast. Contact your travel advisor as soon as possible and visit AmaWaterways.com/soulful for full details. Plus, stay tuned for information on our 2025 Soulful Experiences coming soon!

TAGS:

EUROPE

FAMILY

FRANCE

ART & CULTURE

GUEST TESTIMONIAL

Mother and daughter

Mother and daughter duo relax and reconnect while on an AmaWaterways river cruise.

river-cruisesMother and daughter duo Juanita D. and Ericka C. share how their cruise brought them closer together and gave them the opportunity to participate in activities that suited each of their needs. With distance separating them, time together is hard to find, but an AmaWaterways river cruise gave them a chance to relax and reconnect — their way.

Juanita and Ericka’s Recommended Highlights on the Danube

Budapest, Hungary

(Ericka): We spent some time at the Great Market Hall during the “Queen of the Danube” tour and the food there was amazing. There were plenty of places to stop, sample some local delicacies and recharge. We also found some great souvenirs to take home to our family.

Vienna, Austria

(Ericka): We really enjoyed the “Imperial Vienna” tour for gentle walkers. Mom needed something low-impact, but we still got to see the incredible Opera House and former Imperial Palace. And since the tour ended in the city center, we were able to explore the city during our leisure time and do some shopping — our favorite activity together!

Passau, Germany

(Juanita): The “City of Three Rivers” walking tour in Passau was probably my favorite because we saw some really interesting Gothic and Italian Baroque architecture, which I’ve always followed and admired.

Gentle Walkers Tours

(Juanita): I thought the variety of included excursions was excellent, because you had active, regular and gentle walkers tours. That worked well for me because I was looking for something more low-impact that was easy to keep up with. While we were at each port, it was helpful to be able to choose tours that aligned with my physical abilities. I really wanted to keep up with my daughter on the regular tours, but then I tried a gentle walkers tour halfway through and I was able to transition to that tour with no problem. This tour allowed me to take more frequent rest breaks but still see everything that I wanted to see.

How This River Cruise Reinforced Their Bond

(Juanita): We shared a spacious stateroom and did everything together, from watching beautiful views pass by to excursions and dinners. We enjoyed getting to know everyone on board. The crew and the guests were so friendly, but there were still opportunities for us to spend time together.

(Ericka): We loved being able to strengthen our bond. Even though we are both at different ability levels, I didn’t feel like Mom was being left behind; I felt that she was being taken care of. Being docked right in the center of many cities meant that she was able to see everything and take it slowly when needed.

Standout Features On Board

Fitness Center

(Ericka): I really cherished this space. While I worked out, my mom stayed behind in the lounge to sip cucumber water and take in the stunning views.

Fine Dining With Fresh Local Ingredients

(Juanita): I’ve enjoyed cooking all my life, which can make me more accustomed and comfortable with my own recipes. The food on board was amazing. I really loved the high-quality ingredients used and everything was so fresh. It was really special being introduced to so many new spices and ingredients. Being able to get the recipes was an added bonus!

Cultural Performances

(Ericka): I love that AmaWaterways brought cultural entertainment on board from the various cities we visited so we could experience them firsthand, all while still aboard the ship. I was never too tired to join in on the dancing fun.

Library

(Ericka): The library on board was great because it gave us another place to go and have some quiet time to relax. We loved challenging each other to a game of Scrabble. I was really surprised when we came across the inclusive reading materials on board. There truly is something for everyone.

In Conclusion

Would you recommend this cruise to people with limited mobility?

(Ericka): I always recommend AmaWaterways to my family and friends. Everybody should experience this at least once in their lifetime with the people they love and cherish. It’s incredible that there were all different walks of life on board, and we all came together with one love of travel.

(Juanita): Definitely! From the moment we stepped onto the ship, we felt like we were being welcomed into the Ama family. Individual differences aside, we all felt like one big family even while far from home. It’s a feeling that can’t be overstated.

Discover the destinations and excursions Juanita and Ericka enjoyed on one of our Danube River cruises such as Romantic DanubeMelodies of the DanubeLegendary DanubeBlue Danube Discovery and Magna on the Danube.

TAGS:

GUEST TESTIMONIAL

DANUBE

VIENNA

FAMILY

GENTLE WALKERS TOURS

River

Exploring the Rhine and Danube Rivers

If you are just getting ready to take your first European river cruise, or you’ve been on several, you will want to consider both the Rhine and Danube Rivers. There’s a reason why they’re the most popular river cruises in the world!

The Rhine and Danube River cruises have some similarities.

They flow through some of the most scenic places in Europe. You will see bustling cities, charming villages, and even picturesque fields. Castles dot the countryside.

Both rivers will have you cruising through several locks along your trip. These engineering marvels will have you captivated. They might also keep you awake, so pack earplugs if you’re a light sleeper.

It is the differences between the Rhine and Danube River cruises that are likely able to help you choose which cruise is right for you.

Family

The Family that Cruises Together.

river-cruisesOur family planted an apple orchard while our kids were still growing. We had t-shirts made that said, “The family that picks together sticks together.” I’ve always wanted to keep my family close. I speak internationally all over the world and have for the last 25-30 years. So, when we go, I always see if we can take a kid or a few grandkids with us. When the family expanded to 19 of us, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be nice to get together once in a while to do something special?’”

Special Memories

The first time we did this was a hiking trip to the Canadian mountains. Afterwards, our son-in-law who had joined us mentioned this trip as a special memory just before he passed. And that inspired me to plan more of them, like our family’s Paris & Normandy river cruise with AmaWaterways.

Paris & Normandy was the first river cruise we did all together. And it was an ideal approach because it allowed for us to do individual excursions at our own pace or focus on our own interests, while still getting together for dinner every night.

A Rare and Lovely Experience

At 19, we were a big crowd to manage, but AmaWaterways is a wonderful group to work with! In fact, when my husband and I had a difficult problem, they came to the rescue. Our flight was delayed. Everyone was going to be on the cruise ship but us! AmaWaterways had friendly representatives meet us at the airport and drive us to the next location where the ship was docked the next day. We didn’t do anything special to deserve that – they’re just a wonderful company and they made the experience effortless and lovely for us.

During the cruise, I remember wonderful hikes where my family and I would walk and chat together. I usually took one of the ship’s Nordic walking sticks with me, which was very helpful on tricky terrain. The hikes were pleasant and easy.

I found it such a pleasure to see all the cousins on board getting along and being together. It doesn’t happen often because they don’t all live in the same cities and are between the ages of 18 and 31. We started traveling when the youngest were babies! We’ve done many trips, but cruises are my number one favorite.

Bringing Warmth and Families Together

Cruises allow for individuals of different ages, physical abilities and interests to do what they want, and AmaWaterways encourages the togetherness and warmth that accommodate loving families. There’s also room for both spontaneity and pre-arranged excursions, as well as choices at dinner. And the food on board was consistently excellent!

We really did have a very delightful time. It’s a wonderful kind of journey that gives the family time to “play” and takes them away from their cell phones and work pressures. When you cruise, you’re away. And it really is relaxing.

Experience comfort and luxury all-in-one in our spacious suites and connecting staterooms on select ships – perfect for families!

See which one of our 2024 European itineraries fits your family best!

Skip-Generation Travel

Skip-Generation Travel: A River Cruise with the Grandkids

Why Arlene B. wanted her grandchildren all to herself on the Captivating Rhine – and why she’ll do it again.

Weeks of pleading could not convince loyal AmaWaterways guest Arlene B. to budge on her plans to take her six grandchildren, three boys and three girls ranging in age from 16 to 27, on a Rhine River cruise – without their parents. “Their parents tried to bribe me,” said Arlene. “but I wasn’t having any of it. I wanted it to be me and my grandkids alone.”

With her grandchildren spread out across the US in Ohio, Kansas, Colorado, Maryland, and Connecticut, Florida resident Arlene does not get the chance to spend time with them very often. “The biggest impetus for me in planning this cruise was to have the six of them bond – and it happened. It was just a beautiful thing to watch.”

Anticipation and Organization

In the months leading up to their very first journey to Europe, 16- and 17-year-old sisters Brooke and Brynne were quite excited, but organizing travel from multiple states was no easy feat. Fortunately, technology brought all six cousins together on a conference call to discuss their choice of shore excursions – and Arlene left all the planning up to the children.

After a couple of “fierce debates,” 27-year-old Drew recalled that many of the cousins’ interests aligned. With the exception of one bike tour selected by siblings, the crew decided to stick together, reserving every excursion as a group to maximize their time spent with Grandma.

“I always had one or two grandkids by my side, looking out for me,” boasted Arlene. “I really didn’t expect to be with them as much as I was, but… it was 150% wonderful.”

On Board AmaLucia

The family arrived together in Amsterdam more than ready to embark on AmaLucia, the newest ship in AmaWaterways’ European fleet. The vessel’s familiar layout, elegant décor, and warm and welcoming crew embraced Arlene right away. As their grandmother settled into her stateroom, the three girls and three boys headed off to their two shared staterooms to unpack.

Having experienced big-ship cruising before, Drew was delighted by the boys’ triple accommodations in their twin-balcony stateroom (with both AmaWaterways’ signature French balcony and outside balcony) that enabled them to enjoy each change in scenery. “Being able to see things constantly instead of just staring out at a wide-open ocean, being able to put my feet up while sitting out on the balcony and watching the views go by – every town, every mountain, every castle – it was incredible.”

Especially amazing to all six young adults during their Captivating Rhine cruise was spending time up on the Sun Deck while AmaLucia passed through Germany’s Rhine Gorge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its more than 40 historic castles, visible from the ship. “They were hanging over the edge,” remembered Arlene. “Two of my grandsons are history buffs and when the Cruise Manager told the tales of all the castles, they thought they died and went to heaven.”

Of course, dinner in the Main Restaurant was an incredible time for everyone to reflect on each day’s excursions and any mini adventures members of the group had on shore before the ship departed for the next port. The cousins loved indulging in regional cuisine, but one menu item rose above the rest. “My youngest granddaughter, Brooke, couldn’t get over the fresh-baked rolls,” recalled Arlene. “The servers figured out that we couldn’t deal with just two or three baskets of bread each night – we needed six or seven!”

Along the Banks of the Rhine

During their 7-night cruise, the family visited many fascinating destinations, from Strasbourg, where they united with distant relatives, to Cologne, with its impressive Gothic cathedral. Arlene favored the little old houses dotted throughout Riquewihr, France, but nothing stuck with Drew more than the ship’s visit to Rüdesheim, Germany. There, he was surprised and delighted by the spectacular display of local townspeople making their authentic Rüdesheimer coffee, during which they set brandy aflame in specially designed coffee cups.

“I cannot think of anything even remotely similar that you can experience in the states. It was like they were pouring liquid fire!” he raved.

Drew now feels river cruising trumps big-ship cruising as it allows people to visit more off-the-beaten path towns and immerse themselves in their rich cultural traditions. He also praised AmaWaterways’ choice of local tour guides, such as the gentleman used during the family’s excursion in Speyer. Proclaimed Drew, “He was wonderful, funny, and charming, and the tour felt more like an interactive learning experience.”

Drew also noted that river cruising was friendlier for teens and twenty-somethings who appreciate added time to explore on their own in port after their guided excursions or to go out in the evenings, when bigger ocean ships are typically already sailing to their next destination.

Where to Next?

The last night of the family’s river cruise, as they sailed towards Basel, Switzerland, Arlene’s grandkids told her they want to take another cruise together in two years. Not missing a beat, Arlene responded, “I’m in.”

Though the destination may not be as easy to choose as their excursions were during their pre-Rhine River cruise conference call, both the Danube River and Portugal’s Douro River have been floated around amongst the clan. However, one thing is clear: the destination does not matter as much as the company.

“Having the six of us together all in one room is something that hadn’t happened in five or ten years,” Drew concluded. “I feel like I was just playing with my younger cousins, and they were four and six, and then fast forward and I’m having a drink with one of them on the ship. It made me feel a little old, but I wouldn’t have traded this experience for the world. I will cherish it for the rest of my life.”

“It was better than awesome,” agreed Arlene.

For more information on our Rhine River cruises, click here and contact your travel advisor to reserve your family river cruise today!