This week, we are joined by Jodi Goalstone with an article about her recent river cruise with AMA Waterways – take it away, Jodi!!!
Rhine Time River Cruise
There are two types of seasoned travelers: those who have taken a river cruise, and those who will—with good reason. My husband and I recently returned from our first river cruise—an eight-day excursion aboard AMA Waterways AmaDolce from Amsterdam along the Rhine and the Mosel Rivers to Luxembourg. Most of our fellow travelers also were experiencing this marvelous mode of travel for the first time. The onboard experience is relaxed and relaxing, with a highly trained crew and staff who are unfailingly upbeat, friendly, and helpful. Watching centuries-old castles atop bluffs, beautiful estates, quaint villages, and acre upon acre of Riesling and other varietal vineyards drift by is a mesmerizing and unforgettable experience. Because the ship holds only 146 passengers, there is neither herding nor frenzy. This also gives the 43-member crew ample opportunity to interact with passengers. No matter how tired the crew may be, when asked how they’re doing, they uniformly reply, “excellent.” That is remarkable given days that begin before dawn and end late in the evening. Although the days are highly organized logistically, you do not feel regimented or restrained. You can choose a tour, included in the cruise price, or explore a town or city at your own pace. Guided tour participants are divided into groups of 20-30 and use a dedicated audio headset. The guided tours were exceptional—and were given with a sense of humor, history, and pride of place. For example, Markus, our guide in Cologne, Germany, gave us a humorous look at Germans’ irreverent humor as he pointed out a sculpted figure atop a rebuilt apartment building facing City Hall. The figure is crouching down, exposing his buttocks in the building’s direction, indicating what the locals think of their local leaders! Charlotte, our American guide to the striking old city of Heidelberg, Germany, told us about the cultural mores and class expectations of Germans—from the point of view of someone who now lives there. The comfortable dining room and lounge, abundant meal offerings, and world-class Rieslings and red wines create a pampered feeling that lasts long after you disembark. Bon voyage!
Jodi Goalstone is a business writer/editor who lives in Tucson, Arizona.