Rolling Down the Riverby Alanna Berman July 1, 2012
By Alanna Berman
A pioneer in river cruising, AmaWaterways has offered all-inclusive river cruise vacations throughout central Europe, Russia, Vietnam and Cambodia for almost 20 years. The comfort, luxury and smooth ride of Ama’s custom-designed fleet makes river cruising the choice for passengers who appreciate the finer things in life, and for those who wish to see all their destination country has to offer.
“The main difference between a river cruise and [ocean cruising] is that on ocean cruises, the ship is the destination,” says Rudi Schreiner, co-owner and president of AmaWaterways. “[On a river cruise], it’s a bit more like traveling Europe by car or train, but you probably gain about double the time at your destination, without having to waste time packing and unpacking [between cities].”
Other cruise offerings, like onboard entertainment and world-class cuisine in an intimate setting, also set AmaWaterways apart from competition. Peaceful waters offer a smooth ride throughout the trip, with vessels docking in the heart of each destination city.
“In all of the European cities today, [the center of the city] is not accessible by car or train,” Schreiner says of the time saved — and opportunity gained — by docking as close to the city center at each destination.
A river cruise with AmaWaterways is also the only way to see up to eight countries in only 15 days. Traveling along the Danube River, passengers on the “Black Sea Voyage” itinerary start their trip with a two-night stay in Vienna, stopping in Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Latvia, Romania and Serbia before completing their journey in Istanbul.
Other options include shorter trips or longer stays in fewer destinations, as well as AmaWaterways’ latest offering: themed cruises, including a “Jewish Heritage” itinerary, focusing on Jewish historical sites throughout Europe.
“[On our theme cruises], there may not be an entire ship filled with people on the [themed] itinerary, but those who are would have excursions based around, for example, the Jewish heritage sites in each of the destination cities,” Schreiner says. “During the tours, instead of focusing on general Budapest sightseeing, for example, we focus on the history and what is there today as far as the Jewish population. There is a strong interest, because these areas are the origin sites for the Ashkenazi people, and people all over the world are interested in what happened [there].”
Other theme cruises include “Tulip Time,” which visits Holland and Belgium in the spring and “In Celebration of Wine,” stopping at wine regions throughout Europe for tours and tastings. Cruises can also be booked without specific themes, and each cruise offered on AmaWaterways includes the same level of service, world-class dining and accommodations onboard a fleet of custom-designed vessels.
Upon arrival at a destination city, passengers can choose from a host of guided tours and activities catered to their tastes.
“We have walking tours at all paces, for example,” Schreiner says. “We have late riser tours for people who want to sleep in and see mainly the highlights on a shorter tour of the city. We also offer tours with small cooking classes and food tastings, and each passenger can take advantage of the bikes we keep onboard for independent excursions.”
With about 150 passengers per cruise, and sightseeing excursions included for all passengers, the staff at AmaWaterways is dedicated to ensuring a quality vacation for all onboard, with five-star service at every stop.
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