First there is the dream of sailing on the magnificent Danube that you have heard about all of your life. Then comes the excitement of planning your personal vacation loaded with the anticipation of experiencing something you have never done before. The day finally arrives and after a trip across the Atlantic Ocean you get a first glance at your sleek AMA Waterways river cruise ship. You are greeted warmly and very quickly made to feel at home. The cabins are nicely appointed and the crew is searching for ways they can serve you.
The ship sets sail smoothly and quietly on this beautiful river that is surrounded by the hills and forests of Bavaria. It is now time for a marvelous dinner with excellent choices and served with care. On many of the nights there was entertainment after dinner on a small scale but high quality.
On our first morning we boarded the luxury motor coach to explore the interesting city of Nuremburg. We started by seeing the Nazi parade stadium and grounds where Hitler rallied his troops and brainwashed the citizens. Then it was back in time to the old city filled with cobblestone streets lined with medieval buildings and churches that were hundreds of years old. A short hike up to the mighty fortress gave us a great view of the city dotted with the steeples of churches throughout. In each city an excursion was included with our cruise fare which gave us a great value.
On our second morning we toured Regensburg with its stone bridge that was built nearly 900 years ago. The stained glass windows in St. Peter’s Church were beautiful. We enjoyed strolling through the narrow streets and exploring the many shops along the way. We saw the square dedicated to the Jews that were persecuted and expelled in the 1500’s, the Nazi’s were not the first. The flower boxes hanging from each window seal were beautiful and added to the charm of this wonderful city.
I thoroughly enjoyed the cruising between cities and even stayed up on deck as the sun set on the Danube. In Passau we experienced the history and beauty of this town. We loved it when the ship would dock within walking distance to most of the sites. Touring the magnificent St. Stephen’s Cathedral I was awed by the incredible artwork on the ceilings, the statues and the gold. It is breathtaking and unforgettable!
We opted for the included full day tour to Salzburg and we are so glad we did. The motor coach ride through the beautiful scenery quickly led to the town and lake called Mondsee. They are beautiful in their own right but when you throw in the making of the Sound Of Music movie sites there is an added bonus. Salzburg is a stunning city with its monumental castle watching over the city. We took the cog railway to the top and the views were amazing. Salzburg’s palaces, buildings and churches reminded me of the times where Kings ruled and the artists were spectacular with their limited tools.
A day spent cruising through the spectacular Wachau Valley was incredible. Sailing past castles, vineyards, small towns and more castles in this picturesque valley were jaw dropping. The ship stopped at the small towns of Melk, Durnstein and Krems along the way. We enjoyed city tours and although it was a bit difficult and hot, the hike up to the destroyed Durnstein Castle gave us unparalleled views of the Danube and the valley. I keep using “unforgettable” but that is exactly how it was.
The river cruise ended in the magnificent city of Vienna and included an overnight on the ship and we loved the extra time there. After another great city tour my wife and I toured the impressive Hofburg Palace where we could see the opulence of the royalty. That evening we had the option of going to see a classical music concert. Little did we know that it ended up being a 30 piece orchestra that was held in the ballroom of the Hofburg Palace. Wow! There were amazing vocalists and talented dancers that performed as well. It was an amazing evening on our last night.
It was hard to say good bye to the amazing staff and the beautiful AMA Sonata cruise ship. Although this was our first river cruise experience it will definitely not be our last one. I absolutely loved cruising the spectacular Danube River though the heart of Germany and Austria!
I'd love to help you plan your next Ama Waterways Danube River cruise!
Morris Murdock Travel of St. George
Street: 595 S. Bluff Street, Suite 4