When planning a trip to Europe for myself and my 3 sisters, we wanted a stress free trip that would provide the active lifestyle we wanted along with the absence of trying to choose where we were going to stay and most importantly….where were we going to eat! Having only been on large cruise ships before, getting onto a European river cruise with only 81 staterooms is a delightful surprise. I chose AMA waterways for several reasons, first the itinerary and dates fit perfectly for me and my sisters. Secondly for the reviews and comments made by my fellow co-workers, letting me know AMA is an amazing product. And finally the beautiful pictures on the AMA website, which come to find out after being on the ship is such a true representation of the product.
We arrived 2 days before our cruise so we could explore Zurich and Lucerne. What a magical city Lucerne is, it is a must see if you are traveling in this region. Taking the train up to Basel, we left early so we could explore the city before sailing, train time was right around 50 minutes from Zurich. The AMA staff were very accommodating since we arrived around 9:00 am and they were still disembarking passengers from the previous cruise, they took our luggage and told us that it would be in our stateroom once we returned. Sure enough, once we returned around 2pm, our luggage had been placed in our stateroom and they had a lunch buffet set up that was perfect after a morning of sightseeing.
The stops this itinerary were, Breisach Germany, Strasbourg France, Ludwigshafen Germany, Rudesheim Germany, Cologne Germany and then Amsterdam. I will mention one of my favorite excursion on this route….they were all amazing but this one was exceptional, the Alsatian town of Riquewihr. This little village has not changed in centuries, not touched by any war; it is as it was from the 16th century. The first thing that you notice is the fragrant smell of the Macaron cookies, it is everywhere and instantly beckons you to purchase a few and snack on them while you explore the town. Then of course you will need to purchase additional to snack on while getting back to the ship!
We ended our cruise in Amsterdam, we hit it exactly in time for the Tulip blooms and it was a riot of color and fragrance all over this town and the countryside. Some of the fragrances better than others! We stayed an extra 2 days in this city so we could explore all that it has to offer, so many museums that it could keep you busy for many more days. Such a nice city, never felt unsafe or unsure about a particular area and so easy to walk or take public transportation, just watch out for those bicycles!!
We flew home on the direct flight from Amsterdam to SLC, I would highly recommend this flight as it eliminates any connections if SLC is your final destination. Customs in SLC is a breeze compared to JFK, LAX or ATL, took less than 10 minutes.
In conclusion, this was such a great experience, traveling on a river cruise is such a delight and I would highly recommend it to anyone exploring a trip to Europe. AMA waterways elevated this trip and exceeded our expectations on service and comfort, such a wonderful product.