I just returned from my first AMAwaterways river cruise and I can proudly say, it won't be my last! I already booked another cruise for next March, and perhaps I will even sail again before then!
I had been on MANY ocean cruises but this was my first river cruise. The biggest difference was the ease in which you can dive into the destination. I could walk on and off the ship at my leisure, like a floating luxury hotel!
I will admit that initially I was a little concerned about the apparent structure of the itinerary. It appeared at first glance that everyone onboard would be moving as a unit. But as I experienced the cruise, I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of flexibility I could exercise. I choose to eat on the top deck to enjoy lunch in the outdoors and I was accommodated by the staff who were happy to bring my plate to me where ever I wanted to sit.
While the food in the dining room was very good and offered something for everyone, I opted to eat dinner in town, to further experience the culture of each city we visited. The cruise staff were very accommodating and even provided recommendations for local restaurants to try. It was a great way to not just taste the local cuisine but also mingle with the people and learn more about their way of life. I highly recommend this option for anyone looking to get a true taste of each destination.
The AMAviola is a beautiful ship. The décor was elegant yet understated, and the cabins were comfortable. There was a plug on each side of the bed, which we very much appreciated when we needed to charge our phones overnight. Wifi is included and the signal was strong. The bathroom was spacious and robes were provided. We saw some guests making good use of their robes as they exited the heated pool in the chilly evenings!
My favorite part of a river cruise is the amount of time I was able to spend in each port. I was really able to get to explore the destinations. AMAwaterways includes excursions at every port, from gentle to active there is something for everyone. I choose the active excursions which were usually a hiking or biking tour. Bring comfortable shoes because there is plenty of walking - I averaged about 10 miles a day! Of course there are plenty of opportunities to take a less active approach if that is more your speed.
I saw many forts and castles and learned a lot about the rich history and culture of the Danube region. Some of the highlights included the shoes on the Danube bank, The Great Synagogue in Budapest, the architecture and musical history in Vienna, and the hike up to the medieval Durnstein Castle. Every port was an opportunity to explore a new city, meet new people and create lasting memories.
n the evenings, I was usually pretty tired from so much walking, but the ship did have local entertainment come on board which was very nice. I was generally in the room pretty early since most of the tours begin around 9am. Breakfast and wellness activities started as early as 6:30am. I am not an early riser so I took advantage of the 'late riser' breakfasts in the lounge and usually just grabbed some food on a plate and took it back to the room! The views are stunning from the balcony in the room, which is always a must for me. The balcony in our stateroom was half inside and half outside. I was able to witness the landscape outside on a beautiful sunny day and also sit inside and still see the shoreline on a rainy day. The balcony was a little small, but it served its purpose of providing a gorgeous view.
Overall, I had an amazing experience onboard the AMAviola and can't wait to river cruise again. The staff was phenomenal and the flexibility made it easy to enjoy the destinations at my own speed. I was able to take advantage of both the organized tours with plenty of time to roam and explore on my own. I highly recommend this river cruise to anyone looking to explore the Danube region (or other river destinations such as France or Egypt) in style and comfort and immerse themselves in a new culture.
I learned to play pickleball in 2003 when I began working as a photographer at Camp Ramaquois. I have played and watched others play for years. I can't believe the game has become so popular recently, with pickleball courts popping up everywhere - even on river cruise ships! AMAwaterways and Amadeus River Cruises have taken the pickleball craze to new heights by offering two river cruises that cater specifically to pickleball lovers.
Onboard the luxurious AMAmagna with AMAwaterways or the Amadeus Silver III with Amadeus River Cruises, guests can practice their pickleball skills while cruising the Danube river. But the fun doesn't stop there. You'll also get the opportunity to visit local pickleball clubs and courts in each destination, where you can compete against and connect with the locals and other pickleball enthusiasts.
These unique cruises offer a once-in-a-lifetime experience that combines both the love of pickleball with the joy of traveling to incredible destinations. The itinerary includes stops in Austria, Germany, and Hungary.
The two river cruise lines cater to pickleball enthusiasts of all skill levels. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned player, you're sure to have a blast playing and learning with fellow travelers.
But the fun isn't just limited to the pickleball courts. AMAwaterways and Amadeus River Cruises also offer fantastic onboard amenities, including stunning views of the river, fine dining experiences, and luxurious accommodations.
So, if you're looking for a unique way to combine your passion for pickleball and travel, book your spot today and get ready for the trip of a lifetime!
Get ready to serve, volley, and travel in style – all in the same trip!
Must Haves for Any Trip
As a travel advisor, who is constantly on the go, I learned that having the right travel items can make all the difference in having a comfortable and stress-free travel experience. Clients ask for packing lists and recommendations all the time, whether they are headed on an Alaskan Cruise or a Multi-City European adventure!
As I prepare for a weeklong River Cruise down the Danube with AMAwaterways, I am making my list! I am staying a night pre-cruise in Budapest, Hungary and post cruise in Nice, France. I am so excited to bring all my essentials with me as I stayed in 5 different countries in 10 days!
Here are a few items that I consider must-haves for any trip:
Disclosure: I may receive a small commission on purchases from some of the links on this post. This, however, has no bearing on my reviews and comparisons. These are items I actually own and use!
Packable Backpack - Whether you're exploring a new city or going on a day hike, having a sturdy and lightweight backpack is essential. The Outlander Packable Backpack is my go-to because of its lightweight and compact size when not in use, yet it's big enough to carry my winter coat, a hat and my husbands vest along with snacks, and 2 water bottles! Its comfortable mesh straps made it easy to carry during long excursions, and it’s stylishly adaptable for any situation.
Packing Cubes - Staying organized is crucial when packing for trip with multiple stops, and I find packing cubes the best way to sort and access my clothes. I brought the 6 Set of Various Colored Packing Cubes in 4 Sizes that I have had forever! Rather than packing my things in one cube and my husbands in another, I prefer to pack a day or 2 for each of us in each cube so that if luggage is lost or stolen, we both still have clothes. I always suggest having at least 1 outfit per person packed in your carryon and the various sizes in this pack make that very easy.
European Power Adapter - Power outlets in European countries differ from that in North America, so I knew I would need my European Travel Plug Adapter. This is a necessity to charge my electronics and keep me connected throughout my trip. I choose to get the 2 pack and I was so glad I did. My husband was able to have his phone charging on one side of the bed while I had my phone charging on the other. The USB plugs are handy for ipads and other devices that also need to be charged.
Travel Bottles - Although cruise ships and hotels all provide soap, shampoo and conditioner, I prefer to bring my own toiletry products. The Gemice Travel Bottles for Toiletries are TSA approved and a great way to bring my usual products with me on any trip without compromising on quality. I fit the perfect amount for my 10-day trip, which made me so happy to have my own products.
Luggage Scale - One of the most important things to remember when traveling by air is that airlines have strict weight limits for luggage. That's why I always use my Amazon Basics Portable Digital Luggage Weight Scale. This small but mighty device helps me avoid the stress and hassle of overweight baggage fees and ensures my luggage meets the airline's weight restrictions. It's small enough to pack if you want to, I generally weigh my luggage before I go and leave it behind (one less thing to carry!)
By having these items, I was able to navigate my River Cruise with ease, and it allowed me to have a more comfortable and enjoyable experience. Before your next trip, consider packing these essential items - you can thank me later!
I love working with seniors! I thoroughly enjoy guiding clients through the planning process, from finding the right destination to organizing the logistics to hearing about the trip upon their return. I am a strong advocate for my clients when it comes to price, quality and service. Trust and building lasting relationships along with continuing education are all extremely important to my business.