Posts Tagged With: Travel Bucket List


How a River Cruise can Boost your Travel Experience

“River cruising, that is for older less active people”. That is the common stereotype and based on the cruise line can be somewhat true.

But, what if I told you that the industry has evolved and river cruising is so much more then just a vehicle for transporting you to remote river towns so you can disembark for a bus ride and possibly a stop for lunch? Would you believe me?

Possibly not and until I experienced it for myself, I may have not believed me either.

Now I know how a river cruise can boost your travel experience;

Travel Through Countries

Fairy Tale cruising the Rhine’s castles*

Arrive into a must see city that sits on or near a European river. Start in Paris, Amsterdam, Budapest, Vienna, Prague or Lisbon just to name a few. Imagine spending a few days engulfing yourself in a beautiful city taking in the sites, sounds and tastes of the local culture. Culture is one of the characteristics that makes these urban cities a must visit and perfect way to start your journey. Explore the beautiful gardens, historic locations, iconic buildings and enjoy the local gastronomy.

Then from that city you embark on a voyage that takes you through Europe’s beautiful countries. Experience them as they have been seen for hundreds of years from their waterways. This is truly the best reason to embark on a river cruise. Get to know the cities, countries and regions you are visiting intimately boosting your travel experience.

Beautiful Scenery

Douro River Valley view, Portugal*

The travel experience takes you on a journey to explore the many beautiful landscapes of Europe on a single itinerary. Transporting you from the mountainous regions of southern Europe, along the hills of the uplands, the rolling plains and lowlands to the mouth of the rivers where they empty into greater and inland seas, lakes or urban cities.

Sight castles and monasteries as you glide past them, witness endless miles of vineyards as they seasonally change color, embrace the vision of medieval architecture and modern bridges. As you spot historic villages and approach cities that have been beautifully built and to this day flourish along the rivers offering fantastic views into the past and present before you even arrive into your destination for the day.

The changing scenery and beautiful views can only viewed from your private yacht as it transports you from point to point on a breathtaking journey and is another way a river cruise will boost your travel experience.

Floating Hotels

AmaWaterways AmaPrima personal spaces and service*

Your ship is not just your vehicle for moving you along the river banks. A “floating boutique hotel”, offering you mostly all-inclusive modern luxuries from arrival to departure is another way to boost your travel experience.

Arriving at the ship, a bellman collects your luggage so you can check into your cabin from the lobby desk and quickly transports you both to your stateroom so you can unpack and settle in with a quick nap or with time to relax on your private balcony.

Ready for some activity, head out to the fitness room or sun deck for some exercise or a dip in the pool. Need a beverage or a bite to eat, there is always something available for you when you need or want it. When it is time for your next meal, try regional favorites at the restaurant style dining room offering locally inspired menus and locally sourced cuisine to enjoy with a glass of regional wine or beer to accompany your meal.

After dinner you can sit back and enjoy local entertainment before you retire to your bed to awake the next morning in a new locale. When you awake, enjoy a cup of coffee on your balcony or take advantage of the many breakfast options available before heading out to venture your next destination.

Regardless if you are an early riser or prefer to sleep in, the extensive time you have for visiting your destination allows you to travel on your terms. When you return to the ship, relax with a local spirit or wine as you wind down and reflect on your day. Most ships offer spa and beauty services as well as laundry service to round out your “floating hotel” experience.

Intimate Experiences

Socializing on the Sun Deck aboard the AmaPrima*

The small size of the ships, allowing for up to 200 passengers or less, provide unique opportunities to boost your travel experience.

With high staff to guest ratios, you get personalized service with staff who get to know your wants, needs and habits and are personally available to assist you if and when you need it. Having a room steward who has the extra towels available for you daily, the servers who know your name and drink of choice, or the chef who remembers how you like your eggs cooked, personal service is provided for you every step of the way.

With less people on board, that provides more space for you to enjoy the restaurants and lounges without waiting in lines or feeling crowded. It also offers an intimate experience among the other passengers who are traveling with you.

Local Immersion

Keukenhof Tulip Gardens in Amsterdam*

Travel styles like guests are unique but most travelers when visiting new destinations are looking for the opportunity to immerse in the places they are visiting.

Onboard concierge and cruise managers can guide you to the off the beaten path destinations or assist you with reaching some of the more popular not to be missed venues.

River cruises port for extended periods of time and it is not uncommon for them to overnight in the larger cities to allow you additional time to fully explore them. Leave the ship to enjoy dinner or attend a concert, hire a driver or jump on a train and explore further regions. Want to spend extra time in a city meet up with the ship in the next port. You have control over your experience and the opportunity to fully immerse in the areas you are visiting or want to visit to further boost your travel experience.

Small Group Excursions

AmaWaterways, Bordeaux, France*

Diversity of included excursions will accommodate travelers offering a more personalized experience that will enhance your visit and your travel experience.

Within each destination, you choose how you would like to spend your day. There are excursions included in your fare. Small group city tour options with 15 passengers or less guiding you to the highlights and landmarks.

You can also delve deeper into an immersive special interest tour to abbey’s, castles, historical sites, wineries and more all scheduled around your exploring pace and at a time that works with your daily schedule.

Local English-speaking guides lead the tours and they are not just knowledgeable but provide first hand experience and recommendations for connecting you with their local culture and understanding more about the locations you are visiting.

Active Experiences

Durnstein, Austria*

River cruising once was geared for the older less active crowd. With the increase of interest in visiting the many destinations that can be reached by river boat, amenities have become available to guests for a more active travel experience.

Many of today’s ships carry a fleet of bikes onboard to guide you through cities or to discover on your own seeing the sites as the locals do. One of the fondest memories of my time on the Danube was biking the Wachau Valley from Krem’s Austria to Melk Austria following the Danube through the vineyards and provincial towns at its banks.

Active goes beyond the biking option. Hiking, golfing and active wellness tours have become norms in the river experience. You can also find yoga, fitness classes and even private trainers available to round out your encounter and boost your travel experience.

Relaxing Included

AmaWaterways AmaPrima pool with swim-up bar*

With any well traveled globetrotter, relaxation can be an important part of the adventure to keep you going. The time spent onboard when you are not touring or actively engaging in your touring can be as enjoyable as the time spent touring.

Enjoy the sanctuary of your stateroom with beautiful balconies to provide serenity for relaxing, meditating, reading or enjoying a glass of wine or cup of coffee with fresh air and the calmness of the river.

The luxurious, but cozy uncrowded public spaces offer the opportunity to meet new faces, share experiences or observe entertainment provided in the lounges and bars. A cocktail at the pool, watching the world pass by from the sun deck or downtime on your own in the fitness center, enjoying a massage or with a salon appointment offer many opportunities to relax and further boost your travel experience.

Not like Ocean Cruising

A river cruise and ocean cruise both travel on water and will transport guests from destination to destination, but that is as far as the similarities go.

River cruising is boutique small hotel like ships. You will not find crowded spaces, lines for meals or assigned seats in the dining room or a different dining venue every night. You also don’t have large pools, kids activities, movie theaters, casino’s or Broadway shows. The small size of the ship allows the onboard staff to focus on safeguarding guests and crew with health and safety protocols also making it an easier path to sustainable travel.

River boat travel primarily occurs late night to early morning providing additional time in ports. No sea days or sea-sickness and land is seen throughout your journey.

Oceans take you to countries and rivers immerse you in the local experience as they take you through countries to boost your travel experience.

Endless Opportunities

Cruising the Chobe River, Africa*

A river cruise can be one of the best ways to immerse in a destination and truly connect with the location you are visiting. From the rivers of Europe, to farther off less traveled rivers in Asia, Egypt and even Africa. The world can be yours to explore!

River travel is no longer solely focused on an older less active participant. Today’s traveler is sophisticated, active and many times even multi-generational which is why river cruising has refocused its customer. With active itineraries, routes specifically designed to the under 40 crowd, family focused and themed tours, there is an option to connect rivers with all ages and can easily be added to a travel bucket list.

These are our tops for how a river cruise can boost your travel experience. If you would like to know “How a River Cruise is for You” check out our site for additional information and some FAQ.

*Photos courtesy of AmaWaterways

Categories: Active Travel, Bucket List, River Cruise, Sustainable Travel, Travel, Travel Bucket List | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

10 Reasons Why Germany Needs to be on Your Travel Bucket List

Regensburg, Germany

With mountains, forests, rivers and even beaches, the landscape of Germany is vast and offers many opportunities to explore.

Here are the reasons why Germany needs to be on your travel bucket list.

1. Perfectly Located for Exploring

Among the best of Europe’s countries, centrally located east of France, Belgium and the Netherlands, South of Denmark, West of the Czech Republic and Poland, Northwest of Austria and North of Switzerland and the Alps. Perfect for extensive travel throughout the Western and Central European region to immerse in the German experience or with visits to one of the various nearby countries. Germany is made up of 16 state regions, with open borders between its states and too adjacent countries. Many flights entering and leaving Europe will connect through Munich or Frankfurt airports. Ease of travel by auto, train, plane and ships on the waterways in and around Germany provide many reasons to add Germany to your Europe travel itinerary.

2. Cruise to and through Germany

Mosel River

Touching the shores of the Baltic and North Seas bring you access to Germany by ocean cruise on itineraries to the United Kingdom and/or the Scandinavia region. Germany has many rivers, the Rhine, Danube, Moselle, Main & Elbe that can transport you through her beautiful countryside and to some of her best cities which sit along the rivers. Not to be missed is Cologne on the Rhine, Regensburg on the Danube, Koblenz on the Mosel, Frankfurt on the Main and Dresden on the Elbe just to name a few. Cruising offers the opportunity to explore many regions with limited unpacking and numerous options for reaching even more of her amazing cities, towns and villages.

3. Experiences All Around You

Frankfurt, Germany

One of the largest countries in Europe, the Federal Republic of Germany was originally part of the Holy Roman Empire. The center for Protestant Reformation in Europe, Germany grew in the 18th Century into a super power until its demise after World War II when it was split into Eastern and Western Germany until reunification in 1990. Quaint old villages and historic city centers, castles, cathedrals, religious, secular and historical landmarks, World War II sites, memorials and government buildings offer sites to explore and immerse in all around. Plus, numerous experiences await you, walk the Berlin Wall, follow one of the many hiking trails located throughout the country or visit one of the many picturesque villages in the Black Forest region. The variety of offerings to experience her beauty and culture that built her is why Germany is one of the most visited countries in the world.

4. Museum Island in Berlin

Bode Museum – Museum Island, Berlin

Well known for its paintings, German painters have been key players in the European art scene and important contributors to the development of the Western art movement in Europe. From the German Renaissance paintings of Albrecht Durer to the Baroque style of Johann Zimmerman or modern day Neo-expressionism, if art is your passion, you will want to visit Museum Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site located on a small island in the Spree river offering five world renowned museums of art, antiquities, artifacts, and a national gallery. Regional museums in Frankfurt, Cologne and Dresden also offer fantastic collections of art with German and world influences.

5. Live the Fairy Tale

Neuschwanstein (Disney) Castle

German literature’s most familiar works are German Folklore ie Fairy Tales to us modern folks. If you love romance and the thought of fantasy land, the Deutsche Märchenstraße (German Fairy Tale Road) takes you on a scenic tour of the stories of Brother’s Grimm. Starting at the Grimm museum the route will have you exploring small medieval villages and picturesque towns like you would find in the stories themselves. Visit Sleeping Beauty’s Sababurg Castle (official, not the Disney inspired) and medieval Trendleburg castle and climb Rapunzel’s Tower. Both castle’s are hotel’s so you can extend your experience and live your own fairy tale. If seeing the Disney inspired castle is on your travel bucket list, visit Neuschwanstein castle about a 2 hour drive south west of Munich, Germany. Other recommendations for castle lovers, Hohenzollern Castle in in Baden-Württemberg provides spectacular views or if you are looking for something more palatial and in North Germany visit Schwerin Castle.

6. A Car Lovers Paradise

When you think of high performing vehicles, Germany is top of mind. Mercedes, BMW, Audi and of course Porsche are all top quality leaders and all happen to be located in Germany. Visit the BMW museum in Munich, the Volkswagen factory in Dresden or the Mercedes Benz and Porsche museums in Stuttgart. Also well known and on many bucket lists is driving the German Autobahn. Rent your preferred driving machine and head out onto a section of the 8000 mile roadway where the minimum driving speed is 80 miles per hour. Another unique bucket list option if purchasing a luxury vehicle or sports car is on the list, is the European delivery program. Tour the factory, pick your car off the line, test drive it on a private test track, drive it while on vacation and then drop it back off at the factory for shipment and delivery to your local dealership a few weeks later.

7. Traditional German Food

Weisswurst Sausage and Pretzels

Gastronomy is a big part of the German experience. Within each region of Germany you have various influences that make up the popular cuisines of the distinct area. Bratwurst and Spatzle are popular options in the southwest region. White sausages and pretzels in the Bavarian region, more traditional comfort foods in the Berlin region, borscht variations in the eastern region and frankfurter’s in Frankfurt, of course. Regardless of which region you visit, bread is a big part of the culture and included in every meal. Some not to be missed dishes to try while visiting Germany are Schnitzel, Fischbrotchen (fish sandwich), Currywurst, potato pancakes or dumplings, sauerkraut, Stollen bread, apple cake, the many strudels and Black Forest cake which is made with cherry liquor that originated from the region .

8. German Wine & Cider

Riesling is grown along the mosel river and is the most popular wine produced however Germany also produces other white and red wine varieties. Mainly produced along the Rhine in the western region of Germany, white and sweet wine’s are most notable. In the Alsace region grape varieties range from lighter rose to grapes that produce wines comparable to Italian Pinot’s. The biggest difference between German wine’s and those from the nearby regions of France are the higher levels of acidity that are found in the cooler areas of the German wine region. Apfelwein (apple cider) made from pressed apples is popular in the region surrounding Frankfurt, Germany and can be enjoyed in some of the local Cider Taverns within its old center. Apple cider is popularly combined with dry white wines (like Riesling) to create Gluhmost – hot mulled cider that is served during the colder weather and throughout the holidays in Germany.

9. The Beer Culture

For some, this is the primary reason they want to visit Germany. Beer is a key part of the German culture and has very specific requirements (the German beer purity law) to qualify as “German Bier”. Most German beers range in alcohol by volume from 4.7 – 5.4% however the heavier German darks can reach percentages up to 16%. Options to enjoy are top fermented wheat beers, pale beers like the popular Kolsch and Pilsner’s, dark Bock and similiar heavy bodied beers and lighter cask ales. Although bier (as it is spelled in Germany) is popular throughout Germany, it is most popular in the Bavarian region which is also where most of the breweries will be found. The oldest brewery in Germany, and the world, is in a Benedictine Abbey called Weihenstephen in Munich. The most popular way to drink your tapped bier is in a stein or Weizen glass as it is referred locally which is larger then your average pint with extra room for foam from the taps. Beer is so popular in Germany they have annual festivals in the fall called Oktoberfest surrounding the beer culture in Germany.

10. A Festival for all Seasons

Germans love to celebrate which is why we have saved the best for last. With a holiday and/or festival for every occasion there is surely to be an opportunity to participate in some local celebrating, feasting and dancing no matter when you visit. Some of the more popular celebrations offering festivals and events are; Silvester (New Years), Three Kings Day (celebrating the 12 days of Christmas into early January), Karneval, Valentines, Easter, Maifest (one of their oldest) which includes bonfires, Oktoberfest, St. Martin’s Day (similar to All Saints Day) and Christkindlmarkt (the Christmas Markets) where local artisans & entertainers gather daily in the center of the towns spreading festivity and celebration.

The Smorgasbord of additional information;

Germany is a beautiful country filled with friendly and welcoming people who love life. They are also very strict rule followers, with laws for everything, which can seem daunting to the unsuspecting visitor. In reality, it makes Germany efficient and explains why their country is so clean and well managed.

From the marshy coast, central wetlands, green hilly countrysides, lakes, forests and mountainous alps, the diversity of Germany is in its land. The climate throughout the country only swings about 8 degrees between the northern and southern regions. With warm (not hot) summers and cooler (not terrible) winters, the weather is rarely extreme making it enjoyable to visit any time of year.

With many options for exploring and traveling that fit any lifestyle, no matter who you are, families traveling together, single travelers, couples looking for romance, exploration, active itineraries, groups traveling together or simply because it is on your travel bucket list Germany offers options that are safe, exciting and fun which are all reasons to plan a visit to Germany.

These are our top reasons to visit the Deutschland, so the next big question is what is the best way to see Germany? A river cruise along the rivers of Germany provides you with a one of a kind experience not just taking you to amazing places but through them. It is the most immersive way to experience a location with ease and comfort. Take our quiz to find out if River Cruising is a right fit for you.

Categories: Bucket List, Experience, Travel, Travel Bucket List, Vacation, Wine | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments

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