If you’re like many Americans, you’ve had dreams of experiencing the magic of Christmas abroad. There’s just something about small European villages and bustling cities dressed up in their best holiday decor that warms the soul in the season. While there are many ways to experience the holidays in Europe, a River Cruise with AmaWaterways just might be the very best one.
If you’re wondering just why “river cruising” – well, the benefits of river cruising at the holidays are the same as the benefits of river cruising the whole year through:
- A 5-star floating hotel as your temporary home
- Experience an amazing variety of small villages and bustling cities without the hassle of having to unpack more than once
- A fantastic crew to take care of all of your vacation needs
- Expertly organized excursions and activities on board and off the ship
- Epic scenery and views that just can’t be seen from land
But, if those reasons alone aren’t enough to convince you to try River Cruising – let me set the scene for you onboard a Christmas Markets Cruise with Ama.
It’s time to board your intimate, sailing vessel after spending the day exploring the charming streets and markets of your embarkation city. Maybe you’ve indulged in a warm cup of Gluhwein and a raclette at the Basel Weihnachtsmarkt on Barfüsserplatz before making your way to the port.
When you arrive at the dock, you are greeted by the warm and friendly crew who swiftly take your suitcase from you, and check you in to your cabin. While your checking in, you take in the beauty of the ship – each hallway, stairwell, and surface is tastefully and elegantly decorated in sparkling Christmas lights, ornaments, garland, and more.
As you make your way to your cabin you can’t help but smile at the beautiful wreaths lining each doorway and you instantly feel at home.
Your beautifully appointed cabin is plenty spacious for everything you need for the week, and the view from the balcony is pretty fantastic. Once you settle in, it’s time for a tour of the ship to get your bearings – the first thing you notice is how accessible everything is – the ship only holds 150 passengers and for the first time you understand how that makes for such a special and intimate experience.
Every room is dressed to the nines in its holiday best but your favorite room might be the beautiful Chef’s Table restaurant located at the back of the ship, with floor to ceiling windows and only a handful of tables to give guests a unique, extra special dining experience on board. But it could also be the lounge and bar – where you’re treated to festive holiday music expertly played by the piano maestro and little treats to snack on.
It’s December but surprisingly more mild than you were expecting and it’s time to check-out the sundeck, where you find plenty of lounge chairs, games, a running track, and even a heated pool for those feeling extra adventurous. It’s going to make for a great place to take in the plethora of castles you will pass on your way through the Rhine Gorge.
Now that you’ve acquainted yourself with your gorgeous ship, it’s time to make friends with the Cruise Manager, who you quickly realize is going to be a huge hit throughout the week – they are full of holiday spirit and amazing local knowledge that will enhance your cruise tenfold. They promise some fun surprises and offer you invaluable advice when it comes to which excursions to join, where to indulge in the best lunch offboard, and where to grab the best beer in town.
You celebrate your first night onboard with a special Captain’s Welcome celebration complete with a deep red rose and champagne, along with a fabulous first dinner. You extend your evening by enjoying a fun game of Holiday Trivia – which is surprisingly harder than you anticipated – hosted by the Cruise Manager in the lounge in the late evening. Before retiring to bed, you read up all about the next day’s activities on the Daily Cruiser left in your cabin which provides amazing insights into each port and the holiday traditions and markets you can expect to find there. You go to bed with visions of sugar-plums, hot chocolate, and roasted chestnuts dancing in your head as you look forward to the week ahead.
Whether you opted for the magical markets of the Danube or the Rhine river, each day you are in for a special treat both off and on the ship. On the Rhine, you’ll discover the explosion of charm in Alsace where you can’t forget to look up or you may miss out on the Teddy Bears decorating the half-timbered buildings before making your way to German wine towns like Heidelberg and Rudesheim, where the markets will be buzzing with excitement and bursting with flavor.
On the Danube you’ll discover the world-famous Christmas markets of grand cities like Budapest, Vienna, and Prague along with the sparkling lights and sweet treats of Bavaria’s most festive and romantic towns.
And no matter which river and which markets you choose for your Christmas Cruise experience, here are 5 Festive Ways AmaWaterways will surprise and delight you onboard!
- Trim the Trees! After a delicious dinner, get your decorating skills ready because there’s some naked trees on board that will need a little love. It’s a great way to meet other passengers while enjoying traditional holiday music and maybe making a bit of competition on who’s tree will turn out the best.
2. Christmas Carols! You’ll be enamored by the amazing musical talents of the whole crew as they belt out your favorite carols. And don’t be afraid to join in!
3. Slippers for St. Nick! Have you been good this year?! You’ll find out when your onboard with AmaWaterways when you wake up and have received a visit (and special treat) either from St. Nick or Krampus.
4. Gingerbread Men! Don’t worry about missing out on cookie decorating at home – Ama’s got you covered! Try your hand at decorating adorable gingerbread men as you sail – and I challenge you to NOT eat them until they are fully decorated!
5. Santa! I know him! Is it even Christmas without a visit from the big guy? Make sure you’ve gotten yourself on the “nice” list while onboard and there just might be a special gift in Santa’s sack for you!
These small touches are just some of the many ways AmaWaterways welcomes you into their family while cruising with them and takes what is an already incredible, magical holiday adventure to another level of fun and festivity! #AmaMeansLove and you’ll be able to feel that love from the moment you step onboard their ship and for all the years to come as you carry your memories home with you!
Are you ready to experience the magic of a Christmas Markets River Cruise? Contact me today and we’ll find the perfect cruise itinerary for you!