One of my top three: An AmaWaterways’ Christmas Markets river cruise. Photo © Ralph Grizzle
I’ve been fortunate to have cruised with AmaWaterways about a dozen times, particularly during the period when co-owners Kristin Karst and Rudi Schreiner were trying to get the word out about their small company. They needed journalists like me, and invited plenty of us, to experience their river cruises and to write about them.
I’ve been on the Danube, the Rhine, the Douro, the Mekong and more with AmaWaterways, but I do have a few favorites. Here are three:
Christmas Time Cruises.
I just love Europe during the Christmas holidays. A river cruise offers the perfect way to visit several Christmas markets on one trip. You can stroll the colorful markets on an 11-day trip that begins with two nights in Prague before sailing the Danube from Nuremberg to Budapest, with multiple stops at cities and towns where the Christmas markets are active. This is a great trip for Christmas shopping too.
Vietnam & Cambodia.
There’s a lot going on in Southeast Asia, particularly along the Mekong, which runs through Vietnam and Cambodia.Exotic cultures, monasteries and monks, the legacies of wars and ruthless dictators, age-old temples and UNESCO World Heritage sites. Vietnam and Cambodia are rich with religion, history, culture and attractions.
I traveled with my teenage daughter. The trip starts with two nights in Hanoi, including an overnight in Ha Long Bay.Then it’s off to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) where we stayed for two nights before cruising up the Mekong to Siem Reap. Once there, we overnighted and visited famed Angkor Wat before heading home. What a great trip for history, culture and world-class attractions.
I was mesmerized by the beauty the Douro River and by the friendliness of the people we encountered along the river valley. There was also wonderful food and port wines. AmaWaterways’ Enticing Douro itinerary starts with three nights in Lisbon, followed by a seven-night cruise through the Douro River Valley, roundtrip from Porto. One of river cruising’s best kept secrets.
In 2010, we cruised the Mekong with AmaWaterways’ founders Kristin Karst and Rudi Schreiner, who traveled with their daughter Isabel. I brought along my daughter. Here we are at Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
Looking ahead, AmaWaterways operates a few itineraries that are on my wishlist.
In the 1980s, I traveled around what was then Burma with four Canadian backpackers in the back of a pickup truck. I’ll never forget that bumpy journey. I would like to return to Myanmar, and the Hidden Wonders of Myanmar trip sounds like it would be the perfect way to retrace much of what I saw decades ago. The trip begins with one night in Yangon, followed by a flight to Mandalay to embark on a 14-night cruise down the Ayeyarwady ending in Yangon. If you want exotic, Myanmar is a must.
Golden Trails of East Africa.
I’ve always wanted to experience a safari, and AmaWaterways offers a package that includes multiple safaris and a river cruise. The trip begins with an overnight in Johannesburg before beginning a four-night African river safari, followed by two nights at Victoria Falls.There’s another overnight in Johannesburg, then its off for eight nights in Tanzanian luxury safari lodges in Arusha, Tarangire, Ngorongoro and the Serengeti. There is a variation on this itinerary that includes Cape Town and another that includes a three-night train journey on the Rovos Rail. What a way to see Africa and do safaris.
Provence & Spain.
This itinerary begins with three nights in Paris before traveling by high-speed TGV train to Lyon to board AmaDagio for a seven-night cruise through Provence. The trip ends with either three nights in Barcelona or two nights in Marseille. C’est magnifique!
Are you inspired to explore via river cruise?
Contact us for a complete list of AmaWaterways vacations or to book one of Ralph’s favorites!