By Emma - Bolsolver Cruise Club
I’d heard so many great things about river cruising that when AmaWaterways invited me to experience their Melodies of the Danube cruise, I jumped at the chance! So many people I know have raved about river cruising that I couldn’t wait to find out for myself whether it really did live up to the hype.
My home-from-home for the week was AmaSonata. As soon as I arrived at the airport in Budapest, I was met by one of AmaWaterways’ friendly representatives who pointed me in the direction of my private transfer to the ship. As I hopped in the immaculate Mercedes-Benz taxi and was handed a bottle of water to rehydrate following my flight, I knew this would be an extra-special trip.
One thing that excited me most about this river cruise was the opportunity to explore countries I had never visited before. Over the course of the week, I visited Slovakia and Austria for the first time, and discovered parts of Hungary and Germany I had never had a chance to see in the past.
The biggest thing that struck me about this river cruise was how effectively AmaWaterways brought the destinations to life. From the entertainment to the food, locally-sourced wines to expert guides, there is a real focus on making sure we truly made the most of each and every destination we visited along the Danube.
A perfect example of this was on our final night, when AmaWaterways arranged for an exclusive Oktoberfest to be put on by the locals. Despite it being a warm summer’s evening – and certainly not October – there was a great atmosphere. Plenty of beer on tap, as well as local dancers, singers and dignitaries who apparently enjoy being invited along every time an AmaWaterways ship is in port. Fresh pretzels provided the ideal accompaniment to the German beer and it was, quite honestly, the ideal end to the river cruise.
I must say, I enjoyed the slower pace of travel much more than I ever thought I would; watching the scenery roll by so close to the shore was a real novelty for me, and the experience of going through a lock for the first time really appealed to my inner cruising fanatic. Everything from the dress code to the pace of the tours was really relaxed, and I came home feeling refreshed for it.
So, the real question is … am I now a river cruising convert? Absolutely!