Traveling along inland waterways has now become very popular all over the world. Since cities and towns of every country grew up around rivers, a cruise vessel sailing along can dock right in the center of these cities and towns.
Author Douglas Ward, a leading authority on cruising, says, “A river cruise is life in the slow lane, sailing along at a gentle pace, soaking up the scenery. It is a supremely calming experience, an antidote to the pressures of life in a fast-paced world.”
River cruising has now evolved into a major tourist industry in many parts of the world, thanks to the many scenic rivers in all continents of the globe. In Africa, there is the very long Nile River. There are the Mississippi in North America and the Amazon in South America. There are the Mekong, the Yangtze, and the Irrawaddy in Asia, and of course, probably the most scenic of them all are the Danube and the Seine in Europe.
Why do travelers now prefer river cruises over ocean cruises? River vessels are smaller and carry less passengers, which makes the atmosphere more intimate and friendly for the passengers. River cruises give passengers a closer look at the country’s interior, and not just the surroundings of an isolated pier.
In river cruises, many parts of a country are always in sight, unlike in ocean cruises, there are days when the ship is at sea, with nothing else to see but the wide expanse of the ocean. And, because the vessel sails along a river, passengers never experience motion sickness.
Not too long ago, US-based and family-owned AMA Waterways, which has been operating river cruises for the past 16 years, came to town to introduce their European Programs. Thanks to Tessie Henderson, president of Intas Destinations, and good friend Edu Jarque, an SRO crowd of well-heeled personalities from the metro’s social and business circles trooped to the venue.
The river cruise line’s president, Rudi Schreiner, and executive vice president, Kristin Karst, happily announced their new itineraries for Europe, Asia, and Africa. They also bannered the continuous expansion of their river fleet, with their newest vessel, Amalea, now offering connecting staterooms to accommodate more than two passengers, and the revolutionary twin balconies which is unique to the vessel.
AMA Waterways is the first river cruise company to offer its passengers complimentary bicycles to be used in the shore excursions. To further promote their passengers’ health and wellness lifestyle, the cruise line now offers an array of exclusive guided biking and hiking tours, matched with specially curated healthy menus.
Poring over the company’s thick catalog of itineraries, I immediately picked my favorite—the 11-day Memories of the Danube, not only because I enjoy waltzing to the soothing, lilting Blue Danube of Johann Strauss, but also because the itinerary includes some of my favorite European cities.
Cruising along this storied river, which has inspired generations of artists, poets, and musicians will take me to Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna, and Munich. It will be a glorious feeling when I get to sway along with the sound of music in Salzburg and the Austrian Lake District. I can hardly wait!
I now have to clear up my schedule of hectic days and make way for this “cruise of a lifetime.” Although I’ve been on about a dozen ocean cruises in many parts of the world, I’ve never been on a river cruise, that’s why I am looking forward to it, and giddy about being enchanted soon! Do I hear Andy Williams singing “Moon River” or is it all in my head? I better ring up Intas Destinations at (02) 772-3314 and get all the information I need on these AMA Waterways River Cruises.
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