Recommend August 2012 - (Page 14)

the danube with AMAWATERWAYS cruise AmaCerto’s handsomely appointed reception area. R carla hunt 14 august 2012 onboard review may 2012 River cruising’s on a roll, as cruise lines continue to register doubledigit growth rates, while expanding their fleets of new-build ships to accommodate the surge in European river travel. You have to wonder just what this booming travel segment is all about. We had a chance to find out last May, thanks to an invitation from AmaWaterways to join the christening cruise of the 164-passenger AmaCerto, sailing on its 7-night Melodies of the Danube cruise through four countries: Hungary, Slovakia, Austria and Germany. And yes, now that I’ve been there, done that, it’s perfectly clear why river cruising is, to quote AmaWaterways’ executive v.p. and co-owner Kristin Karst, “The fastest growing segment of the cruise industry.” During the cruise, she also noted that, “The Danube is the number one destination travelers select when they take a river cruise.” And with good reason. While decidedly not a very “Blue” Danube, it is indeed a beautiful waterway, all the more enchanting when you remember its historic role as a major artery of commerce, culture and conquest. No matter where you are aboard AmaCerto—on sun deck, in your stateroom, in the dining room or the glass-enclosed lounge—the riverscape is always in view: fields, forests and picturesque villages slip by at a gentle pace; medieval castles, baroque churches and rococo palaces command the high ground; and a succession of charming towns and great cities fringe the banks. Our cruise started with a welcome aboard in Budapest, where there was ample time to sightsee; then docked for a walking tour of Bratislava; spent two days and nights in Vienna, with an evening of wine and music at a traditional tavern; sailed on to Durnstein (our favorite port of call) for a walking tour and wine tasting and an afternoon tour of Melk Abbey; called on to make a choice of day excursions from Linz to Salzburg, Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic, or the Austrian Lakes district; woke up in Passau (a beauty of a town) with a choice of bike or walking tours; and docked for the final night at Vilshofen where town notables and other costumed local folk joined in a gala Oktoberfest-style celebration in honor of the christening of AmaCerto and of AmaWaterways’ 10th anniversary. it’s all about the destinations Karst points out that river cruising is indeed more destination-oriented than ocean cruising, catering to its experienced (a.k.a. older) passenger who wants to travel in comfort while enjoying more enriching cultural experiences. It’s pretty impressive that a relatively small ship like the AmaCerto accommodates passengers with four excursion levels, each with its own guide: “gentle walkers” who tour at a leisurely pace (with an occasional lift from an open-air trolley); “regular” walkers; “active” walkcontinued on page 16

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recommend August 2012

Editor's Notes
Hotel Desk: DogSpa Resort & Wellness Center
Tour Talk: MLT Vacations
The Danube With AmaWaterways
Striking Gold With Vegas' Golden Gate
Central & South America Guide
Wequassett Resort and Golf Club, Cape Cod
New Zealand's South Island is Sheer Eye Candy
Seven Stars Resort, Turks & Caicos
Iberostar Cancun
Three Days in Cape Town & the Winelands, South Africa

Recommend August 2012