Recently we flew to Europe to get spoiled while embarking on a River Cruise cultural experience on the Main & Mosel rivers for 7 nights, yay us!…
…those of you who have had the fortunate opportunity to take one of these glorious river cruises knows all too well what we are talking about!
And you know us, each day we recorded our daily happenings, what we did & the port stops we visited AND we wrote down all the best tips to help make YOUR experience even better then ours.
It’s all summed up below for your reading pleasure so grab a cup-a-joe or your favorite winter drink, sit back and enjoy the read. 🙂
More specifically, we took the River Cruise called “Rivers and Castles” with AMA Waterways on their beautiful AmaLyra ship, check her out, isn’t she lovely!
If you want to learn about the ship & the stateroom choices, then check out our pictures & videos we did onboard for you… there’s nothing like seeing it “first hand” so you can make the best choices for you without having to guess!
We arrived in Nuremberg, Germany from Vancouver, Canada after 12 hours of flying & a whole lot of movies- with the time zone difference plus the jet lag, we were thankful we had two days to rest and acclimatize before boarding so we didn’t ruin our time onboard the river cruise by being drowsy. Hint. Hint!
The next morning after arriving and some much needed rest we strolled about this charming German city.
Nuremberg is an easy walk-able city and the old town where you want to spend your time- it’s a short 20 minute walk from one end to the other.
It’s not big but has lots to see including a castle which is the highlight of the visit, well maintained historic buildings along the river plus a few beautiful churches that you will feel compelled to take pictures of. There are lots of shops too for you shopaholics!
Tip: When it comes to currency, you’ll want to have euros on hand as the banks will ONLY change money if you have an account and unlike big European cities many shops do not take credit card or dollars… you can use a bank machine here to withdraw (we did) or if you like to plan ahead- buy euros at home before arriving to Nuremberg.
Right away we felt at home because the German people were very friendly and hospitable from the get-go… offering to take pictures for us and trying their best to speak English which was WAY better then our German! 🙂
There are many international eateries throughout Nuremberg but some local traditional foods to try are: schnitzel, bratwurst sausage, sauerkraut and of course beer.
Check out these pictures we took while sightseeing in Nuremberg:
When we arrived to the ship and got acquainted with our “home away from home” for the next week we couldn’t help but get excited for what was to come- the ship was lovely and the staff were very friendly.
After leisurely enjoying the ship we got ready for our 1st evening’s mouth-watering five course “Welcome Aboard” dinner with some local beers & wines from the region plus we made some new friends right away from around the world who were like us, world travelers or aspiring world travelers- we had a great evening laughing & trading stories of our experiences abroad while our ship sailed smoothly down river.
Adventures of Day 1:
This morning we docked and took a walking tour of Bamberg, Germany. An old town filled with cobblestone winding streets, medieval and baroque era buildings abound.
Bamberg is famous for its abundance of beer breweries… it’s not unusual to see locals at a tavern having a pint for breakfast.
DON’T MISS: The Cathedral and it’s new residence with a lovely & fragrant rose garden, the old court, old town hall in the middle of the river ( see picture below with us) and little Venice… all worthy of gawking!
Here’s a picture of us in a traditional German watering hole (much like a cozy large kitchen) drinking a local smoked beer with a bacon aftertaste… no kidding! Do as the locals do we always say. LOL
This afternoon we sailed on the Main River and enjoyed the Fall “change of colors” along the river with its orange, yellow and red leaves falling gently from the trees…
…we enjoyed many views like this while attending a talk about the abundance of included excursions available in each place we were about to visit… A gentle walkers group, a moderate and fast walkers group and a go active group was available- something for every fitness level. 🙂
Tonight we attended the included Chefs Table restaurant experience onboard. It was fabulous. TIP: Remember to sign up right away as it is popular!
Check out some of the creations the chef prepared for us behind the glass partitions which we got to watch him create for us:
Adventures of Day 2:
This morning we woke up in Kitzingen Germany, one of the oldest towns on the Main River. Here we attended an educational walking tour with our English speaking local guide, we had some free time to do a little shopping and then, because this area is known for its wine, we went down into a charming old wine cellar (the oldest in Germany) for a tasting of five wines from the area. We bought a bottle on the way out to enjoy at home!
After lunch we had a choice to take part in one of two tours. A Wurzburg & “Residenz Palace & Gardens” tour or the Rothenburg tour. We chose the later.
The drive to Rothenburg was super scenic as we went through small villages, saw vineyards on the hillsides and little farming communities with lots of historic charm.
Rothenburg was like stepping back in time when you walk into this incredibly well preserved walled medieval town. Wait till you see it! By far one of the nicest towns we’ve visited so far (and that’s sayin’ something).
Rothenburg is lined with tall gingerbread like homes and shops, each uniquely colored to stand apart from the next.
Narrow winding cobblestone streets, squares…
… an old walking wall that stands tall above the unique roof topped homes, here’s Shawn so happy to be there…
… and lots of Christmas shops and more for your exploration!
The other tour we could have done, the Wurzburg & Residenz Palace & Gardens tour, would also have been a good choice. The benefit to this tour was you had more time to relax back onboard the ship as it was a shorter tour. By visiting Rothenburg it made for a longer day that included more shopping time… so the choice is yours! Either tour you cannot go wrong.
Adventures of Day 3:
This morning we slowly sailed the picturesque Main river, Main means “snake”- a good word for it as the river does wind & snake through these lovely port towns of Germany.
On top of all that, we got to enjoy the fall colors on the trees while sipping coffee and having breakfast onboard the ship.
You truly cannot beat a river cruise… you get to sit back and be pampered onboard and on port stops be as active or as chilled out as you would like. Travel simply doesn’t get any better then this!!!
Tummies full, we stopped in the town of Wertheim and did another walking tour (you could also choose a bike tour or simply sleep in and go on your own, at your own pace.)
Then we got to attend an AMAZING bretzel making demonstration…
…we were invited to a bakers shop and he and his young son proudly told us the history of their bake shop that goes back 13 generations, they showed us how to make a bretzel (or pretzel as we say in America) and we also got to taste them too… fresh out of the oven delicious… what a treat!
Then, with time on our own to explore we chose to get some exercise in by climbing the stairs around this castle & ruins on top of the hill.
Back on the ship, we had an afternoon of sailing which everyone enjoys. It’s time to catch up on some sleep, read a book, sip your favorite beverage and/or enjoy the gorgeous views as the Captain slows the ship down for our viewing pleasure.
River Cruising is THE Life!
Adventures of Day 4:
Today was full of adventure, and as usual, many choices for tours were available.
We docked in the city of Mainz, so you could take a walking tour here, you could take the “taste of Rheinesse Region” tour where you have a traditional German breakfast-yummy, you could take a “Philosophers Hike” or do what we did which was take a tour of the town of Heidelberg…
Heidelberg is full of character as you can see when strolling the pedestrian only street filled with shops and when you tour the massive castle ruins which was built in the Renaissance era- which is now the landmark of the town that sits up on a hill in the center of town- see what we are talking about in this picture:
From up top at the Castle we were treated to these views…
Back on the ship we were surprised with a local German coffee while sailing through the Rhine River Gorge- considered one of the most scenic parts of the river with Castles all around like the one below!
Adventures of Day 5:
This morning we visited the fairy-tale village of Cochem- a river cruise lovers dream spot. You wake up, open your drapes and have stunning views of this old character town, with a gigantic castle looking down at you and you realize while enjoying a hot breakfast, that you are at the “center of it all” and being on the river gives you the best views! Check out this picture we took from the deck:
This morning we took a tour of the Reichsburg Castle (yes please!) that was built around the year 1000!!!!! It has original furniture, paintings, amours, etc and is set as it was back in the day. You’ll L-O-V-E this tour.
This afternoon we sailed the Mosel River, one of the most scenic parts in Germany…
…and you’re probably thinking “how can it get better then it has already?” Yes… we were thinking the same thing!
But it did.
We had lunch while viewing and snapping pictures, we spent time on the upper deck with fellow passengers pointing and admiring sights like this…
…seeing the castles perched on the hill top, the small villages at the waters edge and the winery estates hugging the river banks all while we sipped our favorite cocktail & relaxed onboard as we gently sailed down the river- for sure this is one part of a river cruise that is absolutely priceless!!
After dinner we made a stop in Zell and attended an exclusive event where the Mayor & Wine Queen of Zell welcomed us to their wine festival. We got to try several local wines and local specialties. A fun night and a perfect end to a perfect day!
Adventures of Day 6:
This afternoon we were excited to stop in Trier, the oldest city in Germany! As you can imagine, she holds many archaeological treasures including a colossal of Roman buildings and ruins. Pictures are worth a thousand words, so without further adieu…
Adventures of Day 7:
This morning we had our final breakfast onboard as we docked in Luxembourg, said goodbye to our new found friends and thanked once again the staff for taking such great care of us.
It always amazes us how they can remember all our favorite things and have them waiting before we have to ask!
We were sad to end this sailing but at the same time excited to start another river cruise before heading home. We took another AMA Waterways River cruise starting the next day but his time on the enchanting Rhine River.
By now you know that we are BIG proponents of “staying longer” since you are flying all that way anyways. IF you have the time and money, there is always another river or ocean cruise you can do back do back and take advantage of your time in Europe.
We hope you enjoyed our recollection of this cruise and we hope you gleamed some GREAT tips to make yours even more special!
If you’d like to see & learn more about our cruise including ship details and videos of the stateroom choices- then check out Our Pictures & Videos.
Any other questions, you know where to find us! 🙂
As always, we are here for you.
We Appreciate You!
Nancy & Shawn
Your Trusted Cruise Experts!