Our Review Of Our “Rhine” River Cruise through Netherlands, Germany & France

Nancy and Shawn Power in a Suite on the AmaSerena River Cruise Ship

Recently we took a Main & Mosel River Cruise with AMA Waterways which was something special and then immediately followed it up with a second one a day later- a 7 Night Rhine River Cruise with AMA Waterways on the beautiful AmaSerena… which is what we are excited to tell you about today!

With you in mind, we recorded our experience of the destination, port stops and gleamed all the BEST tips to help make your experience better then ours. It’s all summed up below for your reading pleasure…

…So grab your favorite beverage to “wet your whistle” and sit back to enjoy the read. 🙂

But first, if you simply CANNOT wait & want to learn about the AmaSerena ship & her stateroom choices check out our pictures & videos we took onboard for you!

There is nothing like seeing the rooms first hand so you can make the best choices for you without guessing!

 

Embarkation Day:

When we arrived to the AmaSerena ship after JUST stepping off the AmaLyra the day before we knew we were in for a new adventure. The ship has a very different look and feel (a sleek and modern design) and we were looking forward to visiting many new cities and having brand new experiences!

This evening we enjoyed a lovely dinner onboard with some local beers & wines from the region and had time to walk around Amsterdam afterwards, at night, which was a highlight as the street lamps flickered across the canals and created quite the romantic setting for a stroll.

Nancy and shawn Power in Amsterdam by Night

Tip: Just be careful of bikers in Amsterdam- more so in the daytime. There are bike lanes on most streets and they have the right away and there are thousands of them so be cautious.

Tip #2: Come in a day or so earlier before your cruise so you can “walk the city” as its the BEST way to be a tourist, capture pictures and get to know the city.

Day 1 of Our Rhine River Cruise Adventure:

This morning we started a tour of Amsterdam and our knowledgeable guide shared with us that Amsterdam is the capital city of the Country of the Netherlands and cleared up this confusion: Holland is NOT an alternative name for the Netherlands but is the name of the two provinces within the country: North Holland & South Holland. Little tidbit for you! 🙂

People come here to Amsterdam to visit its most popular museum attractions such as the Anne Frank House, exploring the canals, famous flower market and the red light district.

The language is Dutch and the city is, for good reason, considered the “Venice of the North” because the city is surrounded by 17th Century canals that were recently added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Amsterdam's 7 Bridges on a ama waterways river cruise tour

Our guide took us on a canal cruise through the waterways which criss-cross the city, here is the proof above & below :-)…Canal Cruise through Amsterdam on a river cruise tour

We then had some free time on our own. You could shop, sit at one of the many charming cafes or go to the flower market for example.

THEN we didn’t miss a beat- we took a bus tour about the city to see all the angled and slopped character row houses that were built so many years ago, like below. How pretty is that!

DSC02223

That evening we enjoyed a special dinner at the complimentary Chef’s Table restaurant while we sailed the Rhine River. The food was “seriously” mouth-watering and TIP: we highly recommend you sign up for it early as you don’t want to miss it!

Day 2 of Our Rhine River Cruise Adventure:

This morning we took advantage of “sleeping in” and a late breakfast!! Of course you could also enjoy the ship early morning too. Completely up to you- do whatever your heart desires. We were not stopping until 10 am so we had a little extra cuddle time. ?

Once we stopped in Cologne, Germany (a 2,000 year old river spanning city, the 4th largest city in Germany) we conveniently docked next to the town so we could join a walking tour of this Gothic cultural center.

Here is Cologne from the river as we were nearing the dock…

Cologne

The most striking art exhibit or structure here is the UNESCO World Heritage Site and definitely the city’s most majestic landmark- the Cologne Cathedral. It reminded us of the magnificent “Sagrada Familia” Church in Barcelona, Spain. See for yourself:

Cologne Germany river cruise port stop
After our walking tour we went to a German restaurant and did as the locals do– munched on a crispy potato pancake called Reibekuchen that went down perfectly with a tasty Kolsch beer. Yummy!

And yes, it is not a coincidence that Cologne, Germany sounds like the famous perfume “Eau de Cologne” which originates from here… and is still made here locally today.

In the afternoon we relished in a tasty local German lunch onboard while we sailed the Rhine River and enjoyed some relaxation time…

“This is one of the nice parts of a river cruise- getting to sit back, take it easy and enjoy the views as we slowly sail by!”

Day 3 of Our Rhine River Cruise Adventure:

Up at the crack of dawn we couldn’t wait to go to the top deck and spend the morning admiring the castles, ruins and vineyards in the hills along the river banks of the Rhine Gorge.

Rhine Gorge AMA waterways river cruise

Rhine Gorge AMA waterways river cruise

While getting some great commentary from our Cruise Director we cruised through the most scenic and famous stretch of the Rhine River that has 30+ castles & castle ruins- more then anywhere else in the world!

In the 12th century every Lord wanted a castle for himsel, to collect fees to pass, so this middle part of the Rhine
River is where most royalty decided to build and the banks still today have retained their historic feel.

We snapped these pictures…

Rhine Gorge AMA waterways river cruise

Rhine Gorge AMA waterways river cruise

This afternoon we had several tour choices once we stopped in the wine-making town of Rudesheim, one of our favorite stops!

Rudesheim Germany on an AMA waterways river cruise

We rode a train into town and then took a cable car ride up to the Germania monument where we had panoramic views over Rüdesheim’s old town and Rhine River.

These are some of the pictures we took:

Rudesheim Germany on an AMA waterways river cruise

Rudesheim Germany on an AMA waterways river cruise

Walking about Rudesheim, it’s one of the prettiest villages you will ever see! It has so much character, pictures really don’t do the town justice, you just HAVE to see it for yourself. 🙂

We even enjoyed a fantastic tour of Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Cabinet Museum– it was once a hobby for repairing and rescuing 19th Century automatic musical instruments. The museum has approximately 350 displays and each of them surprisingly work as they did when first built- including this musical box, what an enchanting sound…

Siegfried’s Mechanical Instrument Museum on a ama river cruise tour

Day 4 of Our Rhine River Cruise Adventure:

This morning we were free to enjoy the ship at our leisure. We opened the drapes and watched the world go by as we lay in our comfy bed sipping our morning coffee. What a life! 🙂

After a wonderful lunch with some new friends we made onboard, we picked a fantastic bike ride & city tour of Speyer, Germany; but you could also go on your own or take a guided tour of Heidelberg which we had visited last week on our “Main & Mosel” River Cruise.

The city is flat so it was an easy bike ride and we got to see so much more then by foot so we were delighted!

Speyer Germany bike ride with ama waterways

On the tour we learned that Speyer is one of Germany’s oldest cities that was surprisingly not founded by the Germans but by the Romans- so you can imagine the architecture is grandeur and quite eye-catching…

…like the Speyer Cathedral… that holds the remains of many German emperors and kings. The church was a center of importance back when it was built in 1024. It remains the largest Romanesque church in Germany still to this day:

Speyer Cathedral Germany while on a river cruise

Here we are at the end of our bike tour for a group photo- ***you can see the group was small- one of the many benefits to river cruising***

Speyer Germany bike ride with ama waterways

Day 5 of Our Rhine River Cruise Adventure:

This morning starting at 9am we were “up and at em” for a scenic bus and walking tour of Strasbourg, France.

No wonder we stopped in Strasbourg! This fascinating city uniquely blends German and French culture and in every direction you look- there’s a picture perfect shot to take. 🙂

Strasbourg France tour on a ama river cruise

The main sight is the Cathedral Notre Dame with its famous astronomical clock– you’ll have to step inside and all the way to the back right corner to see that.

Strasbourg France Cathedral on a ama rhine river cruise

And most definitely, Strasbourg’s medieval cityscape with timber framed homes and colorful buildings will have you thinking back in time. Combine that with the waterways that run through it and the adorable bridges… No wonder it was named a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1988. Check out this picture we took to see how the houses and colors reflect off the water, Beautiful!.

Strasbourg France Cathedral on a ama rhine river cruise

This afternoon we choose to relax with a movie but you could stay busy and go shopping, wine tasting or you could take another biking tour… Lots of choice!

Day 6 of Our Rhine River Cruise Adventure:

Another relaxing morning onboard for us to enjoy and time to sit on the sun deck and take in the fabulous views.

 

After a great lunch we had the choice to take a tour in Germany or in France. We took a bus tour and walking tour of two adorable towns called Freiburg and Breisach in Germany and chose that simply because in July (just 4 months earlier) we spent 4 glorious weeks in France and did 3 back to back river cruises there. Spoiled- we know! 🙂

In Breisach, Germany we took a wine tasting tour and sampled several dry and sweet wines while we were given an interesting explanation of how wineries work and their history (and speaking of- if you are a wine lover then France is another river cruise region you’ll “for sure” want to visit sometime!).

Below is a bit blurry, but here we happily are in the Breisach, Germany winery tasting some of their refreshing wines:

Breisach, Germany wine tasting tour with ama waterways rhine river cruise

On our way to Freiburg, Germany we passed the Black Forest, and yes, this is where the black forest cake’s name comes from and the region where the renowned cuckoo clocks have been produced since the 1700s. Neat right!

In Freiburg- a picturesque reconstructed medieval old town, we did a walking tour and saw buildings like this…

Freiburg, Germany on a rhine river cruise with ama waterways

…with free time on our own we did some shopping, relaxed in a lovely square and enjoyed the famous & traditional bratwurst sausage, the last one we will see till we come back to Germany again.

Here is Shawn enjoying a few bites before reluctantly having to share it with Nancy… 🙂

Shawn Power on a rhine river cruise enjoying a Bratwurst in Freiburg Germany

Tonight we packed and said goodbye to our new friends during our last dinner onboard. We are sad to be leaving the comfort of our spacious and windows galore Suite (you can see pictures & video of it HERE) and saying goodbye to the staff who treated us like royalty.

Day 7 of Our Rhine River Cruise Adventure:

One last breakfast, many goodbyes and onto the airport to fly back home.

We have so many wonderful memories & enjoyed experiences we will talk about for the rest of our lives with many pictures to savor.

We hope you enjoyed our daily diary of our experiences we had on this river cruise.

Again, if you’d like to learn more about the cruise and ship itself, check out our pictures and videos and then of course you know we are always here to answer any questions you have about them and help you book your next adventure.

We Appreciate You!

Nancy & Shawn
Your Trusted Cruise Experts!

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