AmaWaterways: Cruises for People Who Don’t Think They Would Like a Cruise (Part Two)

A couple of weeks ago, I outlined my fear of cruises, which can be reduced to three bullet points: being stranded at sea, airborne diseases, and tank tops. I also indicated that I had been invited to be a part of a cruise as a member of the media, but not a huge-ship-Caribbean-type cruise, but rather a smaller ship river cruise through Eastern Europe.

The company hosting the cruise, AmaWaterways, is one of the leading such entities conducting European river cruises, which certainly helped allay any latent fears that I had about spending a week a float with a bevy of cruisers that I had never met.

The trip left from Budapest, and was scheduled to head north and west up the Danube River, briefly passing into Slovakia, then across northern Austria, ending in the tiny Bavarian town of Vilshofen in southeastern Germany, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) east of Munich.

I had arrived in Europe a week early with my wife, and we spent a few glorious days in Prague and another handful delightful days in Budapest. On the day before the cruise embarked, though, my wife returned to the U.S. as scheduled, feeling some odd need to be home to care for our children (I think they are two of them).

We had been in Budapest for three nights up to that point, and had seen much of what the city has to offer.

Budapest used to be two cities, Buda and Pest, which were joined in 1873. We stayed on the Pest side of the river, but started our sightseeing in Buda, with Buda Castle.

Also on the Buda side is Matthias Church, perhaps the most famous in Hungary.

Directly behind the church is the Fisherman’s Bastion, built for the 1000 year anniversary of the Hungarian nation in 1896.

The Fisherman’s Bastion offers great views of Pest, including Parliament.

A good look at the Chain Bridge and St. Stephen’s Basilica in Pest.

The following day, we headed up the river to Parliament, here seen from Castle Hill.

Alas, being the poor planners we are, all the tours of the building were sold out. So we had a bit of time to wander.

…which was good because we wandered over to the restaurant that I had tried unsuccessfully to book for dinner but were able to get into for lunch, which was perhaps the best of many great meals we had in Budapest.

After lunch, we climbed up St. Peter’s Basilica…

…for more stunning views of the city.

After my wife left, I was forced to dine alone and I chose Aszú, a restaurant specializing in Hungarian wines. This ferment was lovely (despite the odd lighting outside.

Sunday afternoon I headed up the Danube a bit, just north of Parliament, to check in on the AmaLea, one of the newer ships in the AmaWaterways line. The ship (decidedly not a “boat” which was the mistake I made when talking to the captain) was beautiful and impressive, without being ostentatious or intimidating.

The AmaLea.

My stateroom was on the top of three decks (mine was called the “Violin Deck”) and included a Queen size bed, flat-screen TV, bathroom with rain shower, and an outdoor balcony with enough space for two to sit comfortably. As expected, the room was small, but as Frank Lloyd Wright believed: rooms are meant for sleeping. If you are awake, you should be up and doing something, which was certainly the case on the AmaLea.

The bed in my stateroom.

The rest of my room (the large window is a sliding glass door that leads to the balcony). As is my practice, I forgot to photograph the room until after I had unloaded a bit of my crap.

After finding my room, I explored the ship (not boat) a bit: there is a main lounge and bar, a couple of observation lounges, a modest fitness room, a fairly large dining room, and the top of the ship (not boat) has a sun deck, a heated pool, another bar, and a track. So there is really no reason to spend much time in the room.

That evening after dinner (which was quite good, I must say), we did a night cruise on the Danube. I can affirm, without much equivocation, that it was one of the more memorable hours I have spent in Europe (and I have spent a lot of time in Europe).

Here are a few of the over 100 pictures I took during the hour-long trip up and back down the river.

Parliament on the left, Buda Castle on the right.

Parliament. Whoa.

Buda Castle.

Buda Castle and the Chain Bridge.

Liberty Bridge.

The Gellért Thermal Bath.

We were just starting the cruise, but I had already taken scores of photos, eaten a very good meal, had a couple of tasty wines, and had yet to see a tank-top or any tube socks. I was pretty sure it was going to be a great week.

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About the drunken cyclist

I have been an occasional cycling tour guide in Europe for the past 20 years, visiting most of the wine regions of France. Through this "job" I developed a love for wine and the stories that often accompany the pulling of a cork. I live in Houston with my lovely wife and two wonderful sons.
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4 Responses to AmaWaterways: Cruises for People Who Don’t Think They Would Like a Cruise (Part Two)

  1. aFrankAngle says:

    This is fabulous. Loved Budapest, so your pics were a great reminder of our time there. We haven’t taken a river cruise … YET … but have heard nothing but good things about AMA.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oz's Travels says:

    Great pics, enjoy the cruise

    Liked by 1 person

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