Europe continually inspires us with its many fascinating regions, history and culture. Enriching experiences abound along with some incredible scenic beauty.
Europe tempts us with an array of remarkable regions and significant sights. From the fjords of Norway to the Greek islands; Holland's tulip fields to historic Prague; this is one very alluring continent.
Travel from the sunny Mediterranean to Scandinavia's Arctic for contrasting terrain and scenery that will take your breath away! Europe is beautiful and there are many ways to take in the scenery and enjoy the outdoors. Savor scenic views from your hotel or river cruise ship or see the countryside while hiking, skiing or cycling.
Europe is not only beautiful, it is an enriching vacation destination. Architecture dictates the character of an area and across Europe you'll find stunning examples of every style from Roman ruins to avant-garde masterpieces. These contrasts give Europe a fascinating look and sense of history. Along with some of the world's top art galleries, it provides a visual feast that inspires every day of your European adventure.
The sights and sounds are matched by cultural events and experiences. Again there is a mix of old and new as you attend classical concerts, opera and ballet or enjoy the latest bands and jazz festivals. Visiting markets, Bavarian beer halls, Italian olive oil museums, French wineries and Danish castles brings culture and history to life.
River cruising is certainly a wonderful way to see many destinations across Europe. Combined with informative excursions at each new town and cultural immersion onboard and ashore, fine dining, luxurious accommodation and inviting public rooms, no wonder river cruising is growing so fast!
Europe's cities are very walkable with fascinating historic centers to explore. In the cities you'll find some of the top sights like the Eifel Tower in Paris, the Colosseum in Rome, the Parthenon in Athens and the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona but beyond these famous landmarks there's a wealth of sights to see, restaurants to enjoy and some excellent shopping districts. Imagine spending time in these incredible places!
Every country has its own food, wine and beer to appreciate every day. Take culinary tours or cooking classes to learn the secrets of everything from Tuscan cooking to French wine and German beer. Longer culinary vacations immerse you in the foodie scene in the country of your choice.
It all sounds so tempting doesn't it? Europe never disappoints and there are so many regions to discover, you can keep returning time and again. Is this the year you visit some of the places in Europe you have been dreaming about?
We caught up with our new On Location partner, René Buyink of The Dutchman, to learn about his travel concierge services for The Kingdom of the Netherlands as well as Belgium. There’s so much of interest in these countries with many unique features. René has the experience and knowledge to create a vacation experience that is just right for you.
Q: Tell us about the travel services you offer?
First of all, let me express my joy to be part of the Ensemble Travel Group. I am René Buyink, your personal Travel concierge for The Dutchman. My focus is on real travel experiences with a personal touch and to be distinctive. If you are looking for private touring or transfers, assistance to book the right accommodation or a special interest group program, The Dutchman is your partner. Not only in the Netherlands but also combinations with Belgium are possible. With over 25 years of experience, I am well connected and have personally visited hotels, museums and places of interest. As The Dutchman, I see myself as your local partner and friend to help you sell unique and tailor-made experiences to your clients and assure a smooth operation. All services are offered itemized with transparent costings. I look forward to working with your Ensemble Travel agent to create your personalized experience of the Netherlands and Belgium.
Q: What are some of the unique accommodation options available in the Netherlands?
I am happy to report that in quality and in diversity, many new and exciting hotel properties have opened their doors; The famous Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam with smashing views on the canals, The Kruysheren hotel, a converted church in the roman city of Maastricht and many new lifestyle hotels, like the W Amsterdam. Trending is renting an apartment, stay in an upscale Bed & Breakfast or overnight in unusual places.
Q: Tell us about traveling around the Netherlands. What are some of the interesting ways to see the country?
The compactness of the Netherlands offers many opportunities to discover the country in a limited time. From Amsterdam, nearly all places of interest are easy to visit in a one day excursion. What I like are the 7-day Barge and Bike programs; a nice balance between comfort and active exploring of hidden treasures of the Netherlands. A unique experience is also to fly over the tulip fields in a balloon or by small plane.
Q: For river cruise passengers extending their vacation with a post cruise stay in and around Amsterdam, what would you suggest?
The river cruise ships dock right in the center of Amsterdam, and it would be a shame not to plan a pre- or post-stay. A 2-night/3-day stay would be perfect to explore the city with a guide, plan a day trip to the flower fields (April/May) or the windmill area in combination with historic towns like Haarlem and Leiden. And of course, enjoy the vibrant art scene and museums, from 17th century masterpieces to Dutch design. One of my favorites is a progressive dinner cruise on the canals in a historic boat, stopping at different restaurants for each course to have the dish of your choice catered onboard
Q: What about culinary excursions. What are the most popular food and wine events and tours?
The days of mash potatoes and gravy are over, creative chefs focus on local fresh seasonal products serving tasty dishes in urban settings. Covered food courts in Amsterdam and Rotterdam are a real hit and local markets are popular. Enjoy gourmet walking tours with an expert, make your own cheese or chocolate creation and taste a Dutch Jenever (snaps).
Q: The Netherlands is such a unique country, what special interest tours do you recommend?
I love to design programs with a personal and educational touch. Just to name a few:
Q: Tell us about some of your personal favorite events and activities that can be arranged for travelers while in the Netherlands.
What I enjoy most is to see the guests enjoying their stay, allowing the flexibility to adapt to the clients' interest (even on the spot). My suggestion would be to combine different means of transportation; combine a walking tour with a private boat tour. Or while touring the country by car, stop and hop on a bike for a 30 minutes' drive over a dyke. Of course, everybody want and need to see the Dutch icons and highlights, but it is so much nicer to visit an authentic windmill where you do not need to cue and are rushed through. A car Rally with a group of friends is always a big success and very special is to cycle through the caves of Maastricht with a light on your helmet and a stop to enjoy merle cave mushroom stew and glass of wine.
With delectable shore options everywhere you go and an abundance of things to do aboard your state-of-the-art river cruise ship, you’ll be well entertained and informed during your river cruise. Take a look at these inviting experiences available along the rivers of Europe.
The colorful tulip fields make these Spring-time river cruises even more special, along with the traditional windmills, distinctive architecture, vibrant nightlife and the medieval cities you’ll explore.
A range of legendary sights await on this river cruise route. Visit Cologne’s magnificent Cathedral, wander charming Heidelberg, sail through the dramatic Rhine Gorge, see hill-top castles, the Black Forest region and the sights of Strasbourg
Imagine attending a concert at a palace or one of Vienna’s magical music venues. Then sailing along the river to enjoy Hungarian cuisine in Budapest. The Benedictine Abbey in Melk and sights of Bratislava are some of the other included highlights.
River cruise ships are noted for their exquisite cuisine which features the food, wine and beer of your European destinations. Excursions ashore also include tastings and tours that put you in touch first hand with the culinary scene.
Visit Monet’s home at Giverny. Follow the footsteps of Van Gogh, Cézanne and Gauguin. Marvel at famed art galleries in Paris, Amsterdam and Berlin. These enriching experiences can easily be yours as part of your European river cruise.
Panoramic views are another unforgettable experience on your European river cruise. You won’t miss the spectacular sights along the river thanks to panoramic views from dining rooms, lounges, staterooms and top deck relaxation areas.
Delve into the culture of your destinations with informative onboard programs and culturally-focused excursions that let you experience local music, dance, art, cuisine and give you a chance to meet the people.
Italy’s northern treasures come to life on this fascinating river cruise. Experience romantic Venice and the lagoon islands, incomparable Padua and Bologna as well as the highlights of Milan on this very enticing itinerary.
Discover Eastern Europe on this route that sails through the striking Iron Gates, a scenic gorge on the Danube River. Visit five countries - Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia and Hungary - with an option for a post-cruise stay in Prague.
You’ll visit 5 UNESCO World Heritage sites on this magnificent itinerary with two nights in Lisbon before sailing from incredible Porto, the home of Port wine. Sail the Douro Valley wine region. Visit Salamanca, Spain. Just two of the many highlights.
Looking for a seamless European vacation? One that shows you the delights of each country without having to contend with the logistics of getting around, where to stay and where to eat? Consider a river cruise. Inclusive river cruise packages certainly offer what you are looking for. You are free to focus on each country and thoroughly enjoy it with a new perspective from the water.
Arriving in the heart of Europe's cities and towns, you head off on a guided excursion of your choice or wander and explore on your own. While discovering each new and exciting port of call, you are secure in the knowledge your luxurious river ship is waiting for you to return. There's a sumptuous meal for dinner tonight, complete with local wines to try, before you retire to your luxurious accommodation with river views. It's an inviting scenario and it is yours when you choose a river cruise for your European vacation.
Discover the countries of Europe on a variety of itineraries that show you many parts of the continent. Which of these routes appeals most to you?
Pre and post cruise stays let you see more of Europe in combination with your cruise. Many top cities and sights are not right on a river cruise route but they are close by and easy to add for an even more comprehensive European vacation. Some like Prague, Munich, Madrid and Warsaw are already included in river cruise packages. There are numerous options to choose from and so much to see!
Amongst the many highlights of a European river cruise are the outstanding cuisine; a chance to try local specialties and wine/beer with your meals; the enjoyment of fabulous river views from your stateroom, dining room and lounges aboard your ship and cultural programs that include a range of activities onboard and ashore.
River cruises offer great value too thanks to inclusive pricing. Included in the price, you can expect some shore excursions, all meals, wine, beer and sodas at dinner and on some lines at lunch as well, specialty coffee, WiFi, port charges and government taxes.
So many advantages. Such a wonderful way to experience Europe: River cruising is certainly an option worth considering for your next European escape.
More Americans are traveling to Asia now than ever before. The strong dollar, increased lift, brand new hotels, and plenty of cruise options, all contribute to Asia's growth as the fastest growing region for travelers – and one day soon, it will be the mainstream.
As vast as it is diverse and delicious, there is a time and place for every visitor. In the cooler months, the beaches of Southeast Asia are a welcome reprieve. Spring time bursts with color and the popular sakura viewings (cherry blossom festivals) take place throughout Japan. During the fall, the countryside of China comes alive in a showy display of colorful foliage and golden rice paddies on terraced mountains.
Over the past five years, cities have changed skylines and the tourism infrastructure has improved greatly. Throughout the continent, there are plenty of once-in-a-lifetime experiences waiting to be had. Here are our 5 favorite -
One of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Great Wall can also be a great thrill. From the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, walk or take a cable car up to the top of the mountain and explore the watchtowers. Then slide down the hill from Zhengguan Terrace – fun for all ages!
Be a welcomed guest in a typical Japanese apartment to learn the art of sushi, while getting a glimpse of daily home life in this bustling city. Impress your friends and family with your newly acquired skills of rolled “maki” sushi, individual “gunkan maki” sushi, and individual “nigari” sushi.
Away from the buzzing traffic of Ho Chi Minh City, the green landscape and wide Mekong River hosts a colorful floating market full of surprises. A feast for the senses, learn how vendors sell their goods the old fashioned way.
In northern Thailand, get aquatinted with their village life in a traditional Lanna community where you'll share a typical meal in a traditional teak wood house. Discover the family’s ancestral roots and see how their culture lives on in modern times.
Spend the day helping a Cambodian family build a house in the jungles surrounding the famed Angkor Wat. Your contribution will not only leave you feeling humbled and inspired, but your efforts will impact a community for years to come.
We have the expertise to make a complex multi-destination vacation simple. From logistics to hotel recommendations, we can take you from Mt. Fuji to Phuket by train, plane, and boat! With so much to see and do in Avanti’s Asia, isn’t it time to start planning your trip? Contact your Ensemble Travel agent today for pricing and availability.
Crystal®’s culinary story is among the most defining aspects of the All Exclusive™ Crystal Experience®. Over beautifully set tables with a continuous, complimentary pour of the finest wines, camaraderie and conversation transcends to new heights while dining on cuisine of Michelin-level envy. If travel is about discovery, then each Crystal ship is ideally suited to take you on an unforgettable culinary journey-where each destination you visit includes a promise of the freshest local ingredients and authentic flavors served in your dining venue of choice.
For the fish, pat dry the Seabass filets with kitchen towels and season with salt and freshly ground white pepper on both sides.
Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C).
Heat the clarified butter in a sauté pan and sear the fish, skin side down first, for one minute on each side. Transfer to a baking sheet and cook in the oven for 4-5 minutes.
For the Cous Cous, heat the melted butter in casserole and sauté the shallots slowly until translucent, but not browned, about 2 minutes. Add the Cous Cous and sauté for one more minute. Add the Red Beet Juice and simmer until the Beet Juice is absorbed and the Cous Cous is tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the Cold Butter, Mascarpone and Parmesan Cheese, season to taste with Salt and White Pepper.
To serve, remove the Crab Leg Meat from the shells, cut into 2 inch pieces and heat in a 350 F oven for 2 minutes until hot. Divide the hot Cous Cous amongst 4 Shallow Plates, top each with a Seabass Filet and the Crab Meat. Drizzle one tbsp Lemon Oil over the Fish and around the Cous Cous and serve.
An AmaWaterways river cruise is an extraordinary journey where dramatic sights are met with innovative and luxurious ships.
When you sail with AmaWaterways, you will experience the luxury of more – more ways to discover, more ways to indulge and more ways to relax. With an award-winning fleet, critically acclaimed dining and your choice of unique excursions, you will have the trip of a lifetime on an AmaWaterways river cruise.
Join us aboard the highest-rated ships in Europe as voted by premier travel authority, Berlitz. Berlitz rated AmaWaterway’s ships the top 10 out of 310 river ships reviewed.
Our ships are inspired by luxury yachts and designed specifically to maximize every aspect of our guests’ experience. You will notice the difference the minute you step on board and are welcomed in the beautiful lobby. From then on, you will be treated to an array of unique and luxurious features as you journey along in your floating hotel. Enjoy exclusive amenities like massage services, a fitness room and a swimming pool while on board. Indulge in award-winning cuisine at a variety of dining venues, including The Chef’s Table specialty restaurant — an experience you won’t find elsewhere.
Relax and delight in stunning views in our spacious staterooms, many of which feature twin balconies — a French balcony and an outside balcony. An AmaWaterways’ river cruise ship holds a maximum of 164 guests for an intimate experience, giving you more spacious public areas and larger staterooms.
A proactive, personalized approach to exceeding expectations is a hallmark of the AmaWaterways experience. Our team fully dedicates themselves to providing each of our guests with the highest level of service. At AmaWaterways, we only hire the best of the best. Each member of our crew — whether it’s a stateroom steward or a Cruise Manager — is an expertly-trained professional with a passion for what they do and a commitment to excellence. What’s more, you’ll have the same highly-trained Cruise Manager during both your cruise and land program.
Most of the staterooms on our European fleet feature not just one, but two private balconies — a French balcony and a full outside balcony. Together, they provide a unique view of the beautiful sights along the river and maximize the natural light coming in. With twin balconies, you can enjoy the river however you like.
Every feature in an AmaWaterways stateroom was thoughtfully conceived with the comfort of our guests in mind. Our staterooms start at 160 square feet, and suites can be as large as 350 square feet, giving you more space to sit back and relax in between meals and explorations. Artfully crafted to a first-class standard, each room is equipped with innovated designs, plush bedding, multi-jet shower heads and many other special touches that make you feel like you’re getting the royal treatment.
Your stateroom was designed to ensure that you travel in luxury from one stunning destination to the next. Set the climate control to your preferences and slip into a terrycloth bath robe as you unwind. Open your French or outside balcony and feel the soothing breeze. Turn on our Entertainment-on-Demand system and put on a newly released movie. Switch your flat-screen monitor into computer mode and hop on the internet to share photos of your adventures with friends and family back home. Your spacious stateroom is yours to relax in and enjoy as you see fit.
AmaWaterways is pleased to offer you a variety of complimentary in-room amenities for your comfort and convenience.
AmaWaterways is a member of La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs – a prestigious international culinary society. Our expert chefs craft menus that feature exquisite and locally-inspired cuisine. Each meal is specially paired with premium local reds and whites from Europe’s renowned wine regions, with new selections each night.
Head to the Main Restaurant or the Chef’s Table to savor award-winning cuisine. Stop by the Main lounge for tapas between meals, a light lunch or late night appetizers. More places to dine means fewer guests in each venue, allowing for more personalized service and more space.
The Main Restaurants features two intimate wine rooms that can accommodate groups of twelve people. The beautiful wine rooms are perfect for a special occasion or a memorable dinner with family and new friends.
Dine at The Chef’s Table, an intimate specialty restaurant serving a special tasting menu. You’ll have the opportunity to watch the chef prepare the cuisine right in front of you. The menu here is unique, making this truly a distinct gastronomic experience. Indulge in delectable dishes served with unlimited fine wines, hand-selected just for this menu.
Seating at most 28 guests, The Chef’s Table is an intimate, private venue. There is no additional cost to dine at the Chef’s table – all you have to do is make a reservation.
You will enjoy complimentary, unlimited wine, beer and soft drinks during lunch and dinner (as well as sparkling wine and fresh-squeezed juices during breakfast). We hand pick only the highest quality wines and pair them with our cuisine. Coffee, tea and bottled water are complimentary and available to you all day long.
We provide guests with choices of included shore excursions in every port, so you can customize your river cruise to your own personal preferences. These unique and active tours are included in the cruise fare so that you have more choices when it comes to how you prefer to explore. With AmaWaterways, the choice is yours.
We always make it a point to place our guests in small groups. This helps facilitate access to sights and landmarks, a more intimate setting, and more encounters with locals. It’s a great way to take your time as you explore and get to know your fellow travelers better.
We offer tours for gentle, regular and active walkers. If you’re in a very active mood, you can join one of our guided bike or hiking tours.
You can choose to explore the city by joining a guided tour. Every tour is led by a local, English-speaking guide. All of our guides are extremely knowledgeable in the region’s culture and history. You’ll also have the opportunity to explore on your own – your guide is there to recommend local specialties to try or shops where you can find that special souvenir.
Be more active by joining our guided hiking or bike tours. In addition, you can take the bicycles out on your own to explore.
These tours present opportunities for guests to experience the local culture in a unique way. Live like a local with culinary tours such as cooking classes or specialty tastings. Visit vineyards and taste wine in world renowned wine regions. Venture off the beaten path to explore hidden gems.
With fewer guests on board, we have space for more luxurious amenities. After a day of discovery you can unwind with a massage, work out in our fitness room, grab a drink in the lounge while the resident Pianist plays, or enjoy 360 degree views while relaxing on the sun deck.
Soak up some rays or take a dip in our refreshing pool with a swim-up bar as we pass by centuries-old castles, charming villages and other breathtaking scenery.
Are you looking for a way to stay fit on vacation? Hit the treadmill or lift some weights, while cruising from one destination to the next. If you prefer to get outside, you can use the running track on the sundeck.
After a marvelous day of immersive shore excursions, return to the ship and treat yourself to a bit of a pampering with a soothing massage.
Whether you’d like to dress up for the Captain’s special dinner or a night out on the town, you can complete your look by getting your hair styled in our salon.
You will enjoy an eclectic schedule of onboard entertainment every night, whether it’s traditional Bavarian music, a local quartet or contemporary piano favorites.
AmaWaterways is an award-wining river cruise line. Since our start in 2002, AmaWaterways has received many accolades for our innovative fleet, exquisite cuisine, personalized service, and menu of excursions.
AmaWaterways’ river cruises have always been inspired by a vision of innovation. Our founder, Rudi Schreiner, was recognized as the “Most Innovative River Cruise Executive” the last 2 years in a row, and he was inducted into the Cruise Lines International Association’s Hall of Fame with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Rudi directly oversees the design and construction of the AmaWaterways’ fleet.
In 2017 AmaWaterways was honored as the Travvy Award Gold Winner for Best River Cruise Line Overall; Best River Cruise Ship, AmaStella; Best River Cruise Line, Europe, Africa, and Asia. In 2016 we were awarded the Travvy Gold winner for Best River Cruise Line Overall; Best River Cruise Ship, AmaBella; Best River Cruise Line, Europe, and Asia.
Cruise Critic named AmaWaterways as 2016’s Best River Cruise Line Overall, Best River Cruise Line for Active Cruisers, and Best River Cruise Line for Families. In 2015 we won Best River Cruise Line for Active Cruisers and for Dining.
For the past two consecutive years AmaWaterways’ river cruise ships are the highest-rated ships in Europe as voted by premier travel authority, Berlitz. In 2016, Berlitz rated AmaWaterway’s ships the top 10 out of 310 river ships reviewed.
With an award-winning fleet, critically acclaimed dining and your choice of unique excursions, you will have the trip of a lifetime on an AmaWaterways river cruise.