Spotlight on Europe

Whether you’re six or 106, river cruising is for people of all ages, and there has never been a better time to take a trip. 

River Cruising Europe: It’s Time for Travelers of All Ages to Get On Board

Seine and Notre Dame de Paris.
Paris, FR

With modernized ships and great itineraries, river cruising is fast becoming popular with younger travelers. Millenials are more interested in cruising Europe than other generations, and more likely than Generation Xers or Baby Boomers to take a river cruise in the next two years, so we’ve compiled some reasons why travelers of any age should get onboard the river cruising bandwagon.

Making The Most Of Your Time

With limited vacation time, you’ve got to make the most of every day. Every hour spent on a bus or a train is one you won’t spend discovering hidden alleyways, sipping on local wine, or hunting down the best souvenirs in classic markets or trendy boutiques.

Traveling by river cruise means you wake up in a new city every day with no time wasted, so you can see more cities than you might think on a relatively short break.

Unpack Once And Settle In

You know what’s not fun? Dragging your wheeled luggage over cobblestone streets, or up the stairs of that charming hotel that just happens to lack an elevator. What’s even less fun is having to go through the whole process in city after city throughout your trip.

On a river cruise, you unpack once, settle into your room, and enjoy a wrinkle-free wardrobe for the duration of your vacation. It’s easier to bring along that extra pair of cute shoes (or pick one up in one of your destinations) when you know you won’t have to drag them through multiple cities in your bag.

Arrive, In Style

There’s simply no better way to arrive in a European city than docking at the river cruise port and finding yourself just steps away from the main sights. It’s like having a hotel in a prime location in every city you visit, complete with waterfront views. You can stroll right off the ship to begin your sightseeing without having to figure out the local transit system or where to get a cab.

Expert-Led Itineraries

You’ve got enough on your plate without trying to plan the perfect day in every city on your trip. Most river cruises include multiple trip options in each city you visit, so you can select from expert-curated experiences to fit your travel style – whether that’s diving into the city or strolling through the countryside.

Many river cruise itineraries also feature exclusive experiences, from dining with university students for an insider look at local life in Germany to digging for truffles in Provence. These are experiences you simply couldn’t book on your own, and they’re often included in the price of your cruise.

All-Inclusive Travel

You work hard for your vacation dollars, and it’s important to know what you’re committing to before you leave. Most river cruises offer all-inclusive dining and beverages so you’ll never find yourself scrimping on dinner because you blew your daily meal budget on a bottle of wine at lunch.

Beyond the dining room, you’ll also find that your cruise fare includes many excursions, along with equipment to take ashore, like bicycles and hiking poles.

No matter your age, there’s a river cruise that will wow you. A travel agent can help connect you to the cruise line that’s the best fit for your budget, goals, and travel style.

On Location with Family Twist

Mother and daughter visiting city of Florence (Firenze), Tuscany.
Florence, IT

Want to explore Europe’s galleries, landscapes, and rich history without worrying about the kids getting bored? Family Twist are here to help! With a range of activities, tours, and info packages designed especially for kids, Family Twist will work with you to design the perfect European vacation to suit your family.


Ready for the ultimate family vacation? Give us a call today and let us help you plan the perfect trip to this spectacular part of the world.

10 Picture-Perfect European River Cruise Destinations To Explore in 2018

From the Rhine to the Danube to the Elbe, Europe’s rivers are the backbone of this continent, connecting major world capitals and small country towns. Here, we look at 10 of our favorite European destinations to explore from a river cruise ship.

Eating Amsterdam: Must-Try Street Food Within Easy Reach of the River Cruise Port

Colorful Amsterdam canal with traditional buildings and street cafe.
Amsterdam, NL

Sure, Amsterdam offers plenty of fine dining – but you’ll get your share of that on your river cruise ship. Fueling yourself with classic grab-and-go street food favorites gives you a real taste of Dutch life for just a few euros as you snack your way through the city. Here are our top picks.

Broodje Haring

If you’ve pictured yourself dangling a raw herring over your mouth, holding it by the tail as you gobble it up, you’ll have to revise your expectations – that’s just not how it’s done in Amsterdam. Raw herring is a staple street food here, but it’s served chopped up and topped with onions and pickles, eaten by spearing the chunks of fish with a toothpick.

It’s an intense flavor experience, to be sure. To soften the blow, try ordering a broodje haring (herring sandwich). You’ll get all the same ingredients, but tempered by a soft white roll that also makes the whole thing much easier to eat while standing up.

Where to try it: You’ll spot standalone herring stalls all over town, often along the canals. Stubbe’s Haring, near the Centraal Train Station, is just a 15-minute walk from the river cruise port.

Poffertjes

These delicious little puffed pancakes topped with butter and powdered sugar are a must for anyone with a sweet tooth: each is about the size of a silver dollar and is a delight to pop into your mouth (just give them a minute to cool down – they'll be served straight from a sizzling-hot cast-iron pan).

The classic version is tasty enough, but you can also have them stuffed with apples or raisins or topped with Nutella or jam. Locals know to flip the poffertjes over before eating to avoid having powdered sugar blow all over your clothes.

Where to try it: You’ll find poffertjes stands at most local markets. We like Poffertjes Albert Cuyp at the Albert Cuyp Markt, or Ome Tom’s at the Dapper Markt in Amsterdam East.

Stroopwafels

You can buy packaged stroopwafels (syrup waffles) at any grocery store in town, but for the real deal, you’ve got to have one hot and fresh, with the molasses-like syrup oozing out between two thin waffle cookie layers. They’re available dipped in chocolate, but the syrup is sweet enough that this seems like overkill unless you’re a die-hard chocolate fan.

Where to try it: Albert Cuyp Markt is your best bet all year round. During the holiday season, you’ll also find stands at holiday markets and outdoor skating rinks.

 

Frites

Think plain old French Fries sound a little boring? Not in Amsterdam – you won’t be eating them plain, or with ketchup.

The classic Dutch style is to serve frites topped with mayonnaise, but there are plenty of other options to drizzle over your paper cone. Satay sauce is a popular choice, or try one of two common topping combos: Patat speciaal is topped with curry ketchup, mayo, and chopped onions. Patatje oorlog also has mayo and chopped onions, but swaps the curry ketchup for peanut sauce. Grab plenty of paper napkins!

Where to try it: You’ll find frites stands at most markets, and plenty of takeout windows around town. We like Vlaams Friteshuise Vleminckx on Voetboogstraat in the city center.

Oliebollen

If your cruise brings you to Amsterdam during the holiday season, seek out an oliebollen stand. An oliebol is a deep-fried, sweet ball of dough. It’s similar to an apple fritter but somehow more delicious, and it can be served plain, with raisins, with apples, or topped with powdered sugar. It’s a must-eat on New Year’s Eve, but you can find the stands starting in mid-November. They disappear January 1.

Where to try it: You’ll find oliebollen stands in just about every neighborhood, but the best oliebollen in Amsterdam according to readers of local newspaper Het Parool are actually found in a bakery: De Bakkerszonen (The Baker’s Sons) in Amsterdam East.

FEBO

We’ll admit right upfront that FEBO is not a classy affair, but it’s an Amsterdam grab-and-go eating experience not to be missed. Think of it as a constantly replenished room-sized vending machine with rows upon rows of little glass doors. Behind each door is a freshly cooked hot snack, most of them deep-fried and all of them delicious – if not exactly packed with nutritional value. Choose what you want, put in your money, and open the door to pick up your purchase.

The classic FEBO pick is kroketten (croquettes), a perfectly salty, crunchy, deep-fried treat.

Where to try it: You’ll find FEBO outlets all over town. The closest one to the river cruise port is a 12-minute walk away on Oudezijds Voorburgwal in the Red Light District.

International culinary delights

Tempting dishes from our featured destinations give you a taste of local culture. From succulent roasts to exotic spicy fare and some divine desserts, you’re sure to find plenty of delicious recipes to try at home.

Pork Saltimbocca

Holland America Line is teaming up with America’s Test Kitchen to offer an enticing selection of live onboard cooking shows and hands-on workshops where guests will learn foolproof techniques and user-friendly recipes to make delectable dishes with confidence.



Ingredients

  • 2 (1-pound) pork tenderloins, trimmed
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 thin slices prosciutto (3 ounces)
  • 8 large fresh sage leaves, plus 1 teaspoon minced
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces and chilled
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

Preparation

Cut each tenderloin crosswise into 4 equal pieces. Working with 1 piece at a time, place pork, cut side down, between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Using meat pounder, gently pound to even ¼ inch thickness. (Pieces should be about 5 inches long.) Pat pork dry with paper towels and season with pepper.

Place 1 prosciutto slice on top of each cutlet, folding as needed to prevent overhang. Dip 1 side of each sage leaf in egg white and place 1 leaf, egg side down, in center of each prosciutto slice. Cover with plastic and pound lightly until prosciutto and safe adhere to pork.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add half of the pork to skillet, prosciutto side down and cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Using tongs, carefully flip pork and cook until second side is light golden brown, about 1 minute. Transfer to platter and tent with aluminum foil. Repeat with remaining pork.

Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to now empty skillet and heat over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add garlic and minced sage and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in broth and wine and simmer until reduced to ½ cup, 5 to 7 minutes, scraping up any browned bits. Reduce heat to low and whisk butter, 1 piece at a time. Stir in lemon juice and any accumulated meat juices from platter. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon sauce over pork and serve.

Step aboard the world’s greatest ships

Each month we’re showcasing our cruise partners to bring you the latest on the cruise line and their ships. With different cruising styles and a variety of ships to choose from, you’ll find these profiles helpful for selecting the cruise that’s right for you.

Explore the World Within the World

Photo: Azamara Club Cruises

Azamara Club Cruises invites you to step ashore as an insider and Explore Further.

The initial layers of a city, including its people, buildings, and shops — can be seen by anyone, with each person having a similar view. Inspiration is found when one goes deeper — beyond the surface of a city. Explore the world within the world, while discovering more about yourself. With overnight stays and docking at smaller, less-traveled ports, Azamara Club Cruises invites you to step ashore as an insider and Explore Further.

The Ship

Azamara ships are not too big (you never feel lost). And they’re not too small (you won’t run out of new things to do and new people to meet). Plus, with the newest addition to our fleet—the Azamara PursuitSM—you’ll have even more choice in immersive voyage that call on the world’s most desirable destinations.

With a capacity of 690 guests, the new Azamara PursuitSM, is really just right. You’ll love the genial club-like atmosphere and the way our staff and crew get to know you. And you’ll feel the same friendliness with your fellow voyagers.

Our smaller ships also offer the big advantage of being able to sail to places larger cruise lines can’t. For instance, we sail to the doorstep of Bangkok, while other large cruise lines dock a few hours away. We sail to the city center of Bordeaux, the heart of Seville, and within a short walk to Hong Kong’s buzzing nightlife and Shanghai’s famous Bund.

Being near the center of action is much more fun, don’t you agree?

The Ship
Azamara Club Cruises

Accommodations

When you book a stateroom, you’ll love the polished style and stellar service in your own private retreat. You’ll appreciate the finer touches included in every stateroom, but it takes more than a beautiful room to elevate a voyage from "good" to "great." With Azamara Club Cruises®, you’ll discover just how much professional service and a friendly attitude can add to your enjoyment.

There’s no finer way to travel than in the comfort of a Club World Owner’s Suite, Club Ocean Suite, Club Continent Suite or our NEW Club Spa Suites on an Azamara voyage. Our suite guests receive a variety of exclusive benefits in addition to comfortable, spacious accommodations. We take care of all the details, so you can focus on experiencing the world.

Staying in a suite is like staying in your own vacation home complete with ocean views, sea breezes, and butler service. Relax with plush cotton robes and slippers, French bath products, fresh flowers, and fine linens. Open the sliding glass doors to your private veranda, perfect for reading, al fresco dining, or stargazing. Enjoy a drink from complimentary bottles of specialty spirits, mixers included. And should you need anything, your English-trained butler is never more than a call away, ready to assist with restaurant and spa reservations, private parties, dinners for two, and much more.

Stateroom Amenities

  • Luxurious cotton bed linens with duvet
  • Terry bathrobes and slippers
  • 24-hour room service
  • "About Rose" toiletries—sophisticated luxury soaps and fine toiletries
  • Welcome fruit basket at embarkation
  • Fresh-cut flowers
  • Tote bag
  • Complimentary use of umbrella and binoculars
  • Complimentary shoe-shine service
  • Turndown treats
  • Daily news bulletin

Accommodations
Azamara Club Cruises

Dining

At Azamara Club Cruises® we take you to remarkable destinations. We also give you more time to fall in love with them. It’s what we call Destination Immersion®—and it’s what happens when you can stay longer and experience more on our voyages. More time to get to know the local life and culture in every port. After all, isn’t that what travel is all about?

But Destination Immersion isn’t just something that happens on shore. It happens onboard, too. What does that mean for dining onboard? We incorporate the flavors of a destination into our menus. What does that mean for you? A culinary experience that is exclusive. Personalized. And very local. It’s time to get a real taste for travel.

Feel on top of the world as you dine in luxury and elegance at our specialty restaurants. We invite you to the top floor to dine at Prime C and Aqualina with these fabulous reduced-price packages.

Featuring an exceptional range of choice from Chef’s Table meals to five-course menus paired with the sumptuous wines, these fine dining experiences are hosted by a senior officer or special guest. From lobster bisque to crème brûlée, savor a heavenly experience at a down-to-earth price.

Dining
Azamara Club Cruises

Activities

At Azamara Club Cruises® we’re always moving forward to bring you the most incredible, immersive cruise experience. We’ve delivered on new destinations, new itineraries, a new ship and now, new onboard entertainment. We’ve jazzed (and opera’ed) up our current playbill to include a lineup of refreshing shows and talent designed to make your voyage all the more unforgettable.

On every sailing you’ll have more variety to choose from with Broadway entertainment, live theatre shorts, and selections of opera classics—plus the signature Azamara shows and events you know and love.

Activities
Azamara Club Cruises

Services

When you’re ready to embark on a journey with Azamara Club Cruises®, be sure to pack your bags, but leave the phrase, "Check please," at home. Because when you travel with us, pretty much everything you could ever want is included.

Inclusive amenities for all guests:

  • AzAmazing Evenings® event (on most voyages of seven nights or longer)
  • Select standard spirits, international beers and wines
  • Gratuities
  • Bottled water, soft drinks, specialty coffees and teas
  • Self-service laundry
  • Shuttle service to and from port communities, where available
  • Concierge services for personal guidance and reservations

Plus additional inclusives for suite guests:

  • English butler service
  • 235 complimentary Internet minutes or $150 towards a full voyage unlimited package per person.
  • One free bag of laundry service per suite, each seven days
  • Complimentary specialty restaurants dining
  • Afternoon tea service in-suite

And even more for specialty suite guests:

  • $300 in Onboard Credit for guests in Club World Owner’s Suites, Club Ocean Suites, Club Spa Suites.

Services
Azamara Club Cruises