Feeling a little stir crazy and need to “get away” for a little while, even if just in your imagination? I may have the answer for you – let’s go on a virtual river cruise down the Rhine River on AmaWaterways! While we can’t travel right now, (today is April 28, 2020 and we’re still in the midst of the COVID-19 quarantine) we will be able to begin vacationing soon! Here is a trip that is definitely on my bucket list. I’ve never visited The Netherlands, Germany or Switzerland. When I go, I’m sure to spend several days in Amsterdam before the cruise and a while in Switzerland afterwards! There’s so much I want to see in this part of the world.
First of all, let’s get ready for our virtual vacation on the Rhine — Here’s a playlist to get into the mood.
The Legendary Rhine River is Captivating!
Grab a glass of your favorite wine and follow along as we sail down the Rhine seeing the vineyard-clad hills and castles from yesteryear. Experience the allure of France’s Alsace region in its welcoming capital, Strasbourg, and its priceless gem, Riquewihr. Discover Breisach, rising above the vineyards of the Rhine, and Freiburg, one of Germany’s sunniest cities and gateway to the Black Forest. Fabled towns lost in time present you with the chance to taste local flavors—Rüdesheimer coffee and Kölsch beer—and to touch history up close with guided hikes and bike rides. From Amsterdam’s colorful canals to the majestic Swiss Alps, journey into the heart of the destinations you visit.
On the first day of our seven day cruise, we’ll have an easy embarkation on the beautiful AmaKristina. AmaWaterways realizes that their guests have different tastes, so they’ve developed a diverse menu of shore excursions to accommodate all travelers with a personalized experience in every port of call. In many destinations, you’ll be free to choose from one of several options — all of which are included in your cruise fare. There’s always a city tour designed to show you the renowned highlights and landmarks in grand capitals and charming villages alike. Is it your first time in Amsterdam? Opt for an unforgettable exploration of the major sights led by a local, English-speaking guide that is well-versed in history and culture. Have you already been to Cologne? Instead of taking the city tour, take the Kölsch beer tasting tour on one of their immersive Special Interest Tours, which are specially designed to place you in the midst of local life. We also offer different tour paces: gentle, regular and active. The choice is yours!
With AmaWaterways’ Co-Founder Kristin Karst serving as AmaKristina’s Godmother, you know you’ll have a distinctive experience aboard this phenomenal, award-winning river ship. Both a French and outside balcony in most staterooms allow you to enjoy the ever-changing scenery however you wish. In the marble bathroom, enjoy multi-jet showerheads, soothing bath and body products, cozy robes and hair dryers. Suites feature added enhancements, including a larger sitting area and an expansive bathroom complete with a bathtub and separate shower. The AmaKristina also includes a massage and hair salon, gift shop, specialty coffee station, heated pool with swim-up bar, fitness center, sun-deck walking track and a fleet of onboard bikes. Her Main Restaurant is a taste of the outdoors, with vines and branches infused in the décor, and expert chefs preparing our signature exquisite cuisine with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients—both in the Main Restaurant and at The Chef’s Table.
AmaWaterways’ ships are your floating sanctuary. That’s why they choose to carry fewer guests (at most 164), so that they can make your staterooms larger and provide more amenities. With fewer people on board, public spaces like restaurants and lounges are never crowded, and accommodations range from 155 square feet all the way up to 350 square feet.
Day Two of our Rhine River Cruise with AmaWaterways brings us a canal cruise tour in Amsterdam, where there are 165 canals. You’ll get to enjoy some of them before sailing out of Amsterdam on or our way to Cologne, Germany!
Day Three of our virtual Rhine River adventure brings us to Cologne, Germany. We’ll explore the city’s towering UNESCO-designated Cologne Cathedral and Germany’s oldest town hall. Later in the day, we’ll take a special visit to a local tavern for a few glasses of Kölsch beer. Have you made a trip to Cologne, and if so did you try their beer? The Kölsch beer is a specially beer only brewed in Cologne. It’s a light ale and is served in the traditional 0.2 litre Kölsch glasses which are tall and cylindrical.
Day Four: We’ll discover the scenic Rhine Valley with its castles, historic towns and vineyards. We’ll cruise through the captivating UNESCO-designated Rhine Gorge, the most stunningly beautiful stretch of the river before reaching the the winemaking town of Rüdesheim. Drink up the stunning views by soaring high above the vineyards with a gondola ride to the Niederwalddenkmal Statue and afterwards be treated to a wine tasting. Or, for a more active adventure, hike through the town’s beautiful vineyards or join a guided bike tour along the scenic Rhine River to Schloss Johannisberg. Later in the day, let Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Museum charm you with it’s remarkable collection of self-playing musical instruments; or taste one of the town’s special delights, Rüdesheimer Coffee, ceremoniously made with brandy, coffee & whipped cream!
In 1892 Hugo Asbach, merchant and distiller, founded the company Asbach & Co. in Rüdesheim on the romantic Rhine. He did not know at that time that he was setting a mile stone in Germany for a name that it still popular as in 1892. A marketing slogan that is still valid today was created in 1937: “The spirit of wine is in Asbach”.
1957 Rudesheimer Coffee was created, a popular coffee drink with Asbach. Enjoy these coffees as if you would be in Germany. You can find Rudesheimer Coffee in every good Cafe and it is the perfect hot drink for the holidays and winter months. If you cannot find the special cups use tall cups.
Ingredients Rudesheimer Coffee
4cl Asbach Uralt
3 cubes of sugar
Hot coffee (regular or decaf)
Whipped cream sweetened with vanilla sugar
Grated milk chocolate
Cooking Instructions Rudesheimer Coffee
– Warm the brandy by using the double boiler method or warm it in a pan (never bring to a boil!).
– Place 2-3 cubes of sugar in an original Rüdesheimer Coffee cup, pour over 4cl of the well-heated Asbach and light it by using a long match.
– Stir with a long-handled spoon to dissolve the sugar completely.
– Let it burn for about 1 minute, then pour in hot coffee to about 2 cm below the rim.
– Top off with a scoop of whipped cream and sprinkle with grated chocolate or cocoa.
Day Five of our Virtual Rhine River Cruise brings us to Ludwigshafen!
Ludwigshafen is your gateway to a choice of three excursions. Visit Heidelberg, the perfectly preserved medieval city nestled in the Neckar River Valley along Germany’s Castle Road. Discover the iconic red sandstone Heidelberg Castle and Great Vat, and 18th-century, 49,000-gallon wine cask. For a more active adventure while in Heidelberg, join a guided hike up the Philosopher’s Path, aptly named during the Romantic Period, and enjoy panoramic views of the city. Alternatively, you can visit one of Germany’s oldest cities, Speyer, known for the largest Romanesque cathedral in Europe–a UNESCO World Heritage Site–and the medieval Old Gate, Altportel. Or join a guided bike tour along the shores of the river Neckar and enjoy a cycling break to explore the picturesque medieval town of Ladenburg.
Day Six of our Virtual River Cruise along the Rhine River with AmaWaterways, brings us to Strasbourg!
Strasbourg offers flavors of both France & Germany because of it’s borderline location. Enjoy a panoramic tour past the stunning Parc de l’Orangerie, the European Parliament and the Place de la Republique before walking through it’s iconic “La Petite France” district, lifted straight from the pages of a fairytale. Wander through charming streets past the Cathedrale de Notre Dame with its famous astronomical clock. Alternatively, take a guided bike ride through the city and Park de l’Orangerie.
Before we get to our Seventh, and unfortunately last day of our Captivating Rhine River Cruise, we should talk about dining aboard the AmaKristina! AmaWaterways was invited to be a member of La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs – a prestigious international culinary society – and with good reason. Their expert chefs craft menus that feature exquisite, locally-sourced cuisine as well as traditional Western offerings. They are the only river cruise line that has The Chef’s Table, an intimate specialty restaurant where you can watch the chef prepare a lavish dinner right in front of you. Each meal is specially paired with hand-selected local reds and whites from Europe’s renowned wine regions, with new selections each night. There’s also sparkling wine and fresh juice with breakfast, menu service during lunch, as well as delicious tapas and snacks in the Main Lounge between meals. All onboard dining, as well as unlimited wine and beer with lunch and dinner, is included so you can indulge whenever and however you’d like.
Day Seven is our last full day aboard our Virtual River Cruise, and today, we’ll find ourselves in Breisach, which is your gateway to several different excursions. Step back in time with a visit to the enchanting Alsatian town of Riquewihr, which looks
almost the same as it did in the 16th century. On your walking tour, admire historic architecture and famous sights, such as the Dolder Gate. Alternatively, head to
Freiburg, founded in 1120 and home to the Freiburg’s Münster, a Gothic cathedral said to have “the most beautiful spire on earth.” Those wishing a more active
excursion can cycle through the countryside, or hike in the Black Forest, a magical land full of cultural traditions.
Now that our virtual cruise is over, I hope you enjoyed our trip along the Rhine the past few days! I now have a sudden craving for Black Forest Cake! You can find a great recipe with instructions here.
If you decide you’d like to take a real river cruise with AmaWaterways, it will be a luxurious experience from start to finish. We can customize how you explore Europe with a variety of included shore excursions and flexible tour options!
If you would like more information about AmaWaterways: