River cruise down the Rhine

I know it’s been a long while since I posted a blog for you to read. I can’t believe how the time has flown by! We are already on the tail end of our river cruise down the Rhine on the AmaCello. It’s a great ship so I figure it would be good for me to tell you about it!

There are many river cruise options. I chose AmaWaterways for us because of the modern ships, free wifi, bikes onboard for the guests to take out (in certain cities and seasons, you can actually bike from one port to another and meet the ship!), and variety of tour options that are available to the guests.

I actually took one of the bikes that they offer to their guests and rode around taking in the sites of Mannheim with just me, Danny and a lovely couple that we met onboard from Texas. While I wasn’t sure that the weather would support our decision to explore by bike, we quickly found out that it is a can’t miss experience! We didn’t hear any description of where we were (we actually have no idea where we went), or the history, or really anything about it, but it was exhilarating to get out and just BE in Germany on our own.
Each day they offer tours of the cities they dock in or the surrounding areas. These tours vary by port. In some we have done regular walking city tours with a guide. In others we do what they call Culinary Delights or Cultural Delights which are limited to a certain number of people and are specifically for people looking to experience this. In Amsterdam we took the Cultural Delights and did a walking tour of the Jordaan district (the old working class district which is now popular for students and artists and wealthier people. Also if there are enough guides available in place, they will do their “gentle walkers” tour for people who are a little slower or can’t go as far. My favorite, but not one we have taken advantage of is the late risers tour! The name says it all! My last favorite feature of the touring are the QuietVox headphone systems so that you don’t have to be standing right next to your guide to hear what they have to say.
When we walked in to our room on day one, I was a little surprised how small my cabin was. It is true when we travel agents tell you that the cabins on riverboats are extremely small. I was completely shocked when we realized that all of our luggage for 3 weeks of vacation fit in the cabin though. Everything is put away and nothing is left in suitcases except for dirty laundry (on a side note… the prices for laundry service onboard are VERY inexpensive so that is the place to have your laundry done if you are doing an extensive trip or just don’t want laundry to do at home) and even that would fit if we need it to!
Wifi onboard is pretty good. When we were going through the Rhine Valley Gorge, there was no signal at all, but that is normal. They do have a strange system for filtering what websites you can and cannot use, so I will try and get a better feel for what they don’t allow. So far we know that you cannot use youtube, websites relating to gambling (even sites where you read news about gambling), and you can’t really download things from the web. The wifi is available in the public areas. I have seen almost everyone from the ship in there with a tablet, laptop or phone enjoying the free internet. If you are in a room towards the front you can also access the wifi in your room. All of the TVs in the rooms will also act as a computer with wired internet. There is a mouse and keyboard on the desk in each room. I have not used it yet, but will try to remember to test it out later.
I have to run for now since we are getting off of the ship to go to Lucern and continue our journey on our own!

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