AmaWaterways Review- Tulip Time April 3-10, 2017
For my most recent adventure with AmaWaterways, I invited along my Grandmother Lois. Multi-generational cruises are no longer just for the ocean vessels, the rivers can also be enjoyed by family members of varying ages. The time we spent together was truly invaluable and something that will always live in a special place of my heart. Read on for my first-hand account of this incredible journey.
Nothing will quite awaken your senses from a wintery slumber more than the vibrant pops of colour produced by tulips in bloom. When your journey starts in Amsterdam you are teased with sporadic planters on the sidewalks displaying only a hint of the floral masterpiece to come. As the days pass bringing you to Hoorn, Arnhem, Antwerp, Bruges, Rotterdam and Kinderdijk the colours start to become more apparent bringing life to the previously dull landscapes. That is until you return back to Amsterdam for Mother Nature’s piece de la resistance…Keukenhof Gardens. Skillfully timed by AmaWaterways to bring guests to the grounds prior to the hordes of visitors, nothing can quite prepare you for more than 7 million bulbs and 800 varieties of tulips set in a fairytale like panorama.
For those travelers with less interest in tulips and more in culinary delights, this itinerary will not disappoint. Off the ship, your time in Belgium would not be complete without indulging in some homemade chocolate and of course Belgian waffles. The complimentary “Belgian chocolates, waffles and beer” tour offered by AmaWaterways brings it all together nicely for you to sample which delights you want to bring home or more realistically, back to your stateroom when the temptation proves too great. Don’t worry, the Amsterdam airport has a few chocolate shops to replace any gifts that didn’t make it to disembarkation. For those interested in a little more savory, the best mussels and frites can be found in the “Venice of the North”, Bruges. There are few places in this world that can compare to this romantic medieval city interspersed with canals and bridges that just may have you
looking around corners for Prince Charming. If there is one place to dedicate a full day to, this is it. You will not be disappointed. When you find yourself back onboard for a meal, the cuisine offered could easily be compared to that found in a fine dining establishment and with good reason. As a member of La Chaine des Rotisseurs, the execution and flavour profiles created with each meal is quite literally an opportunity to taste the passion for gastronomy and the culinary arts. Make sure your stay onboard also includes a visit to the Chef’s Table specialty restaurant. An intimate dining venue located at the aft of the ship, the Chef’s Table provides guests with a tasting menu transporting taste buds around the world while being served with your choice of free flowing wine. The best part of this experience? It is entirely complimentary to all guests onboard, no matter your stateroom category.
Many may ask if a balcony stateroom is worth it and perhaps not on a Christmas Markets cruise but for Tulip Time, the upgrade is appreciated. While European itineraries typically have you on the go, there are times when you may be sailing during the day or with some time before dinner and no desire to dress beyond the comforts of a bathrobe. No matter the reason, the twin balcony concept not only lets a lot of natural light into your stateroom but it also gives you a private sanctuary to escape to when the desire beckons. For those with mobility issues, a balcony is imperative for a seamless vacation as the elevator onboard does not provide access to the river view staterooms, only the dining room. This leaves you with a winding staircase down to the lowest level suitable for those able bodied but a task and a half for those with difficulties. Buyer beware, not all balconies are created equally. The best experience is offered in those located in the middle of or towards the front of the ship to avoid any vibrations and rumblings provided by the engines.
Overall, a journey with AmaWaterways is one that will appeal to the adventurer, the “foodie” and the traveler looking for some extra luxuries and pampering that would typically incur additional charges elsewhere. With an assortment of rivers and destinations to choose from, your AmaWaterways family is waiting to welcome you onboard. And if you are lucky, Grandma might just be there with you.
Review and images by Taryn Bastead, Travel Professional at Cruise Holidays of Burlington. You can contact Taryn at (866)860-6218 or at firstname.lastname@example.org