Many people are under the misconception that with river cruising you just sit and watch the scenery as we cruise down the river. They are so wrong. We were so active on this cruise that a common comment I heard was “we need a sea day”.
I’ll be addressing what we encountered on our recent AMA river cruise down the Danube in June 2015. Every day you have at least one, if not two, activities to do off the ship. A city tour is included at every port we went to. Generally speaking we had regular walkers, active walkers and gentle walkers. The gentle walkers was a nice way of saying those who either had mobility problems and couldn’t walk far or those who just needed a little extra help. However you still need to talk to the Cruise Director about how much walking and what type is ahead of you. The trip to Salzburg for the gentle walkers was especially very good as the van took them all over. The Melk Abbey would not have been good for these walkers as there was much walking to do. Again do your homework and talk with the cruise director.
The regular walkers were most of the passengers on the ship. Then they had active walkers, who for the most part, were part of the regular walkers group with a few exceptions when there was something specific designed for them.
Additionally, our ship, like many who ply the rivers all along the world, had multi gear bicycles that they brought along. Almost every day there was a bicycle excursion that you could take in place of a city tour. One day there was also an optional 30 k bike ride through the Wachau Valley while the ship cruised along. No shortage of activities.
If you didn’t want to be part of any tour group, you could be independent and go off on your own. You just needed to know when you needed to be back on board the ship. Several people I know did this and they would eat their dinners on land rather than on the ship.
On our ship we also had a very small exercise room, and a very large hot tub that was more like a small swimming pool that I made use of more than a few times.
Overall, we felt that we were very active and did not just sit around though to be honest, sitting around a little would have felt good. I did skip an afternoon excursion and stayed on the boat making use of the hot tub and putting my feet up.
We also had some evening entertainment – opera singers, gypsies, classical and not so classical musicians, a visit to a winery for a tasting, a concert in Vienna – so much to do.
For this cruise down the Danube, I invited friends and asked that they invite their friends so that we could qualify for group rates. Also, by booking with my travel agent who is also a Virtuoso Certified Travel Agent, we were also given a free excursion to the Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna AND an on board credit. We were a group in name only although we did sit together a few times, did a couple of group activities that I organized in Prague and it was always nice to see a familiar face when walking around the ship.
I’m doing another group river cruise and I would like to invite you to come with us. We will continue to sail with AMA Waterways and will sail this time up the Rhone from Arles, France to Lyon, France. If you choose to do the pre-cruise, it will be in Barcelona and the post cruise will be in Paris. The cruise will begin on September 9th, 2016 (yes, next year and space is getting limited) though the pre cruise begins September 6th with your arrival in Barcelona. If you are interested, leave me a note in the comment section and I will respond back to you. Good news for those who like to travel solo – the single supplement is waived! Think about it but not for too long.