I travelled the Danube with Tauck last year and absolutely loved it, so I jumped at the chance to experience the gorgeous new AmaWaterways river ship AmaKristina, on the Rhine from Basel to Amsterdam, with my husband Colin.
Living in the North East of England the easiest way for us to fly to Basel was a 90-minute flight via EasyJet from Edinburgh on the 15th December, which is a quick and easy flight direct to Basel. Our return flight was from Amsterdam on the 23rd back into Edinburgh, again with EasyJet.
We spent the night before embarkation in the lovely city of Basel, visiting our first Christmas market and dining on fondue, in one of the market cabins, whilst chatting to two lovely local ladies.
Crossing The Rhine the next day, we were greeted by the lovely sight of AmaKristina waiting for us and she is a beauty! The staff were fabulous and met us on arrival with a hot drink, taking our luggage from us and escorted to our amazing cabin.
We were in a standard priced cabin but to be honest every single detail was catered for. With high end products in the shower room (which had a heated floor) to the fresh water in the fridge every day. Our cabin also had a state of the art entertainment system with English TV, movies and free internet, which was brilliant as I still had work to do. Before setting sail the following morning, we were given a ‘Daily Cruiser’, which was the next day’s itinerary, including all the tours we could go on and contained very useful information too. These were left daily by our cabin attendant, who would also leave little chocolates, little presents and a rabbit shaped towel presentation!
Our Itinerary consisted of Basel, Breisach, Strasbourg, Mannheim, Rudesheim, Cologne and Amsterdam.
Arriving into Breisach we had the option of a few tours and decided to visit Riquewihr, which is a gorgeous medieval town in the Alsace region, inspiration as the setting for the film ‘Beauty and the Beast’.
Back on board and time to relax before our absolutely amazing evening meal, where all the ladies were presented with a lovely red rose. All the meals, which included wines and soft drinks, were of the highest Michelin star quality were fantastic!
Next stop, the adorable city of Strasbourg decked in Christmas finery, which reminded me a lot of Bruges, with its old half-timbered medieval architecture and canals where we wandered the lovely Christmas markets.
The tours cater for all passengers with differing levels of abilities, so you could go on a hiking or cycling tour if you were up for it. We loved the fact that we could do as much or as little as we wanted to do. The lit, heated pool on the top deck was fabulous, or just sit in the lounge and relax listening to the amazing onboard pianist.
Docking at Mannheim the following morning we decided on visiting Speyer and the Technic Museum, where Colin was in his element as his greatest loves are History and Formula one! The Rudesheim tour in the afternoon to see this lovely town and sample the famous Rudesheim coffee, which had a rather large ‘dash’ of Asbach brandy in the bottom.
En route to Cologne we passed through the lovely, rugged Rhine Gorge and even though it was a rainy foggy day, sitting on the top deck wrapped up tight with a hot chocolate, it was truly magical.
Our fantastic Cruise Manager, Dejan, gave us a wonderful commentary as we passed through, about the castles and of course the famous Lorelei Rock. Dejan in our opinion is a fantastic asset to AmaWaterways and he, above all, made this a magnificent trip, with his energy and enthusiasm.
Visiting the fantastic city of Cologne with its amazingly intricate Gothic cathedral that dominates the city skyline was a highlight, along with our fabulous guide, Marion, we learnt so much. Then we sampled some locally brewed Kolsch Bier and Reibkuchen, which is a potato pancake served with apple sauce, Yum!
Our short trip is nearly over now, but we have met some very lovely people onboard from Canada and USA who have invited us to visit them.
Arriving in Amsterdam, we head off for a bus tour and canal cruise of the city. We have visited Amsterdam before, but this is a better way to see the city and relax, as we sail along the canals with our very informative guide. The following morning it’s time for us to jump into our taxi, which the receptionist on the ship organised for us to take us to the Airport for our flight home.
To summarise, I highly recommend that you consider this trip with AmaWaterways on AmaKristina as it has been the most memorable trip that we will savour forever and can’t thank the staff enough who were all truly magnificent, for making this the most special of holidays.
With the cruise being all inclusive, it’s very cost effective way to see so much, whilst only unpacking once!