River Cruising…Europe without the exhaustion!

Europe is a bottomless well; its density of fascinating destinations, cultures, layers of history, wine and cuisine, and the walkable cities and charming villages combine to create a bit of a dream world for me. The only downside to European travel is…the actual travel. The packing/unpacking, catching (sometimes missing) trains, finding the hotel, just to pack up and do it all again 2 days later.
Enter river cruising. 

Budapest at night is absolutely magical!

Wanting to find new ways to experience a variety of places without the wear of constant movement, I booked a November 2021 Magna on the Danube river cruise, sailing from Budapest, Hungary to Vilshofen, Germany. My husband John was less excited about the whole river cruise thing, but I had done extensive research and peer interviews to find the right river cruise line, and felt cautiously optimistic and ready for our trip with AmaWaterways. 

Morning scene from our balcony

Both highly independent, well traveled, and on the introvert spectrum, we feared being bored, feeling stuck, or not having interesting people around. These concerns quickly seemed comical. As we arrived at the beautiful AmaMagna ship, the friendly staff grabbed our bags, and we were checked in and escorted to our cabin in approximately 3 minutes. Our balcony suite was beautiful, and we could already envision the gorgeous views we’d have throughout our journey on the Danube. 

Here’s what we loved most about river cruising with AmaWaterways:
* The flexibility. Each day, we woke up in a new destination and had our pick of organized tours, always with the option to explore independently or on bike. A typical morning’s guided tour options might include several small groups of a city walking tour (with a “gentle” group for guests wanting a slower pace covering less distance), a castle hike or bike tour, and an excursion to a museum outside of the city. And of course, if you’d rather sleep in or stay on the ship to relax, that’s fine too.  
* The food & wine. Dining is one of the reasons that AmaWaterways guests are so loyal to the brand. The food is fresh, delicious, and they do an amazing job handling dietary restrictions.
* The people. We left the ship with new friends, and a ton of gratitude for the crew, whose genuine friendliness and service really made our experience special. The crew are also very international, and we loved learning about their home countries.
* The convenience. The small size of river cruise ships enables them to dock in very central locations. We were always able to walk directly from the ship into the center of town; no buses or taxis needed. 
* No wait, for anything. Most of AmaWaterways’ ships have no more than 160 guests on board, with 1 crew member for every 3 guests. My impatience with lines was never tested!
* It’s functionally all-inclusive. All food (including the amazing Chef’s Table speciality restaurant), wifi, TOURS with local guides, daily happy hour, and wine/beer/soft drinks with meals are included. Suites guests also receive complimentary laundry service throughout their stay. 
* Unpacking once!!! 
Our week on the AmaMagna was one of the best travel experiences we’ve had together, and I love that this form of travel works for people with such a range of interests and mobilities. River cruising with Ama is not ideal for young kids, or for people wanting large-scale nightly entertainment or parties. Other than that, it’s hard to think of who wouldn’t love this way of seeing Europe. 

AmaWaterways ships have a large fleet of bikes for either guided tours or self-directed riding. We spent John’s birthday biking on our own through Austria’s Wachau Valley, one of our more memorable experiences of the cruise.

There are many river cruise companies, and it may be hard to know the differences among them, or even how to pick the right itinerary. I charge a flat $200 fee for river cruise bookings; this includes presenting options based on your budget and priorities, booking at the best value (with added amenities like shipboard credits, exclusive to Virtuoso advisors), booking your transfers and pre-/post-hotels, and answering any questions you have leading up to your trip. 

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Hi, I'm Jenny Park

After years of finding every opportunity to travel despite my demanding day job, I decided I needed more. Now travel-- my clients' and my own-- is the foundation of my career. I started Wild & Precious Travel to inspire people to build memories and experiences throughout their lives; not just holding off until the later years. 
As Mary Oliver asked in her poem "The Summer Day": 
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life? 

Nice to meet you!



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