Why I Love River Cruising

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Why I Love River Cruising

I Love River Cruising! I recently returned from my 2nd River Cruise in Europe and I’m hooked. My husband and I celebrated our 32nd wedding anniversary aboard UniWorlds ‘Maria Teresa’.

Our adventure began in Antwerp and ended in Amsterdam. Our trip started exactly a week after the terrorist bombing in Brussels. Other than changing our departing flight from Brussels, to Amsterdam, our trip was uninterrupted and felt completely safe. In fact, the only time we saw guards or any indication that an attack had happened a week prior was in the subway stations in Antwerp. Our guide explained that there was actually more security, but they wear plain cloths and are unnoticeable to tourists. We had a great time touring Antwerp. It was mostly about the food for us. We had a day and a half there, and made sure we tasted all the local favorites. We toured the Chocolate factory (of course), ate double fried Frits (which are way better than our American ‘single fried’ fries), couldn’t get enough Belgium waffles from the street vendors (seriously amazing), and although I am not a drinker, many of our ship mates told us the beer was the best.

We spent most of our time in the Netherlands. The Netherlands (which means ‘low-lands’) has an ongoing battle with water. Much of the Netherlands is below Sea level and that is evident as you travel the country. One of the more fascinating side trips we made was to the Delatawerken (Delta Works) Dam. The Series of Dams are unique and some have referred to the project as the 8th Wonder of the world… which makes sense once you see it. The Dams (which move up and down as needed) keep flood disasters from happening to the Southern regions which are the most populated part of the country. We visited many adorable small European style towns. I love how they all have an amazing Church standing in the center. Towns we visited include: Veere, Hoorn, Delft (where we toured the Delft Blue Pottery) and Rotterdam of course. In Rotterdam we took a bus to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kinderdijk, home to the largest collection of windmills left in the Netherlands today. The windmills were originally built around the 1740 and are still used the pull the water out of the farmland and into man-made canals.

Amsterdam was our final stop for a couple days. We were lucky enough to be there in the spring when the flowers were blooming. We spent a day in Keukenhof gardens and although we were a couple weeks before the peak time for Tulips, the gardens were still amazing. Keukenhof gardens are only open 8-9 weeks each year, just during Tulip season. Interestingly, they plant bulbs 3 deep. The top bulbs are early flowers, such as Daffodils, then the Hyacinths, and finally the Tulips. This way they can keep the gardens in bloom the entire time they are open. There were still plenty of Tulips in bloom, but I have to say that the fragrance of the Hyacinths was my favorite. If you like Flowers, this should be on your bucket list.

Amsterdam (or the city of bikes, as we called it) is a great city to visit. Beautiful canals, excellent museums, amazing shopping, Bikes everywhere (don’t get in their way!), we even found Trip Advisor’s top spot for double Fried Frits (The line went down the alley and around the corner… It was worth the wait).

I have been on 2 River cruises, one on Ama Waterways (2015) and UniWorld. Both are amazing Companies and I liked each for different reasons. UniWorld is more luxurious and although you pay a little more, it has some definite advantages. Some of my favorite things: Unlimited, anytime drinks (Alcohol & Soda’s), more Bathroom storage space, two 110 power outlets (one in the bathroom and one by the Credenza), the food was amazing! Seriously! And I think my number one best thing was the beds! They have top of the line, comfy beds. For me, that was huge. Both AMA and Uniworld have bikes you can take out. (We rode around Hoorn and had a blast). They both have a small work-out room, a place you can get food almost all day. I could go on… but that’s enough. If you haven’t river cruised, you are in for a treat. I highly suggest it.