Our TierOne Travel president, Shelley Ewing, was invited to join an incredible cruise with AmaWaterways sailing the Danube!
Continue reading this blog to learn all about how her cruise went, who she would recommend this type of cruising to, and see some amazing photos from the trip!
Danube Cruise with Amawaterways
TierOne Travel President and Partner Shelley Ewing was recently offered the opportunity to travel to Budapest, Hungary and then to cruise with Amawaterways to Giurgiu, Romania!
Here’s her trip summary:
Questions & Answers with Shelley
Welcome home! Can you tell us about your latest trip – where did you go, and with whom?
In recognition of Tier One Travel’s accomplishment for 2019 top 10 sales in Canada with Ensemble, I was invited to join the Ensemble Elite group of agencies on AmaWaterways aboard the spectacular AmaMagna, sailing the Danube from Budapest, Hungary to Giurgiu, Romania.
What were some of the highlights of your trip – any favorite memories that stand out?
Shelley: My trip started with two nights in Budapest. The capital city of Hungary, is magnificent and widely known for its well-kept pre-war cityscape and architecture. One of my favorite ways to explore any new city is on the Hop-on, Hop-off Bus. It gives you a good overview as well as a lot of information and a chance to explore well-known sights including the neo-Gothic Parliament, the biggest building in Hungary.
I love sampling the local cuisine, and the Hungarian café culture didn’t disappoint.
Hungarian Goulash, and Chicken Paprikash were two of my favorite dishes.
Shelley: River cruising is a fabulous way to see Europe and the AmaMagna is a spectacular vessel. It is double the width of other river cruises, with only 196 guests. The cabins are extra-large, each having a deck for you to sit and watch the world go by.
The beautiful sun deck has a pool and whirlpool and there is a fabulous Zen Wellness Studio which includes a fitness center, two massage rooms and a refreshing juice bar.
I was surprised by the number of restaurant choices onboard, all of which are included in the cruise price. Apart from the main dining room, there was the Chef’s Table, Jimmy’s Wine Bar and the Verandah.
All had different themes and unique menus. Ama Waterways does a wonderful job of featuring local wines, cuisine and culture. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the evening entertainment of a local dance troop.
The beauty of river cruising is that you unpack once and spend the next seven days meandering down the lower Danube. The itinerary included towns in Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, and Romania.
Each day we had the option of guided tours with the choice of exploring by bike, on foot or by bus. All the shore excursions are included and you generally do a morning and an afternoon tour, returning to the ship for lunch and dinner.
There are so many choices of things to do, whether you are interested in art, history, food or wine, there is something for everyone. We had a lot of fun learning how to make a traditional dessert that is served at Christmas and Easter.
The scenery on the Danube is beautiful with the famous Iron Gates, a stunning gorge that forms part of the natural boundary between Romania and Serbia. A spectacular sight not to be missed is the face of the Dacian King Decebalus, which is carved in the rocks on the Romanian side of the Iron Gates.
We also went through a couple of locks on the river, which made for an interesting experience. My favorite town was Novi Sad, nicknamed the Athens of Serbia. It was surprisingly vibrant with beautiful walking streets, shops and cafes.
What were some of the disappointments or surprises you experienced that others should be aware of?
Shelley: There was a lot of evidence of communist rule, with stark concrete apartments as well as heavily damaged buildings from attacks during the war
Who do you recommend this type of trip and destination to?
Shelley: This itinerary is good for anyone, couples, or singles, active or wishing a slower pace, Ama Waterways caters to everyone.
What was the “COVID-19” travel experience like for you – ie. pandemic protocols, Covid tests, vaccination status checks, masks, temperature checks, etc.
Shelley: COVID 19 protocols were strictly adhered to. Masks were required when moving around the ship and even on the dance floor. Hand sanitizing stations were throughout the ship. Everyone on board was required to have a covid test when leaving Serbia to enter Romania.
Any final advice for anyone considering an itinerary like this?
Given the situation in Ukraine, it is understandable that people would be hesitant about this itinerary. I felt extremely safe and there were no concerns at all.
Are you dreaming of an exotic cruise along the stunning Danube?
When you’re ready to book your own next getaway, contact one of our TierOne Travel agents. They have extensive experience in life-changing travel experiences and will be able to craft something incredible that is suited to your unique needs.
One call; endless experiences!
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