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Cruising along the Rhine in an unexpectedly warm and sunny April on AMA Waterways’ Amacello, I find that I have relaxed completely. The casual, unobtrusive thoughtfulness and efficiency of the staff has left us all feeling that we are in our own homes without having to run them – a dream.
It’s hard to convey the quality of a perfectly comfortable country house at your disposal, but that’s what this ship is, wonderful food and all – too wonderful – they should ban some of those cookies. There are enough people so you can always find a conversation and there’s enough privacy so you can always find peace. Single travelers chat easily with groups and the days are active and rich, with guides who have a sense of humor as well as a sense of history.
The musicians who give us concerts at night are eating breakfast with us in the morning; the passengers become so close that they organize a robe party to startle the cruise director during his lecture; people who planned a week’s cruise are booking back to back halfway through.
The closeness among the guests is balanced by intimacy with the places we visit. We’re always docked practically on top of walking and biking paths and conversations float in from the houses and fields. I can’t say enough about the importance of French balconies – they seem to make even more difference to the experience than standard balconies do on seagoing cruises. You just slide open your glass door and you become part of the local scene, talking to locals a foot or two away, smelling the flowers, hearing the water as you sail. Dogs bark, children laugh, traveling bicyclists stand so close, you can smell their bratwursts. Lots of passengers pick up the complimentary bikes on board and join them.
There is something so special about this cruise – it slowly, gently gets under your skin and you don’t want to leave.
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