My Itchy Travel Feet | The Baby Boomer's Guide To Travel

Saturday’s scene: anticipation

2012/12/01by Donna Hull

ama-waterways-christmas-market-cruise

AMA Waterways Christmas market cruise itinerary and documents

Trip anticipation—it’s one of my favorite parts of travel. When UPS delivered the documents for our AMA Waterways Christmas market cruise, I ripped open the box immediately. What did I discover? A black pouch holding cruise vouchers, luggage tags, a brochure with tips about preparing for the cruise, a detailed itinerary and a guidebook. Before you know it Alan and I will be experiencing Christmas on the Rhine. It’s a trip that’s long been on my boomer bucket list.

Our AMA Waterways Christmas market cruise itinerary:

We’ll arrive in Amsterdam via Lufthansa a day early to rest up from jet lag. For the first time, we used the bidding strategies at Bid On Travel to bid on 5-star Amsterdam hotels at Priceline and ended up with accommodations at the Amsterdam Marriott.  We’ll let you know if taking a gamble worked.

After boarding the Amacello on a Thursday afternoon and overnighting in Amsterdam, we start the next morning with a choice of an Amsterdam Canal Cruise and city tour or visiting the Jordaan area of Amsterdam.Then, the real fun begins with stops in Germany, France and Switzerland including:

  • Cologne: Cologne walking tour and cathedral visit plus Christmas markets
  • Koblenz: Overnight
  • Rudesheim: Siegried’s Music Museum, wine tasting, Christmas markets
  • Speyer: Speyer walking tour or Heidelberg excursion, Christmas markets
  • Strasbourg: Strasbourg city tour, Strasbourg canal cruise, Christmas markets
  • Breisach: Colmar excursion or Black Forest excursion
  • Basel: Basel city tour

After disembarking in Basel, we’ll continue on an AMA Waterways Christmas cruise land extension to Lucerne and Zurich. In Lucerne we’ll be staying at the Hotel Schweizerhof Lucerne. Activities include Lucerene walking tour, Christmas marekts, optional Swiss Mountain tour and Lucerne Lake cruise.

Then, it’s on to Zurich. After checking into our accommodations at Hotel Contiental Zurich, we’ll take a Zurich city tour and visit the Christmas markets. There’s also an optional tour to Rhine Falls.

The return flight on Swiss Air will be with extra-full bags. You did see all the Christmas markets that we’re visiting, right?

Want to keep up with us? We’ll be publishing photos and observations at the My Itchy Travel Feet page on Facebook and on Twitter. Plus, we’ll be pinning our favorites to our AMA Waterways Christmas on the Rhine Pinterest Board. Look for indepth coverage once we return home.

Have you experienced an AMA Waterways Christmas market cruise or on another line? Post a comment to share your tips. Alan’s worried that I might become a shopper.



A boomer travel and lifestyle authority who is exploring the world one activity at a time. Besides writing and publishing My Itchy Travel Feet, she also writes about boomer travel for My Well-Being Powered by Humana, Make It Missoula and is the author of New Mexico Backroads Weekend Adventure.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Jackie Smith
Twitter:
December 2, 2012 at 7:24 am

Sound absolutely fantastic! Will look forward to your reports along the way. I’ve got the markets on my bucket list but the combination of cold weather and Christmas shopping has kept it off Joel’s completely. I hope to hear how much Alan has enjoyed the shopping, then I can re-open the discussion.

I am curious though – how does the cost of this cruise compare to those you’ve taken on the ocean, these have always seemed more expensive when I’ve researched them.
Jackie Smith recently posted..Arizona: Where “PC” Means. . .My Profile

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Donna Hull
Twitter:
December 19, 2012 at 3:49 pm

Jackie, Alan didn’t mind the Christmas markets although he was growing a bit tired of them by the last one. The markets are so much more than shopping. Actually the eating and drinking are the biggest parts plus lots of holiday atmosphere. We found the cold to be invigorating. And there was always a mug of Gluhwein to warm us up. As I mentioned above, we find river cruising to be cheaper than the small ship luxury ocean-going cruises that we take.

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Brette
Twitter:
December 2, 2012 at 7:35 am

I can’t wait to hear all about it. It sounds wonderful.
Brette recently posted..Updating My Christmas CollectionsMy Profile

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Donna Hull
Twitter:
December 19, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Thanks, Brette. I’m sure to find lots of article material and great photo opps.

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Jan Ross
Twitter:
December 2, 2012 at 8:21 am

We went on a wine-tasting press trip cruise with AMA two years ago from Amsterdam to Paris and loved everything about it. It was the first time on a cruise where we actually made friends with other passengers and stayed in touch after the cruise. The smaller ship and comfortable atmosphere really make it easy to be friendly. You are going to love the walking tours; mainly because you will be able to hear everything the guides say because of AMA’s unique listening devices you just stick in your pocket. Be sure to stop at the Lindt chocolate factory in Cologne. It’s not on the walking tour but you should have time. They have a very interesting tour (with free samples) and a great gift shop. To Jackie Smith above – the river cruises may seem more expensive until you compare the fact that they offer free wine and beer with meals AND all your shore excursions are included. Those can really add up on a cruise ship. You seem to have everything organized but if you have any other questions, feel free to contact me. Can’t wait to hear all about your cruise!
Jan Ross recently posted..Cruising Elkhart Lake, WI on Captain Tom’s Elkhart QueenMy Profile

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Donna Hull
Twitter:
December 19, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Jan, your trip sounded wonderful. We agree that small ships allow for better passenger interaction. We found the river cruise to be cheaper than the small ship luxury ocean-going cruises that we take.

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Heatheronhertravels
Twitter:
December 2, 2012 at 8:39 am

I’ll be looking forward to hearing all about your cruise as I’ll be doing the same itinerary but in reverse from Basel to Cologne in the spring next year
Heatheronhertravels recently posted..10 ways to spend a wonderful weekend in Winchester – videoMy Profile

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Donna Hull
Twitter:
December 19, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Heather this is a fun itinerary, although a very busy one. Which river cruise line will you be using?

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Mark H December 2, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Sounds superb. Lots of history along the Rhine…
Mark H recently posted..Interview with NT Checklist Winners (Australia)My Profile

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Donna Hull
Twitter:
December 19, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Mark, it was a fascinating trip. And you are right – so much history!

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