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Deaf River Cruise Amsterdam to Budapest

July 15 - 29, 2015


Gracht in Amsterdam
Some of us arrived in Amsterdam early. Thus, we were able to do a walking tour along the famous Grachten, the water canals of the city. The canal system was created in the 17th century and was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010. Strolling along the canals, we learned about the different architectural styles, the trades, the daily life in the city a long time ago and what it is like today to be one of the 1.2 million inhabitants of the city.

On the day of embarkation, the group met at the beautiful and brand new AmaSerena. The ship can accommodate approximately 160 guests. The ship became our floating luxury home away from home for the next two weeks. The first night, we had a Welcome Cocktail with the Captain and crew members followed by a Welcome Dinner. The ship stayed in Amsterdam overnight.


Brand new ship, cozy cabins, free Wi-fi, bottled water restocked every day, pool at the sundeck with swim-up bar
almost all tours are included, free flowing wine, beer, sodas and soft drinks with lunch and dinner
Click on the pictures to watch the video
Video Source: Joe Sapienza

The entire day was reserved for sightseeing in Amsterdam, the largest city of The Netherlands. After a sumptuous breakfast, we headed out for an included panoramic city tour by bus. We saw many of the city's landmarks and had a little bit of free time. Later in the afternoon, we did more sightseeing by an included private canal boat tour, which is truly the best way to experience the city. Almost all tours on our two-week tour were offered for no additional cost. As on every night on this journey, we enjoyed a very delicious dinner with free flowing wine, beer and soft drinks. Complimentary coffee, specialty coffees and teas are available 24 hours in the cozy lounge area with its floor to ceiling windows. The AmaSerena sailed overnight to Cologne, Germany. Windmill

Leaving Amsterdam and driving through the countryside

Cologne has a long history that reaches back to 50BC when the Romans started a settlement because of a natural harbor that they found there. Towering over the old city is the Cathedral that was built to house the relics of the three kings. It was the tallest building in Europe until the Eiffel tower in Paris was erected. Our ship docked within walking distance from the old city center. Thus, we explored Cologne via a walking tour including a visit inside the Cathedral.

Some of our group in front of the Cathedrale in Cologne


Enjoying the time on the sundeck while cruising the Rhine river and getting the information from the
wheel house translated by the interpreters.
Click on the pictures to watch the video
Video Source: Joe Sapienza


Walk through Koblenz

After returning to the ship, we had lunch. Just like during dinner, wine, beer and soft drinks are included with lunch. In the afternoon, the ship departed for Koblenz. The weather was beautiful and we could enjoy the voyage on the sundeck. After dinner, there was the option to join an evening stroll through the old town of Koblenz. The city is situated at the confluence of the Rhine and the Mosel rivers. The area is dominated by an immense fortress that was built more than 1000 years ago. Now, it houses museums and a youth hostel. Hungry again? Like every night, a late night snack was served in the Lounge. The ship stayed overnight in Koblenz.


"Castle Show" along the Rhine River

This day was a "Castle Day" while we were cruising through the most famous stretch of the Rhine river. About 30 castles and castle ruins are to be found in this area. The weather was perfect. We enjoyed the "show" from the sundeck. The commentary about the castles in sight was translated by our interpreters. A highlight was passing the Rhine Gorge with the famous Lorelei Rock. In the afternoon, we arrived at picturesque Ruedesheim. The town is famous for its Riesling wines and a favorite with all tourists because of the charming little lanes full of quaint restaurants and taverns. Via cable chairlift, we went up the Niederwald Monument from where we had an impressive view over Ruedesheim and its vineyards. After returning to the ship later in the afternoon, we continued to Miltenberg.


Via trolley to the "Drosselgasse", the buzzing
center of Ruedesheim


Walking tour in pictureque Miltenberg

On our way to Miltenberg, we watched a glass blowing demonstration in the Lounge. Later that morning, we arrived in picturesque Miltenberg. The town's main street is lined with well-preserved half-timbered houses. The town appears stuck in time - the perfect setting for a fairy tale. During a walking tour, we learned about the town's history and present time daily life. Then, it was time to return to the ship for lunch.

Visit of a private bakery in Freudenberg with pretzel tasting

The ship continued sailing until we arrived in Freudenberg. There, we went on a coach to get to Wertheim where we did a walking tour "Culinary Delight: Bakery & Pretzel". Others in our group joined a bicycle tour. All of us met later at the ship to continue the voyage.

Always something to celebrate: a birthday, an anniversary, ... AmaWaterways always makes a special celebration a
very personal event and presents beautiful home made cakes.

This morning, we woke up surrounded by vineyard covered hills around Wuerzburg. The highlight of the sightseeing tour in Wuerzburg was the visit of the Resienz. The architecture of the building represents the wealth and power of the ruling prince bishops during the Baroque time period. After the tour, we returned to the ship for lunch. In the afternoon, some of us opted to join the bicycle tour. Others opted for the tour to Rothenburg, a charming walled medieval town. It is a "must see" because it is the most picturesque medieval town in all of Germany. During a guided walking tour, we strolled through winding cobble stone lanes lined with old houses and stores. We learned a lot about the town's history when it was a prosperous market place in medieval times. Today, the town has the strictest conservation orders in Germany to guarantee that all the old buildings are preserved for future generations.


Some of us on a walking tour in Rothenburg.
Almost all tours are complimentary with AmaWaterways' river cruises.

All tours met at the ship in Kitzingen. After dinner onboard the ship, we walk to one of Germany's oldest wine cellars. There we spent a wonderful evening with a wine tasting. After our return to the ship, we continued our voyage to Bamberg.

Wine Tasting in Kitzingen

Wine Tasting in Kitzingen

Bicycle Tour

Resting in a beer garden during our bicycle tour
outside of Bamberg

We enjoyed the morning leisurely cruising the last stretch of the Main River while sitting on the sundeck. Later in the morning, we accepted an invitation to a traditional German "Fruehschoppen" with beer, sausages and pretzel. That was the crew members' welcome to Bavaria. Lunch was served before we arrived in Bamberg. Again, the group split up in the bicycle group and the group who went on the bus to do a guided city tour. Bamberg is located on the Main-Danube Canal and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of an abundance of well-preserved houses. One of the most famous building is town is the old city hall located on an island in the river. Bamberg has nine breweries. A specialty is the Smoked Beer. All tours finished at the ship in Bamberg in time to join dinner onboard the ship. Later we departed for Nuremberg.

Finally, we cruised the Main-Danube Canal which links the North Sea to the Black Sea through a series of 16 locks. Thus, ships can cruise all the way from The Netherlands to Romania. Some of us started the day with a Nuremberg Medieval sightseeing tour via bus and others joined the Nuremberg Culinary Delight tour. The city is famous for its citadel, the medieval walls, gingerbread and the Christkindlmarkt, a Christmas Market that opens at the beginning of Advent. In the Middle Ages, gingerbread was considered a delicacy. Exotic spices like ginger, cloves, cardamom, coriander as well as almonds were combined to make the famous Nuremberg gingerbread cookies. Nuremberg was also the place where the Nazi Party Rallies took place and where the allies put Nazi criminals to trial after WWII. All groups returned to the ship. Lunch was served in our onboard restaurant and we departed for Regensburg.
Nuremburg Citadel

Nuremberg Citadel


Walking tour in Nuremburg
Sign Language Class

Sign Language Class for hearing passengers

Bicycle Tour

Ready for the bicycle tour to Walhalla

Since several hearing passengers on our cruise ship where interested in learning sign language, our group held a workshop that was well attended and was a lot of fun for everybody. Many thanks to our teachers who managed the workshop and to the interpreter who voiced for the hearing passengers. The ship docked at the banks of the city in Regensburg. Thus it was easy to step off the ship and join the walking tour or the Culinary Delight tour. Regensburg is a wonderful preserved medieval city with narrow passageways and quaint squares. The old stone bridge dates back to the 12th century. After lunch on board, some of us joined the Walhalla Bike Tour. There was still time to explore more of the city individually before we left Regensburg after dinner to continue to Passau.

And even more birthday celebrations

Passau was our last port in Germany where we arrived in the morning. Passau is often called the "City of Three Rivers" since it is located at the confluence of the Danube, the Inn and Ilz. The old town was founded on a narrow peninsula between the Danube and Inn river. The town has long been an important trading hub. Its Baroque appearance was created by an Italian architect. Today, Passau is a very lively city. Our ship docked next to the city center which made it easy to discover Passau via a guided walking tour. The other options were a full-day guided bus tour to Salzburg in Austria or a bike tour along the Danube river. The walking and bike tour returned to the ship for lunch. Then, the ship departed for Linz, Austria. In the afternoon, we enjoyed an Apple strudel demonstration with our Pastry Chef in the Lounge. After dinner, we arrived in Linz where the Salzburg excursion returned to the ship. The ship continued the cruise to Melk.


Passau, the "City of Three Rivers"

Guided tour at Melk Abbey

Guided tour at Melk Abbey

Bicycle tour

Stop during our bicycle tour from Melk to Duernstein

Early risers enjoyed the picturesque countryside of Austria by sitting on the sun deck. We arrived in Melk early in the morning. The town is famous for the Melk Abbey, a spiritual and cultural center in Austria for over 1000 years. For over 900 years monks have continually lived and worked in the abbey. All guests who decided to join the walking tour through the abbey got on a bus. After the tour, there was the option to return via bus or to have free time in the town of Melk. Some of us opted today for the bike tour from Melk to Duernstein, the "Pearl of the Wachau". The ship and the bikers enjoyed the Wachau Valley on their way to Duernstein. On both sides of the valley grow superb wines. Small and quaint villages are located on both banks and sometimes there is a castle in sight. Besides wine, apricot brandy is a regional specialty of this area. Duernstein is situated along the most famous stretch of the Danube River. Its castle fortress sits high above the town. After the arrival in Duernstein, most guests joined a walking tour that included a wine tasting. Afterwards there was time to linger on in town before returning to the ship for dinner. The ship departed late at night for Vienna.

Everyday in the afternoon, coffee, tea and delicious cakes were served in the Lounge.
Complimentary specialty coffees and teas are available in the Lounge 24 hours.

The AmaSerena arrives in Vienna early in the morning. The Austrian capital is a very charming and elegant city with plenty of imperial buildings, chic boulevards and quaint streets in the old city center. Its inhabitants and visitors alike love the gardens, parks and monuments. The Cathedral, the Opera House and the Hofburg Palace are a "must see" for every tourist. Most guests in our group joined the guided sightseeing tour by bus. Others went on a bike tour to Klosterbeuren. All returned to the ship for lunch. Many of us returned into town via AmaWaterways' shuttle bus to spend time on their own in the city. That was a chance to try some of the city's specialties like Sacher Torte or Wiener Schnitzel. Sacher Torte is a rich chocolate cake that was invented by Franz Sacher for a famous Austrian politician. The ships stayed in Vienna overnight.

Dragor Village

Bicycle tour to Klosterbeuren near Vienna


Bratislava, the "Beauty of the Danube"

Cooking Class

Proud participants of the Culinary Delight tour
"Slovakian Specialties"

We had breakfast while we cruised the Danube river between Austria and Slovakia. Since the first sign language workshop was so well received by the hearing passenger they requested to have another one, there was a chance to practice some of the signs and to learn more this morning. The ship arrived in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia after lunch. Guests in our group joined three different tours: the walking tour, the Culinary Delight tour and the Communist tour. All had a wonderful time and learned a lot. The history of Slovakia can be traced back to the 9th century before it became part of the Hungarian kingdom. Slovakia was also part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and after WWII part of Czechoslovakia. In 1993, Slovakia became an independent country. Bratislavia is often called the "Beauty on the Danube". Prior to dinner, the Captain's Farewell Cocktail was served in the Lounge followed by the Captain's Farewell Gala Dinner. The ship continued for Budapest, Hungary.


Group picture of our Canadian group members

After breakfast, we gather on the sun deck to not miss sailing into Budapest, the capital of Hungary. The city's history started as a Roman town on the site of an earlier Celtic settlement. Budapest was occupied by the Turks for about 150 years and had a time of prosperity in the 18th and 19th century. Buda is located on the right bank and Pest on the left bank; they joined to become the city of Budapest in 1873. Most guests in our group joined the guided sightseeing tour by bus including a visit to the Market Hall. The other guests joined the Culinary Delight tour and had a lot of fun learning how to prepare the Hungarian dish "Goulash". The most well-known Hungarian pastries are the stuffed pancakes. A Hungarian lunch was served onboard our ship. There was free time in the afternoon for exploring the city independently. After dinner, we had a delightful end of our cruise: an evening cruise through the beautiful illuminated city of Budapest. That was the perfect ending of two fantastic weeks through Europe. A river cruise is the best way to travel in comfort and to have a lot of time to explore towns and cities along the river and in distance. The ship stayed overnight in Budapest. The next day, we were transferred to the airport for our homeward bound flights. Budapest

City tour in Budapest, Hungary


Budapest at night

Every night, we enjoyed delicious meals in the onboard dining room with complimentary wine, beer, juices, sodas, ...

Group Picture

Group Picture

Thank you note

Thank you note

Thank you note

Thank you note

Thank you gift

Thank you gift from Susan Robbins who made this beautiful patchwork quilt.
Now it has a special place in our office.

What our clients said after the tour:

Hi Kerstin,
We wanted to thank you for having a wonderful time aboard the river cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest last summer. We will remember this moment for the rest of our lives. Alice & Mitch

Hi Kerstin,
Sorry for delaying to tell you that Rodney and I really enjoyed our trip with your travel agency. Riding the riverboat made us relax and enjoy sightseeing along the river. Sue & Rodney

John and I want to thank you and your team for making our first river cruise memorable! It was a fabulous trip with a splendid team of skilled and friendly interpreters and having you along with us. We thoroughly enjoyed each day. Even on the last day the Captain called us to let us know our van was here! We surely would like to do this again with your agency. Thank you for everything you and your team have done to help us through this. Wish we had done this sooner! Sincerely, Brenda & John

My vacation was fabulous at Rhine River cruise. I really enjoyed my wonderful trip from Amsterdam to Budapest by luxurious ship so much. I never forget my vivid memories and lifetime. I really appreciate you worked so marvelous and great with us at the cruise. Three interpreters were wonderful and helpful. Congratulation on your success Edith

Fundraising Poster

We would like to thank the following people for their donation:
  • Judy Baker & Larry Sullivan
  • Lyla Calder
  • Mitchell & Alice Kurs
  • Betty McBroom
  • Chris Hoerr
  • Arnold & Gwendoline Lewis
  • Michel & Beverly Cyr
  • Edith Hardt
  • John & Brenda Mitchiner
  • Tom & Kathryn Harbison

Contact Kerstin's Deaf Travel to book your next cruise by sending an e-mail to kerstin@kerstinstravel.com

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