What is River Cruising Really Like? Day 10 - 14 & Disembarkation
Day 10 – Miltenberg
A visit to the Main Village is like stepping back in time which could come straight out of a Grimm Brothers’ tale. A walking tour of the village or a hiking tour through the hills to the village was included. Our stay was short as we needed to be on board by 12:30 to make our way to Rudersheim.
The afternoon we were treated to a tour of the galley for those interested. Amazing how the chef and staff make and send out such great meals with the space they have to work in. No commercial dishwasher on board - all dishes cleaned by hand by 2 very hard working dishwashers. And what is great is that very little food is wasted. They use regional food and wine and all their bread is made on the ship - amazing for the space they work with.
Our entertainment for the evening was before dinner by an amazing musician. Tomy Temerson is one of the few professional zither players in the world. This was truly one of the most interesting performances I’ve seen. Avalon has done a great job of offering a variety of local entertainment and this is just another example of that.
Day 11 – Rudersheim & Sailing the “Romantic Rhine Gorge”
A little train ride into the town where we enjoyed a visit to the “Siegfriends’ Mechanical Musical Instruments Museum” Following this fascinating tour we were off to taste a local speciality – Rudersheimer Coffee – coffee with caramelized sugar and “Asbach Uralt’ a local brandy.
The afternoon it was back on the boat for one of the most beautiful parts of the cruise – the “Romantic Rhine Gorge”. So up to the deck where we had fabulous views of castles, vineyards and villages.
We had an unexpected stop in Koblenz that evening as it was not possible to dock during the night in our next port which was Cologne. A quick walk through the shopping areas in town and then back on ship for dinner.
Day 12 – Cologne
We awake in our next port – Cologne. Unfortunately, the water levels were not high enough to anchor where we were scheduled which required us to be bussed into town rather than just walk. While this was a little inconvenient Avalon made it as seamless as possible. Included was a walking tour of the city and then there were busses to take you back to the ship every 30 minutes. It was a Sunday and all the stores are closed so there was no shopping to be done and the Cologne Cathedral which is Germany’s most visit building was also not open to public as the local Bishop had passed away and services were being held.
Back on board by 2:00 pm and then we sailed through the Lower Rhine and Rhine Ruhr area. This is the stretch between the Romantic Rhine and the Dutch river delta. This is the largest Metropolitan Area in Germany.
Day 13 & 14 – Amsterdam
Excited to visit Amsterdam but sad as our river cruise was coming to an end. Included was a canal cruise boat tour. After lunch you could pick an optional (at a cost) “Amsterdam Biking Tour” or a visit to “Zaanse Schans” which is a Dutch village in the country that has working windmills and a great cheese shop with demonstrations on how cheese is made, which included tasting all of the cheeses in the gift shop. I think this is worth seeing even if you do it on your own if you stay in Amsterdam after the cruise ends.
Yes, they have bike garages - now that's a lot of bikes!
After dinner you could take an optional (at a cost) evening guided walk through the famous centre of Amsterdam which included the “Red Light District”.
Next day was saying good bye to new friends – many going directly home while others staying in Amsterdam a little longer, or moving on to other parts of Europe.
A river cruise like this is definitely a trip of a lifetime. River cruising is far more personal as there are only 140 - 150 passengers on an Avalon cruise, and you are able to see villages/towns/cities that you cannot get into by a big ship. And making good friends is the icing on the cake. Can't wait to go again!
This is very different than a big ship if you have experience with that. Bags do NOT have to be out the night before, only by 9 am in the morning. All passengers need to be off by 10 am. If you need a taxi to your hotel if not booked through Avalon, they will arrange a taxi at the time you would like as long as it’s before or at 10 am. This allows you time to leisurely have breakfast which they leave open until 9:30 am.
The process is so easy and non-stressful and staff were very helpful in arranging details or answering questions.
Interesting Findings & Tips:
- You need to be flexible when River Cruising as water levels change all the time which in turn can change when and where you dock. And with so many locks to go through, it can take more time than what is expected so schedules can change.
- You do not need to stay in the hotel the cruise ship uses. Ask your Travel Agent to give you suggestions as you may not want to stay in the area the hotels they use are in and you may find some that are more economical. However, it is convenient as if you include hotel they will often pay for the transfer to and from airport.
- Pick your river cruise very carefully to ensure you are comparing oranges to oranges. All cruises are not the same and all may not fit what you want. Of course a good travel agent who specializes in cruising will be able to help you navigate through all the options. Picking an agent that has personal cruised would also be advisable as they will know all the small details not in a brochure or website.