by, Jan Ross
Laid back on the MS AmaLegro.
At this very moment, I am looking out the huge picture windows (French balcony) of my stateroom on the MS AmaLegro and I see dark, velvet-green fields with cows cropping the grass and in the background, spinning merrily in the wind, is a real, true windmill. A Dutch windmill. More and more I find my life amazes me. I can't believe I am looking at a Dutch windmill from a fabulous river cruise ship on a beautiful, calm canal heading away from Amsterdam. Who would have dreamed?
We had a lovely breakfast this morning - you can choose from a beautiful buffet spread or any of several items on the menu. The absolute coolest thing was that I asked if they had hot chocolate, the waiter said "Of course, madam"! and proceeded to bring me my very own little chocolate pot. SO COOL.
After breakfast, we all loaded up into two buses and were transported to the canal area to board two canal boats. Each of the excursions in the ports are included in your cruise price, which is such a nice saving when you consider how expensive it is to add those ocean cruise shore excursions onto your bill! They also offer some extra, optional excursions to choose from that you do pay for, but they are strictly optional. And, of course, you can always choose to explore on your own. We had already seen some of the sights on our own explorations, but it was still pleasant to sit in the comfortable canal boat and get to know our fellow passengers.
Beautiful Amsterdam - we hate to leave you!
Then we again boarded our buses and had a bus tour of the city which did include some areas we had not seen previously. One of the best things about the excursions is their QuietVox audio system of hearing what the tour guide is explaining. How many times have you been on a tour and can't hear what the guide is saying? Yeah, me too. Well, AmaWaterways has that problem licked. The first night, we were given our little earphone (to go in one ear, so you can hear from the other) and, as you leave the ship, you pick up an audio device which plugs into your headphone. Then, you tune to the correct channel and you can hear everything your guide is saying. This is GENIUS. I'll take pictures tomorrow and show you how they work.
We visited the spectacular flower market of Amsterdam.
And saw some fabulous cheese!
And got up close and personal with a windmill.
We came back to the ship and were just onboard a few minutes when we pulled out of our berth and began cruising. We are still on the canal, heading to the Rhine River. We had another fabulous meal for lunch. Appetizers and desserts are presented beautifully on the buffet and you order your main dish from the menu. The fish and chips were delicious - everyone at our table ordered them!
We had probably the easiest safety drill I have ever experienced on a cruise - we met in the lounge in response to the alarm and were checked in at our station. In case of a real emergency, we will be given life jackets and I assume we can pretty much swim to shore. Much more reassuring that the thought of sinking in the middle of the ocean!
The longer I am on the AmaLegro, the more I love this beautifully designed and comfortable boat. The decorations, the furnishings, the genuinely friendly staff - all are combining to make this place feel very much like home. I absolutely recommend it!
We went through our first lock on the canal this afternoon and it was fascinating to watch the lock fill with water, see our boat slowly rise, and then slip out of the lock back into the canal. Amazing that they have been doing this for hundreds of years - by hand years ago. Pictures of this process soon, I promise. My photographer was napping!
We had a really interesting presentation in the forward lounge in the early evening. Everyone gathered in there, settling in the comfortable armchairs and love seats while Sue Obermoser, our wonderful Cruise Director, talked about what we will see in the next couple of days. We will go through several locks on the Mosel River and she will tell us more about that later. She had a laptop, projector, and screen and gave a very professional and interesting lecture all about the Rhine - or Father Rhine, as it is called.
We will be seeing fantastic castles, cathedrals, museums and lovely little German towns. And I can't wait.
I'll leave you with a photo of my completely fabulous salmon dinner from this evening.
It may well have been the highlight of my day. It and the delicious white wine I had with it. I am discovering I actually like wine.
When you are ready to travel to Amsterdam The Travel Authority is ready to help you plan that trip. You can call 1-877-AXP-1515 for information and details about these cruises. Be sure to print out this post or mention the code BLAMA to get the best deal on your trip. I would love to hear your suggestions for future blog posts. You can comment below or contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading - I truly appreciate it!
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