Back in late autumn 2022, John Warr, and wife Caroline, went on an autumnal holiday cruising with AmaMagna on the Danube. The perfect time to catch all the festivities of the Christmas Markets.
This itinerary, which was made particularly for the AmaMagna, is one of AmaWaterways’ most meticulously prepared ones. Read all about how John and Caroline delved into their passion for beautiful architecture, classic music, breathtaking scenery, and the gastronomic sensations.
Every stop offered its own unique magic, rooted in history. The cycle through the Wachau Valley’s vineyards was one of our favourite excursions. Every detail and highlight of the daily excursions, which were conducted by expert local guides, were shared with us.
The AmaMagna, a very special new ship for AmaWaterways, has a double-width hull, and this created an incredible feeling of open space.
Day 1: The ship was outstanding! We were staying overnight in Vilshofen so couldn’t wait to enjoy an evening stroll around the town. In Europe, things onboard are extremely festive which got us into the Christmas spirit. From Santa hats and fairy lights, to decorated trees and wreaths, the festive atmosphere was everywhere on the AmaMagna. We were greeted by the Captain and the crew when we embarked on the ship who were behind all the festive efforts and were really welcoming.
Plus, there was a celebrity onboard!
Day 2: After a short walk around Vilshofen in the morning, we sailed downstream to Passau. After indulging in a Bavarian lunch onboard (although skipping out on the Bavarian beer), we headed off on our first excursion, a Passau Hike tour. After hiking around 3 miles up to the monastery, we witnessed the amazingly beautiful landscapes. It was a photographer’s paradise!
In the evening, we had our first experience tasting AmaWaterways’ renowned culinary delights. As part of La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, we couldn’t wait for the exquisite meal.
Day 3: We explored Salzburg, Mozart’s birthplace, with the new AmaWaterways guide Caroline Warr! Although it was raining today, it was incredible to see the chapel where Maria got married in the ‘Sound Of Music’ movie.
This evening, we visited Grein for a Chef’s Table special dinner before heading to a private visit to Grein Castle. An amazing experience! Not to mention, a live performance celebrating the music of Mozart and Strauss!
Day 4: We decided to head out for some exercise today after all the amazing food we have been indulging in. We secured the onboard bikes and rode around 15 miles along the Danube. It was truly inspiring to cycle from Kremlin to Weissenkirchen in Dee Wachau, especially since we had an incredible tour guide who was a fountain of knowledge about the area. My favourite spot was definitely the vineyards along the Wachau Valley route.
Day 5: We had a magical evening in Vienna visiting the Summer Palace. A UNESCO World Heritage site was transformed in 1726 under Maria Theresa and the architect, Nikolaus Pacassi. Plus, with lots of American guests onboard, we had an indulgent turkey dinner (more like a feast!) to celebrate Thanksgiving.
Day 6: We visited Bratislava today and, wow, what a city! We even met up with Sumil the sewer worker.
Day 7: I really love Budapest, especially when the Christmas Markets are on! I don’t think there’s a more magical place to stay in Budapest than onboard a river ship on the Danube. It’s so special to view the city from the river. A major highlight for us was seeing the Castle, Liberty Iron Bridge and Parliament House lit up during repositioning.
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