With our pre-cruise adventure behind us, we were really looking forward to staying put for 7 days and enjoying the luxuries of the ship.  We were able to board the ship just after 11.  Since we had completed our online check-in previously, all they had to do was take our pictures for our file.  They then guided us to the lounge where we enjoyed a light lunch and drinks while we waited for our room to be ready.

The self-serve warm beverage station was the best!  Coffee, tea, frothy milk, cappuccino’s, lattes, ANYTHING we want 24/7 at the press of a button. There are also little treats available 24/7 in sealed jars.  On our first day it was paprika crackers and chocolate brownies.  I indulged in tea and crackers while taking in the décor of the ship.  Cruise Holidays, Amawaterways, Amaviola

We were escorted to our room around 1 and the hotel manager explained our room in detail.  There is an Apple Satellite TV, Macbook for use in the room, bottled water and most importantly, a comfortable bed that can be configured how you like.  The bathroom is also nicely done with a stand up shower that has both a rain shower and handheld shower head.  The amenities are of good quality and include Shampoo, Conditioner, body wash and lotion.

We took the time to relax in our room and prepare for the meeting of the crew and safety review at 5:30.

As we headed back to the lounge, the captain greeted all of the ladies with a beautiful rose, while the servers handed over champagne to toast the beginning of the journey.

Like all cruise lines, the safety demonstration is a regulation that must be followed.  Ama made it fun and informative and blended it with staff introductions and other instructions as we kicked off our journey together.

Afterwards we headed to the port to enjoy some traditional German Beer, pretzels and dancing.  It was a celebration of Oktoberfest in April!

Dinner started at 7:30.  We were able to find a quiet table in the back for the two of us to enjoy some quiet company.  If you prefer to sit with others, you can join available tables.  The servers will help guide you to a table.

The menu has a variety of items, but what I really like is the Chef’s recommendation.  It gives you a full three-course meal with a palette cleanse in between.  All of it was amazing and definitely Five-Star dining.  Our server was very attentive and explained everything in great detail.

As we rolled ourselves out of the restaurant, we decided to make a quick stop up on the sun deck to check out the view and walk off some of our meal.  It was cool and breezy even though we were docked.  Travelling in early April requires you to be prepared for all weather conditions, so be sure to bring a jacket, shawl and/or sweater with you.  We finally turned in for the night watching a movie on the Satellite TV.

Munich Central Station, Europe, Amawaterways, River cruise, cruise holidays
Adding a land component before our Amawaterways river cruise was exciting…

We arrived at Central Station with plenty of time to explore, enjoy a coffee and board the train early.  You can have a beer any time of the day and take it with you anywhere you want however we chose coffee to get a kick start to the day.  We were not sure where to catch the train so we went to the info booth and they guided us in the right direction.

I love how the trains pull right in and as a commuter you simply hop on to whichever car you want (unless of course there is pre-assigned seating).  Our travel time was just under 2 hours.  The train was comparable to a GO Train in the GTA.Cruise Holidays, Amawaterways, river cruise, Danube river, Europe

There was open seating on our commute and we decided to sit at a place for four as we had three carry-ons and one large bag.  There was little to no storage for a bigger bag but our space for four allowed us to tuck the bag in to the side and out of the aisle.

The route to Vilshofen was through the country side with several stops before ours.  There was a lot of greenery, solar panels on homes and quite a few backyard gardens.  My main impression was self-sustaining, environmentally conscious villages.

When we arrived at our stop we almost missed getting off as we were not prepared with our bags and the stop was under 2 minutes.  So if you take this route, be prepared to get off, and quickly!

The walk to our hotel was within 15 minutes and started at McDonalds.  Yes, this little village has a McDonald’s!  Who knew cobblestone streets and McDonalds could mix?!?  There is one main tourist street and the hotel we stayed at, Zollhaus Wittelsbacher, was just down the hill right by the water and a two minute walk to the AmaWaterways port.

We enjoyed our stay at the hotel and would recommend it to anyone taking an Amawaterways cruise.  With us arriving so early in the season for River cruises, there was barely anyone around so our stay was very quiet and relaxing.  We enjoyed breakfast the following morning before heading to the port to explore the ship.

Follow us on our journey as we explore several countries in Europe by land and cruise along the Danube River. This is our first blog post of a 19 day trip. We customized and built our own land tour for this vacation so we can experience more of the local customs and cuisine. We hope you enjoy reading about our adventures.

We had the opportunity to spend two glorious days in Munich. We lucked out with nice early Spring weather and only a few drops of rain.

Our journey began as we arrived into Munich International Airport at 8am. We navigated our way through to baggage claim with a very welcoming experience with Security. I enjoyed a Salami sandwich from one of the food vendors as we prepared for a 45 minute commute downtown to our hotel.

Navigating the train system was quite easy with some pre-planning. Everything is well labeled; even some in English. If you are comfortable navigating on Cruise Holidays_Melanie_Munichyour own and adventurous I highly recommend taking the train versus paying for a taxi from the airport as you will save some money.
For all our Toronto friends, as we went through the station I couldn’t help but think how it was St. Lawrence Market meets Union Station. There were numerous food vendors and the train platforms were all within view.

We booked our two nights in Munich at Relaxa Hotel, a brief 10 minute walk from the station. Relaxa is a very nice boutique hotel with accommodating and friendly staff. We arrived at 10am and they had our room ready for early check-in at 11 at no additional cost.

After a two hour nap we headed out to explore the city. Everything we wanted to see was within 20 to 30 minutes walking distance.

We made our way to Marienplatz Square and enjoyed a number of sites along the way. Some of the first things we noticed were the bike paths and how many people were using them. Bikes are EVERYWHERE. We also noticed a lot of construction that was blending in the new with the old. I really appreciate the effort put into the preservation of the old and the history that it captures.

It was a Sunday at the square so a lot of the shops were closed and it was pretty quiet. We were able to capture a number of pictures and my favourite view was of the clock tower, the Glockenspiel, which has motorized figurines, dating back to 1908.

As the day came to an end, we chose to have dinner at an authentic German restaurant and enjoyed Schnitzel and Sausages. Yum!

On our second day we woke up late as we were still adjusting to the time difference (and maybe enjoying some extra sleep time without our two boys!). Our original plan was to go to The Glyptothek Musem but it is closed on Monday’s so we headed out to see two churches near the main square, Asam’s Church and St. Peters. I enjoyed both churches and loved the architectural detail. Gia took the opportunity to climb the 299 steps to the top of St. Peters Church and had an amazing view of the city. The cost to climb up the narrow stairwell was 2 Euro; a minimal cost for a fantastic view. While Gia was climbing I browsed the nearby shops eyeing cuckoo clocks and other German souvenirs. We decided not to buy anything as this was the beginning of our journey and we would prefer to not carry additional items around. We were still tempted though as there was the option to have a clock shipped, and some shops even offered to give you back the taxes to help cover the cost of shipping. But in the end we decided not to buy this trip.

After exploring the church’s we were off to Victuals Market. An abundance of vendors catering to both locals and tourists. We enjoyed authentic German Soup and purchased fresh fruits, meat, cheese and bread for our dinner and lunch the next day.

We have been finding the time change a bit of an adjustment and spent most of our last night in Munich watching English based shows in German and preparing for our train trip to Vilshofen.

Watch for our next post as we hop on the train to Vilshofen and get ready to set sail with AmaWaterways.

See more photos on our Facebook and Instagram.

Join us for the UNESCO Paris Tour and explore St. Germain-des-Près.

Culture Calendar – Destination Paris & Ile de France September 16 to 22, 2017

Day 1 Arrival & Welcome Reception

On Saturday September 16, 2017 you will be arrive to your hotel, a gracious retreat in the heart of  St Germain- des-Près, where you will reside for the duration of your UNESCO theme Paris & Ile de France Culture Tour

In the centre of the fashionable 6th Arrondissement of Paris you will have walkable access to iconic literary cafes (Les Deux Magots is my favourite as you sit below St Germain- des- Près church and view the vitality of Boulevard St Germain ). You can visit brand name designer boutiques,  famous antique & bookshops and  stroll to the legendary Marché St Germain, an old covered food market nearby. Daily familiarity with your Paris neighbourhood will soon encourage you to explore further to the boundaries of  this area rich in a diversity of attractions: Luxembourg Gardens, Musée D’Orsay, Le Bon Marché, historic Odeon Theatre with its classical Greek facade and other major cultural & culinary attractions await you.

M Odeon & M Mabillon  are your metro stops; Lines  10 & 4

Next Day 2 Heritage Days Events…


Pay no single supplement on your cruise fare.

AmaWaterways is now offering solo travelers exceptional savings on some of their most popular 2017 select cruise itineraries in Europe and Asia.  Whether you’re a first-time or seasoned solo traveler, Solo Travelers, no single supplement, single traveleryou’ll appreciate the attentive, caring service of AmaWaterways staff.  Each ship carries approximately 164-passengers.  This intimate and luxurious ship experience provides a safe, convenient and rewarding travel experience for any independent travelers.

As an independent traveler, you will also receive:

  • Service of an attentive crew that recognized your preferences
  • An invitation to an exclusive Welcome Cocktail Reception
  • A welcoming dining environment made possible by the restaurant’s seating plan
  • An invitation to dine at the Captain’s Table
  • Assistance with planning your ideal shore excursion program during the cruise

Select itineraries in Europe:

  • Taste of Bordeaux:  7-night cruise roundtrip from Bordeaux
  • Paris & Normandy:  7-night cruise roundtrip from Paris
  • Melodies of the Danube:  7-night cruise from Budapest to Vilshofen
  • Enchanting Rhine:  7-night cruise from Amsterdam to Basel

 

*Terms and Conditions apply.  Call now for details.

For information please contact info@cruiseholidaystoronto.com or one of our Travel Consultant. 

 

 

Cruise Holidays_Princess Cruise_Majestic Princess

Princess Cruise Line’s newest ship – The Majestic Princess will set sail on her maiden voyages in the Mediterranean and Southeast Asia May 2017. Be among the first to sail on this newest ship.  Call now for information on this world class experience before she arrives at her final destination in China.

Some new highlights on the Majestic Princess:

  • An expanded atrium with additional entertainment and casual dining options such as the Ocean Terrace Juice Bar and Leaves Tea Bar.
  • Expanded shopping – nearly 12,000 sq. ft. dedicated to shopping with a greater selection of luxury and designer brand merchandise.
  • Additional stateroom options – more connecting rooms and larger Owner’s Suites. Balconies on all outside staterooms.
  • Exciting onboard attractions, including the Princess® Watercolor Fantasy, an enhanced Movies under the Stars® screen, and the SeaWalk® a glass-bottom walkway with views 128 feet straight down!

Call now for details:  info@cruiseholidaystoronto.com or 1-888-399-2782

cruise holidays, family cruise, river cruiseEnjoy the fruits of your labour!  Become an Independent Contractor as a Home-Based Travel Counsellor and earn a second income!

Cruise Holidays | At Your Service has created a travel counselor program that offers a Special opportunity for the right people to become part of a growing and dynamic travel agency.  We are seeking a limited number of Independent Travel Counsellors to join our team as outside sales agents who desire to develop their own home-based travel business.

Travel Counselor Requirements:

  • Mature individuals who possess a passion for travel
  • A strong desire to help people achieve their travel objectives
  • A desire to create your own home-based business (full or part-time)
  • Computer skills, including Word and Internet
  • Oral and written communication skills, including public speaking
  • Community involvement and relationship building skills
  • Prior business or educational experience preferred
  • Travel agency experience NOT required

Travel Counselor Program Benefits:

  • Initial and ongoing training programs
  • Personal and family travel benefits
  • Proprietary CRM and business management software
  • Errors & Omissions insurance coverage
  • Cruise Holidays At Your Service custom page
  • Business email address and diverse targeted marketing programs
  • Ongoing business development training and support
  • Generous commission structure
  • Low start-up cost and low operating expenses
  • Exclusive Toll Free Number
  • Booking access to major cruise lines, tour operators, all-inclusive resorts and other preferred travel providers

Cruise Holidays | At Your Service is a member of the Travel Leaders Group and Vacation.com, which includes more than 6,000 retail travel outlets throughout North America with annual travel revenues exceeding $16 billion. As a result of this association, Cruise Holidays has established national marketing programs with virtually every major cruise line, tour provider and land-based resort resulting in an unparalleled level of buying power and administrative support.  At Cruise Holidays | At Your Service, we specialize in custom vacations for couples, families and groups, as well as business meetings and seminars-at-sea.  In addition, we provide clients a wide range of other travel products ranging from international air, to hotels around the world, to complete concierge travel services that combine custom land and sea travel arrangement to clients across North America.  As a home-based travel consultant, you are not geographically limited to your local area.  As a result, this will give you unlimited earning potential.

For more information, please send your cover letter and resume to Gia or Melanie at InfoCruises@cruiseholidays.com.

Ama Waterways_Vietnam Cambodia River Cruise_Exotic travel_Cruise Holidays

NOT JUST CRUISES!

We will take you to any corners of the globe!  We can help you plan your next Adventure travel, Romantic getaway at a luxury resort, Incentive group travel for your company or just a last minute All-inclusive vacation for your family.  Our expertise, our network and our attention to detail will give you and your family an unforgettable travel experience.

We get our pricing directly from all major suppliers.  Whether you are an avid cruiser enjoying the intimate scenery and comfort  of a river cruise, or an adventurer who prefers a fully customized tour itinerary off-the-beaten path in Eastern Europe.  We are here to help you plan every step of your trip.  Your travel should be an experience not a job.

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Are Travel Agents Obsolete?

Until 20 years ago or so, most people can’t travel unless they first talk to a travel agent. Today, you can virtually get all the travel information you need at your fingertips and can book directly with cruise lines and tour operators via the internet.  So, why do you still need a travel agent?

Travel agent works for you:

Most importantly, your travel agent has your back.  What most people don’t realize – while you can do most of the research yourself, at the end of the day, you would still need to talk to a person in order to complete the booking process.  At some point, you are ask to provide an email address or phone number for an agent to call you.  This person can be a reservation agent of the company or a person at a call center.

The difference between a Reservation Agent and a Travel Agent is that a reservation agent makes bookings.  A good travel agent considers your needs and acts in your best interest.  He/she is unbiased in their recommendations which ultimately will saves you time and gets you value for your money.  Furthermore, a travel agent is there for you when problem arises.  They work directly with suppliers and will act on your behalf.  If in doubt, just think back that last time you need to voice a complaint for something you booked through an online company.  How many buttons did you have to press and how long were you put on hold before speaking to a live person?  And, god forbid if you have to escalate your complaint to the next level!  A travel agent won’t promise you the world but he/she is only a phone call away to help you resolve your complaint to the best of the situation.

Information overload:

Even with a universe of online travel information, using the services of a travel agent makes good sense.

Travel agents are up to date and in tune with the many travel options available for specific destinations. Rather than spend precious hours researching those options, let your travel agent walk you through the possibilities and the advantages of each. For example, if you have a desire to explore Europe on your own, your travel agent can help you create a personalized itinerary and can arrange for hotels and transportation where and when needed. If you would like to take an organized tour, your travel agent can help you sift through hundreds of possibilities to find the one that’s best for you.

With their in-depth knowledge of the travel industry and advanced reservations technology, travel agents can find deals that are just as good – or better – than what you can find online. Agents can use their relationships with cruise lines and tour companies – plus their personal experience with a variety of destinations to get you the greatest value for your travel budget. Agents also know when an online deal is literally too good to be true.

Travel agents can also handle some of the important details of your trip, such as booking a limousine to take you to the theatre; making dinner reservations; and obtaining event tickets. They can schedule tea times, spa appointments, museum tours and more.  If your itinerary is complicated – for example, if it includes a combination of air, cruise and coach travel – it’s really essential to work with a travel agent. Your agent can make sure that all of the details of an intricate itinerary are set, and will be available to provide help if things change along the way.

Remember, a travel agent will be your advocate for the value and quality you want from your leisure travel. Talk with your Cruise Holidays travel expert about everything he/she can do to make your next travel experience smooth and memorable.