Heading for a Christmas on the Rhine cruise aboard the AmaCerto

Heading for a Christmas on the Rhine cruise aboard the AmaCerto When I was a kid, the family friend who gave me my middle name (Marie) and braided my hair was from Germany. To keep my squirming to a minimum, Mrs. Schmidt used to regale me with German fairy tales and other stories while she did those taking-forever-to-do braids. Such a place as Germany seemed so faraway and unattainable to a young Midwestern girl. But soon I …

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AmaCerto Cruise: Farewell to beautiful ship, friendly crew, intriguing itinerary

  It seems to happen every cruise. When I first step on the ship, the days stretch before me so leisurely. What I will see and what I will learn will be my traveling treasures. Then, before I know it, the trip is over. Here it is departing time aboard the AmaCerto. A week wasn’t long enough. A return visit would be wonderful. The vessel is beautiful. The cuisine is delicious. My stateroom with its double balconies …

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AmaCerto Cruise: Visiting the home of Eau de Cologne in Germany

COLOGNE, Germany – Napoleon Bonaparte loved Eau de Cologne so much that he ordered 50 bottles a month. The famous emperor used the fragrant water extravagantly and supposedly had special boots designed where he could stash an emergency bottle of cologne. “Back then, they didn’t take baths as often as we do today so they used perfume to mask their body odor,” tour guide Marion said. However, some of the perfumes smelled so heavy that they weren’t …

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AmaCerto excursion: Hearing music from the past at Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Cabinet Museum

ABOARD THE AmaCERTO — The tiny bird opens its beak and begins trilling a lovely tune. Six ghostly violins in perfect harmony play classical music without musicians’ hands anywhere in sight. A band of 27 dolls, each playing a different instrument, creates a pleasing symphony. “Welcome to Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Cabinet Museum,” guide Christelle says, leading our large group through the multi-roomed museum. “It is almost unbelievable what you are going to see and hear in here.” …

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Heidelberg: Meeting a bridge monkey and enjoying a Heidelberg Kiss

ABOARD THE AmaCERTO — Love will find a way. On today’s shore excursion from the AmaCerto cruise, I learned about the famous Heidelberg Student Kiss and even got to enjoy one. I also saw a monkey and two mice on the Old Heidelberg Bridge. Never know what you are going to discover on a shore excursion. As for that kiss, the story goes that the Heidelberg Student Kiss is both a confection and a bit of fascinating …

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AmaCerto excursion – The Astronomical Clock in Strasbourg is a mechanical marvel

ABOARD THE AmaCERTO – When the clock strikes half past noon, the apostles parade past Jesus while a cock crows and flaps its wings. On another part of the huge Astronomical Clock, the different stages of life are shown as a child, a teenager, an adult and an old man who pass before a scary Death figure. Ever since I booked my AmaCerto cruise, I have been looking forward to seeing the famous Astronomical Clock in the …

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AmaCerto: Ship’s special touches include pool with swim-up bar

ABOARD THE AmaCERTO – Today, I thought we’d walk around the AmaCerto and see some of the things that make the ship so special. Although river cruise ships are limited to the same dimensions to fit into the locks on European rivers, the AmaCerto has certainly managed to include some eye-catching extras. First is the lovely entry area with the service desk and beautiful glass elevator. Because of marine regulations, elevators can’t travel below the water line …

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AmaCerto: Dining in ship’s no-charge specialty restaurant is a taste treat

ABOARD THE AmaCERTO – Today I learned a new word. And had a marvelous dining adventure. I also discovered why AmaWaterways is the only river cruise line inducted into La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, the world’s oldest international gastronomic society. The reason? They deserve it. My first night on the cruise, I signed up to dine in AmaCerto’s exclusive restaurant. The dinner-only restaurant with its own chef and menu is named Erlebnis – a German word for “something …

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Complimentary extras abound on beautiful AmaCerto

ABOARD THE AmaCERTO – With so many resorts, airlines and other places cutting services or adding new charges for them, it is surprisingly wonderful to see all the complimentary extras on my AmaCerto cruise. I’ve only been on the ship one day and already I am noticing little pluses that mean so much to travelers. I’m going to list them below – in no particular order – just to show what no-charge things are offered on the …

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First day on AmaCerto cruise gets off to great start

ABOARD THE AmaCERTO – First impressions can be so important. They can start a trip off on the right foot or the wrong one. AmaCerto certainly knows how to do it right. Getting to Basel, Switzerland, for my cruise on the AmaCerto wasn’t easy. It seldom is when I have to travel internationally. First I took a one and a half hour flight from Indianapolis to Atlanta. Waited two hours and took an eight and a half …

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