Gems of Southeast Europe cruise day 7: Beautiful Bucharest still struggles to recover from communism

ABOARD THE AMASONATA- As we cruised south toward the Black Sea from Budapest this week it was obvious to us that all of the cities we visited along the way are still suffering in a variety of ways the effects of communism and multiple wars, and are still in transition to normal democratic life. We called our excursion cities a bit ragged. Until we got to Bucharest. Gorgeous old buildings from the late 1800’s, broad boulevards lined …

Read moreGems of Southeast Europe cruise day 7: Beautiful Bucharest still struggles to recover from communism

Gems of Southeast Europe cruise day 6: Off the beaten track in Vidin, Bulgaria

ABOARD THE AMASONATA – It is Saturday, so it must be Bulgaria. And if you didn’t happen to see a sign informing you that, you could tell by the way the locals here answer your questions.  If they nod their head up and down, it means “No.”  If side to side, “Yes.”  Just the opposite way you would expect, and about the opposite of anywhere else in the world, so the AMAWaterways crew warns us to learn …

Read moreGems of Southeast Europe cruise day 6: Off the beaten track in Vidin, Bulgaria

Gems of Southeast Europe cruise day 5: In Romania, it feels like Norway

ABOARD THE AMASONATA – For those who take a cruise for the scenery, today was the highlight of the week.  Instead of cities and wineries and fortresses and war monuments, we are heading into the “Iron Gates,” the most spectacular section of the Danube River. The Iron Gates are a beautiful set of gorges with the Carpathian Mountains on one side and the Balkans on the other.  The Danube here represents the border between Romania and Serbia …

Read moreGems of Southeast Europe cruise day 5: In Romania, it feels like Norway

Gems of Southeast Europe cruise day 4: A 30-year Building Project Promises Hope to Belgrade

ABOARD THE AMASONATA – One would think that Belgrade, a city that has been destroyed no less than 40 times over its 2300- year lifetime, might give up and call it quits. To some extent it looks like it has. It’s not a pretty town. Passengers on our riverboat did not sign up for this cruise because they wanted to visit the vistas of Belgrade. But there’s life here still. The cruise manager had a variety of …

Read moreGems of Southeast Europe cruise day 4: A 30-year Building Project Promises Hope to Belgrade

Gems of Southeast Europe Cruise day 3: Along the Danube: Many Languages, Many Conflicts

ABOARD THE AMASONATA – The 49-member crew of this Danube-floating riverboat represents a mini-United Nations. In total, there are:  twenty Romanians, seven Hungarians, seven Bulgarians, two Filipinos, six Serbians, two Croatians, two Bosnia-Herzegovanians — and four crew members from distant Indonesia (including the chef). And they all get along swimmingly. Which is not the case – to put it mildly – with the countries we are visiting in this war-torn, ethnically-conflicted part of Europe. According to the …

Read moreGems of Southeast Europe Cruise day 3: Along the Danube: Many Languages, Many Conflicts

Gems of Southeast Europe cruise day 1: A river boat stateroom is not your father’s cabin

ONBOARD THE AMASONATA-Remember the time when taking a cruise meant living for a week in a room the size of a travel container for your pet? When getting to the head meant first moving your suitcase out of the way? I do. How times have changed. Our stateroom on the third level of our AMAWaterways riverboat is, in Trumpian terms, H-U-U-G-E. When my husband and I took possession of it this afternoon we felt like we were …

Read moreGems of Southeast Europe cruise day 1: A river boat stateroom is not your father’s cabin

Preparing for Gems of Southeast Europe cruise with AmaWaterways

In just seven nights of cruising on the Danube River, our “Gems of Southeast Europe” April river trip will touch five different countries:  Hungary, Romania, Croatia, Serbia and Bulgaria.  It will begin in Budapest, called  “the Paris of the East” and end in Bucharest, termed “the Little Paris of the East.” In between those two well-known historical towns, we will make stops in Pecs, Vukovar, Novi Sad, Belgrade, Vidin and Giurgiu. Our lovely vehicle of travel is …

Read morePreparing for Gems of Southeast Europe cruise with AmaWaterways

Art aboard AMALegro: Epilogue

There was one additional School of Art on our cruise that we should mention: Towel Sculpture. This type of art has been around for a number of years, though not for as long as the Impressionism of Monet, Van Gogh and Cezanne. It’s especially popular on cruise ships, where it has been refined to a high art form. The sculptors who practice it create a menagerie of whimsical animals, exhibited on passengers’ beds each day in their …

Read moreArt aboard AMALegro: Epilogue

Art aboard AMALegro – Day 6

ABOARD THE AMALEGRO – Our “Art Illumination” cruise ends tomorrow morning, and those of us whose egos survived the painting classes intact have produced three “masterpieces” . . . at least that’s what Sebastian Lowry, the cruise director, calls them. He’s a very kind man. We call them “primitive art,” giving ourselves the benefit of the doubt. Truthfully, however, most of them are “bad art” and should not see the light of day off this ship. They …

Read moreArt aboard AMALegro – Day 6

Art aboard AMALegro-Day 5

ABOARD THE AMALEGRO –L’escargots and frogs’ legs in cream sauce for lunch? Could a menu on this ship get any fancier? Well, perhaps. Last night we had dinner at the Chef’s Table, the smaller and more exclusive of the AMALegro’s two dining rooms, with floor-to-ceiling windows and beautiful views out the stern of the boat, where Chef George Sakadanov works his magic behind a glass wall for us to watch. The Chef’s Table is limited to 24 …

Read moreArt aboard AMALegro-Day 5

CLOSE
CLOSE