Cake and cuckoo clocks on the rivers of Europe

Rhine map
Rhine map

I’m not big on jewelry, despite the fact that my sister-in-law is a jewelry designer and my husband turns to her for every birthday present he has to get for me. Usually I’m ‘take it or leave it’ about such things.

But I’m excited about this gem – The Emerald Sky – a jewel of a ship that launched in 2014 and won the “Best New River Ship” designation. I’m interested to experience this new ship, particularly the innovative in-room balconies, with windows that open to give a panoramic view of the passing scenery. I think I can picture myself tucked up in bed in the morning, waking to watch the river float by.

We will be following a new itinerary for Emerald Waterways, one that begins in Basel, Switzerland and explores the Black Forest region before connecting with the Rhine and visiting the engaging cities of Koblenz, Rudesheim, and Cologne before finally docking in Amsterdam. I look forward to fat slices of Black Forest cake, a view of Germany’s biggest cuckoo clock and traditional local dining.

Will it be chilly and rainy, or warm and sunny? It is always a gamble this time of the year, and that makes packing for a spring voyage a bit of a challenge. I’m hedging my bets and planning on dressing in layers that can be adjusted to suit the temperatures. But to be safe, I’m taking rain gear.

This will be my first cruise solo. I’ve always travelled with my husband before, and for the first time, I won’t have him for company. I’m thinking this will give me some insight into single travel and the challenges and rewards of being on your own. I will also be designing my port activities to be more active. I think one of the drawbacks of cruising is the essentially sedentary nature of many of the tours. That is also, of course, one of its attractions, particularly for those who can’t get around as well as they used to, but for travelers who like to be active and on the move, it’s good to have hiking, biking and climbing alternatives. I’m going to try them out. And I’ll report on how it is going, hopefully daily if the WiFi gods cooperate.

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