Marcy Levin begins her trip on the AMA Dolce on the Danube River in Europe

A funny thing happened on my way to Budapest to pick up AMA Dolce, the AMAWaterways river ship on which I, along with a lifelong friend, would spend seven days on the Danube, ending with a three-day stay in Prague before flying home on Dec. 1

After flying for nine hours from Miami to London, changing planes, and flying for another two-and-a-half hours to Budapest we met up with other AMA passengers. After introductions, someone told us the ship was now going to Vienna; that we were overnighting at the Sofitel Hotel in Budapest and bussing to Vienna to pick up the ship tomorrow. Water levels at this point in the Danube are unnaturally low.

Nature, Mother Nature, that is, trumps man’s plans. We women tend to do that!

The AMA staff, on hand here in this magnificent city, really stepped up to the plate. They booked all the passengers rooms here at the Sofitel, scheduled a lovely three-course dinner with amazing wines, and will take us on tour of Budapest in the morning. They have handled this like the pros I have always heard AMAWaterways are in the river cruise business, and I am looking forward to boarding the ship tomorrow and experiencing firsthand what dozens have raved about.

At our table at dinner tonight, half the passengers have been on other AMA cruises. These are veteran passengers who have been around the block and around the world and are resigned to an occasional bump in the road when traveling. These are not neophytes “exploring” 10 countries in a week and I look forward to the next week.


Bored, I had a good laugh at my own jaded self during that long flight on American Airlines from Miami.

I realized I had with me an eye shade from Lufthansa, a neck pillow with the EL Al logo, a travel toothbrush from Lan Chile (I attended a convention in Santiago some half dozen years ago) and I was wearing a two-time zone watch, a gift from Princess cruises some 15 years ago.

I am a walking billboard, but it reflects the good fortune I’ve had doing what I do – writing about travel – and what I have been doing for about 35 years. Now I can add AMA Waterways to the list. I am sure the experience will also make me smile!

More tomorrow from the Sacher torte capital, Vienna and on up the Danube.


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