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 …

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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 …

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Gems of Southeast Europe cruise day 2: A family success story, turning one river boat into twenty one

ABOARD THE AMASONATA – Dining at the Chef’s Table on this elegant AMAWaterways riverboat is a special treat. Dining at the Chef’s Table with the husband and wife who launched the first AMAWaterways ship fifteen years ago — and now own a multimillion-dollar company with 21 of these luxury riverboats — is an extra special treat. Not to mention that Rudi Schreiner and Kristin Karst are delightful dinner companions. Where there was only one riverboat at the …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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Art aboard AMALegro – Day 4

ABOARD THE AMALEGRO-When my husband and I were biking in Dresden five years ago we saw riverboats passing by on the Elbe River. “Thank goodness we’re not on one of those,” we thought, “we’d much rather be biking.” When we were biking from Vienna to Prague two years ago, we saw riverboats passing by on the Danube River. “Thank goodness we’re not on one of those,” we thought, “we’d much rather be biking.” Yesterday, while floating down …

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Art Aboard AMALegro – Day 3

ABOARD THE AMALEGRO, On the Seine — The dentist from Atlanta picked up his brush, filled it with a large dollop of red acrylic, and began to paint for the first time in his life. Dr. Jerry Richman had never painted before, but he and his wife love art and collect it for both their home and his dental office. He had signed onto this AMALegro riverboat cruise because he wanted to see the famous gardens in …

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