AmaWaterways’ Co-owner and Senior Vice President of Sales, Gary Murphy, shares his thoughts on family and why our Christmas Markets cruises in Europe are his top choice for families.
I love traveling with my family and some of my most cherished memories have been on our Christmas Markets cruises. Whether you travel on Europe’s Rhine River or the Danube, there’s something BEYOND special about being in Europe during this season. The settings are unbelievable, including some located in front of amazing palaces, such as Vienna’s Schönbrunn and Belvedere, and Salzburg’s Hellbrunn. You’ll always find unique handcrafted ornaments, but for me, I love tasting the local specialties the most. My personal favorites are the crispy German pork rinds, sausages with different kinds of mustard and the hot spiced wines. There could be 15 different places selling spiced wines with three or four different choices, all home recipes, and each vendor has its own unique mug that you can keep.
These cruises are great for families, especially if you have children in their early teens and up, because
AmaWaterways often offers up to five different activities in each port. You can choose your own
excursions and reunite at meals to share your experiences. The holiday spirit is brought to life on board and ashore, and the stress that sometimes comes with planning multigenerational gatherings melts away.
Experience the Markets as a Local
I have a vision etched in my mind of the Christmas Market in Linz, Austria. My wife and I were just
enjoying the moment with a hot spiced wine. It was snowing, and as the snowflakes fell, we watched
an Austrian family leaving the market. Two of their children were sitting on a toboggan, holding onto
a Christmas tree and dragging it behind them. That’s what’s so great about these markets. They’re really
set up for the locals, so when you go, you don’t feel like a tourist at all. You feel like just another local coming on your annual holiday adventure. And it’s incredibly humbling to experience the season the way it has been experienced in Europe for so long.
Create a New Collection of Treasures
All the markets AmaWaterways visits are memorable. Like many of our guests, I particularly love the many markets of Vienna. But this past year, the Budapest market held at Vörösmarty Square holds a special place in my heart.