Collin Pritchard’s first trip to Europe was on an AmaWaterways Christmas Market cruise on the Danube River in December 2017. Read on to hear what he thought of the experience.

What inspired you to book a Christmas Market cruise with AmaWaterways?

My mother insisted on taking me and my wife Susan (who absolutely loves everything about Christmas) along with my sister, to experience the Christmas markets. My wife and I had never been on a river cruise and had never visited Europe before, so we were thrilled to be able to go on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure with my family.

Was the atmosphere on board the ship full of holiday spirit?

The ship was decorated beautifully for Christmas, with Christmas trees, lots of lights, Christmas ornaments and evergreen trimmings, and even a wreath on every cabin door. And we were always welcomed back on board with a cheerful greeting and something to drink and eat in the reception area or in the Main Lounge, whether it was a hot gluhwein or glass of wine, with cookies, pastries, sausages or something for a snack.

Were there any instances in which the crew went above and beyond?

Everyone was very friendly and made a special effort to make sure that we were enjoying ourselves. Any questions or concerns that we had were answered or taken care of very quickly. As an example, we asked if we could use a wheelchair to take my mother on a couple of the tours and they were very happy to arrange it.

Tell us about some crew members you really connected with.

Our Cruise Manager, Uwe, was very personable, always available, extremely helpful and full of information. Our usual waiter, Milos, took special care in seeing that we had everything we needed and more in the dining room. And Captain Jack was always happy to answer questions about navigating the ship.

Were there any special holiday events?

The Christmas tree decorating party was a lot of fun, and the visit from Santa and caroling by the staff was great. A very special touch was having Uwe recite “Twas the Night Before Christmas” and tell us all about his family’s Christmas traditions growing up.

And were the Christmas markets as magical as described?

They were amazing! We visited Christmas markets in Budapest, Vienna, Salzburg, Regensburg, Nuremberg and finally in Prague, and each had its own charm. It truly was a magical atmosphere and it was wonderful to see all the families gathered together to enjoy the Christmas spirit.

Tell us what you enjoyed the most about the markets.

The food! We had to try the amazing variety of sausages everywhere we went…and the gluhwein and the pretzels and the roasted chestnuts! We loved that each market had its own special mugs for gluhwein and hot chocolate and we took quite a collection home with us. We enjoyed searching for and buying different ornaments from each market for our Christmas tree at home. The Thurn & Taxis Royal Christmas market in Regensburg was magically decorated. In Vienna, the Rathaus/City Hall Christmas market was beautiful, especially at night, and was full of families celebrating the festive season.

Anything you want to add?

The Christmas markets are not to be missed! Do not hesitate. Book with AmaWaterways and make sure you add on a couple of days in Prague either pre- or post-cruise. For us, it was a wonderful way to cap off our first trip to Europe.

Ready to book your next Christmas Market Cruise with AmaWaterways?

Click here to learn more about our Christmas Market Cruises along the enchanting Rhine and Danube rivers.

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