Visit Istanbul in 2020 on a Gem’s of the Southeast Danube Cruise

Europeanbarging is pleased to announce, that with the 2020 departures of AmaWaterways Gem’s of the Southeast Europe, clients have the chance to experience Istanbul with a 3 night pre or post cruise land program.

Gems of the Southeast river cruise itinerary covers the lower Danube cruising between Budapest Hungary and Giurgiu Romania and includes 5 countries.  In addition to Hungary and Romania, guests will visit Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria on the cruise and Turkey and Austria for pre or post cruise programs

Blue Mosque in Instanbul

Istanbul, once known as Constantinople is a city rich in cultures and history with much to offer.  It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited spots of the world, it’s exotic architecture including mosques, colorful basilicas, cathedrals and centuries old  ancient bazaars. Istanbul is located on the Bosphorus peninsula and was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985. Istanbul lies at the crossroads between the East and the West, Istanbul is Turkey’s largest city and a city with vibrant mix of cultures

Some of the sites to experience in Istanbul during your land program include:

 Visit the great sites including the iconic Blue Mosque and beautiful Hagia Sophia (cathedral-turned-museum) it was the center of the  Roman and Byzantine city and is a great place to begin exploring Istanbul. At the Hippodrome, see the Egyptian Obelisk of Theodosius  (the oldest monument of Constantinople) and the Serpent Column from the Delphi oracle remain, having been in this same location since the 4th century.  The four bronze horses that used to be on top of the emperor’s box  were looted during the crusades at this ancient chariot-racing arena.  They are now on the façade of Saint Mark’s Basilica in Venice.

The Old City reminds one of the ancient times of the Roman Empire. The centuries-old city walls stand out. Extending for nearly 14 miles (22 kilometers) and stretching from the Sea of Marmara to the Golden Horn, these walls have stood for centuries.  They were demolished twice in their history: first, by the Latin Crusaders who intended to head toward the Holy Land in 1204 and again in 1453 by the Ottoman Turks in their attempts to conquer the city.

The Valens Aqueduct (located within the old walls), was once part of the Roman aqueduct. It was the single longest ancient aqueduct system ever to be built – nearly 270,000 square feet (250,000 meters). Completed by Roman Emperor Valens in the late 4th century AD, it was used by the Byzantines and later the Ottomans, and was operational until the end of the 19th century.

Topkapi Palace, dating back to the 15th century, is rich in the history of the Ottoman Empire. Overlooking the ocean, from it’s hillside location, its 27 towers and three miles of stone wall were at one time an official royal residence of the Ottoman sultans and the seat of the Turkish government. It is a museum now and considered the largest and oldest palace in the world. Inside, take a look at the harem’s quarters, and the seat of government.  Some of the artifacts inside the museum include:  collection of old weapons used by the sultans, palace kitchens with their huge porcelain collections, and the treasury with its collection of jewels and clocks, including the Topkapi Dagger and the stunning 86 carat Spoonmaker’s diamond.

With the 3 night land program in Istanbul, guests will embark on a walking tour that will visit the Hagia Sophia, formerly a church, then a mosque before becoming a museum;  the Blue Mosque and for those interested a guide will take you to the Grand Bazaar.  The second day spend at the spectacular Ottoman Sultans’ Grand Palace of Topkapi, home to every Sultan from the 15 – 19th centuries.

Cruise departures start in March and conclude in November.  March 22, November 1 and 8 are also Wine Themed itineraries.  Cruise rates start at $2899 per person and include the 7 night cruise, all meals, wine with meals, daily happy hour, multi choice excursions and Wi-Fi.

Experience Istanbul in all its splendor as part of your pre- or post-cruise hotel/land extension on 2020  Gems of the Southeast cruises!

For more information contact Europeanbarging.com at 888-869-7907 or jan@europeanbarging.com

 

4 – 7 Night Bordeaux River Cruises

You’ll be raising your glass many times in Bordeaux, which is renowned for its wines, considered amongst the best in the world. As the capital of the department Gironde in the region Aquitaine, it has over two and a half million inhabitants in its metropolitan area. After years of neglect, the former wet docks are the country’s new hot spot, with a number of cafés, gardens, and museums springing up all the time. A lively university community of over 60,000, (Bordeaux Campus is the largest in France) establishes that Bordeaux is about more than just wine.

Bordeaux is a flat city, built on the banks of the Garonne River. It is also one of the largest French cities by area and geographically one of the largest in Europe. The Garonne merges a dozen kilometers below the city with another river, the Dordogne River to form the Gironde Estuary, which is the biggest estuary in France.

The city center is located west and south of the Garonne. To the east are a few hills – the only ones in the vicinity. These hills mark the beginning of an industrial zone and suburbs. Because it is a flat city, bicycles make excellent modes of transport, especially as the city has more than 580 km of cycle tracks. Bordeaux is among the most economically dynamic cities in France.

Due to the weakness of the subsoil, there are no skyscrapers in Bordeaux, which explains its sprawl. The center of the town has retained its traditional stone mansions and smart terraces, hence the reason behind the city being called “Little Paris”. Bordeaux also features the world’s largest reflecting pool with interactive fountains.

Modern buildings can be found to the west (administrative center) and south (university) of the city. Travel to France’s legendary wine capital, Bordeaux, Iconic châteaux, timeless vineyards and delicious wine tastings are plentiful as you visit Libourne, Blaye, Bourg, Pauillac and Cadillac. This trip is a must for anyone interested in the best of French culture, lifestyle, wine and food.

Being at the center of a major wine-growing and wine-producing region, Bordeaux remains a prominent powerhouse and exercises significant influence on the world wine industry. Non wine production is conducted within the city limits. It is home to the world’s main wine fair, Vinexpo, and the wine economy in the metro area takes in 14.5 billion euros each year. Bordeaux wine has been produced in the region since the 8th century. The historic part of the city is on the UNESCO World Heritage List as “an outstanding urban and architectural ensemble” of the 18th century.  After Paris, Bordeaux has the highest number of preserved historical buildings of any city in France.

Towns visited from a Bordeaux cruise include:  Cadillac, Pauillac, Blaye, Bourg, Saint-Emilion, as well as several wineries for tastings.

BLAYE, is known for its 17th century Citadel, built by Vauban.  Around the Blaye Citadel, there are lots of shops, cafes, restaurants and small hotels.

CADILLAC was founded in 1280 to serve as a river port for the castle of Benauges by the lord of the castle, Jean I de Grailly.  Cadillac is directly across the Garonne river from Sauternes, and is known for producing sweet dessert wines under the Cadillac AOC designation.

Possible excursion from Cadillac includes traveling by coach for the Château de Roquetaillade. This magnificent and prestigious medieval castle built between the 12th and 14th centuries is a listed historic monument. You will see its medieval keeps, the first Renaissance chimneys in the region (1600), but above all its unique 19th-century interiors, a masterpiece by Viollet-le-Duc today listed as a historic monument.

PAUILLAC – From this port is the stepping stone to the famous Grands Cru Wine Route of Medoc – a region producing some of the most famous Red Wine in the world.  As you drive through the region, you will pass through charming towns, acres of vineyards and sunflowers as well as beautiful chateau.

SAINT-EMILION’S – history goes back to prehistoric times and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with fascinating Romanesque churches and ruins stretching all along steep and narrow streets.  The town features the Monolithic church of Saint Emilion – built into a limestone cliff rock.

Monolithic Church of Saint Emilion

The Romans planted vineyards in what was to become Saint-Émilion as early as the 2nd century. In the 4th century, the Latin poet Ausonius lauded the fruit of the bountiful vine.

The town, previously called Ascumbas, was renamed after the monk Émilion (d.767), a traveling confessor, who settled in a hermitage carved into the rock there in the 8th century. The monks who followed him started up the commercial wine production in the area.  Saint-Émilion is one of the principal red wine areas of Bordeaux along with the Meoc, Graves and Pomerol. The region is much smaller than the Médoc and adjoins Pomerol. As in Pomerol and the other appellations on the right bank of the Gironde, the primary grape varieties used are the Merlot and Cabernet Franc, with relatively small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon also being used by some châteaux.

There are a variety of cruise options in Bordeaux:  Barge cruises as well as several river cruise options.  There are short Bordeaux Cruises of 4 night, 5 night and 6 night as well as 7 night cruise itineraries.  On an AmaWaterways 7 night Taste of Bordeaux cruise, you will enjoy an extensive lineup of included tours, wine with dinner, daily happy hour and included Wi-Fi. In many cases, you will have a choice of excursions, such as standard tours, bike tours, hikes and Special Interest Tours. We always include a large variety of activities so that you can choose how you want to explore.   The international cruise line CroisiEurope, offer short France River cruises with classic and active optional excursions.  CroisiEurope includes a beverage package as well as Wi-Fi in their cruise rates.   No matter your preference, your days will be full of discovery and wonder.

For more information contact:  Europeanbarging.com  /  888-869-7907  /  jan@europeanbarging.com

 

Interesting Facts Along the Danube River

The mighty Danube River is the longest river in the entire European Union. It runs through or forms a part of the border for 10 countries, originating in Germany’s Black Forest and ending in the Ukraine where it flows into the Black Sea.

The Danube River has an important part in European culture and history, dating back when it was the north boundary of the Roman empire. It’s also home to the great Austrian musician Johann Strauss .

Cathedral in Linz along the Danube River

Those longing for the charm of Old World Europe will experience the very heart of the continent, where kings and queens were crowned and some of the world’s best musicians – such as Mozart and Beethoven,  composed and performed for the courts. Great European capital  cities like Budapest, Vienna, Linz and Bratislava remain an incredible experience, as well as such excursions to the beautiful  Austria’s Lake District and the Czech Republic’s charming mountain town, Ceský Krumlov – both tours offers by AmaWaterways .  From fortresses and grand abbeys perched high above the Danube to iconic UNESCO World Heritage Sites, be romanced by the Danube with all her regal and romantic splendor.

Visit Regensburg and you can discover the best of both worlds, visiting one of the oldest medieval cities in Germany and the largest medieval town north of the Alps.  Along with nearly 1,500 buildings listed as being of historical interest — find picturesque cobblestone streets and alleys, colorful buildings and cafés –  the oldest working bridge in Germany and perhaps the oldest restaurant in the world,  lively public squares and a vibrant Old Town that was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In modern times, it is known for being one of Pope Benedict XVI’s residences; he taught at the university when he was known as Revered Joseph Ratzinger.

Regensburg is sometimes called both “Germany’s medieval miracle” and “the northernmost city of Italy” due to its lively streets and lovely outdoor summer cafés.  Regensburg was the start of the Route of Emperors and Kings in the medieval period and the route continued to Passau, Vienna, Linz before ending in Budapest.   Soak up the atmosphere or admire the rich history.

Known as the “City of Three Rivers” since the mighty Danube River is joined by both the Inn River and the Ilz River, Passau is a historic town who can trace their roots past the 2nd Century BC. First founded by the Celts and then a Roman town for 400 years, the city traded hands a few times.

The picturesque city of Passau is known for its Gothic and Italian Baroque architecture as well as its promenades, winding lanes and quaint Bavarian shops (expect to fall in love with a cuckoo-clock or two). It is also home to the historic St. Stephen’s Cathedral, which for most of its life housed the world’s largest cathedral organ (that honor now goes to a church in Downtown Los Angeles). Left undamaged during World War II, the Old Town was left as it has been for hundreds of years.

Another excursion offered on several Danube River itineraries is to the beautiful city of Salzburg, Austria.  Besides acting as the birthplace for one of the most famous musicians and composers in history, many may recognize this backdrop from a more recent musical accomplishment. The beautiful, rolling hills and lush, green landscape of this town was employed as the setting for the Tony Award winning musical, and Academy Award winning movie-musical, The Sound of Music. After its initial cinematic release in 1965, The Sound of Music became the highest grossing film of all time, beating out Gone with the Wind, and held the title for five years post-release.

This iconic masterpiece follows the story of the von Trapp family as they struggle with the Nazi takeover of Austria in the late 1930’s. However, many do not realize that the lively and entertaining movie is based on true events, written about in the memoirs of Maria von Trapp, the inspiration for Julie Andrew’s Golden Globe winning performance. The Story of the Trapp Family Singers, an autobiography written by Maria von Trapp, describes the true story of the musically-inclined family, from her original role as tutor for one of the von Trapp children, to the family’s escape to America upon the Nazi annexation of Austria.

AMA Waterways cruises the Danube, with itineraries cruising between Budapest and Regensburg as well as Vilshofen to Budapest.  Discover a wealth of art, history and cultural treasures as you cruise to some of Europe’s most famous destinations. From Budapest, journey to Bratislava, Vienna, Passau and the 2,000-year-old town of Regensburg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Along the way, visit magnificent cathedrals and Baroque abbeys, sample Vienna’s sinfully rich Sacher torte cake, experience the breathtaking scenery of the Wachau Valley winemaking region and traverse Europe’s Continental Divide.

Croisi River Cruise offers 3 – 7 day European River Cruises and is the oldest river cruise line in Europe as well as being family owned.  The cruise line has over 42 vessels cruising the waterways of Europe.  Danube itineraries include a 5 day and 8 day round trip Vienna cruise on the Danube as well as a 6 day cruise between Passau and Budapest.

Prices include the cruise, all meals, beverage package with alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and Wi-Fi.  Excursions are additional.

AROSA CRUISE LINE cruises the Danube,  featuring short river cruises with English and German language onboard.  There is no fixed seating or table arrangements on board.  All meals are served as buffet.  There are chefs at all meals with an open kitchen preparing these dishes as you watch – so everything is fresh.
One night a week there is a special sit down wine and culinary special dinner for a small additional fee.

The ships have bicycles with helmets on board for cycling tours.   Arosa is also known for their superior spa facilities onboard.  Arosa offers 4 night, 5 night and 7 night round trip Passau river cruise itineraries.  Arosa also allows children 15 and under to cruise free with their parents in the same cabin.  They limited triple cabins and 1 set of connecting cabins per deck on a few of their ships.

Prices include the cruise, all meals, beverage package with alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and Wi-Fi.  Excursions are additional.

For more information on any of the Danube River cruise itineraries or other rivers, please call or email:713 240 6753 or 888 869 7907  jan@europeanbarging.com

Enjoying 3 Bordeaux Wines – on a River Cruise

When taking a European River Cruise through Bordeaux, you can experience a one-of-a kind wine tour all throughout the journey.

The cruise will take you to different wine destinations that offer a variety of world-renowned wines in the area.  There is the opportunity to experience 3 Bordeaux Wines – Medoc, Cotes de Bourg and Sauternes

Other than savoring the taste and aroma of good quality wines, a Bordeaux River Cruise will be a treat for the eyes as you enjoy magnificent views of lush vineyards, historic landmarks, and natural landscapes.

There are a number of vineyards in the Bordeaux area and you must not miss trying out some of the most popular wines. The full-bodied red wines in the Medoc region are recommended. The world-famous wines in this region are made at family-owned chateaus producing signature blends and grand cru wines.

Visit the Margaux and St. Julien vineyards and cellars to also gain insight of several centuries of winemaking tradition. Admire the scenic view of rolling vine-covered hills as you go from one place to another.

Northwest of the city of Bordeaux is the Cotes de Bourg, one of the oldest wine producing regions in France. You can find around 400 winemakers in this area, the majority of which are family-owned. Cotes de Bourg is known for Merlot-based red wines but it also produces dry white wine in small quantities.

Another popular wine in the Bordeaux region is the Sauternes. It is known for being a timeless classic when it comes to white wines. A tour to the Sauternes areawill give tourists a taste of this sweet wine as they are learning about the “noble rot” process involved in making it. In this winemaking process, the grapes are left on the vines to rot to maintain the concentration of sugar and acidity.

Taking an AmaWaterways River Cruise in the Bordeaux region will indeed satisfy wine lovers. At the same time, it showcases the number of attractions that has earned its slot in the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Europeanbarging is offering a $500 discount per person PLUS a $350 air credit off of already specially priced air rates for the July 5th 2018 departure. Offer good thru March 30th 2018. CALL NOW for best selection. Europeanbarging.com 888-869-7907

Questions and Answers on AmaWaterways European River Cruise

Our questions and answers on AmaWaterways European River Cruises are to provide information on what make AmaWaterways a great River Cruise company for your European River Cruise  We can assist in finding the perfect cruise.  Call us  Europeanbarging.com   – 888-869-7907

 

AmaLegro docked at night

AmaLegro docked at night

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is Internet available onboard?
High-speed Internet service is available free of charge as part of the in-stateroom “Infotainment System.” Additionally, AmaWaterways offers complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the ship.

What is the dress code?
We recommend country club casual for dinner. Guests typically wear dressier attire for the Captain’s Gala dinner.

Is there an elevator on board?
Elevators are available onboard all vessels reaching the two highest passenger decks, reception area and restaurant. Elevator does nto go down to the lower cabin decks. Staircase from lower deck to 2nd deck is a spiral staircase.

What time is embarkation?
Official embarkation time is 3 p.m. for all ships. This allows the staff to prepare your stateroom and have the ship ready for the next departure. If you arrive earlier, you may check your luggage on board, and then explore the embarkation port city.

What time is disembarkation?
Official disembarkation time is 9 a.m. You may disembark earlier if the ship is moored in the location you are disembarking in, and you may disembark later providing you have vacated your stateroom and checked out before 9 a.m.

What language is spoken on board?
The official language on board is English on all ships. Most crew members speak fluent English. All announcements and lectures will be presented in English. All locals guides are fluent in English.

What are the tipping guidelines?
Gratuities to your Cruise Manager and ship crew are not included in the vacation price. While the amount of these gratuities will depend upon your degree of satisfaction for services received, many of our clients have asked us for general tipping guidelines. Here are our recommendations:

For good service, we recommend 3 Euros per passenger, per day for the Cruise Manager and 12 Euros per passenger, per day for the crew, which will be divided up among the ship’s personnel. It is also customary to acknowledge a particularly good performance of a local guide by leaving a tip of 1-2 Euros per tour. Gratuities on most vessels, but not all, may be charged on credit card as well as cash.

Is smoking allowed on board?
Smoking is not permitted anywhere inside any of the ships. Smoking is only permitted on the Sun Deck. For the safety and comfort of all passengers on board, your cooperation in observing the no-smoking policy is greatly appreciated.

What amenities are available in the staterooms?
Each stateroom is equipped with a hair dryer, plush terry bathrobes, slippers and a safe. Your bathroom offers a magnifying mirror and spa-quality toiletries including soaps, body wash, shampoo, conditioner and body lotion.

Are there phones in the staterooms?
Each stateroom has its own telephone, along with instructions for use. Phones may be used to call from stateroom to stateroom and ship to shore. Since the telephone system functions via GSM, there may be times, depending on location, when service is unavailable. Any charges for calls will be billed to your shipboard account. Please inquire at the reception desk for rates.

Is air conditioning available in the staterooms?
All staterooms in are equipped with individual climate control. If you have any questions regarding your stateroom’s temperature control, please refer to the instructions or check with the reception desk.

Is there a Fitness Center on board?
Each ship has a fitness room with a selection of exercise equipment. Use of the equipment is at the sole risk of the user. Hours of operation vary according to the ship. There is no attendant on duty and therefore, without limitation, AmaWaterways and its affiliates are not responsible for any injuries sustained during the use of the fitness room.

What electrical current is on the ship?
Electricity on board all ships is 220v, with 2-pin power outlets. You will need an adapter, and/or converter depending on which electrical appliances you bring with you.

Is there laundry service on board?
Laundry services are available on board for a fee. Price lists are available in your stateroom. Please note that clothes cannot be dry cleaned on board.

Are there medical facilities on board?
There are no medical facilities on board. However medical services can easily be called from shore if required.

Are bicycles available?
Each ship has a limited number of bicycles and helmets available for use when the ship is docked. When appropriate, a sign-up sheet is used to request the bicycles. Use of the bicycles is at your own risk. Therefore, without limitation, AmaWaterways and all of its affiliates are not responsible for any injuries sustained during their use.

Are all meals included on board?
All meals on board the ships are included in the cruise price. Meals are served in the dining room in a single seating. For dinner, passengers will be seated by a dining room host.

What type of cuisine is served on board?
All meals are skillfully prepared by European chefs and consist of Continental cuisine
made with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients whenever possible. Breakfast is buffet-style with selections available from the menu as well. Lunch is also buffet-style with salads, soups and a selection of hot buffet items, hot entrees and desserts. Dinner is a multi-course meal with a choice of delicious entrees, including a vegetarian option.

What is the beverage policy on board?
Coffee and tea are available free of charge throughout the day and during meals. Specialty coffees, such as espresso and café latte are also available free of charge. Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages are available at additional cost. During lunch and dinner, local wines soft drinks and beer are available on a complimentary basis. Complimentary bottled water is replenished daily.

Are excursions included?
A sightseeing tour is included in each city or town you visit, along with free time to explore the city according to your own interests. The sightseeing tours can take place on foot, via motor coach, or a combination of the two. Each tour is led by a qualified, licensed English-speaking local guide or your Cruise Manager. In addition to our Gentle and Active Walkers groups noted in our Health and Well-Being section, for some excursions, we have a “Late Starter” option for guests who wish to sleep in but do not want to miss key tour highlights. For those guests interested in exploring Europe from an exciting new perspective, we offer guided bicycle tours in select cities (capacity controlled). In the event of water level problems on certain stretches of the river, it may be necessary to operate part of the itinerary by motor coach or to alter the daily program as determined by the ship’s Captain.

Are audio sets provided during the tours?
During shore excursions, we provide a sophisticated audio headset system that allows guests to comfortably listen to their tour guide while taking photos or admiring some of Europe’s hidden gems.

Is there a beauty salon on board?
Various beauty and hair treatments as well as massages are available on board. Please inquire at the reception desk for a list of services and to schedule an appointment.

Is there a gift shop on board?
The ship has an onboard gift shop that sells accessories, souvenirs, gifts, and a limited selection of personal and toiletry items. Opening hours vary according to itinerary.

Is there a pool on board?
All ships are equipped with a whirlpool or heated swimming pool, perfect for a refreshing dip. Saunas are available on select ships. There is no attendant on duty and use of these facilities is at the sole risk of the user. AMAWATERWAYS and its affiliates are not responsible for any injuries sustained during the use of the whirlpool, pool or sauna.
Please note there is no attendant on duty and use of these facilities is solely at your own risk.

What is the minimum age to travel with AmaWaterways?
All guests under the age of 18 are to be in a cabin with an adult, and must remain supervised at all times, and their safety is the responsibility of the accompanying adult(s). Children between the ages of 4 – 10 at the time of embarkation may share a cabin with 2 adults provided the child is able to share the bed with the adults – no additional bed will be provided. Please be aware that balcony cabins of any kind may be unsafe for small children if left unsupervised. Children 4-7 years old are not recommended on any program and on our Africa program, due to safety precautions, there is a minimum age limit of 12 years old, unless otherwise agreed upon by AmaWaterways. AmaWaterways does not provide child-specific programs or child-minding facilities. Please let us know if you need anything else.