The start of CAROLINE HURRY’s cruise up the Danube
Oceans take you to countries. Rivers take you through them. Watching ever-changing landscapes from the comfort of an over-sized sofa on the AmaCerto’s sun deck as the Danube swoons through medieval towns floats my boat. Totally. It’s what a holiday should be. No mess, no stress …
River of Melody is what the German Poet JC Hölderlin called the mighty Danube that passes from west to east through nine countries before merging into the Black Sea – show-stopping scenery guaranteed. In his book, Danube, Claudio Magris writes: “The river is an old Taoist master, and along its bank it gives lessons on the great Wheel and the gaps between its spokes.”
Cue reflections on how the river defies time. Uniting past, present, and future in its currents, it begins at Source and returns to Source, symbolising the great flow of life itself. But enough of the philosophy that Europe’s mighty AMAzon tends to inspire, let’s take a look at the AMAzing AMAcerto.
Making waves as the youngest, sexiest ship in the Amawaterways fleet of 15, she has the capacity for 164 passengers and features a Fitness Centre, Massage, Hair and Beauty salon; free internet access (thank you!) and first-run Hollywood movies; plus a fleet of bicycles that you can use to explore the various ports.
The main restaurant is vibrant and warm and if you’re after something super sophisticated, the chef prepares a four-course menu nightly in the reservations-only, 28-seater Erlebnis restaurant with its floor-to-ceiling glass windows. Décor might be described as eclectic chic meets sophisticated casino flair with shimmering surfaces.
Lights encircle the glass elevator in the lobby and even the wallpaper has an iridescent sheen. In the lounge a swirly carpet showcases light beige leather sofas with soft pink floral cushions and vibrant accents. A pool with a swim-up bar shares the sundeck with over-sized outdoor sofas that might have come straight from an Ibiza beach resort.
The splendid glass elevator ferries guests between floors and many of the spacious staterooms offer twin balconies – a far cry indeed from the narrow steamboats of the 1830s when tourists first started traversing the Danube. River-ship cabins were cramped and balconies were uncommon since the vessels had to be narrow enough to fit through locks and low enough to pass under old-world bridges.
During the cold war the Danube served as an aquatic roadblock requiring so many visas, special permissions, and bureaucratic ballast – not to mention dodging bullets from border guards – that tourists gave it a wide berth.
Some staterooms have butlers to buff your pumps, press your dress, fluff up your pillows, deliver cocktails or whatever else you might desire. Chilling out in such serene comfort is a bonus for anyone who’s had to cope with a different hotel room every night. So looking forward to nesting with my husband in our comfy cabin drifting off to new surroundings every day.