by, Jan Ross

And so it begins.

We grabbed our suitcases and headed for the MS AmaLegro, the AmaWaterways river cruise ship which was berthed right near our Amsterdam hotel. The day was gray, cloudy and cold (welcome to Amsterdam in the fall!) and the warm, golden lights of the long, slender river boat tucked against the dock looked very welcoming. As we got closer, we could see through the big picture windows into a very comfortable looking lounge area. Our hearts were beating fast with excitement as we neared the gangplank and uniformed members of the crew rushed out to greet us and take our luggage inside.

In the beautiful and cozy lobby, we noticed first the friendly greetings, and then the beautiful Christmas decorations which gave the whole area a festive air.

Check-in took just a minute and then we were escorted to our lovely stateroom on the violin deck, the highest deck on the boat. A queen-sized bed, desk with computer and Internet access, another comfortable chair, a very nice bathroom with a glassed-in shower, and fabulous picture windows opening onto a French balcony comprise our home for the next few days. And a lovely home it is!

We grabbed our room key and set out to learn our way around the boat – always our first task when we take a cruise. For once, I think I might actually be able to find my way around when we are on a cruise without getting lost! The MS AmaLegro is small compared to her huge ocean cruising sisters, but with the gorgeous and comfortable furnishings, the lovely design and the wonderful layout, we felt immediately at home.

We found the lounges – and they are just as comfortable as they looked through the windows! With a lovely spread of small sandwiches and desserts, along with coffee and hot tea, the forward lounge was a great place to take a little rest before we toured the rest of the boat.

Aft lounge.

The fitness center is small but just right for our needs – hopefully, those exercise clothes will not stay in our suitcases all week!

After our tour, we adjourned to our room and unpacked. There was plenty of room for all our clothes and toiletries in the closet, drawers and bathroom medicine cabinet. We pushed our suitcases under the bed and headed down to the cocktail party, where everyone on the staff was introduced, along with Archie McLaren, founder and chairman of the Central Coast Wine Classic, Carissa Chappellet, owner and managing director of the acclaimed Chappellet Vineyard and Winery in Napa (and an avid cyclist who will be leading bike excursions along the Rhine and Mosel) and Rudi Schreiner, President of AmaWaterways. Jim Clendenen, owner of the internationally-acclaimed Au Bon Climat winery, Food & Wine Magazine “Winemaker of the Year” and Wein Gourmet (Germany’s leading wine magazine) “Winemaker of the World” will be joining the cruise in a few days.

So, we will be with some illustrious company, all of whom love wine and are very knowledgeable about it; completely unlike the two of us. Who know NOTHING about wine. But I have to say, the pink champagne they served at the cocktail party was excellent!

After the cocktail party, we went to the lovely dining room and were served a completely fabulous meal. It wasn’t until after we had consumed every single, delicious bite that we realized we had forgotten to take pictures. Sorry! But it was very, very good. You’ll just have to take our word for it.

Picture this room full of people and delicious food.

Tomorrow we head out on a tour of Amsterdam. Some of it may be things we have already seen on our own, but we are fine with it. I’m sure we will see lots of new sights as well. And they have promised us time to shop, which I have not actually done yet. So. A day to look forward to!

Now we are going to turn in the for night in our lovely and comfy stateroom.

And look forward to more adventures tomorrow.

Wait. Did I forget to tell you about the fabulous tote bag we had waiting for us in our stateroom?

Total SCORE.

When you are ready to travel to Amsterdam The Travel Authority is ready to help you plan that trip. You can call 1-877-AXP-1515 for information and details about these cruises. Be sure to print out this post or mention the code BLAMA to get the best deal on your trip. I would love to hear your suggestions for future blog posts. You can comment below or contact me by email at Thanks for reading – I truly appreciate it!

Safe travel!

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