A Stellar River Cruise Experience Aboard the AMAWaterways Stella

The following post is written by Irene from the Boscov’s Travel Group Department. Irene and her husband Nabil just returned from an AmaWaterways European river cruise.

I just got back from a trip of a lifetime. My husband and I traveled to the Netherlands for our first ever river cruise. We enjoyed 7-days onboard AmaWaterways’ AmaStella sailing from Amsterdam down the Rhine to Basel, Switzerland. Every inch of this trip was truly perfect.

Day 1

The first day of our trip was in Amsterdam. Since AmaWaterways offers a variety of included excursions to choose from at each destination, we were able to take a guided canal cruise with commentary about the history of Amsterdam passing locks, churches, house boats, the Jewish quarter, a ton of bikes and the Anne Frank house!

The AmaWaterways AmaStella
Amsterdam

Day 2

Today we arrived into Cologne, Germany. It rained all morning along the way, but as soon as we arrived, the skies turned blue and beautiful for us! We enjoyed an included walking tour through the heart of the city underneath the famous Love Bridge with all of the locks, to St. Martin church and to the Cologne Cathedral… followed by a visit to Gaffel am Dom where we enjoyed tasting the typical Kolsch beer and reibekuken (potato cakes) with apple sauce.

A sign in Cologne, Germany

Day 3

The third day is Castle Day! Our morning was an unforgettable experience sailing to Rudesheim. We started off with a scenic cruise through the most famous stretch of the Rhine river. We saw about 30 castles or castle ruins in this short stretch of the river valley—more than anywhere else in the world! The AmaStella crew came up to the top deck where we were bundled up with blankets to serve us Rudesheimer coffee! We concluded the day with an AmaWaterways included winery and wine tasting tour!

A part of the Rhine River
One of the many castles we saw!

Day 4

We’ve arrived into Rudesheim! The prettiest storybook/fairytale city we’ve ever seen. Our captain greeted us as we exited our ship wishing us a great day! We enjoyed an included winery tour at the Adolf Storzel Vineyard and Wine Cellar for a wine tasting….a family owned winery since 1647! Then, time for exploring and shopping. Mode of transportation today was unique and by train… another fun day!

Wine Cellar

Day 5

The AmaStella crew celebrated Frühschoppen in the lounge. What fun! This is the breakfast of Champions in Germany 🇩🇪. In the afternoon, we chose an included tour to Speyer while some others went to Heidelberg to visit the castle. Speyer is one of Germany’s oldest towns, founded by the Romans. We visited the Speyer Cathedral – consecrated in 1061 and is the largest Romanesque church to this day. We then strolled through the quaint streets preparing for the Christmas Markets! They really transform the city streets into a winter wonderland!

Christmas Market

Day 6

We woke up this morning in the beautiful town of Strasbourg, one of Europe’s most attractive cities. Thanks to the richness and sheer density of its heritage sites, the entire town center has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Strasbourg is definitely well worth a visit to discover its history, cuisine and unique Alsatian atmosphere! And to make it EXTRA special, Zohdi, my brother in law and Dolly, his wife came to see us and we spent a wonderful day together in the most beautiful and fairytale place!

A store with hanging teddy bears
St. Paul Church in Strasbourg France
Strasbourg Cathedral
Macarons

Day 7

Our last day of river cruising brought us to Breisach, Germany, a city located only a few minutes drive to the French border! Our included tour today was to the charming village of Riquewihr in France. This village escaped damage during WWII so many houses we saw date back to the 16th and 17th centuries. This beautiful French village inspired Belle’s hometown in Beauty and the Beast! You can imagine I was singing the soundtrack as I was walking through the streets. 😜Even on a cloudy day, Riquewihr was truly magical!!

Riquewihr France
Riquewihr France

I loved the entire trip – from the ship and staff to the people of the picturesque villages we visited, everything exceeded our expectations. Thanks for letting me share my experiences aboard AmaStella and we’d love to hear from you! Let me or any of our Travel Specialists know if you’re ready to see Europe from a whole new perspective.

 

Visit Boscov’s Travel located within select Boscov’s including Pennsylvania (Camp Hill, Colonial Park/Harrisburg, Easton, Lancaster, Lebanon, Neshaminy/Bensalem, Wyomissing, Reading, Pottstown, Pottsville, Scranton, Selinsgrove, Wilkes-Barre), New York (Binghamton), New Jersey (Atlantic City and Moorestown), Delaware (Wilmington), and Maryland (Salisbury). View our locations here. If you live a little further away, book over the phone by calling us at 800-755-8020. Learn more at boscovstravel.com

Travel Cheaper by Knowing When to Book: How to Get the Best Prices on Your Vacation


_0024_Melissa-Wentzel-SeamanThe following post features advice from Melissa at Boscov’s Travel within Boscov’s at Reading Mall. Melissa has been giving expert travel advice for the past 9 years with Boscov’s Travel and has almost three decades of experience in the industry (she was previously a flight attendant). She has the scoop on the best time to buy air tickets, when to book a cruise and how you can make the most of a European vacation. 

When should I book my honeymoon?
Sandals-Whitehouse-European-beach-coupleHoneymoons should be planned 6 to 9 months in advance of your wedding date. We offer a honeymoon registry which allows your guests to contribute to your honeymoon. Because vacations typically need to be paid in full at least 45-days in advance, we recommend that you plan your honeymoon early, then distribute the complimentary “Registered with” announcement cards with your engagement party and/or bridal shower.

How far in advance should I plan my destination wedding? 
Sunscapes-WeddingYou should plan at least a year in advance to secure the space you want, determine the officiant, decide if it will be a symbolic ceremony or nuptial service, and give friends and family ample time to book their trip. Some resorts allow you to book a few years in advance, so the sooner you choose the resort, the better. If air schedules have not yet been released, you can book your resort now and purchase flights at a later date. Luckily we have Honeymoon & Destination Wedding Specialists to help you to navigate every last detail.

How far in advance can I book a European vacation?

Prices for flights to Europe have been historically low in 2017. Summer is the peak for visiting Europe, so you can typically save a few dollars by booking in the late spring or early fall. Typically we recommend you book 9-months out from your departure date.

How far in advance should I book a river cruise?
Rhine_Cologne_Sunset_Twilight_014Because inventory is lower than other categories due to the small sizes of the ships that need to navigate the canals and rivers of Europe and beyond, we recommend that you book a year in advance to get the cabin and dates that you want.

How far in advance is airfare available to purchase? 
The major airlines typically release pricing 330 days in advance, but the prices are incredibly volatile. If you’re not booking for a flight near a major holiday, we recommend that you book 6 to 9-months out from your departure date. Flight prices are relatively high when they are released, then drop around the 6 to 9-month range.
If you’re planning on traveling around a holiday, expect to pay 2 to 4 times the normal rate. Demand is high during these periods as students and families typically travel during national holidays. In this case, book your trip as soon as you can.

Southwest Airlines is the exception. They release their rates in increments. Right now in April 2017, they have dates available to book 7-months out, or the beginning of November.

How early can I plan a Walt Disney World vacation?
Disney-Mine-TrainTravelers typically book Walt Disney World 6 to 9-months in advance. As of the beginning of April 2017, rates for tickets and resorts at Walt Disney World for 2018 were not yet available. There are a few options for booking Walt Disney World vacations with with us due to our Boscov’s Travel Exclusive Charter to Walt Disney World package.  If you are just booking a Walt Disney Travel Company land package (meaning tickets and resorts), you can book in the 6 to 9-month time frame then call us to see if you can take advantage of a future sale or offer through Walt Disney Travel Company.

How early should I look into booking an all-inclusive resort?
Beaches-Turks-&-Caicos-poolWe recommend booking an all-inclusive resort 6 to 9-months from your departure date. It’s also the ideal time to book air, so we can help you purchase it as a package with transfers from the airport to the resort.

How far in advance should I book an ocean cruise like Royal Caribbean International, Norwegian Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, or MSC Cruises? 

Booking opportunities typically become available more than a year in advance. The average lead time is 6 to 9-months for booking a cruise. You may be able to get a good last minute deal if you’re flexible with the accommodations, though you may diminish the difference if you need airfare as rates typically increase for last minute bookings. If you’re driving to a local port like Manhattan, Bayonne, NJ or Baltimore, MD, a last minute booking may help you save a few bucks. Luckily, the cruise industry has changed dramatically over the past few years and almost every cruise line offers exceptional values throughout the year.

When should I plan a Disney Cruise Line cruise?
Disney-Cruise-Line-ShipDisney Cruise Line cruises are a different animal as spaces fill up relatively quickly since there are only four ships (to give you a point of reference, Royal Caribbean International has 25!) in the fleet. Since the ships sell out in advance, we recommend you book at least a year in advance. As space sells, the prices increase. As of April 2017, the 2018 schedule is available and several 2019 itineraries can also be booked.

If you’re ready to start planning your getaway, email travelrequest@boscovs.com, call 800-755-8020 or direct message us.

Visit Boscov’s Travel located within select Boscov’s including Pennsylvania (Camp Hill, Colonial Park/Harrisburg, Easton, Lancaster, Lebanon, Neshaminy/Bensalem, Wyomissing, Reading, Pottstown, Pottsville, Scranton, Selinsgrove, Wilkes-Barre), New York (Binghamton), New Jersey (Atlantic City and Moorestown), Delaware (Wilmington), and Maryland (Salisbury).  View our locations here. If you live a little further away, book over the phone by calling us at 800-755-8020. Learn more at boscovstravel.com.