We just returned from one of the best vacations we’ve ever had! We went on an 8 day European adventure, through the Rhine River with U River Cruises. The most important thing you need to know is that this is NOT a massive cruise liner. This is essentially a floating boutique hotel. Where you can easily make friends and the staff learns who you are. I’m sure you’ve heard of a European cruise, and I bet you think it’s just for old folks. Honestly, most other brands are 🙂 But U River Cruises is breaking the mold. It’s not merely a river cruise with them. It’s a full on, activity packed, culturally immersive, social and active travel experience. Our itinerary: Rolling on the Rhine Amsterdam: We left Atlanta at 8pm and landed in Amsterdam at 11am. With 3-4 hours of sleep and a 6 hour time change that first day was ROUGH. We checked into the ship around 1pm and passed out – even though our intention was to go out and explore. TIP: Arrive the day before so you have time to adjust to the jet lag Thankfully we were in Amsterdam the next day and took part in 2 excursions: Canals and Cafes & Amsterdam Old and New (would recommend both) TIP: Sign up for all excursions you know you want to do as soon as you get on the ship
We choose to go the Keukenhof Tulip Gardens – because the tulips are world renowned and only in bloom 2 months out of the year. BUT… this is an all day excursion so you will not get to see the town of Haarlem at all. The gardens are packed with thousands of people and I do not like being around that many people so I would not do that again. I learned afterward that you can rent a bike outside the main gardens and ride over to the natural fields – I wish I would have known that trick!
We always joined the U Host walks because its a great way to learn where to go in the town so you can explore by yourself without getting completely lost 🙂
My favorite place was Cologne because they have an AMAZING cathedral and an adorable, quaint city. I highly recommend the U Host walk at night.
Bonn and Koblenz
We hopped off the ship here and did a 14 mile bike ride to meet the ship at the next town! We had so many laughs from this excursion and got to stop at a local spot for a beer halfway through 🙂
The wine and cheese excursion was awesome because we got to meet a local wine shop owner who has a pretty interesting story! After we finished drinking too much local wine, we headed into town and stopped for a coffee. YOU MUST DO THIS HERE. We had no idea what we got ourselves into but it was quite the coffee experience! (I have a video saved in the Europe highlight section on my instagram)
We were only here for 1 day – which was good because we saw everything we wanted to in the U Host walk and still had time to walk around ourselves.
Q: How was the food?
A: AMAZING. Locally sourced and homemade – even the ice cream was made from scratch. It was all so good.
Q: Did you buy a drink package?
A: No because I’m not a big drinker so it would not have been worth it for me. I will have max 2 drinks a night. Drinks on the ship ranged from 5-9 euros.
Q: What did you do about transfers to and from the airport?
A: Arrival transfer – we booked a private transfer through U River Cruises but I didn’t get a contact # incase we couldn’t find them. Our gate was changed so they were in another terminal and I had no way of contacting them when we couldn’t find each other. So get a contact phone number 🙂 Departing transfer: We had the boat arrange a taxi for us and we split the fare with friends we made on the trip. Easy and much cheaper than a private transfer!
Must Pack: Chapstick and a water bottle
Not Needed: Heels
- Book excursions you know you want to take as soon as you get on the boat
- Arrive to orientation early and make friends
- Bring a backpack and water bottle for your excursions
- Bring euros with you. Some places do not take cards and if you eat with a group they do not split up the check
If you have questions, let me know! I’m happy to answer them 🙂
Xo, Celine Kaye