We're very excited about one of our newest preferred river cruise companies--AMA Waterways. Their phenomenal itineraries in Europe, Asia and Africa all have a real "wow" factor. And among them are some gorgeous river cruises through the legendary wine regions of Europe. Whether you want to explore Germany, France, Portugal or Austria, you've got some incredible options. Check them out!
In the corner of southwestern France, the Garonne and Dordogne rivers merge together to form the Gironde Estuary that naturally divides the famous Bordeaux region into Left and Right banks. The AMA Waterways Taste of Bordeaux itinerary takes you to experience the most impressive winegrowing areas and their signature blends.
Bordeaux is the largest controlled wine region in France, made up of several subregions. Each subregion has its own strictly governed appellation, unique climate, and terroir that define it. Unlike most wines around the world, the quality of Bordeaux wine is determined by these factors rather than the grape varietal. Producers combine many grape types together to create food-loving blends. While Bordeaux is acclaimed for its legendary red blends, the small percentage of white blends from this region also make a big impression. The left and right banks of the river have different soil types that bring these exceptional blends to life.
The curvy nature of the Seine River can be disorienting when you’re in Paris. Not to worry, just remember to face downstream so you can tell the Left bank from the Right. Our Paris & Normandy cruise itinerary is about as romantic as it gets, beginning with views of the art-inspiring “City of Light” that morph into lush countryside and historic Normandy beaches. With countless vineyards close by, France’s second largest waterway allows you to sample some of the country’s most renowned wines and ciders.
The wine variety that instantly characterizes northern France comes from the Champagne region, about 90 miles east of Paris. Stemming from chalky soils and cool temperatures, these sparkling varieties produce a sweet effervescence and unparalleled quality that merit exclusive classification as the one-and-only wine known as “Champagne.”
Another specialty drink is found closer to the English Channel. Normandy’s fruit-filled orchards are picked and pressed into a rich cider brandy called Calvados. Made from over 170 apple and pear varieties, this rustic spirit is distilled twice and barrel-aged for at least two years before bottling. The result is a palate-pleasing liqueur bursting with complex apple elements and hints of cinnamon spice.
The Rhone River makes its first appearance in the Swiss Alps and then runs through the heart of France to join the Mediterranean Sea. Besides providing captivating views of medieval towns and colorful landscapes, it connects the dots between thousands of vineyards from Lyon to Avignon. Our Provence & Spain itinerary takes you through this prized wine-producing region in southeastern France, known across the globe as the Rhone Valley.
The valley traces the path of the river for almost 150 miles, hypnotizing travelers with grape-covered vines gripping to its steep sides. Since it’s so large, the climates vary greatly from north to south – as does the soil and wine quality. Thus, the Rhone is divided at the town of Valence into two worlds of wine: the Northern Rhone and the Southern Rhone.
Land near a river, and naturally protected by mountain ranges, inspired winemakers to plant vineyards along the Douro, but wild landscapes and nutrient-poor soil made this an extremely difficult task. The birthplace of port wine would simply not exist today if it hadn’t been for the centuries of determined winegrowers who laboriously carved rows of vines into the steep, dramatic terrain.
Their efforts proved worthwhile. Angled, rocky terrain just so happens to be ideal for the growth of grapes. Over the years, the magnitude of the Douro Valley wine region has grown remarkably and it is now divided into three parts. Our Enticing Douro itinerary cruises through all three sub-regions, giving you a taste of Northern Portugal’s famous ports and table wines.
Europe’s second largest river begins in Germany and touches ten countries before emptying into the Black Sea. Brilliant architectural masterpieces and vine-strung hillsides on the Danube River have inspired artistic creations for hundreds of years. The Romantic Danube and Melodies of the Danube itineraries journey through Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary so our guests can experience some of the most celebrated wines and sights in the heartland of Europe.
The Main and Mosel
Historic villages, medieval mansions, and towering hillsides wrapped in vineyards are just a few of the amazing things that overlook the river’s edge from Nuremberg to Luxembourg. Our Europe’s Rivers & Castles itinerary takes you through the Mosel, Rhine and Main rivers to discover some of Europe’s most fascinating scenery while dabbling in the remarkable wines grown in Germany.
For over one thousand years, a wide variety of tantalizing wines have been surfacing from the special soils of the Franconia region, alongside the Main River in Eastern Germany. These grapevines benefit from a continental climate with a Mediterranean influence, which is ideal for growing grapes. Both dry, fruity white wines and rare, decadent reds are made with superb quality here.
Castles from ancient empires and steep vineyards sprout up from every angle, which makes cruising on the Rhine River feel like entering a scene out of a storybook. Actually, there are more charming castles along this river than any other in the world. The Enchanting Rhine itinerary winds through the Netherlands, Germany, France, and Switzerland, diving deep into the history and wine regions of this vital waterway.
Prepare to be amazed by the white grapevines that coat the vertical surfaces of the Rhine Gorge in Germany, also known as the Upper Middle Rhine Valley. Famous for maintaining a quality focus, and grape-growing traditions dating back to Roman times, this area yields some of the country’s best wines. The quality of their distinctly elegant Rieslings and fine, subtle reds are a result of the region’s unique, slate-based soils and semi-continental climate.
If you're ready to take an exquisite luxury wine-themed river cruise in Europe, we're ready to send you there! Just drop us a line and let us know!