Just a thought... I'm an eternal optimist. No matter how rough it gets, there's always light somewhere. The rest of the sky may be cloudy, but that little bit of blue draws me on. [Paul McCartney]
Happy 77th birthday to Sir Paul McCartney. This is one of my all-time favourite moments and memories, captured by someone who recognized Rob and me at the concert Sir Paul put on in Toronto almost a decade ago. On the left, Rob. On the right, Paul. The song: "Hey Jude." Rob would like the caption to read: "The World's Two Best Bass Players, Together!" Um, okay.
I have a few more recent memories to cherish and share with you today. As you know, last April, Mike Cooper and I were thrilled to host a group out of Toronto on board AmaWaterways' Tulip Time river cruise. This evening (7 pm EDT) we'll be taking part in a webinar to talk about the next big adventure: from Basel, Switzerland (right on the border of France, Germany and Switzerland) to Amsterdam. What makes this trip even more exciting is that we've set our sights on filling the entire boat with our group!
The last cruise, we made up about 1/3 of the passengers. This time, we'll take it over, have more than one Coop's Classics dance and do some more stuff together when we're not sightseeing.
So far there has been a really terrific response, so we're trying to get the cabins all booked with our group before Ama's deadline and they open it up to other folks. If you're even thinking about it, listen in this evening. Tell friends or family that you want to travel with, and have them join in tonight, too. You need to register ahead of time for this webinar, and you can do that here.
So, even if you're not interested, I thought I'd tell you a little bit about river cruising. Many people are familiar with the concept but know more about ocean cruising and ships, as opposed to these long, lean river boats.
The biggest difference for us (we already liked smaller ships like Oceania has, rather than the giant liners) was that every expense was covered. Every excursion - which can add up to thousands extra when you're on an ocean cruise - is included. All you do is sign up and then, if you find yourself wanting to sleep in or skip a rainy day, you simply cancel. I love that freedom!
I also loved having a wellness instructor and bicycle tours available at each stop. What a wonderful way to see the countryside and ride across the cobblestones! It was a great added element to our trip. And again, no cost.
Booze is usually a huge cost when people sail; a bottle of wine with dinner and a beer or cocktail beforehand can certainly add up, and most cruise lines are super diligent about bringing your own bevvies on board. We found Ama to have handled this beautifully for our guests: a daily cocktail special that was free during happy hour, plus beer and wine (including non-alcoholic wine for yours truly) at dinner were complimentary. Another huge savings.
Finally - and there are so many pluses to river cruising that I could go on forever, but I won't - the staff on our boat was amazing. We were thrilled to hear that our host, Nick (seen here second from the right), has agreed to join us for the October 2020 Canadian Thanksgiving trip.
Oh, and that gent in the white? He's the captain. Youngest on Ama (and probably anywhere) at 28. He was raised the son of a captain and learned it as a child. The woman in the middle is the hotel manager.
Again, if you're at all curious, do tune in for the webinar tonight. There's absolutely no obligation and you'll love Gerry Koolhof, our New Wave Travel host. Our fellow travellers just raved about him before, during and after April's adventures. It's going to be a great time - I hope you'll be able to consider joining us tonight and in October 2020!
Tomorrow: me making teeny tiny hors d'oeuvres again. This time using tweezers!
(@erindavis on Twitter)