Castles Along the Rhine
Castles Along the Rhine
The name of the trip speaks for itself – who wouldn’t want to see Castles Along the Rhine? The 2019 AAA Western and Central New York Member Appreciation Trip along the Rhine River will surely live up to its name.
Imagine setting sail in Switzerland and heading north along the Rhine River with France on one side and Germany on the other. The trip culminates in Amsterdam. Along the way, you’ll get to experience towns, villages, castles, tours and more.
“River cruising is an excellent way to experience Europe - you unpack once and you are docked right in the heart of the towns and villages,” said Brian Murray, director of travel at AAA WCNY. “You take in the sights and meet the local people - it’s absolutely spectacular.”
“The castles are just amazing,” said Michelle Putnam, general manager of group travel at AAA WCNY. “One day on board, we’ll go through an area where there are over 100 castles in a 12-mile span, and you get to hear the stories as you cruise, and then we’ll get to go on a tour through a castle. The history is just amazing.”
Putnam, who took the cruise in April of this year, is working to make sure every detail is taken care for the 2019 trip, which is scheduled for May 12-19.
“The trip is all-inclusive – it includes all of your meals on board, including welcome and farewell galas, excursions, unlimited beverages, including alcohol, and all of your gratuities,” Putnam explained. “The only thing you’ll need a wallet for is to buy souvenirs or items in the local towns on your tours.”
European river cruise ships are smaller in size and feature multiple lounges and open spaces. This particular ship, Uniworld’s S.S. Antoinette, holds about 150 travelers and is chartered by AAA WCNY, for the weeklong trip in May, so many of the passengers will be from the Buffalo, Rochester or Syracuse areas, allowing new friendships to be made very easily.
“It’s hosted by our president Tony Spada and his wife, Nancy,” said Putnam. “When you charter a ship you can customize things so travelers will have special experiences along the way. For instance, a wine academy session is planned with a wine expert from a 300-year-old European village who will teach everyone how to properly taste wine – and you’ll get a wine academy certification. We’re also doing an exclusive cooking demonstration with a local chef. We’re going to have a special party one day. There are a lot of fun opportunities that you wouldn’t get on a typical trip.”
Excursions into the towns range from walking tours or hikes to bike rides and history lessons, complete with Uniworld’s audio system that allows travelers to easily hear and understand tour guides. Various accommodations are available on the ship, and suites even come with butler service by butlers who are trained right along with Queen Elizabeth’s butlers. Pre- and post-stays are also available, and every step of the trip will be perfectly planned.
With all this to offer, it’s no surprise that interest in the trip has been very strong.
“It’s already getting pretty full, so for those who are thinking about it, now is the time to book,” Putnam said. “The ship is selling out.”
For more information on Castles Along the Rhine, simply call 1-855-862-6651 to speak with a AAA travel consultant.
AAA's Talking Travel discussed the Member Appreciation Trip on a recent episode - listen here! AAA Talking Travel airs on WECK Buffalo Saturday mornings at 8:30 a.m. and Sunday mornings at 6:30 a.m. Tune in at www.WECKBuffalo.com!