Always something new to uncover no matter how many times you return
By Mary Futris, 7-time traveler, Huntington Beach, California
After my husband Bill and I returned from our Romance of the Rhine & Mosel River Cruise, I remained on the trip mentally for several months afterwards. We’d been asked to take this River Cruise two years prior with some friends, but since we’d already made plans to travel to Europe that summer, my husband said he didn’t want to go back again in the same year. When our friends returned and raved about the trip, I decided we needed to do it for ourselves. Am I glad we did it? Absolutely. It was probably one of the best vacations we’ve ever taken—and this was mainly because of our three Program Directors, the ship’s crew, and many of our fellow travelers.
We began our trip in Antwerp. Although Bill and I had been there a number of times, it was lovely to see some of the familiar sights again. Since we come from a larger city, Bill and I preferred touring the quaint and charming towns of Willemstad, Cochem (views from the Reichsburg Castle were breathtaking with great photo opportunities), Bernkastel, Traben-Trarbach, and Riquewihr. In both the Mosel and Alsace regions, the vineyards were absolutely lovely. It is impossible to explain the beauty of it all.
One of Mary and Bill’s favorite memories was their tour of Antwerp, Belgium. “We hadn’t been to Antwerp in ten years, and it was exciting to see some of the places we’d visited before—like this castle by the Scheldt River. I knew exactly how to get to the Stadhuis and the Grote Markt once we saw it!” said Mary.
As a musician—and having played and sung Beethoven pieces over the years—it was marvelous to see the city where Beethoven was born and raised, as well as the home where he lived.
We decided to take almost all of the optional tours offered—but my favorite was our full-day tour of Luxembourg. During our bus ride to the city, our Program Director, Nico F., kept us entertained with many stories about the area. It was a moving experience to see the American Cemetery in Luxembourg, and to hear about the history of the war. We also visited the German Cemetery, where we saw all of the young people (some as young as 15 and 16!) who died and were buried there. What sacrifices our young men and women in the armed forces have made throughout the years for our country and others.
Mary and Bill in Luxembourg. “This was the one place I had wanted to visit, and probably the main reason Bill and I took this River Cruise,” said Mary.
Marksburg Castle & Brewery was an amazing optional tour, but be sure to have good walking shoes, as there are many rocky and slippery steps! We really enjoyed the visit to the brewery after our castle tour, where bratwurst, beer, and pretzels were served. Prior to returning to our ship, we took a walking tour of Boppard. This is a lovely town with a beautiful promenade jaunt to the ship. Thankfully, the weather was gorgeous that day, and once we sailed from Boppard, we could sit on the Sun Deck and watch the many magnificent castles along the Rhine pass by.
Our Home-Hosted Kaffeeklatsch in Speyer was a joy. Our hosts were a young couple who went above and beyond for us. We were made to feel as if we had known them for years. They were just delightful, and what a great program to include on the trip.
One of the highlights of Mary’s trip was her Home-Hosted Kaffeeklatsch. Mary and Bill are pictured here with a few fellow group members, Program Director Nico Favoreel, and hosts, Dieter and Sylvia, with Sylvia’s twin sister, Marian.
I could go on and on about our ship, the M/S River Melody. Such a lovely ship with an amazing captain—Captain Ralf Remus! We have never had such a visible, friendly, and caring captain on any of our other River Cruises. Our Hotel Manager, Dragan Vuckovic, was an amazingly charming man who always had a smile on his face, and who somehow remembered our names from the very first day. Our Program Director, Nico F., was such an upbeat young man, with a marvelous sense of humor. We can honestly say that he was the best Program Director we’ve had to date. And we can’t forget our other two Program Directors—Alex B. and Rebecca (Becky) R.. We found out that the three had never all worked together at one time. So, when the three of them presented a skit one night, we assumed they had rehearsed. Unbeknownst to us, they hadn’t, but their skit was still incredibly funny—as if they had rehearsed it. We were amazed!
Eight group members enjoy a reunion after returning from their Romance of the Rhine & Mosel River Cruise. From left: Bill and Mary Futris from Huntington Beach, California; Beverly Drapeau, William Ashby, Barbara Paarmann, Lee Esposito, Eric Smith, and Athena Lou from Ventura, California.
Upon returning from our trip, eight members from our Romance of the Rhine & Mosel River Cruise group met for a reunion. The party was held at the Ventura, California home of Athena Lou and Eric Smith. It gave us a chance to reminisce about some of the wonderful memories from our River Cruise.
Explore the castle-studded coastlines on our Romance of the Rhine & Mosel River Cruise.