Past guest Carl Stumpe traveled with his wife and adult children on an Iconic Christmas Markets cruise with AmaWaterways. We interviewed Carl and his daughter Anne about their family travel experience below.

What made you decide to take a Christmas Markets river cruise with your family?

Carl: I’m of German descent and wanted to visit my ancestral homeland. My wife Mary and I met a couple in water aerobics class where I mentioned this desire and they provided information for AmaWaterways. We picked a Christmas cruise because my daughter Anne really wanted to visit the Christmas Markets. And as soon as we mentioned it to our son Michael, he was excited to go with us and see the old castles and historical sites. This was the first week-long vacation we were going to take together in a very long time.

Anne: I love hanging out with them, I love travel, and I love shopping, so it was a no-brainer.

Did you all arrive on the same flight or meet up at the ship?

Carl: Our son lives here in Huntsville, Alabama, with us, but our daughter was in Alexandria, Virginia. Our travel advisors did a good job of setting it up so that we all flew to Europe out of Washington, DC together. And there was someone waiting for us when we got off the plane to take us directly to the ship. We had an exceptional welcome from the crew on board.

What was your favorite space on board?

Carl: In the Main Lounge there were seats that faced out through the glass windows and that was where we all spent our down time. It was very comfortable and never all that crowded.

Anne: Definitely the Main Lounge or the Sun Deck – although it was often too cold to be out there for long!

Did you take all of your excursions together or split up?

Carl: In most cases we stayed together. However, we split up in some of the Christmas Markets. Also, in Vienna we went our separate ways. My wife Mary and our son were interested in going to the concert and Anne and I were more interested in roaming around town and seeing the markets. One day Michael and I felt tired, so we decided to sleep in and the girls went their own way and I liked that option!

Did your children feel like they fit in well with the general population on board?

Carl: They weren’t uncomfortable at all. Occasionally we would have other guests at our dinner table or close by and everyone was friendly. They enjoyed the cultural music performance the evening we were in Budapest and decorating the Christmas tree on board one night.

Did your AmaWaterways river cruise bring your family closer together?

Carl: We have always been a close family. However, I would say that the cruise has certainly given us more to talk and reminisce about.

Anne: Yes, it was a great adventure to have shared, and we still enjoy talking about it and looking at Dad’s photographs.

What are some of your favorite memories from the cruise?

Carl: At the Nuremberg Christmas Market, Mary and Anne split off at one point and used that opportunity to purchase a pewter Christmas wall decoration for me. It was a great surprise when I unwrapped it a couple of weeks later and used it in our Christmas cards the following year. And at the Regensburg market, we had a special moment as an organ grinder was playing music. We noticed a child watch and listen from some distance, seemingly mesmerized by the scene.

Anne: The whole thing was just amazing – one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences, really.

Did you find a balance on board of time spent together vs. apart?

Carl: Other than meals, we had a lot of options to do things together or separate based on our interests.

Would you take another AmaWaterways river cruise with your family?

Carl: I would absolutely cruise again with my family.

Anne: It would definitely be a cool thing to do.

Reserve your own Iconic Christmas Markets river cruise and learn more about our Holiday River Cruise experience!

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