Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Industry Legend, Patricia Riley, Guest Blogs for Goldring Travel - Paris and Portugal on AmaWaterways' AmaVida

I am both thrilled and humbled to have my mentor, Patricia Riley, guest blogging for Goldring Travel.  



Pat Riley is truly and industry legend and, although just retired from AmaWaterways, will forever be known for her time as the Regional Sales Manager for The Yachts of Seabourn.  Pat taught me "everything Seabourn", how to "sell" luxury cruises, how to properly treat luxury cruise clients, how to advance within the cruise industry and much more.  She even got me interested in river cruising!

Over the past decade, since I heard Pat  speak about Seabourn at a Cunard function (back when Seabourn and Cunard were somewhat interrelated)...and she actually called me when I gave her my business card...we have become great friends.  But we have very different ways of looking at travel and what gets us excited about it.  Pat, for example, loves public transportation and theatre but isn't quite as impressed with some of the cuisine and wine I enjoy.  Pat and nature?  Not so much.  Taking the subway or taking in a show aren't high on my list of fun things to do, which Pat can't understand. But the contrasts in perspectives is great and we both hope will be of interest to you.

So with that introduction, Patricia "Pat" Riley begins her first - of several scheduled - article. Enjoy!

I am so thrilled that my friend and former client, Eric Goldring has given me this opportunity to blog about my adventures.  This is my first blog in what will hopefully be many.  My adventure this time started with a 4 night stay in Paris at the Marriott Rive Gauche.  As so many of Eric's readers have been to Paris I will be doing some posts about what to do when you pay a  3rd 4th or more visit to Paris. 

I am a firm believer in the saying that the my British friends have which is "Keep Calm and Carry On".  That is nowhere more appropriately followed then when traveling. 

I am currently on the beautiful AmaVida, docked in Porto, Portugal.  Getting here certainly wasn't half the fun.  More on that later.  Now I am going to concentrate on my home for the next 7 nights.



The AmaVida is small, even by riverboat standards.  That is not necessarily a bad thing.  The boat should fit the river and the Douro River is small by European standards.  Also, the ports visited are not the big cities or even large towns that are visited on most other river cruises.  For example, its not unusual to see 8 or more ships docked behind each other in Budapest.  That's not a problem as there are plenty of docking spaces and Budapest is a big city.  To have that type of presence in the Douro Valley would be a disservice to the villages and towns that are visited.  It would be overwhelming.  With that in mind, a small ship such as the AmaVida, with only 106 guests is a perfect size.  A brand new ship, launched at the end of March 2013, what she lacks in size she more than makes up for in the cabins and in the amenities.

Check-in was incredibly easy.  I arrived at the pier at 4:00 pm and was in my room at 4:05 and that included my asking questions!   Reception took my passport and traded it for my room key.  They didn't even need a credit card imprint.  Its an all Portuguese staff and their English is perfect.

I'm on the top passenger deck, but as the ship is very easy to get around it really doesn't matter where you are.  You are no more than a slight stroll down a hallway to get to the center of the ship and the open deck.

I am now sitting in the lovely and very homey lounge making good use of the free WiFi.  I have been advised that I may not be able to post daily due to problems with reception.  We will be cruising past some very steep mountain which block the signal.  If you don't hear from me for a few days, don't worry, I'm probably just sipping some local wine, while waiting for the signal to return.  Not a bad way to while away the hours.

The ship's staterooms are decorated with browns, golds, oranges and are very elegant and modern at the same time.  I am very impressed that a bathroom on a river boat, which are known for being small, has a separate toilet area which actually makes the bathroom larger then the one I have at home!  The bed can be pushed together or separated.

AmaVida's Stateroom 215
AmaVida's Stateroom 215- View from Balcony

and there is a large flat screen TV hanging on the wall.  (Lots of choices for entertainment but I don't think Ill have time for TV or movie viewing.  If Porto is any indication, there will be too much beautiful scenery to see!)


I also plan on spending a lot of time on my balcony, which has two chairs and a table.  I can imagine me sipping a glass of local wine (did I say that again!) reading a book and watching the world go by.  Not too much time should be spent there though.  As I always tell people, unlike ocean cruising where you see water on both sides, you can have a great view from your balcony but what are you missing on the other side. 

I already spied a place to sit on the sun deck.  The sun deck is fitted out with heavy deck furniture and big, thick, cushions.  There is an area that is completely covered and judging by the crystal blue sky here I am going to need the shade.  Its not a long walk to the swimming pool though if I need to cool off.  

There is also Al Fresco dining.  I intend to partake in that and report back.  Dinner tonight is at 7:00 pm and immediately follows our "Welcome Aboard Cocktail Party"  which follows our Safety Drill.  Our cruise manager, Cristina, will give everybody the low down on what we are about to experience for the next seven days.  So, please excuse me while I freshen up for the Welcome Aboard.

I'm looking forward to this adventure and will hopefully have lots of pictures.

Of course, if you are interested in information on the AmaWaterways AmaVida please give me a call at (877) 2GO-LUXURY or email me at eric@goldringtravel.com.