All About the Food on an AmaWaterways Cruise

We recently had the amazing opportunity to go on the AmaWaterways Tulip Time cruise through the Netherlands and Belgium, on the AmaDante ship. Here is an 8-day documentation of most of our meals and menus. NOTE: We were on a special cruise so on all our menu’s there is an added Kid’s Specials page, which is usually not included on an AmaWaterways cruise. Enjoy the post!

The Dining Room

The Dining Room is where all the meals are served.

 

The Lounge

The Lounge usually serves early and late riser pastries as well as light lunches.

Additional Restaurants

If you cruise on some of the newer ships (like AmaMagna) they have more restaurant choices in addition to the lounge and dining room.

Day 1: Arrival in Amsterdam

We arrived around lunch and they had a light buffet of pumpkin soups, salads, and sandwiches. They also had some amazing ‘welcome on board’ desserts, including cactus cupcakes and a beautiful array of small cakes.

Dinner: On the first night we had quite the feast that we weren’t expecting. It turned out to be five course meal! One thing, I liked though was how small portions were so you weren’t too full for the next. There was also a special wine menu each night, for the adults.

Poultry Consomme

Cream of Cauliflower Soup

Mountain Peach Palate Cleanser

Herb Crusted North Sea Monkfish

Roberta’s Oreo Cheese Cake

Day 2: Amsterdam

Breakfast: Every morning they have a wide variety of pastries, yogurts, granolas, sausage, eggs, and breads for breakfast in addition to one speciality of the region such as banana pancakes. There is also a menu of hot entrees to choose from.

Breakfast

Pastries

Poached Eggs

Lunch: Every day they had a sort of ice cream buffet at lunch, as one of the dessert options to choose from which I thought was pretty awesome.

Indonesian Fried Rice

Dutch Cheese Noodles

Ice Cream Buffet

Old Amsterdam Cherry Slice

Dinner:

Creamy Rice Soup

Chinese Chicken Soup

BLT Salad

Tofu

Spinach Raviolini

Apricot Dumpling

Day 3: Middelburg

Lunch:

Turnip and Orange Carpaccio and Dutch Matjes Herring Wrap

Tandoori Chicken Curry

Cream of Snow Peas

Rhine River Wave Cake

Dinner: We had a Chaine des Rotisseurs dinner, which is a premier dining club. It was a very special meal!

Soupe a L’Oignon

Pate de Provence

Filet de Fletan

Glace a la Noix et Cerises

Day 4: Bruges and Ghent

Lunch:

Gnocchi with Sage Butter and Spinach and Walnut Pesto

Short Grilled Salmon Steak

Dinner: This was an exciting meal because the main chef on our ship made a Strawberry Buffet for dessert. The dining room was decked in everything strawberry. Strawberry tarts, strawberry bouquets, cakes, jello, meringues, and candies. It was amazing!

Forestberry Yogurt Shake

Iceberg Lettuce Wedge

Chili Glazed Duck Breast

Strawberry Cake

Day 5: Antwerp and Brussels

Lunch: We spent some time exploring Antwerp before we left for Brussels, so we only had a small lunch in the lounge which was still serving some of the food from downstairs.

Glass Noodle Salad, Spaghetti and Farfalle, and a Pear Crumble Muffin with Chocolate Cream

Dinner: 

Mixed Garden Green Salad

Rhubarb Raspberry Smoothie

Lemongrass Ginger Cream Soup

Grilled Victoria Perch Fillet with Saffron Gnocchi

Beef on Chicken Burger

Sweet Club Sandwich with Mango Sorbet

Passion Fruit Mousse

Day 6: Rotterdam

Lunch:

Fresh Salad

Smoked Salmon Sandwich

Dinner:

 

Cream of Porcini with Thyme Foam and a Parma Ham Cookie

Bitterballen

Eggs Benedict

Raspberry Chocolate Mousse

Day 7: Amsterdam

Lunch:

Banana Foster Shake

Cream of White Bean Soup with Salami Crumbles

Fusilly Pasta

Banana Ice Cream

Dinner: This was our last and most special dinner on the ship. Pastry Chef Roberta and all her assistants really outdid themselves with a chocolate wonderland. There were gigantic chocolate cakes, mousses, strawberries, and cupcakes. It was like heaven for a chocoholic!

Maracuja Smoothie

One of the best things about the AmaWaterways cruise is the insane dedication they put into all their food. They combined flavor combinations that I would never have even dreamed about. They also have tons of options for gluten free and vegetarians on board which we appreciated. This food was absolutely unforgettable!

~ Mara

Toronto: Food Edition

In Toronto, to have a successful restaurant, it’ll probably benefit you if you happen to serve some seriously artsy, Instagram-worthy dishes or drinks. Some of Toronto’s most famous foods include the Rainbow Latte, Mac n’ Cheese Popsicles, and Rainbow Grilled Cheese. So I’m back with a post about some of my favorite dessert and drink places in Toronto, Ontario. Enjoy!

Located in Toronto’s Kensington Market, is the adorable coffee bar and Japanese dessert restaurant, Little Pebbles. At Little Pebbles, we’ve tried the Black Sesame Latte and the Strawberry Latte. They don’t just have drinks though, they have some really artsy desserts like the Matcha Chiffon Cake and Strawberry Shortcake. All of them are on their insanely aesthetic Instagram page, linked above.

Black Sesame Latte

Little Pebble Menu

Also in Kensington Market is Hanabusa Cafe which serves artsy and delicious Japanese Soufflé Pancakes. We shared the Chocolate Pancakes, which we devoured in about ten minutes. The pancakes are surprisingly light which is very helpful, so you can still enjoy all the other delicious meals that you’ll find in Kensington.

Chocolate Soufflé Pancakes

Located in Toronto is AnswerTea which serves Japanese Bubble Tea. But it’s not just that because nothing can really be that simple in Toronto. You can have any picture you want to be placed on top of the bubble tea. In the photo below, you can see that I have a pattern on mine. In addition, they have a really cute shop that has a wall of ombre blue flowers with marble walls around it.

Japanese Bubble Tea

Uncle Tetsu’s Japanese Cheesecake is kind of legendary in Toronto. They have locations at Yorkdale Shopping Center, two in Downtown Toronto, and one at Union Station. People have been known to stand in lines for a long time to get one of these $10 cheesecakes. Let me tell you though, they’re totally worth it. It’s not just a normal cheesecake though, because similar to the soufflé pancakes they are very light and fluffy.

Uncle Tetsu Cheesecake

iHalo Krunch. This is definitely one of the most memorable places to get dessert in Toronto and an awesome place to brag about to your fellow travel buddies. If you visit here you can say that you’ve eaten charcoal ice cream. I know what you’re thinking- gross. Even I was unsure at first with their flavors like sweet purple yam, matcha, and coconut. But it was amazing and you barely taste any charcoal. Just make sure to eat it fast before it melts!

Strawberry and Vanilla (for Canada Day) and Matcha, Coconut, and Sweet Purple Yam

Basic Menu Combinations

Roselle’s is a one of a kind French bakery located in Corktown, a neighborhood in Toronto. They have simple, cute French desserts like small layer cakes, eclairs, and tarts. They also have some unique flavors like Earl Grey, Black Sesame, and Pistachio Honey.

Opera Cake

One of my favorite places in Toronto is Assembly Chef Hall. They have a ton of amazing restaurants that you can get takeaway from or you can just sit down for a quality but quick meal. It’s perfect if your in Downtown Toronto and you want something quick but delicious. They have gnocchi, Japanese, Mexican, and just about everything else you can think of. My favorite place there is Bulldog Coffee though. They’re one of many places that sell Toronto’s trademark Rainbow Latte. They’re beautiful!

Rainbow Latte

Thanks for reading, and I hope you get a chance to test out some of these places!

~ Mara

Keukenhof Gardens and Amsterdam

Hi! I’m back with the final post of my Amsterdam trip from this Spring (just a bit delayed posting.)You can view the other posts from this trip under the Europe Travel tab under “categories” on the right of you screen. Enjoy this final post!

Overnight we had sailed from Rotterdam back to Amsterdam. Our first stop of the day was at Keukenhof Gardens. Keukenhof Gardens is located just outside of Amsterdam, and is called the “Garden of Europe.” It is open for only about eight weeks in Spring. We were lucky to be able to visit during that time.

In short, the place is Tulip-mania. There are tulips everywhere and there is even a gigantic wedding dress made of tulips.

Not only does it have tulips, but the landscaping is absolutely amazing. They have little streams flowing through the whole park, and one even has a boat of flowers you can go in. There are of course, windmills as well overlooking the tulip fields.

They had a petting zoo with some supersized rabbits, that apparently are prone to biting…

One of our favorite parts by far though we’re these little wooden lily pads you could walk out on into one of mini lakes.

They also had gigantic tents filled with tulips you could buy and bulbs you could ship to America that arrived this fall. In one of the tents they had Chocomel Hot Chocolate and Apple Pie which was amazing.

After our morning at Keukenhof, we went to an Amsterdam high school where students toured us around. I didn’t get a ton of pictures except for their small lockers (by American standards.) They were shocked when we all said that five of their vertical lockers are one of ours.

That night we headed back to the AmaDante for our last dinner. They had a special chocolate themed dessert night, and the cooks outdid themselves.

A lot of us actually went and got chocolate before the main entree even arrived!

They had chocolate animals, chocolate strawberries, chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, chocolates tarts, brownies, and so much more. I didn’t even try half of it!

Thanks for reading all of my posts (spread out over a long period of time) about this amazing trip. I hope I can visit all these amazing cities and countries again someday, and hopefully take another AmaWaterways river cruise again soon. Thanks!

~ Mara

First Day of High School

Hi, everyone! I’m taking a little break from the AmaWaterways cruise posts to sneak in this little post about my first day of high school. It seems so recently that I was blogging about my first day of third grade. Now exactly seven years later, I’m writing about my first day of high school. I can’t believe I’ve been writing on this blog for the last seven years. Over time my interests have changed a ton and this has gone from a life to Animal Jam to American Girl to baking to travel blog. I don’t often do a personal life post but I thought it was time for one. I hope all of you enjoy this!

My friend and I drove to school and there we had a red carpet but unlike past years, it was inside because there was a violent thunderstorm outside. How, Wisconsin. All the local news stations were there which was cool and there was a band playing as you walked down the red carpet, as well. After that we went to our lockers and sat in front of our lockers with some of the other freshmen because we got there early.

My first hour is biology and it was pretty low-key. Our teacher talked about why Crocs were so awesome and versatile for a good five minutes and that made a good amount of us immediately like him. Crocs are also something that are very popular in 2019 but I’m pretty sure in a year or two they won’t be anymore.

Second hour for me is Health/P.E depending on the day of the week. We toured all the exercise facilities, which I was already pretty familiar with from doing sports at my high school in the past. Our school won state championships in basketball last year so it was cool to see where the team played and all.

For both third and fourth hour I have study hall, except one is called Freshman Study Hall and the other is called Resource. Resource also doubles as our homeroom. I have to admit that our resource is pretty awesome, even though I guess you could say, we can be kind of – well a lot, when were together as a group. We spent all of Freshman Orientation together and our sophomore tour guides were not happy that they got our homeroom.

Fifth hour for me is algebra and we spent the whole class on our chromebooks. That is one thing that I do really like about our high school. We have some pretty cool chromebooks that can fold in half, there touchscreen, and you can do notes on them with a stylus. It’s way better than our middle school chromebooks.

You can either be in 6A or 6B lunch. I was really thankful that a ton of my friends ended up in my 6A lunch and our lunch was thirty minutes long which was drastically different from our fifteen minute lunch in middle school. Not having recess really helps make it longer. I know when I learned we wouldn’t have recess in high school, back in 4th grade I was definitely upset. I’m happy to say that I honestly don’t care anymore.

My 6B class is honours social studies and a ton of my friends ended up in my class and I even made some new ones just from that class alone. We watched a couple TedTalks (I think) and we did a sheet about ‘why’ we want to do well in school. I just put down so I could go to a good college, which a lot of people did. It’s a good fallback when you can’t come up with anything deeper.

My 7th hour is French and I’m happy to say that my four years of French in middle school paid off and I’m now in sophomore level french. Our high school is it’s own separate district and a bunch of the local middle schools and private K-8 schools feed into it. Yet, the middle school I came from is the only one that had a french as an option which I’m thankful for because that means I can skip French 1 and make it to AP French in my senior year unlike kids from other schools.

My last hour of the day is English. We sat in a circle and introduced ourselves by telling people about our worst injury. There was a lot of getting bike handlebars in the eye and slipping down sledding hills (how, Wisconsin!) Mine was that I got run over by a bike. I’m not sure if I’d say it ‘broke the ice’ but it definitely let you know how clumsy other people were.

It was a pretty good day. A lot of the kids (including me) from our middle school stuck together at lunch and stuff but I also got out there and meet some new people in some of my classes and reunited with old friends that I hadn’t seen since elementary school sports teams. Overall, it was a way better first day of high school than they tell you about in the movies/books.

~ Mara

Rotterdam and The Kinderdijk Windmills

Hi! This is the fifth part of the AmaWaterways cruise I took this spring. The fifth stop we made on the cruise was back in the Netherlands in the port city of Rotterdam and the famous Kinderdijk Windmills. We had already visited Amsterdam, Middelburg, Bruges and Ghent, and Brussels and Antwerp. Enjoy!

We docked in Europe’s biggest port city, called Rotterdam. Rotterdam is a mix of very modern and very old architecture. Above is a picture of a traditional Rotterdam street.

Rotterdam has tons of history. For American visitors, one of the most familiar historical stories of Rotterdam is the pilgrims that came over on the Mayflower. The majority of those pilgrims started out in Rotterdam and went to Plymouth and to Cape Cod from there. Above is a picture of a view that they would’ve seen as they left Rotterdam for England.

Rotterdam is famous for its Hotel New York, which use to be the headquarters of the Holland America Line.

The Market Hall in Rotterdam was definitely my favourite place that I visited while there. They had all sorts of shops from donuts, to chocolate, to waffles, to all sorts of global cuisine. It’s definitely a melting pot of different cultures inside the Market Hall.

That afternoon we took the cruise ship a little farther down the river and to the town of Kinderdijk famous for it’s UNESCO World Heritage Windmills.

 

Our group of 56 kids and 56 adults split up into three smaller groups. One group went biking, one went to tour a windmill, and the other went to visit shops in the small town of Kinderdijk. I was in the biking group first, as you can see in the picture above.


We learned that people actually live in the windmills including a lawyer and a doctor! The lady you see in the photo above is an actual  resident of the windmill.

We never got to go into town because of an incoming storm, even though it didn’t look serious when we first saw it.

We were wrong about that and we decided to make a run for it, back to the cruise ship. Probably not our best idea, because it was flat land with lightening. Some kids and parents got stuck at a small wooden gift shop and the AmaWaterways employees were nice enough to get all the people back to ship via car.

I enjoyed our time in Rotterdam (especially the must-see market) and even though we got rained out the Kinderdijk Windmills were beautiful, both in the rain and in the sun. I don’t think Rotterdam is a must-see city and like Middelburg it doesn’t have a ton of attractions, per say. It’s more of an industrial city, I would say.  I would however recommend it if you’re into modern architecture, pilgrim history, or ships/boats. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for our last cruise day post!

~ Laine

 

Antwerp and Brussels

Hi! Today’s post is a continuation of our AmaWaterways river cruise that we won along with fifty-five other 8th graders, thanks to AAA. We’d already visited Amsterdam, Middelburg, and Bruges and Ghent at this point of the trip. An important thing to remember about these posts if your thinking about taking an AmaWaterways cruise is that some of these activities are not like the ones you will take if you are on a usual cruise. On this trip, we did some school visits in places like Antwerp but if you were to visit Antwerp on your cruise then you will have more options. For example, you could choose a walking tour, a biking tour, a food excursion to try chocolate and waffles and beer, a flower show, or a visit to Rubens House. On this cruise, our itinerary was more set in stone but on a usual AmaWaterways cruise, you will have more freedom to do what you want. 🙂

We woke up docked in the trendy city of Antwerp. We were to visit a local maritime school that day. We were shown around the school by students who had come to school on their day off to show us around. All the kids there are training to be ship captains or other maritime jobs. I thought it was really interesting how in a lot of European cities that instead of going to high school they went to a school that specifically prepared them for what they wanted to be. It sounds a lot more effective and helpful, personally. The president of AmaWaterways, Rudi Schreiner, who was on our cruise even invited the kids back to tour our cruise ship and learned how it worked. We got to have lunch with them and get to know them better. They were only about a year or two older than us.

We had a bit more time before we left for Brussels to go take a quick exploration of Antwerp.

 

We were able to see the famous Silvius Brabo Statue in the centre of town. It’s hard to describe how amazing it was with just a picture!

That afternoon we took a nice coach bus to Brussels, only forty-five minutes away, and on our way into town, we saw the European Parliament. The first thing we did in Brussels was a visit to the Parlamentarium which was a museum that had lots of interesting, interactive information about the Parliament.

The photo above is kind of blurry (since we were on a bus) but it is the Brussels Palace where the King works. The family’s private palace is a few minutes outside of the Brussels city centre and it’s called the Castle of Laeken.

 

After the Parlamentarium we headed through the Royal Gallery of Saint Hubert. It’s a shopping centre with a glass roof and lots of local eateries, shops, and of course chocolate shops!

We even saw one of the famous La Belgique Gourmande chocolate shoppes.

It was hard to get a good picture to show the ornate buildings and sheer vastness of the Grand Place but it is way more beautiful in person!

We got a quick view of the popular Manneken Pis statue but it was crowded with tourists.

This is probably one of my favourite photos! We visited a Belgium waffle shop and the wide variety of waffles they had was crazy! In the picture, you can see some with ice cream and some with chocolate-dipped strawberries.

We got to see the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula where the majority of Belgian royal weddings take place.

The picture above isn’t great but it is of the Atomium statue.

We spent a short time in both Antwerp and Brussels. I loved both cities but I would recommend spending a full day in Antwerp and maybe two or three in Brussels if you have the time. Neither of those cities have a ton of tourist attractions like say Paris or London where you could spend a few weeks. I did find that in many of the places we visited on the cruise. Besides Amsterdam, no matter how cute the city was I wouldn’t be able to spend more than a few days in each. For most of them, a day or two is good enough to hit all the tourist attractions and try the most popular local delicacies, if that’s what you’re looking for. If you’re more into eating all the food and trying to experience the lifestyle of the area you could definitely spend more time. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more posts about the cruise!

~ Mara

 

 

Bruges and Ghent

Hi! The third stop on our cruise took us into the bordering country of Belgium. The first city we went to was the famous Bruges, which has become a more and more popular tourist destination in the past decade or so. We also got the opportunity to visit the lesser-known city of Ghent, a neighbouring city of Bruges that day.

I loved both cities and they shared many similar qualities such as there love of chocolate, waffles, and beer as well as their historic monuments and buildings. One big difference I found was that Bruges was absolutely swarming with tourists and canal tours, like Amsterdam, while Ghent seemed more like Middelburg. It had the qualities of a European city but with more locals and less tourists.

We went to Bruges first and the second we stepped off the bus we were given waffle samples. I also got to see my dad who was in Bruges at the time my mom and I were there which was very exciting. He was able to join our tour. The picture above the waffle isn’t a great one but it was definitely delicious! It was a liege waffle that had little sugar pearls inside it.

Our first stop in Bruges was Minnewater Lake, the Lake of Love.

There is also a park that you can walk around the lake called Minnewaterpark. The day we visited was a little overcast so these pictures aren’t a great representation of the lake.

After passing the lake we headed to Ten Wijngaerde, originally a home for Benedictine nuns. Some nuns still live here as well as some unmarried Bruges women.

One fun thing we found in Bruges (or Brugge) was a beer pipe that runs beer through a pipe under the streets to a local brewery.

We also walked through the Church of Our Lady Bruges gardens. It was absolutely beautiful!

One of my favourite parts of Bruges was the Markt. In the shadow of the Belfry Hall is tons of guild houses (now restaurants and shops.) Market day is on Wednesdays which was unfortunately not the day we visited. It’s hard to describe the Markt until you see the vastness of it in person.

Our second city of the day was only about fifty miles from Bruges. Ghent is home to a famous altarpiece that you might’ve seen in the movie The Monuments Men. It is famous for being robbed of one of its three panels. In the picture above in a copy of the altarpiece but you can also see the real thing in person if you go to the St. Bavo’s Cathedral.

St. Bavo’s is part of ‘the three towers of Ghent.’ The three towers stand in a row across Ghent and they consist of; St. Bavo’s, The Belfry of Ghent, and St. Nicholas Church. The back-end of Saint Nicholas can be seen in the photo above.

In the picture above you can see one of the towers of Saint Nicholas. One thing I loved about Ghent was how old and historical it was. The architecture was all very ornate and I can only imagine how much time it took to build the towers centuries ago.

All of Ghent was picture-perfect but one of my favourite sights was the River Lys with it’s fancy, old buildings on the opposing side of the river.

The Lys River starts in Ghent and stretches all the way down to France and just past the city of Lille. In the picture above is the Saint Michael’s Bridge and behind it is the Saint Michael’s Church. The overcastness (is that a word?) of the day actually helped in this picture.

We continued on a walking tour through Ghent and saw lots of old guild houses turned into cute riverside cafes. We even got to sample frites which was awesome!

I loved our time in both Ghent and Bruges though it was short. I’d recommend a full day or two if you want to get the full experience of the cities. If you are into the food though you could spend weeks there trying all the cuisine!

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more cruise posts!