Jim and Julie Doepken, as well as their twin 13-year-old daughters and 24-year-old son live in Alaska, while their twin 22-year-old daughters attend college in Oregon. More than 4,000 miles away in Marietta, Georgia, grandparents Betsy and Tony Doepken naturally aren’t able to see their grandkids as often as they wish. However, last summer, the couple sat around a table with their grandchildren and imagined what a family river cruise vacation would look like.
Finding the Perfect Family Itinerary
“Granny, you always wanted to see Normandy.”
“I want to see the Eiffel Tower!”
“Can we go where Monet did his painting?”
It was pretty clear there was only one itinerary that would encompass everyone’s desires: AmaWaterways’ Paris & Normandy cruise. From the history of Normandy’s D-Day landing beaches to the romantic sail-in to Paris with the Eiffel Tower in the distance to Monet’s beautiful gardens in Giverny, the range of excursions and experiences offered ashore delighted each member of the Doepken family, regardless of their age. But for six-time river cruiser and matriarch Betsy, the best part of the experience was the chef.
An Extraordinary Chef
Betsy’s older granddaughters, Moriah and Susannah, each have severe food allergies and were concerned they might not be able to enjoy AmaWaterways’ signature regionally-inspired cuisine as they sailed through France. However, AmaLyra’s extraordinary chef sat with them the first night discussing their allergies at length to ensure his team created alternate dishes and modified ingredients when needed. “Gourmet meals and gorgeous non-dairy desserts were prepared just for the girls catering to their needs morning, noon and night,” said Betsy. “They were so thrilled they could eat this wonderful food because it was all allergen-free.”