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8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
This was our first River Cruise. We chose AmaWaterways and the Enchanted Rhine because of the Itinerary that included the Pre-Land Extension in Zurich and Lucerne, Switzerland. We chose the AmaKristina because it is a new ship. I will ... Read More
This was our first River Cruise. We chose AmaWaterways and the Enchanted Rhine because of the Itinerary that included the Pre-Land Extension in Zurich and Lucerne, Switzerland. We chose the AmaKristina because it is a new ship. I will focus more on the Land extension because I have not seen much focus on that on other reviews. We traveled to Zurich on our own after sightseeing in Munich. Our tour began at the Hotel Stiegenberger in Zurich. We came prepared but still dismayed that the hotel was not air-conditioned and the temps were already in the low 80's F. The room was sweltering even with a fan. It is a very nice and scenic hotel otherwise. However, the city view room was overlooking a crowded courtyard of buildings. The cruise director covered all aspects of the tour times as well as transportation and optional excursions. We were happy that the excursion to Rhein Falls and Stein en Rhein was available. It was an additional charge of about $80 per person. The tour guide, Judith was wonderful and she was with us for Zurich, Rhein Falls and Lucerne. We enjoyed a very informative and scenic bus trip to Vitznau followed by a beautiful boat trip across Lake Lucerne to the city. Our hotel in Lucerne was at the elegant Hotel Schweizerhof. I already knew from research that I wanted to go to Mt. Pilatus so we opted out of the AMA excursion to Mt. Stanserhorn. Mt. Pilatus was truly awe-inspiring and we really enjoyed our free time at Lucerne. Sadly, it was time to go. We traveled by bus to Basel. After completing a city tour and lunch on our own, we were delivered to the ship. Our check went smoothly. We were in Room 231 Cello Deck. I was disappointed that there was dirt on my bed before I even touched it. There was also a hair (not mine) on the pillow. For the money, I guess I thought the cleanliness would be impeccable. The bathroom is small and it contained an annoying metal trashcan that would tip over when you used the footstep to open it. The paper was not always replenished either. While new, the actual toilet seat cover felt loose and banged against the tile when you sat down. We felt the movement of the ship and it would feel like it shuddered when it went through other ship's wakes. I would definitely move to the higher (Violin) deck and near the front for the next trip. We also noticed a creaking noise coming from the ship around the midship area. Apparently, we were not the only ones that observed it because we saw a passenger speaking to the Ship Engineer about it one day. The WIFI was not operational for the first day. It also tended to be out when we were docked. We enjoyed the guided tours to which included Riquewihr and Strasbourg, France, Rudesheim, Heidleberg, Koblenz, Cologne and Amsterdam. I wish we could have had more time at Cologne. There was a lot to see there and I felt it warranted a full stop there instead of one afternoon. The guides were all good except for mine in Riquewihr. Johannes was not too informative and he did not even discuss the city gate and moat. I only know this because my mother took the Gentle walker tour and their guide covered it. I went on the Active Walker tour of Strasbourg. It was very informative and I believe we did cover about 6 miles. However, I wish we could have stayed at the Orangerie longer and/or visited Empress Josephine's Palace. It would be good if that were included on an actual tour. Friends that I talked to enjoyed the bike ride excursions. I chose a hike to Ehrenfels Castle and it was terrific uphill hike through the vineyards. The tour information listed it as 6 miles. It was only 3 miles. My favorite part of cruising was actually cruising. The deck chairs and seating were very comfortable. The boat was usually moving at night or during meal times so we did not get to enjoy the cruising as much as we would like. The cruise through the Rhine Gorge was incredible and my favorite part of the actual cruise. We were blessed with good weather and it was actually cool enough to need blankets. The cruise director provided excellent commentary on the scenic castles and towns that we passed. There was an added bonus when they brought up Rudesheimer coffee for us. The food on board was indeed wonderful and plentiful. The selection was vast. The Omelet Station attendant, Dejana, was wonderful and remembered how I liked my omelet after one visit. Do book your reservations for the Chef’s Table as soon as you arrive on the boat. It is a wonderful 5 course sampling meal full of imaginative and memorable dishes. We wanted to go again! There were a couple of things that marred the dining experience. The time between meal courses was exceedingly long. It did not matter which server station you chose. Dinner took at least two hours. Our table would finish a course and then it would take a long time for the next course to arrive. Meanwhile other tables that arrived after ours would be on to the next course. The other issue was with the wine and beverage stewards. They would not come by the table to offer any refills at times. Some mornings I got my excellent Cappuccino from the 24 hour Coffee bar and took it with me to breakfast just to make sure I received coffee. I do know everyone worked very hard. It seems like they need more crew to handle the meals but then where would you put them? Their memory is excellent. One morning the steward asked me if he had offended my mother because she did not touch her dessert the previous night. I assured him that was not the case. She was too full to eat anymore. The receptionist remembered our cabin number even before I did. Cruise culture is new to me but each meal involved a great deal of socializing. You could indicate to your waiter if you wished to either join someone else, have someone join you or dine alone. We met plenty of friendly people. There were mostly Canadians and Americans on the cruise. A few couples from the U.K. The Well to do’s kept to themselves. We heard the evening entertainment was very enjoyable but since it did not start until 9:30 p.m. thus we went on the prepare for bed. We got up at 6:30 each morning so we could get to breakfast at 7:30 a.m. before the rush. The sightseeing excursions usually loaded up about 8:45 a.m. We received some free time in every city and that was appreciated. I never even saw the fitness room or used the spa. Who had time? A few people used the walking track. Some friends enjoyed the pool but I did not bring a swimsuit so I missed out. The lounge was very tastefully furnished and comfortable. Our voyage with AmaWaterways has given us cherished memories that will last a lifetime. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2017
This was our first River Cruise and found it most enjoyable. The ship's company were friendly and willing to offer assistance whenever needed. The Cruise Director had all the tours arranged and well organized. She is a great asset ... Read More
This was our first River Cruise and found it most enjoyable. The ship's company were friendly and willing to offer assistance whenever needed. The Cruise Director had all the tours arranged and well organized. She is a great asset AMA Waterways. The Captain and First Officer made them selves available to answer questions and socialize with the guests when not on watch. The wait staff and chefs were outstanding and the food was excellent and representative of the region and represented any five star establishment in a relaxed atmosphere. Being only having a 140 passenger it made it easy to socialize and make new friends. It was more intimate than the ocean cruises we have been on.This was our first experience on a river cruise, but will not be our last. Hats of to the Captain and crew, and AMAWaterways. This is a great concept and provide an opportunity to get to now the crew and for them to get to know you and your needs. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2017
We went through a cruise club to book The Danube River vacation and had a fabulous experience. The ship was clean, comfortable and easy to navigate. Food was exquisite along with presentation. Entertainment, activities and excursions were ... Read More
We went through a cruise club to book The Danube River vacation and had a fabulous experience. The ship was clean, comfortable and easy to navigate. Food was exquisite along with presentation. Entertainment, activities and excursions were fun and enjoyable. Service on the ship went beyond my expectations. The room and bedding were comfortable.Everyone on board the ship from the Captain, to Cruise Manager, Hotel Manager, Bartenders, Waitstaff and Crew members went out of their way to make sure our needs were met. The scenery on the river cruise was gorgeous. All excursions were with a tour guide and I felt safe everywhere we ventured. There were bikes available, and if you were more active, hiking and active walking tours. I felt pampered and spoiled on the ship by the staff and would definitely use Ama Waterways again. After my first river cruise, I may have to book another one. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Amawaterways Sonata Rhine River Cruise vs. Ocean Cruises Recently made the journey from Amsterdam to Breslo, Switzerland on Amawaterways Sonata. Having only been on ocean cruises (SilverSeas), I have added some comparisons between the ... Read More
Amawaterways Sonata Rhine River Cruise vs. Ocean Cruises Recently made the journey from Amsterdam to Breslo, Switzerland on Amawaterways Sonata. Having only been on ocean cruises (SilverSeas), I have added some comparisons between the two. Hope you like it! Cruise Dates – We boarded on a Saturday afternoon and did not sail until Sunday afternoon. This is different from the ocean cruises, which sail same day. Translation: It may say 8 days cruise, but it’s really only 6. You don’t sail the first day, and you are out at 9:00 AM on the last day. Not complaining, but an ocean cruise is 7 days, not 6 since they sail same day. Cabins – OK, now I am going to complain. Six category upgrade gets me 210 feet? What? Two category upgrade gets me 330 feet on SilverSea. Yes, there was a French Balcony and Veranda, but we spent all our time on the sundeck up top. Would not get a Veranda again unless it was winter and bad weather. Just have to resign myself to bumping my elbows in the shower (there is no bathtub!) and running into my wife by the closet when I access the bathroom. Food – Excellent! Far better than SilverSeas. Their Chef’s Table is far superior to Le Champagne ($60 up charge!) on SilverSeas…and it’s free. You get it once per trip, but here is a tip: if it is not SOLD OUT you can get it multiple times. Here is the other BIG difference. Sonata had themed food for each country we visited. SilverSeas has an Italian restaurant. All Italian, all the time. Staff – No Butler like SilverSea. That is a bit of a bummer. Cabin Attendants on Sonata were superior to SilverSeas, as was our Cruise Manager Florentin. Brother was hustling 24x7. Desk Attendants were friendly, as were the tour guides. Tours – They are all included. Mostly hiking/biking, so best for active people, however there are also plenty of walking tours. NO CHARGE. My last bill on SilverSeas for tours was $2,000. It would be fine if they passed the tours through at cost, but they don’t. SilverSeas marks them up, and to my mind, gouges the customers. Entertainment – We had GREAT entertainment! Sonata had themed entertainment every night. German music in Germany and French music in France. That…was very cool. SilverSeas has production shows each night. Good, but different than themed music. Please Come Back! – They offered us 5% off the next cruise if we left a deposit. Let me make sure I have this right. You want me to pay 12 to 18 months in advance for a 5% discount? Seriously? Make it 15% and you have a deal. Amawaterways does discount, but they probably have to given the competition in the cruise market. And most people would tell you Viking is better. SilverSeas is like rolex: no discounts ever. One BIG Complaint – So here is my BIGGEST beef. Cruise companies need to control the passengers. Last out on SilverSeas we have a group of four drunks that were an issue most days. Playing their boom box by the pool while people were trying to relax or read a book. Getting wrecked on alcohol and stumbling around. Showing up 30 minutes late for tours and making us all wait. On the Sonata, same thing, a party of eight this time. They had issues…EVERY SINGLE DAY. Disrupted the introductions on day one. Disrupted dinner on day two. Late for all the tours. It is incumbent upon Amawaterways and Silverseas to NOT serve alcohol to passengers that are obviously inebriated and behaving badly. If I want that, I’ll cruise on Carnival. Bahahahaha! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
AMAWaterways provided the perfect experience for us and our friends to enjoy a vacation in Europe together! We were 4 couples from all over the US. We wanted time to visit and party together but also have time to persue our own ... Read More
AMAWaterways provided the perfect experience for us and our friends to enjoy a vacation in Europe together! We were 4 couples from all over the US. We wanted time to visit and party together but also have time to persue our own interests. Personally, this was our third AMAWaterways River Cruise in two years. We have enjoyed the Seine and the Mosel, Rhine and Main previously. The "floating hotel"/ship was fantastic. Our room was comfortable and spotless. The food was award-winning and always delicious. We seemed to eat continuously. The crew was superb, friendly and culturally diverse. The excursions were delightful! They thought of everything, thank goodness!! The local guides were top notch. Entertainment on board included an in-house musician who played the piano beautifully. Local entertainers were quality vocalists, musicians, and folk dancers. Fun, fun, fun!! The only problem any of us could think of was it was just 7 days long. Read Less
31 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
We decided we wanted to go away to celebrate Christmas. My teenage daughter and I had done a Viking River cruise over the summer as part of our European trip. Viking was geared much more to the over 60 crowd and never, even if you book a ... Read More
We decided we wanted to go away to celebrate Christmas. My teenage daughter and I had done a Viking River cruise over the summer as part of our European trip. Viking was geared much more to the over 60 crowd and never, even if you book a suite, allows 3 people in a room. We are a family of 3 and Viking wanted us to book 2 rooms so 1 person would be alone. Not my idea of a family vacation. It would be different if we had 4 people but it was just another reason I'll never sail Viking again. So we looked elsewhere and chose to go on AMA Waterways aboard the AMA Stella. We booked a suite which had a sitting room with balcony, an adjoining room that was separated by a wall with a large TV that could be turned to face either room. The bedroom had a French balcony and one wall was all storage and closet space. The living room area has a couch that makes into a bed, which was quite comfortable according to my daughter. It also had 2 chairs, a coffee table and a built in desk where they had a computer for our use. The mini fridge was stocked with champagne, beer, and soda and juice which was replenished daily. The balcony had 2 chairs and a small table and one afternoon of sailing was warm enough to sit out there and enjoy it! The bathroom had a toilet that closed off with a pocket door so someone else could be using 1 of the 2 sinks, the shower or bathtub. Toiletry items were replenished daily as was the fruit bowl in the sitting room. We embarked in Budapest and after dinner cruised between Buda and Pest to see the beautiful lights of the buildings. We did a tour of Buda and Pest with a local guide and went to the Christmas market which had some very nice Hungarian made items for sale as well as different food stalls. The next day, the Stella usually stops in Bratslavia, Slovakia but since it was Christmas Day, everything was closed so that stop was skipped and we went on to Vienna. We went to another Christmas market in the afternoon. The ship stopped at all the other scheduled stops and at each one we went on the activity we had chosen for that day. AMA Waterways does not only cater to the over 60 crowd. They offer many options for activity. For the very active they have bike tours which ranged from 6 miles to over 20 miles depending on the port. They also offered hikes, usually to the castle or abbey that most people took the bus to. For the "regular" active person, walking tours were at a normal pace. For the less active, or those with mobility issues, they had a gentle group. On tours, the people in this group were brought closer to the attraction by tram or minivans. Much of Austria is now handicapped accessible due to a law requiring it. There were only a few stops that some people could not do because of many stairs or walks inaccessible by vehicles. Each evening after dinner they offered some kind of local entertainment. They had excellent musicians, dancers or you could opt to walk into town and walk around. Meals were scheduled daily, not always the same time to accommodate an excursion or entertainment. Breakfast and lunch were served in the dining room over a 2 hour period of time. Each day there was a buffet and also a small menu for a couple specials of that day. You could order eggs Benedict or whatever was on the menu that day, and go to the buffet for fruits, breads, cold cereal or yogurts. Lunch was served the same way. You could also choose to have a continental style breakfast or light lunch in the lounge. Dinner was served to you. Dinner always had 4-5 choices for entrees and 2 for soup, 3 for appetizer, 3-4 desserts. Then there were 5 dishes that were always available if nothing on the daily menu appealed to you. You could sit at any table you wanted with most tables seating 6 people. This made for a great way to meet many people. We ended up sitting in the same general area because we found a waiter who we really liked. He was very attentive and a jokester, we really enjoyed talking to him. Everyon was very friendly except for one man who served at the bar in the lounge. He seemed cranky every time we saw him. The other bartender, Silvijo was great. He also served the drinks at dinner and after a couple of days, automatically brought my daughter a coke and a small bit of wine for her to try. All the staff, Frederico was our cruise manager/director and was very informative. The cruise managers change with each cruise. The captain was a very young (29years old) and very friendly man who invited my daughter to the bridge when we were leaving a port. She has a boating license that is higher then one would get for a recreational boat so he showed her around the bridge and how it can collapse down if needed to get under a low bridge. Our caibin stewardess Mariya was very sweet and kept our cabin very clean. Our butler Dimitri aka Micko brought us coffee (and anything else we wanted) at a time determined the day before. He was so sweet as he put his fingers to his lips meaning quiet so as not to wake my daughter who was asleep as he carried in the tray. When my daughter and I did a Viking cruise in July, we did not receive the same attention to detail or the friendliness of all the staff like on AMA. Yes, there were a few people who were great and did a great job but beside 5 or so people, they just were not as good. And the cruise on the Stella was the last cruise for the season and the staff would be going home for 2.5 months. Yet despite this, their attention to the guests did not show it. Their attention was on their work, they were happy and friendly and I would never had known that it was the last cruise of the maiden season of the ship had I not been told. After being in service since last March, the ship was clean and still had a new look to it. Another great thing about the Stella is the sun deck pool. Yes, it was open the last week of December! My daughter and I went for a midnight swim one night. You just told someone at reception that you wanted to use the pool and a crew member would fold back the cover which was like a heavy duty solar cover used on home pools. During the warmer months, there is a bar set up and the pool has stools in it. There is also a large chess set, a walking track and a couple sitting areas on the sun deck. On the Stella, they have a second dining room that guests can make a reservation for one time while on the cruise. It's called the Chefs Table and seats about 30 people. The menu is set and they ask about any food allergies. Since I'm allergic to aspartame, when dessert came, one of the 3 items on my plate was different than that of my husband and daughters because the other contained aspartame. The dinner in this restaurant was small portions of many different things and was wonderful!!! This ship also has a small gym with 2 treadmills, 2 bikes and weights on the bottom deck and a spa where you could have your hair done or have a massage. I didn't have time to squeeze in a massage but a woman I spoke with had one when she opted out of a tour and said it was very good, better than expected. The price of a massage was less than having one at home. Because it was Christmas AMA did a special Austrian tradition of putting a shoe out for Father Christmas. If you had been bad, you would get a stick in your shoe and if good you received a gift. My husband did not want to participate so when he fell asleep, my daughter and I put one of his shoes out with ours. The next morning each shoe had a gift and the guests 18 or younger got a gift and a beautiful chocolate Santa. So having experienced 2 different cruise lines within 6 months, I have to say that AMA Waterways is a much better line than Viking. They do many little things that make you feel special. All the female passengers were each given a nice scarf in a box. It is a nice scarf with the company name only on the tag. The little things do make a difference. AMA carries bikes on ship to offer biking to its guests. They have you fill out what excursions you want to do over the week and at what level-active, regular or gentle. On Viking the included tours were a ride around on a bus for the most part, never into an exhibit that cost admission. On AMA you went to see a place and saw it, inside and out and they didn't charge extra for the admission. AMA Waterways Stella was a wonderful place to spend Christmas and the cruise all around was so great that we put down a deposit for our next cruise! A $200 deposit per person to be used in the next 2 years. Oh, where to go? Somewhere on AMA Waterways for sure! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
We actually chose this cruise just on the basis of the itinerary and dates. Having sailed with AMAWaterways, however, we would definitely take another cruise with them based on the outstanding experience we had. We sailed from Nuremberg ... Read More
We actually chose this cruise just on the basis of the itinerary and dates. Having sailed with AMAWaterways, however, we would definitely take another cruise with them based on the outstanding experience we had. We sailed from Nuremberg to Budapest on the beautiful new ship AMAStella, visiting Christmas markets along the way. By the end, we had pretty well exhausted our interest in markets. Luckily, the shore excursions (all accompanied by knowledgeable guides) also included city tours and there were on-board activities related to Christmas as well. The food was unbelievably well done. We were so impressed with the variety and the preparation, as well as the wine service. We traveled with a one-year-old in our group, which could have been a recipe for disaster. Instead, we found we could easily take part in meals and activities, and the crew was welcoming and helpful. In fact, the entire crew was as friendly, professional and helpful as one could wish in all aspects of the trip. Embarkation and disembarkation were also expertly done. In short, we felt we hit almost a home run on our first experience cruising. Our only complaint relates to AMA's business office. When in April 2015 we booked 6 adults for December 2016, we also indicated that we would be bringing a 13-month old child. With 6 reservations on the line, they agreed to allow the infant, but wanted our acknowledgement that they had no support for an infant: no crib, high chair, stroller, car seat, dirty diaper pail, car seat or life vest. We agreed, we would provide our own. A week before the trip we were informed that we should have been charged an almost $1000 supplement for the infant, but they agreed they were a little late on that. But we were also informed that the parents of the infant would have to move from Deck 3 to Deck 1 because Deck 3 cabins had a balcony and the infant could fall overboard, so they would apply the rate reduction for Deck 1 against the supplement and waive the balance. Obviously the "balcony" issue was a pretext (who opens a balcony in December from Nuremberg to Budapest, much less what parent opens the balcony with a 13-month old infant). I talked to another parent who had a somewhat similar experience with a young child on another AMA cruise. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
When we told our Travel Agent Friend, Linda Androlia, of Sunstone Tours about our plans to visit Southeast Asia, she said the best cruise line for this area is Amawaterways. She booked it for us and she was right. It was an amazing ... Read More
When we told our Travel Agent Friend, Linda Androlia, of Sunstone Tours about our plans to visit Southeast Asia, she said the best cruise line for this area is Amawaterways. She booked it for us and she was right. It was an amazing cruise. The staff are all local and really know the area and hospitality. The food was delicious and plentiful and we got to taste food from Cambodia and Vietnam. Everyday we disembarked to a new adventure whether is was to be blessed by buddhist monks, visit a remote fishing village or experience the horrific destruction from the American war and the dictators that followed. The tour guides were knowledgeable and did not sugar coat any of the atrocities that occurred during the war. Each room was beautifully appointed with a balcony, not matter what the cost. The whole boat was spotless. We even treated ourselves to a massage, which is comparable to anything I've had in the states. Many evenings we were treated to local entertainment, Dancers from Vietnam and Cambodia demonstrated their beautiful, delicate dances. We were on board during Christmas and the crew serenaded us with Christmas carols, there was even a crew entertainment night. We also had a pre-tour at Angkor Wat where we stayed in the Sofitel in Siem Ream. and a post tour in Saigon again staying at the Sofitel. Both tours were excellent. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We just returned from our cruise on the AMADARA.We started the trip off with a 3 day stay in siem reap at a small but a great hotel in every aspect(golden temple residence)it is located less than 5 minute walk to pub street and night ... Read More
We just returned from our cruise on the AMADARA.We started the trip off with a 3 day stay in siem reap at a small but a great hotel in every aspect(golden temple residence)it is located less than 5 minute walk to pub street and night market.Our family of 6 including 85 yo father spent 2 days doing all the temples unbelievable one pointer it is a long walk from parking area to base of angkor wat I suggest to carry 3 bottles of water. We had the long bus ride to the ship not too bad made two stops along the way.once arriving to the ship the process was smooth and easy our bags were in our cabins waiting for us.The cabins were big enough so not to feel too cramped.My wife and I had cabin 304 (cat b).The ship and crew were fantastic the only suggestion I would make would be to have a little music during dinner. All the excursion were good perfect length of time.A little about my self I am a 52 yo vet and had visited concentration camps in germany,but I was prepared for the emotions I felt at the killing fields we took over 2000 pictures during our trip,but I could not bring myself to take one picture there just did not feel good about doing it. On arrival to ho chi minh bus ride quick and easy we chose not to stay at the sofietel we stay acroos the river.We did a 3hr foodie tour with a company (bao loc tours)started at 3 ended at 9:30 they were great. I hate writing reviews so if anyone has questions feel free to contact m sarge 1340@att.net Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
We had a marvelous experience aboard our first ever river cruise. The AMAWaterways AMAPrima is a comfortable, well-appointed ship with a friendly, welcoming, and helpful staff. We could not tell when the ship was under way except by ... Read More
We had a marvelous experience aboard our first ever river cruise. The AMAWaterways AMAPrima is a comfortable, well-appointed ship with a friendly, welcoming, and helpful staff. We could not tell when the ship was under way except by looking outside as the scenery and other ships slipped by. On embarkation day, we rode the tram from Centraal Station to route 26 PTA (first stop) but had to walk back across the bridge towards the Centraal Station. We could have just walked the same 10 minutes east from the Centraal Station river side lower level along the sidewalk. The embarkation on the AMAPrima was wonderful. We were greeted by the ship's Captain, Ron Schuegard and the Cruise Manager, Uwe Nitschke. A staff member took our bags and carried them down to our room 107 on the Piano Deck. The ship's elevator does not carry cruise passengers down to the Piano Deck and traversing the narrow spiral staircase down to that level with baggage would have been very treacherous. Our first night, we had dinner in the Chef's Table Restaurant in the aft of the ship. It was unbelievably delicious and the wait staff were very attentive. The remainder of our cruise, we had our meals in the main restaurant on the lower forward of the ship. The food selection was always ample and delicious with Chef's recommendation or the always available steak, chicken, and fish. The evenings we enjoyed the lounge and the piano music by Hristo. During the cruise, they had "Rolf", a singer and guitarist come aboard and perform one night. Another night they had a classic music trio, "La Strada" aboard for entertainment. Other nights there was dancing events by the passengers. We enjoyed the many excursions offered. The headsets provided excellent ability to hear the tour guides. We had to opt out of some of these so that we could get some rest. Our most enjoyable excursion was the Belgian Chocolate Workshop where we made pralines in a small chocolatier's shop, "The Chocolate Shop Van Hecke's" and took away samples of the delicious treats. Other excursions we enjoyed were the Belgian Chocolate, Waffles & Beer Limited Edition tour, the Kinderdijk Windmills, and the Keukenhof Gardens. Disembarkation was as easy as embarkation. One of the ship's staff carried our rolling bags up to the Reception Desk where we wheeled them off the ship and walked to the Centraal Station. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
The AMA Serena was totally 5 star. Our upgrade to the cabin with the French balcony was a very nice touch, the beds were excellent as were the duvets. There was a running track/putting green and large hot tub/small swimming pool and a ... Read More
The AMA Serena was totally 5 star. Our upgrade to the cabin with the French balcony was a very nice touch, the beds were excellent as were the duvets. There was a running track/putting green and large hot tub/small swimming pool and a very nicely set up gym. Very very nice. Now let’s talk about the organization, the on board entertainment, the daily tours and docking locations.. Upon reaching Zurich (we had signed up for the pre tour getaway) we were greeted by the tour director Federico who was very pleasant and told us that there would be a short get together that evening. Check in at the Hotel Continental was swift and convenient and the staff were very pleasant as well. The hotel itself does appear to be an aging dowager duchess in need of some refurbishment. The large chairs in the lobby could do with an update both in colours and materials. They looked quite faded and there appears to be just an overall appearance of decay slowly happening. The rooms were quite nice and at one time I’m sure they would have been very elegant. While some of the elegance is still there in the marble counter tops in the bathrooms, one could not ignore the signs of aging. The door to the bathroom was quite scarred and edges were dusty as well and the door just didn’t quite shut properly unless given a “push”. The evening get together was quite pleasant (I seem to use that word quite a bit) and the wine was very nice (made especially for the hotel as it turned out). The tours in Zurich were quite good but as I did not partake of the ones with fees it would appear that they went over really well. . Breakfasts were plentiful and nicely laid out as well. The ride down to Lucerne went very well and the ride across Lake Lucerne was fine. Weather was heavy overcast but all in all was very nice. The Hotel Radisson Blu was a comfortable hotel with large rooms; the heated floors in the bathroom were a nice touch. Breakfasts once again were plentiful and nicely laid out. While the staff in Zurich appeared to be much more approachable the staff in Lucerne were efficient but not overly friendly. The bus ride from Lucerne to Basel was uneventful and the walk through the town was quite good. I have to admit that I did not find the Christmas Market in Zurich all that interesting as it was so incredibly expensive. And this was about the only Christmas market that was “on”. The one in Basal was being torn down and a lot of them had closed up early due to the uncertainties going on in Europe at the moment. There was one that we went to that was really nice though and that was the little town called Riquewihr in the Alsace region. Now that was an excellent tour. Boarding the ship in Basel. Very well organized and like I stated earlier the rooms were lovely. The welcome get together that evening could have been enhanced greatly with the addition of some “fondues” since we were still in Switzerland. They could have had the “ice breaker” with mulled wine and fondues. I felt this was a bit ‘flat”. The onboard entertainment was virtually nil. Yes there was the piano/guitar player and while he was good it was pretty bland. The only “entertainment” was a 2 girl (sisters) tribute band to Abba. The girls were okay but I really felt it was “sub standard” entertainment for the type of cruise it was. That was it for entertainment. I think this could vastly be improved by organizing a “strudel making” afternoon when sailing. Or bringing on board a historian who could talk about the history of the area and possibly about the recent migrant situation. There was very heavy promoting of the AMA Waterway tours which made one tune out at times. The docking situation was deplorable really. AMA will have to step this up somewhat to arrange docking closer to the city centre. I realize that the size (length) of the boat may prove to be an issue but when docked up beside other cruise boats there did not seem to be a lot of difference. A 15 minute walk to where the buses were really was not on the cards. Yes, they had a slow walker’s group but even so there were “in between” persons who may have had knee issues which did not necessarily put them into the “slow walkers” group and that 15 min walk both to and from the buses to the boat was not great. A couple of the tours ( a hike and a bike ride ) were very well received by the more fit of the group. These were excellent. There did appear to be a bit if disorganization when it came to having the buses arrive on time etc so AMA did not get full marks for that. The food was comparable to other river cruises I’ve been on but I have to say that Christmas dinner was a bit of a letdown. I’ll have to hand that one over to Viking River Cruises who did have an excellent Christmas dinner (Roast Goose) The “suggested” amount of tips per person per day did seem a bit high as well. Our daily cleaner would not have been worth that amount. Now I realize that shipping companies do not pay their staff a whole lot and depend on the tips to make up for a lot; one suggestion might be to have the tips included in the overall price and if a person wanted to they could tip individual persons who do a superlative job. Would I travel on AMA again? Hmmm probably not. I think I would hand that over to Viking who in my mind gave good value for the dollar. River cruising is not ocean cruising and should not attempt to be. I feel that the swimming pool/hot tub; running track and putting green were just a tad over the top but the gym was nice.. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
AMA does it best. Having sailed on two other river cruise lines I can say that this experience far surpassed all of my other River cruise experiences. The crew was cohesive, friendly and provided superior service. The cuisine was world ... Read More
AMA does it best. Having sailed on two other river cruise lines I can say that this experience far surpassed all of my other River cruise experiences. The crew was cohesive, friendly and provided superior service. The cuisine was world class in every regard with freshest ingredients and skilled preparation. The bike riding tour along the Rhine and up into the vineyards near Rudesheim was a glorious highlight as was the hike along the Philosophers Way in Heidelberg. The accommodations were spacious, well-appointed and lovely. Simply brilliant in every regard. I wouldn't change a thing! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
The cruise was fantastic for the first 5 days, then the low water hit. Although, AMA says they are not affected by this, that is not the truth. We had to dock and be bussed to Regensburg and Nuremburg. The bus rides were 3 to 5 hours long. ... Read More
The cruise was fantastic for the first 5 days, then the low water hit. Although, AMA says they are not affected by this, that is not the truth. We had to dock and be bussed to Regensburg and Nuremburg. The bus rides were 3 to 5 hours long. Very disappointing but not AMA's fault. Although, Viking, who is very upfront about their itinerary changes, did a boat swap during this period, which would have been preferable to being bussed. The transfer to Prague was also changed. Instead of visiting a quaint small town as planned we drove for 7 hours wasting 2 hours in a forgettable Pilzen with nothing to see. Even the tour guide couldn't think of anything to say. There was a brewery (not enough time to visit) and a church. Finding a place to eat lunch was a challenge. The cruise, itself was great. The ship was beautiful and the crew terrific! I would take another trip with AMA, I just wish they were more forthcoming with itinerary changes. We lost two days of cruising, which is the reason we took this trip---not the destinations. Bussing may be necessary but a big disappointment to the guests. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
This was our 10th cruise, first on Amawaterways and last river cruise for sure. We boarded the bus from Siem Reap to the ship on a 7 hour bus ride. We made 2 stops along the way for restroom breaks and to stretch your legs. The tour guide ... Read More
This was our 10th cruise, first on Amawaterways and last river cruise for sure. We boarded the bus from Siem Reap to the ship on a 7 hour bus ride. We made 2 stops along the way for restroom breaks and to stretch your legs. The tour guide stated to us that only a few cruises a year actually depart from Siem Reap so expect to be on the long bus ride to the ship. We booked the entire land portion on our own and some what mimicked the cruise lines itinerary. We stayed 5 nights in Hanoi's Old Quarter (Highly recommend) and a 3 day 2 night Halong Bay cruise on Signature Halong Cruises (Top notch experience). The AmaDara is a brand new ship in 2015 and is spacious and comfortable. What set us off from the very beginning and put a bad taste in our mouths was after we checked in and received our keys to our room we approached our cabin watching the "Hotel Manager" giving 4 other passengers a tour of our cabin while our luggage is in plain view inside the room. I asked him why he was allowing people in our cabin and he a stumbled for answers and said "He thought the room was vacant." We booked our cruise 15 months in advance, it was never vacant. Again our luggage is clearly visible in the room. I said to him "You should have pulled the door shut and never allowed them to enter." OUR TRUST WAS IMMEDIATELY BROKEN WITH THIS COMPANY. He then stated that "The door was left opened by the porters so I allowed them to take a "peek"." I said "Really? Our bags are in the room. You should have pulled the door shut." Now they are climbing over our luggage laughing on the way out and said "Thanks for the tour." I say to him "Are you serious?' and he looked at us in disgust and asked us "If there was a problem" I knew then he was a lost cause and an embarrassment to his company. 5 days later he has someone place a bottle of wine with a card apologizing for the misunderstanding on embarkation day. There was never a misunderstanding. Activities onboard include a swimming pool, small gym, eating, and sleeping. Horrible to no WIFI. The food and service by the dining and cabin stewards were amazing. So gracious and always readily available to assist you in any way. Very genuine kind hearted individuals. Port and Shore Excursions were poor and thoughtless. You will hurry through to see floating villages and markets galore. They all look the same with no real time to explore during the short port time. Usually under 2 hours and then they herd you back onboard for lunch and then sit in the middle of the river with no way off to continue to explore. Entertainment onboard consisted of an Apsara Dance performance by local children which I have to say was impressive, a crew talent show which was fun to see the crew relax and have some fun, and a tropical fruit tasting at the end of the cruise to use any left over fruits that were not consumed in the prior 6 days. Disembarkation was a breeze and a 2 1/2 hour bus ride for the port to Ho Chi Minh City. My personal summary of this cruise is not a favorable one. This particular itinerary is weak and is designed for the inexperienced traveler who needs to take baby steps along the way and lives a sedentary lifestyle. If you really want to see Vietnam and Cambodia which I highly recommend, stay in nice hotels along the way and see more and do more for far less money. We wanted to get off half way through and just take a cab to HCMC. Good Luck! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
We have done 2 previous cruise on AMA and decided this time to do 2 weeks as we just loved the 1 week cruise but it was too short for us. AMA does and excellent job in catering to your needs as all you have to do is ask and they will try ... Read More
We have done 2 previous cruise on AMA and decided this time to do 2 weeks as we just loved the 1 week cruise but it was too short for us. AMA does and excellent job in catering to your needs as all you have to do is ask and they will try their best to accommodate the request. I love a soft mattress, so they added another mattress on top to make it softer. I don't eat spicy food, their food is not spicy for almost all folk, however every morning the manager of the dining room would come over with the menus for the rest of the day to ensure that I could have my pick of items and that they would not be at all spicy. The food on this trip was the best yet, the quality was very good. I'm a meat eater, but the fresh cooked veggie almost convinced me to become a vegan. We were met at the airport and taken to our hotel without any problems. Embarkation for the ship is always a breeze, just hand in your passport and they will check you in, you get it back the next day. There are plenty of shore excursions, both fast walkers, normal, and slow. They have walking sticks as well as walking sticks with chairs for those who need a seat to rest. They have biked on board and I love to bike and went out almost every day either by myself or on a bike tour. They bring on local entertainment almost every evening if you can last that late after a big day out. The ship is kept sparkling clean, they are always cleaning the public areas and restocking bottles of water in your cabin. The free Wi-Fi works well all over the ship, plus your cabin has a TV/Computer combination. The cabins are just the right size for us as we are hardly ever in them except to sleep. The shower is great, instant hot water and lots of pressure from all directions. We love AMA because of the staff who go out of their way to attempt to please you. That is why we have already booked another 2 week cruise next summer. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
This was our 2nd river cruise and we were traveling with another couple from our hometown. Both cruises were with AmaWaterways, and we were not dissappointed with either cruise. In fact we were pleasantly surprised at the views while ... Read More
This was our 2nd river cruise and we were traveling with another couple from our hometown. Both cruises were with AmaWaterways, and we were not dissappointed with either cruise. In fact we were pleasantly surprised at the views while slowly cruising down the Rhine from Basel Switzerland to Amsterdam Holland. Our Cruise Manager was the best, since his heritage was part German and part Spanish his knowledge of the area couldn't have been more perfect. His sense of humor, story telling ability, managment ability for small issues and calming the tide for those who on occassion run into trying circumstance are to be commended. His ability to know the names of every castle, village, and vineyard along the Rhine made our trip so very educational and of course relaxing while enjoying the views. The ship; AmaCerto was new, clean, well wired with wifi thru-out the ship and comfortable. The dining servers were all very accomdating, friendly, and took care of each of our needs. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2015
One of the things we liked the most about Ama is the way they cater to all activity levels. We prefer to be active, and they did a great job always having higher energy tour options from biking, hiking and walking tours. However, even if ... Read More
One of the things we liked the most about Ama is the way they cater to all activity levels. We prefer to be active, and they did a great job always having higher energy tour options from biking, hiking and walking tours. However, even if you prefer a slower pace, not a problem, there were excellent options. It certainly felt customized that way. Our cruise was the Gems of Southeast Europe (Budapest to Giurgiu), so it was different than other river cruise trips we've been on. Obviously you're not going to have the same level of sights, beauty and charming villages like you will elsewhere. But, if you are interested in this part of the world, the history and its current place in the world, you'll find it quite fascinating. Overall, the food was good, at times great, other times just good. They did a nice job incorporating some of the local cuisine depending upon where we were sailing. Shortcomings? In comparing to some other river cruises (and ocean) we've done, it would have been nice to have one more entree choice and one more appetizer. There were some meals where the choices were a bit limited. One meat, one fish, one veggie for mains. Also, desserts were not that indulgent. Maybe a good thing? But, there was a lot of ice cream. Hey, I love ice cream, but it seemed like it was the go to in almost half the meals. Some variation would have been welcome. The wifi is not that great. That is possible due to our location on the river but it was non-existent quite a bit, or horribly slow. I actually used a Glocal router and had better luck, but that was on my dime. Most of the staff were great. There might have been a couple of exceptions, but will say there was plenty of friendly, smiling, helpful faces. One thing to keep in mind. This was different than our other experiences. Ama does try to get you to interact with your fellow passengers. There are basically no 2 top, and very, very few 4 top tables at meals. You will likely be sitting with others. Not usually my choice but have to say, there were great people on our trip and we had plenty of nice conversations. Just know that going in. We would definitely sail Ama again. The number of excursions and choices of activity levels really won us over. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
Overall a nice experience but thanks to the many new friends we made during the cruise. We booked this cruise soon after a cruise on the River Douro with AMA only 5 months earlier. The AMA Douro cruise was perfect. Sadly this cruise was a ... Read More
Overall a nice experience but thanks to the many new friends we made during the cruise. We booked this cruise soon after a cruise on the River Douro with AMA only 5 months earlier. The AMA Douro cruise was perfect. Sadly this cruise was a very different experience. My wife and I feel that the main things that led to our disappointment can be summed up by no one really in control or taking ownership; weak leadership; poor quantity of entertainment (not enough). Some of the general frustrations we experienced included: 1. No transfer from arrival airport arranged. Given a bottle of wine as an apology which we could have had anyway as wine is included with dinner. 2. Crew walking heavily on top deck in the middle of night numerous times 3. Drinks waiter rude - really offended that I had reported lack of mugs and milk and bar staff were not around. He made us feel uncomfortable making sarcastic comments 4. Towards the end of the week some of the drinks we had been enjoying stopped being available 5. Entertainment manager weak - nice person and tried hard but too young and lacked imagination 6. Poor entertainment - 3 nights we had no entertainment other than piano 7. Felt like no one in charge 8. Given food with gluten in chefs table restaurant despite them knowing and no care shown We already have 2 other AMA cruises booked for 2015 so I hope they will be better than this one. Suggestions for others considering AMAwaterways. 1. Avoid the last week of the season 2. Check to see if entertainment is planned for every night on winter cruises 3. Ask if one of the AMA directors will be on board Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
This was our first River Cruise and we are so glad that AMA Waterways was the line our Tour Company used. The service was Excellent, the staff were the most amazing professionals, you felt like family. Everyone knew when you needed ... Read More
This was our first River Cruise and we are so glad that AMA Waterways was the line our Tour Company used. The service was Excellent, the staff were the most amazing professionals, you felt like family. Everyone knew when you needed something, they keep an eye on you, and if your cup or glass was empty refills were always forthcoming. Our tour started in Budapest with a two night stay, then our transportation to the ship was quick and efficient. The embarkation process was very seamless, and we were escorted to our cabin. The room was spacious enough for us, the closet held our luggage, so we never felt crowded. River cursing is a different experience from ocean cruising, and I totally loved it! Shore excursions were well planned, many of the walking tours were separated into, active, regular & gentle walkers. Many excursions included were of great interest to us, there were also optional tours of interest to many of our fellow travellers. This trip was a celebration of our 40th anniversary, and it was a Stellar Trip, Thanks AMA. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
We really enjoyed our Christmas Market Cruise on the Danube. We are planning to book for the Rhine Christmas Market Cruise next year as well. Our family of three (myself, husband and 12 year old son), found the cruise to be quite ... Read More
We really enjoyed our Christmas Market Cruise on the Danube. We are planning to book for the Rhine Christmas Market Cruise next year as well. Our family of three (myself, husband and 12 year old son), found the cruise to be quite enjoyable. We had a suite and a AA room diagonally across the hall for our son. The suite layout is different than in the brochure and online. This was a bit off-putting at first, but it ended up working out ok. There is less space in the living room area since they have made the balcony larger. This eliminates the sofa in the room. We did find that you really needed to use the bed for relaxing. The two small chairs in the entry were always in the way so we moved one to the desk area and the other by the bed in the corner. Our son's room had plenty of space. The rooms were quite comfortable and well maintained. We had a large bathtub in our bathroom, but we did not use it. The shower with multi shower heads was nice. We did participate in some of the tours (Melk, Budapest, part of Salzburg), but we found it much more fun when we went out on our own. The guides were all nice and knowledgeable, but sometimes as a family we like to see more or different things than what are offered. In Vienna, we took a carriage ride, shopped, and went to the Dremel chocolate place as well went to Schonbrun Palace. I get quite seasick on typical cruises. I had no issues with a river cruise. The cruise was highly relaxing, we loved reading and watching the world go by as we sailed up the Danube. The food was mostly very good. The standout for us was shepherd's pie for lunch. It was the best we'd ever tasted. Out omelets at breakfast were quite good. The only food complaint was that it is impossible to get a meal or a snack outside of tea, breakfast, lunch or dinner. There were times we weren't hungry for a big dinner, but knew if we got hungry later we would be out of luck. The bar should offer sandwiches or something simple with the drinks for a small cost. There are simple offerings at lunch and dinner in you don't like the set menu (minute steak, chicken sandwich, french fries, etc.). I would be nice if you could get those things outside of meal times for a fee. Our server was terrific. In fact, we loved all of the staff.   Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
We had a wonderful time on this cruise. There was a problem with a lock between Budapest and Bratislava. We were notified of this prior to leaving home. We were bussed to Bratislava. We had a very knowledgeable guide on the bus and the ... Read More
We had a wonderful time on this cruise. There was a problem with a lock between Budapest and Bratislava. We were notified of this prior to leaving home. We were bussed to Bratislava. We had a very knowledgeable guide on the bus and the trip went smoothly. Our cabin had great storage space. We booked late and could only get a cabin on the lowest level. It was quite small, but fitted out nicely. There was a lot of good storage space. The bed was quite comfortable. I was concerned about the windows being small and located high in the wall, but it was fine. It also provided a small ledge where you could store things or put wet laundry on the ledge to get the sun and dry. There was no elevator service to this level, which was OK with us, but the stairs were narrow on one side, so traffic was pretty much one way, but it worked out. Crew were friendly and professional. Tours that we took were very informative and guides always had a good grasp of English. Our first night we were able to each in the specialty restaurant - it was wonderful. Entertainment was on board for three nights and each of them were fun and enjoyable. Food was good. All in all a wonderful experience. We will do a river cruise again and the first company we will research will be AMA Waterways. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2013
My sister and I decided to take a river cruise together. I contacted several different cruise lines for information. AMA Waterways was our choice, and I cannot say enough about them. They are wonderful, only have one complaint about the ... Read More
My sister and I decided to take a river cruise together. I contacted several different cruise lines for information. AMA Waterways was our choice, and I cannot say enough about them. They are wonderful, only have one complaint about the boat and that would be the double docking. We had a French balcony third floor room and it was annoying when we docked on the side of another boat and had to look into another traveler's stateroom one evening (closed the curtains so didn't really look in) and then on another night with a different boat we had just a view of the side of their boat. While this was, as I say annoying, it wasn't enough to ruin anything. I can only guess that this is done due to lack of enough docking space. All in all, with the service and the care they do take in accommodating their passengers, this is truly a top notch company. We booked four days in Switzerland (2 in Zurich and 2 in Lucerne) prior to boarding the AMA Cello in Basel. The Zurich Continental Hotel was very nice, would have been excellent had it only been a little closer to midtown. But really no complaints, it was within walking distance. The City of Zurich is beautiful, interesting and busy. Loved it for the extensive transportation system they have. Lucerne was my favorite city of all we visited. It is beautiful and a little more quaint than Zurich. The views are beautiful, the people a bit less rushed. We stayed at the Radisson Blu Hotel, which wasn't really up to par in the opinion of several I spoke to who were on the tour. The beds were uncomfortable and the room we had was like a college dormitory. However, the restaurant was top notch. The food was excellent and the presentation superb. I would hope that if AMA gets enough complaints about the hotel they will reconsider using it and finding something more in line with the one in Zurich. Now the tours, we took every tour available to us. All but two were included. We took both optional tours and are extremely happy we did. They are pricy but well worth it in my opinion. I, as I said, was extremely happy with the tour, it exceeded my expectations. The food on the ship was excellent, the entertainment was all right, not to our tastes but we didn't mind we found other things to do. The cabin was clean and comfortable. The service could not be better. Here is the best part of the entire trip: the other passengers. I was concerned about traveling with my sister as I thought we would be among only couples. But, not so. There were Mothers and daughters, friends, couples, singles traveling too. We made some dear friends on the trip. There were 8 of us who ended up spending our time together, two couples, a gal traveling alone, another who was traveling with her stepmother and my sister and me. What a diverse group, yet strong bonds developed between us and I anticipate that we will keep in touch well after this trip is a distant memory. We have even decided to plan another trip together. All I can say is if anyone says they didn't have a great time, it was their own fault because AMA Waterways definitely did all they could to insure that everyone had a good time. I recommend AMA Waterways as the way to travel. Smaller boat, excellent service and their staff is the absolute best. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2013
I just returned from sailing on the Amalyra, Europe's Rivers and Castle Tour (Paris to Prague, 6-25-13) with my sister and mother. Easiest way to describe the journey - a fabulous experience - a five-star hotel set on top of a very ... Read More
I just returned from sailing on the Amalyra, Europe's Rivers and Castle Tour (Paris to Prague, 6-25-13) with my sister and mother. Easiest way to describe the journey - a fabulous experience - a five-star hotel set on top of a very quiet barge that glides down beautiful rivers. I'm in the hotel business, so I can be pretty critical. First off, the ship was absolutely spotless. You could literally eat off any surface on this ship. Cabins are small compared to a hotel room, but plenty of space to unpack and stow belongings – you’re not in the room that much anyway. French balcony, the ceiling-to-floor sliding door/window, made the room seem plenty spacious. Bathrooms were tiny, but laid out very well. Showers were wonderful (long hair needs good pressure.) I would suggest putting in memory foam mattresses - beds were a bit hard with the scaled-down mattress depth and no box spring. Ratko, the hotel manager, ran a very tight operation. At no point during the time on the ship did we experience ANY half-hearted or poor service. Having the crew made up of mostly couples obviously keeps the morale and service culture thriving. The aft lounge was beautiful, but they had just refinished the floor so it needed a lot more airing out - maybe windows that could open? Housekeeping staff was excellent and we absolutely loved the towel surprise and the little touches each night. The captain, Hank, and the very small contingent of sailors performed what seemed to me a miraculous feat of moving this floating hotel down the rivers and through the 55 locks. The nautical crew never seemed to be off shift; and yet they always smiled when the passengers pestered them with questions. We saw a Viking ship sailing in the opposite direction one day and it had peeling paint and a run-down appearance. The Amalyra sparkled in comparison with gleaming paint and polished wood. The crew never rested between sailing and sprucing. Again, the entire ship was spotless. Be warned - the sun deck does close down often (high water - low bridges), but there was always seating around the wheel house. The food service on board takes into account that people are waking at different times. The early bird offering in the lounge is a great idea - loved the 24-hour coffee machine. Having 2 options for lunch - lighter fare in the lounge rather than table service in the dining room was also a great feature. The culinary team was excellent. The menu each night was varied and the food beautifully prepared and presented. The menus for both lunch and dinner offered plenty of options. I heard some grumbling about wanting more regional fare. However, 7 nights of unfamiliar German food would have caused massive complaints. It is a great mix of cuisines. We were a party of 3, so the table arrangements caused us to seek out new dinner partners. Some large groups ran to the dining room and "hoxied" tables - sort of rude. Free flowing wine and beer during meals were served by the bartending staff, who always had a smile and a very generous pouring hand. Bar service is not included, but the prices were very reasonable and, again, very generously poured. Entertainment was provided most nights, variety of styles. Some got people dancing - Oh, my 82-year-old mother and those spiked heels! Visions of hospital trips and casts abounded but she had a blast because the atmosphere was fun and festive. The final artist of the cruise was a bit of a diva apparently and actually stopped her performance to shush the passengers. Since this was the last night of the cruise, maybe a band-type of entertainment would have been more appropriate when people were enjoying conversing with each other before leaving the next day. Amawaterways advertises that the ship docks at small towns which you can disembark and stroll to the town center. Be warned that this is true for only SOME of the docking sites. Your excursions are included (with the exception of Rothenburg) but you are bussed to most locations. Some local guides were better than others (a small complaint that a few talked way too much), Keeping us tourists together is probably akin to herding cats. Almost lost someone in Heidelberg, but the guy just didn't get on the right bus. Local guide was in a panic until all the guides added their numbers together. Buses were also spotless, drivers amazing (although a few us saw death coming going up to Bernkastle - thank goodness we backed up - LOL.) Vox system for tours is excellent. I saw many other tour groups huddled around their guides trying to hear instead of being able to enjoy the experience. System was easy to use and pretty flawless. Our cruise manager Kata was very knowledgeable, but seemed a bit stressed at times. I think they need to give them an assistant on the cruise. Organization is excellent, but sometimes info was presented in such a way that it was a bit confusing. Language was never an issue - English was spoken by all the crew and staff - accents could be heavy however. The daily "newspaper" which explained where, what and when was a great feature. Be aware that if you do the land portion - hotel in Paris was in the middle of the left bank (we chose to stay elsewhere and meet the tour for the transfer) and didn't scream "I'm in Paris!" Also passengers were a bit upset when they realized Prague was a four-hour bus ride from Nuremberg. It wasn't that bad, small rest stop break in between. Intercontinental in Prague was beautiful and extremely close to where you want to play tourist. The price for the entire tour was expensive - be prepared. You are not nickel-and-dimed to death - so it was very relaxing when on board (loved the warm towels and tea when we returned from an outing) - but this is not a cheap way to see Europe. You are pampered, wined and dined, entertained and astounded by the beauty of the land, buildings and sheer history of the area. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat - as soon as I pinch my pennies and save up for it. Amawaterways hits every note with precision, excellent service and top-notch accommodations.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
I just got back from the AmaDolce, 7 night Danube cruise from Budapest to Nurmberg. After 33 ocean cruises, it was time to experience the wonders of River Cruising in Europe. As a travel agent, people look to me for my expertise, and I ... Read More
I just got back from the AmaDolce, 7 night Danube cruise from Budapest to Nurmberg. After 33 ocean cruises, it was time to experience the wonders of River Cruising in Europe. As a travel agent, people look to me for my expertise, and I needed to experience this, so I could sell it to my clients. We flew in a day early (something we always recommend to our flying customers) and enjoyed the hillside Buda part of the city. The next day, we checked into the beautiful AmaDolce ship to begin our voyage. Even though we flew in early, our luggage was still lost for several days, but it is so nice to get into the city a day early so you can get a chance to catch your breath before beginning your journey. It also allows a little wiggle room in case you have flight delays, etc. Instead of including all the details about the trip and the port stops, etc, I have decided to critique the ship and river cruising in general, and to explain the differences that made this trip stand out so much above the rest. First of all, instead of thousands of passengers, this ship holds just over 120 passengers. The crew knew us by name, recognized us when they saw us, smiled and greeted us each time they could catch our eye contact, and treated us like a guest in their home. They were always pleasant, friendly, smiling and had the gift of service The things that stood out most are: The steaming hot towels waiting for us as we boarded the ship after an excursion The complimentary (and good quality) wine included with dinner The complimentary shore excursions, with terrific, local guides who love their cities. The complimentary head sets to use on the excursions, so you could hear the guide without having to be right next to him/her. This allowed us to stay close, yet take a few steps away to make pictures, etc. The extra complimentary drinks they threw in as surprises, like Gluwein (hot wine served during the cold months) when you came back from a shore excursion, the blue cocktail (champagne & blue curaso) when we passed the European Continental Divide, the welcome champagne toast with the captain, the farewell champagne toast with all the staff, more Gluwein after each excursion, The complimentary bottled water in the cabin (which was replenished each day). The coffee station which provided 24 hour complimentary coffees, espresso, lattes and more, with a simple push of the button The relatively low cost of drinks purchased at the bar during non-dinner hours. The plush bathrobes and slippers in each cabin. The FREE internet, which was sometimes slow when we were in the locks, but definitely fast most other times (they included an "internet forecast" in the daily planner, so you could plan when to get online for fastest service). The fact that our flight home was not till 4:30pm and they let us stay on board the ship and enjoy the lounge area, including light lunch buffet until our cab came to pick us up at the ship about 1:30. The delicious food. Portions were smaller than in America, but they were large enough. We could not finish the plate each night. Breakfast and lunch had a buffet for quick service, and we could order additional items from the menu from our smiling server. Dinner had 3 fantastic daily special choices, a chef's suggested menu, and a few standard items that were available anytime. Not once in the whole week did we have to ask for a glass to be refilled before someone offered to refill it for us Our luggage was lost in transit and the Cruise Manager personally tracked our luggage each day and kept us informed as to his efforts and findings. He kept looking until he found all the bags and gave us an estimate of when each one would arrive at the ship. I spoke to several passengers about their current and previous experience with AmaWaterways and how it compared to other river cruises, and each one I spoke to said that this was the best cruise line for River Cruises. I spoke to several travel agents on board, and most of them agreed that AmaWaterways was the top of the line. Several agents commented that they would only book clients onto AmaWaterways because of their terrific product. I believe Cruising in general is THE BEST way to see the world. You unpack only once and you get to see several different ports of call. I can only imagine if we traveled from city to city any other way, and had to pack and unpack our bags each time we pulled into a new city and a new hotel. What a waste of time that would be, and the stress of keeping up with it all. My week on AmaWaterways on the beautiful AmaDolce was incredible. I will definitely recommend this to my clients and also will take this line again and again, as I explore more rivers. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
Just got back from the cruise. I've been on many ocean cruises, including a couple of times in the Mediterranean. But overall, this was the best. Even though river cruising and this particular cruise line caters to the retired ... Read More
Just got back from the cruise. I've been on many ocean cruises, including a couple of times in the Mediterranean. But overall, this was the best. Even though river cruising and this particular cruise line caters to the retired "blue-hair" crowd, my 2 college age children agree this was their best cruise experience. To be honest, even though I have been on a 3-day Yangtze River cruise exploring the 3 Gorges, this was really my first river cruise. So, as a river cruise neophyte, the comments I make may or may not reflect the typical European river cruise line. Please remember this important point as you read. This cruise appeals to a leisurely-paced crowd interested in culture and history. If high energy cruises with Vegas shows,hairy-chest competitions, and drunk, obese nymphs stuffed into bikinis and gatoring on the dance floor is your shangri-lai ideal of a cruise, look elsewhere. Original ports of call included Nuremberg, Bamberg, Wurzberg, Heidelberg, Rothenberg, Koblenz, Cochem, Bernkastle and Trier. Prague and Paris pre and post cruise excursions were available at additional cost. Amalyra's personal service and attention were fantastic. I am a travel agent, and this particular cruise was marketed to attract a number of travel agents (about a dozen out of approx 120 passengers were agents). Although the president and VP of AMA were on board, I sensed the service we received from the crew was the norm. I definitely will travel AMA again and see if this is the case. The cruise started in Nuremberg, Germany and was originally scheduled to end in Trier traveling the Main, Rhine and Mosel rivers. However, due to the high water level of the Mosel, the ship was forced to avoid Bernkastle (which I was most looking forward to due to the local wine country) and Trier. Instead, we went to Koln. The food and port tours were the highlights of the cruise. The food for the most part was as good as many 5 star restaurants I've experienced with a couple of choices in each stage of the meal. I usually went with the "chef" recommendations in the evening. Dinner included free sodas and all u can drink wine. I expected the wine to rival "2 Buck Chuck" or "Yellowtail," but was surprised to find most of the wine selections from local regions quite good. Cocktails incurred a charge at all times, along with wine during the day. Only one night was my food selection typical of the usual cruise mediocrity. Breakfast was a buffet. Lunch a combination of buffet and a couple of menu entree selections. All u can eat cheese selections accompanied each meal. Afternoon tea with sweets and hors-d'"uvres were served every afternoon. A coffee/cappucino/expresso/hot chocolate machine was available 24/7. Since the ship was less than a year old, the cabins were top-notch. Clean & comfortable decorated in the IKEA motif. Although the square footage was only a little bigger than the standard ocean cruise ship cabin, the layout of the furniture allowed more room to manuever than any other ship on which I've traveled. Thus, my wife and I were able to avoid constantly stepping over each other as what usually happens. The bathroom was larger than on other ships. The shower actually had a door (instead of a mere curtain) and actually had enough room to allow 2 people (not that we did that, mind you!) TVs were LCD flat screens and contained free internet (albeit very slow and available only when the ship was stationed in port. While cruising, the antennae was removed to allow the ship to manuever under bridges.) Complimentary bottle water was in the room. Since we received a complimentary room upgrade, our room had a "French" balcony. This is not a balcony in the true sense (since the ship must pass through locks with just a few inches maneuvering room on either side, real balconies would unwisely reduce the living area of the ship). Instead, "French" balconies are merely sliding glass doors that allow you to stick your head out the door for a 180 degree viewing. Protective bars prevent you from falling out. The exercise room was practically non-existent. It had a few dumb bells and a couple of tread mills. AMA's market niche of retirees (think arthritic joints) along with the ship space limitation I assume are the likely reasons. Tour guides and bus transportation were gratis at all ports. All guides were good except one. The one in Heidelberg was outstanding. In fact, she was key to my family's unanimous opinion that Heidelberg was our favorite city. She even provided us with locally made chocolate. Due to space, I won't elaborate on the actual sights of each port as they don't deviate from what you can learn about them from any guide book. AMA usually offered each local port tour in 3 segments: fast, medium and slow paced. My family always selected the fast pace in order to pack more tourism into our time slot. Each person received ear phones and a radio transmitter to clearly hear the guide. AMA sent us a small, multi-color guide book of the regions we visited 4 weeks prior to the cruise. Reminiscent of a Fodors or Frommers guide. Nice touch. Details about the service.......on cruises, I'm used to being constantly accosted to buy stuff -- port tours, alcohol, souvenirs, pictures (a camera being shoved in my face at every turn), massages, beauty treatments, etc. Not so on AMA. What a relief! Of course, a river cruise is considerably more expensive on average than an ocean cruise. This reflects the fact of having 150 passengers as opposed to 3,000 -- more passengers allow more distribution of fixed costs, even with bigger, more expensive ships. Nonetheless, perhaps the profit margins of river cruising forego the necessity to harass passengers with additional purchases. Our airline lost my daughter's suitcase. Upon boarding, my wife asked the ship's purser to make contact with US Airways to ascertain if they found the suitcase to deliver it at a future port of call. Though the suitcase never materialized, the next day the cruise director (whose name is Elke. She's from Belgium and deserves meritous recognition) offered us free laundry service. Please note, we did not request this. The ship merely volunteered to do this in light of our lost luggage, saving us over $200. As I mentioned earlier, due to a rising river water level, the ship was diverted from the originally scheduled last 2 ports. No problem for my family, but it caused a minor level of hysteria for some of the older passengers set in their ways. They were disturbed about making their connections with flights, continuing with their holiday, etc. Elke tracked me down to inquire of my plans at the cruise conclusion. I had reserved a car to drive from Trier at the cruise end to Frankfurt (MUCH less expensive and considerably more flexible than taking the train), where our flight departs the following day. Obviously, with the Amalyra no longer continuing to Trier placed my car reservation in jeopardy. The next day, Elke informed me they had contacted my car rental company and rearranged my reservation to allow me to pickup my car in our final port of call at no additional cost. Moreover, since the car rental office was about 20 minutes away, AMA paid for the cost of the taxi. Clearly, AMA bent over backwards to accommodate its passengers throughout the cruise -- even with the unexpected complications from Mother Nature. From the hallway comments I heard from the other passengers, they felt the same. And when you consider that AMA assisted 120 passengers or so in making alternate concluding cruise arrangements, that's a lot of work for the Amalyra crew 24 hours before the cruise ended. In the end, I heard no disgruntlement from any other passenger. One final note. I do like good wine. And I was especially thrilled at the prospect of going through a German wine experience of visiting Riesling vineyards and wineshops. The unexpected change in the cruise itinerary prevented this opportunity. But as I stated earlier, I cannot blame AMA as this was due to rising river water levels. In the event, though, any AMA personnel reads this critique, I encourage you to incorporate such an experience in future cruises in a more pronounced way. I thoroughly enjoy historical and cultural sights and museums. But incorporating alternative visits, such as wineries or beerhalls which are so endemic to German lifestyle, to the standard sightseeing fare I believe provides a richer holiday experience. BOTTOM LINE: Only superlative comments for AMA. Read Less
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