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11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
This was our first-ever river cruise and the only way it could have been better is if the weather had cooperated better. It was mostly cold, temps sometimes in the high 20s at night and mid-40s during the day. Because of this, we did not ... Read More
This was our first-ever river cruise and the only way it could have been better is if the weather had cooperated better. It was mostly cold, temps sometimes in the high 20s at night and mid-40s during the day. Because of this, we did not use the sun deck much at all. We selected this cruise because it was the inaugural American Wine Society (AMS) cruise, of which we are members. The itinerary looked like something we wanted to do, visiting 3 countries along the Danube and destination cities such as Budapest and Vienna that we had not been to. The ship was very nice and the accommodations were as good as any we've had on ocean cruises. Our cabin had a french balcony that we seldom used due to the cold temperatures on the cruise, but it certainly made our cabin (170 sq ft) feel bigger. The bathroom was smaller than most we've had on ocean cruises, but the multi shower head shower with a powerful water stream made up for it. Service was outstanding--everyone, cabin room attendant, wine stewards, restaurant staff, exceeded our expectations. Food was outstanding including entrees we never had on previous cruises. My favorite was the venison and lamb combination. Entertainment was good but not much of it. An entertainer would board the ship for one performance and usually leave right after that, usually at one of the many locks we were going through. AMA did a fantastic job with the excursions. The buses were very nice, the tour guides were friendly and knowlegeable, and the tours themselves interesting and informative. All the tours included the Quiet Vox system that allowed us to hear the guide without being near him. This way we could take pictures and wander around a site without having to stand close to the guide. Our favorite tour was the all day Mondesee/Salzburg tour going through the Alps while it was snowing, and seeing lots of Sound of Music film locations. The AWS conducted wine tastings and selected wine pairings for several of the dinners. We sampled 52 wines onboard through the auspices of AWS and another 10 during wine tasting excursions off ship. We were very satisfied with AMA and their staff. The cruise manager, equivalent of cruise director on ocean cruises, was outstanding, virtually a one-man band organizing all of our activities and keeping everyone happy. Embarkation and debarkation went smoothly. Taxis were requested at a certain time for debarkation and they showed up right on time. We would not hesitate to sail with AMA again. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
We went from Heathrow, there was some confusion at Budapest airport however that was soon resolved and we had a posh taxi to the boat. Firstly the good news, the boat was very clean and the maid service exceptional. The staff were ... Read More
We went from Heathrow, there was some confusion at Budapest airport however that was soon resolved and we had a posh taxi to the boat. Firstly the good news, the boat was very clean and the maid service exceptional. The staff were excellent, a tribute to the enforced tipping system which adds perhaps £10 a day to your costs. Due I suspect to the cost, the average age was perhaps 70 and there were no children on our trip. The choice of guided and unguided excursions was very good although I was disappointed to miss out on a bike tour due to basic maintenance which should have been done. The cabins are small but acceptable, the equipment o/k but had a tendency to malfunction. The shower wasn’t designed for someone of my stature and half the buttons didn’t work but again, o/k. The TV broke on day 4 but we could still use the limited range of films. The food was o/k, there were a couple of good dishes and the majority were acceptable. The soups were poor with the exception of the fish soup which was excellent. There is small restaurant for fine dining at the rear of the boat which you are only allowed to use once. Again the fine dining was o/k, individual items were cooked very well but the combinations showed a confused pallet from the chef. I didn’t understand how one night only 6 people were in the fine dining restaurant, why not open it up if you are low on covers? Wine was free and generously provided at mealtime, probably £6 to £10 quality range. Would have been good if there was a wine list for the week since the wines changed almost daily and it took a long time to get the waiter to find the bottle from two days ago you liked instead of the bottle today you didn’t. I was surprised that the officers didn’t eat in the dining room when the guests ate, this might have given them a less aloof air. The tour manager Orloff was very good and frequently held together events and outings which would otherwise have been a disaster (see comments about entertainment). The entertainment was terrible I think the person who chose the various earnest acts must have been depressed at the time of choosing same. To be fair to the various “singers” the maintenance crew were incapable of repairing a hands free microphone for our entire voyage which made their (and the tour managers) job far more difficult than it need have been. Perhaps the best fist was made by Valerie May who had the sense to provide her own equipment. Finally, I know it sounds picky but if my wife has paid for a bath robe for 7 days, don’t take it away on day 6 because you haven’t enough robes to wash them in time for the next guests! In summary the group maintains it strives for excellence. It needs to gird it’s loins…… Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2010
This was our first river cruise ~ WOW! We arrived in Budapest the day prior to boarding & stayed at the Hilton Hotel on Buda side ~ this was booked at the time of booking the cruise ~ What an excellent location ~ our double room ... Read More
This was our first river cruise ~ WOW! We arrived in Budapest the day prior to boarding & stayed at the Hilton Hotel on Buda side ~ this was booked at the time of booking the cruise ~ What an excellent location ~ our double room overlooked the river & straight across was Parliament building lit up ! The view was like a postcard when we opened the curtains. The next day, we were able to walk down from the hotel to the ship whereby we were welcomed on-board even though we were early we were shown to the lounge where lunch was served until cabins were available. The ship was amazing, sleek, clean and felt very plush. We had a very friendly crew who we got to know due to the size of the passenger/ crew ratio. As on an ocean cruise you only get to recognise a few crew members because of the vast size etc. The passengers were mostly Americans & so friendly (we were the only English) The staterooms are very well equipped and presented. Each day you have free bottled water in your room. The housekeepers do a wonderful job. Food ~ there was an excellent choice & local cuisine & wines relating to the countries we were visiting. The chefs were very creative with the presentation too ! Also the waiters always had smile ~ even though this was their last week! Nothing was ever too much trouble for them. Dress code ~ This is what I was trying to find info on before we went ~ I struggled to find any information only smart casual ~ well for you ladies that also want to know what to pack before you go I will give you a few suggestions We went in the fall though ~ layers, long sleeved t shirts/ blouses/ jumpers cardigans. smart jeans/ cords / trousers no need for skirts unless prefer to wear skirt to trousers. most people had trainers on,but we wore flat leather boots & heels for evening. smart tops for evenings with jeans / leggings. Formal dress for captains night ~ they did request to 'dress up' I wore long maxi dress made from t-shirt fabric ~(no ironing as it rolled up :)But anything goes. If you do go in the fall remember to pack gloves & scarves! Hope this helps you. Excursions & guided walks ~ these were superbly organised by cruise director Lisi ~ every excursion ran like clockwork ! The places we visited were ~ Budapest city tour, Bratislava walking tour Optional Mozart & Strauss concert in Vienna I would recommend this. Vienna city tour, Durnstein walking tour ~ a must to climb up to castle ruins! great views. Melk Abbey, Linz walking tour, excursion choices ~ we went to Salzburg Loved it! Passau walking tour ~ we gave this one a miss and did our own walking tour due to the fact it was thick fog! Last stop Vilshofen where we had 'Oktoberfest' local lager and music/dance. I have listed the places we enjoyed the most 1st ~Budapest this was our favourite city especially when we sailed away at dusk !! I found it quiet moving. 2nd ~ Durnstein ~ very scenic especially if you climb up to the castle ruins joint 3rd ~ Vienna & Salzburg both have lots of history and interesting buildings. This was our first river cruise and we would definately recommend it ~ we only have one weeks holiday at this time of year and it was a great way to see lots of countries in a short time and we met some amazing people too. once home ~ we received a handwritten post card from the captain and crew thanking us for sailing with them ~ what a lovely touch ! Read Less
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