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Sail Date: March 2019
My husband and I went to France for my 50th birthday. We spent a week prior to the AMA cruise in Paris, Reims and Bordeaux. Boarded the boat in Bordeaux and spent an amazing week with the crew and guests of the AMADolce. If you want to ... Read More
My husband and I went to France for my 50th birthday. We spent a week prior to the AMA cruise in Paris, Reims and Bordeaux. Boarded the boat in Bordeaux and spent an amazing week with the crew and guests of the AMADolce. If you want to relax or be active, AMA accommodates. We road bikes in several ports with a guide along with wine tasting. On the last day we went on our own riding excursion with other guests and had a wonderful day exploring on our own. We like flexibility and AMA did not disappoint. The only thing you need to be sure you are on time for is dinner. If you arrive too late, you may miss some of the available appetizers. Food was delicious! My husband set up golf in a few of the ports and I participated in the available AMA excursions. Most of which I loved. There was one bus excursion with wine tasting that was good, but the bus ride was too long. We drove around and just looked out the window at sites. After wine tasting, we were all tired, so it was tough. All in all, the boat was great! Easy to get around and facilities were really accommodating. Would suggest doing the Chef's Dinner one night. It is an overall tasting menu paired with wine. There is a fitness instructor on board and workouts were really good. We would definitely recommend the AMADolce Bordeaux cruise to anyone! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Wanted to get an overview of French wines and this was an exceptional choice. We’ve done Viking and wanted to try AMA. Have to say this was good choice. They’re close in format but AMA offers a bit more in terms of activities. ... Read More
Wanted to get an overview of French wines and this was an exceptional choice. We’ve done Viking and wanted to try AMA. Have to say this was good choice. They’re close in format but AMA offers a bit more in terms of activities. Also most everything is included in AMA Where Viking had a bit more ala carte choices. The crew were just the best. John our cruise director was on top of everything and very warm. The wait crew were equally skilled and we loved getting to know Artur! Every crew person we engaged with gave us superior service. The tours were great with the tour guides exceptional in all areas. Top notch!Great ship clean and well appointed. My only ask would have been for more time in St Emillion and maybe for AMA to offer wine shipping back to states so we could have consolidated wine purchases vs having to shop back from each Château. A ten for me! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
i called ama 3x to book a back to back cruise w/ Normandy and Bordeau. at no time was i told this was a wine themed cruise nor that it was also a cooking cruise. Joann who has a show on PBS invited 40 0f her customers so instead of ... Read More
i called ama 3x to book a back to back cruise w/ Normandy and Bordeau. at no time was i told this was a wine themed cruise nor that it was also a cooking cruise. Joann who has a show on PBS invited 40 0f her customers so instead of enrichment lectures we had cooking demos. boring. i was on the wrong cruise. i usually cruise w/ uniworld, therefore, i am used to exceptional service, but since i had just come from Amalyra (see my review) where i was pleasantly surprised w/ outstanding service and 5 star dining. i had clear expectations of amawaterways. The ship's public rooms and my cabin were identical. the coffee machine set up in the bar served great coffee on both ships. postcards were provided, stamped and mailed, free. if u buy your own postcard they charge for a stamp, but still mail. my grandchildren luv getting postcards. even better they arrived. Uniworld and Viking mail postcards, but they do not always arrive. i was warmed by the 2 postcards i received when i got home (one from ea. ship) thanking me for cruising w/ them. I also appreciate the stretch and yoga classes. on ocean cruises yoga is extra. i am baffled by the inconsistencies in service between Amalyra and Amadolce. My room stewardess from Amalyra was outstanding, therefore, the poor service provided by my steward on this cruise was glaring. he didn't clean my room while i was at breakfast so i would have to go to the bar to wait while he finished. he constantly forgot to replenish my bottled water and toiletries. i kept going to the front desk to meet my needs. when i asked him to dispose of my dying rose, he refused saying he would remove it tomorrow. i threw it out. Dining was a nightmare. I am diabetic and need an evening snack. on Lyra i received a plate (sans melon at my request) of pineapple, blueberries, bananas, apples, orange slices, kiwi. on Dolce the chef provided only pineapple. i am at a loss ... breakfast on both ships was fruit abundant. On Lyra, at dinner, they let me order double veggies or i could choose fish from one entree and vegtables from another. on Dolce i requested they hold the risotto and i was told by the water i had to have the meal set out on the menu. i left the risotto which was ok as long as i took what was printed on the menu. no extra veggies let alone combining meals. i had to order 2 entrees and combine myself i recycle religiously and wasting food appalls me. so i ate the menu item. I do not understand the rigid, inflexible kitchen and wait staff. most of the shore excursions ended in wine tasting. I sought out Dragan, the cruise coordinator (yes, that is his real name) who steered me towards a guide who, like myself, had a degree in art history. Dragan had charisma and exceptional customer relation skills. He also led the post-cruise into the Loire valley. Wheniwhmpered that iwas anold lady and not used to 40 degree celsius weather, he shortened the walking tour. he also arranged for a trolley to take usto the next chateau. my gratitude knows no bounds. the tour of the chateaus in the Loire Valley made the cruise all worthwhile for me. The cruise itself sucked. the postcruise was outstanding. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We chose AmaDolce because we, along with another couple, enjoy wine, the date worked for us and AmaWaterways had great reviews. Although we have taken several ocean cruises, this was our first river cruise. We absolutely loved it. ... Read More
We chose AmaDolce because we, along with another couple, enjoy wine, the date worked for us and AmaWaterways had great reviews. Although we have taken several ocean cruises, this was our first river cruise. We absolutely loved it. We flew into Paris a few days prior to our departure from Bordeaux, and explored on our own - we had a blast! The morning of our cruise we took the train to Bordeaux, and coincidentally met our cruise director at the train station - he was taking the AmaDolce pre-cruise group to Bordeaux. We took a short cab ride from the train station to our ship. We rolled our luggage and didn't make it to the ship before the crew was there to take our luggage - straight to our room. When we walked onboard, they asked our name, checked us off a list, and that was the end of check-in! There were about 100 guests onboard. At the reception desk we asked to signup for the Chef's Table; as my husband was explaining to the receptionist that I have a gluten allergy, the maitre'd walked up to us and told me not to worry - he would oversee all of my meals, advise the waitstaff, and just to enjoy our stay. So easy, no hassle - and that was experience throughout the entire cruise. The cabins were a little smaller than on an ocean cruiser, but it worked for us. Our room had a French balcony - a full size sliding glass door/window. There was a railing and no balcony, but the door/window slid open and we had two upholstered chairs to sit in and take in the fresh air. It sounds odd, but it was really perfect bc we had the privacy/ac of our room but the wonderful fresh air and view. We loved it! The food was really good. Unlike the ocean cruisers, there was really no need for specialty dining. And, it was extremely fresh bc it was loaded daily from the port we were in. Breakfast and lunch included menu options as well as a buffet. The crew worked hard at keeping the buffet clean and appetizing in appearance. Fresh fruit & delicious cheeses were always available for each meal. Breakfast also included a made-to-order egg station along with the buffet. Lunch always ended with an ice cream station - a waiter serving various flavors of fresh ice cream, toppings, and whipped cream. There was a cocktail hour every evening before dinner, which included appetizers, an open bar and signature drink. The cruise director talked for about 10 minutes about the next day's activities, and we were free to socialize with other guests until dinner. For dinner, there was the daily Chef's Recommendation, along with a few daily options; they also had about 5-6 choices that were always on the menu. It was always fresh, very tasty and creative. For us, the nightly dinners were better than the Chef's Table we attended - we had fun because it was a small group with a beautiful view from the room, but the food wasn't any more special than the nightly dinners. Maybe our expectations were too high? The wines were local and good; we are not wine experts, and it was fine for us. For anyone with a selective wine palette, they probably would not be impressed. We had great excursions (with some bike riding tour options) to vineyards, castles, chateaus, & cathedrals in Bordeaux, Cadillac, Pauilllac, Blaye, Bourg, & Libourne. There were several wine tastings which we really enjoyed. All of our tour guides were very knowledgeable and entertaining. Too much to go into it here, so you'll need to read about it on Amawaterways' website. But, definitely an A+ for all of the tours. The housekeeping crew were awesome. Our rooms were always keep clean and quickly refreshed. Whenever we returned to our room, it was freshened - after breakfast, lunch, excursions, etc. - it didn't matter. But, they were extremely respectful of our privacy and would leave if we walked up to our room. They were very responsive to any request, worked quickly and with a great attitude. I know there was a talented musician in the lounge, and a singing trio one night for entertainment in the lounge, but we didn't go. We preferred to leave the ship and tour the town we were in. It was great to walk around after eating such a big meal at night, LOL! I loved that about the river cruise - we just swiped our card so that they would know we were off the ship, and swiped in when we returned. We extended our vacation with the three day land post cruise in Loire Valley, which we really enjoyed. Once again, our cruise director and local guide were great and very instrumental in making this post cruise worthwhile. We had breakfast in the hotel, and we were on our own to eat for lunch and dinner. On the last night we stayed in the Pullman Hotel in CDG airport. The rooms were really nice & the food in the hotel was very good. Our tour director had our flight info and, after we checked in, walked the group over to showed us where to go. We literally walked to the airport in the morning which was about 50 yards away. It was a short tram ride to our terminal. It could not have been easier! And, the unbelievable part was that we didn't hear a plane the entire time we were in the hotel. The whole cruise experience was wonderful, relaxing, entertaining, and educational! We walked so much that we didn't gain weight, and that's a true accomplishment since we ate so much! LOL! Speaking of weight, there was a Wellness Director on board, conducting exercises every day. We will definitely do it again! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Taste of Bordeaux – AMA Waterways AMA Dolce – May 3-10, 2018 We had an opportunity to take our second European river cruise aboard AMA Waterways Taste of Bordeaux itinerary onboard AMA Dolce. This is a roundtrip sailing from ... Read More
Taste of Bordeaux – AMA Waterways AMA Dolce – May 3-10, 2018 We had an opportunity to take our second European river cruise aboard AMA Waterways Taste of Bordeaux itinerary onboard AMA Dolce. This is a roundtrip sailing from Bordeaux, France through the Bordeaux wine region. Differing from the many other 7 day river or ocean cruises we have been on, this one was a Thursday to Thursday itinerary. Arriving in Bordeaux we took a local taxi to the riverside embarkation in Bodeaux on the Garonne River. The Garonne leads leads to the Gironde Estuary, and is subject to tidal rise and fall, and is for centuries has enabled ocean going vessels to load the wines of Bordeaux for shipping around the world. We spent the first night in Bordeaux, and familiarized ourselves with the AMA Dolce. Its capacity is 146 passengers, and we had a few vacant cabins. It consists of 3 passenger decks, and the topside deck with seating, a track, a small hot tub, and the captain’s piloting station. Decks 2 and 3 contain cabins with French balconies, the lounge, and the dining area. Deck 1 contains cabins at the waterline, with small windows just above water level, but the cabins are similarly sized to those with French balconies. At the rear of deck 3 is the 28 seat Chef’s Table where guests can request seating daily for dinner, at no additional charge. There is one elevator between decks 2 and 3 for those with limited mobility. Evening entertainment is limited to a DJ, or a few local musicians brought aboard for the evening while in port. There was also a wellness representative that daily led optional exercise, yoga or and some slide presentations in the lounge. Each evening before dinner, which is open seating between 7-9pm, the cruise director holds a 15 minute briefing of the coming day’s excursions and schedule. Breakfast is buffet style, including made to order eggs as well as scrambled eggs, meats, fruit and juices, and a wide variety of pastry. Lunches include both salad and buffet items, as well as optional entrees from a menu, ice cream or sorbet, and a cheese assortment. Dinners are menu driven, with appetizers, salads, soups, entrées and desserts. Entrees typically included a meat and a fish selection. Local wines and beer are available at no cost at lunch and dinner. We did enjoy the Chef’s Table one evening for dinner. It included an exceptional menu of appetizers, salad and soup, an entrée plate with four mini entrée items, and dessert. Special wines were served. Our days typically included an excursions of sightseeing in the mornings and a visit to a chateau with wine tasting in the afternoons. Buses took us to the sites, but there was some walking during the excursions and chateau visits. Day 2 included a guided walk through Cadillac in the morning, and after lunch we visited Roquetaillade Castle, occupied for 700 years by the same family. This was followed by a visit to a Chateau Guiraud for Sauternes wine tasting. On day 3 we sailed to Pauillac in the morning, and boarded buses for a drive through the Medoc region where cabernet sauvignon grapevines stretched as far as we could see, in most directions, and included such famed Grand Cru Class chateaus as Chateau Lafite Rothchild and Chateau Mouton Rothchild. We visited Chateau Gruaud Larose for a tour of the chateau and the wine cellar before wine tasting. On day 4 we sailed outbound to Blaye for a tour of the 17th century Blaye Citadel, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After lunch we visited Bourg,with a Carraige Museum, underground passageways in oil tanks from WWII, and ended with a wine festival complete with local musician, and dancing and wine tasting. Generally at any of the wine tastings they included some local bread, cheeses, and sausages to accompany the wine. On day 5 we sailed down the Dordogne River to Libourne, the heart of the St Emilion and Fronsac region, the Bordeaux area’s most elite wine regions. We bused into the historic St Emilion town, with picturesque architecture, ancient monuments and a monolithic church carved out of one piece of limestone rock, and then went under the church to discover its catacomb and caves. After some time to walk and enjoy the town and it many wineshops and restaurants, we bused to Chateau de Ferrand for winetasting of GrandCru Classe wines. On both days 4 and 5 there were also optional bike tours of the area. On day 6 we had the opportunity to walk into Libourne in the morning and enjoy an open air market in the Bastide town in the morning including samples of sausages, cheeses, and local chocolate. In the afternoon we boarded buses for the short trip to Fronsac for a tour of the grounds and historic Chateau La Dauphine and sample Fronsac regional wine. On day 7 we returned to Bordeaux and spent the morning on a walking tour of the center of the city, with its historic cathedral, city hall, and high end shops, and then were bused to the Bordeaux Wine Museum. The uniquely shaped 8 story building included interactive exhibits on wine smells, food pairing, and wine growing, and ended with wine tasting on the 8th floor with a panoramic view of the city. In the afternoon of this last day, after lunch we were free to enjoy the city on our own. After dinner, the vessel got underway for an hour from 9:30-10:30pm to view the lit-up city from the river…a post card moment! Shipboard gratuities were about as expected on a cruise, but we also tipped the daily guides 2 Euros and the bus drivers 1 Euro each tour. I had ordered about 300 Euros from my bank in the US before leaving, and used all by 5 Euros on the taxis and the shipboard gratuities. There was not much need for currency during the days. We left the Ama Dolce at 9am on the 8th day by taxi for the return to the Bordeaux airport and the trip home. As we are wine fans, I am very glad we had this opportunity to learn more about the wide variety of Bordeaux wines, as well as visit historic areas. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2018
We just finished a cruise on Ama Dolce in the Bordeaux region and we could not have been happier. We have been on one other River Cruise boat and although it was very nice Ama made us feel more like family and the food was far superior. ... Read More
We just finished a cruise on Ama Dolce in the Bordeaux region and we could not have been happier. We have been on one other River Cruise boat and although it was very nice Ama made us feel more like family and the food was far superior. Although it would have been nice to have rooms with balcony's ( the slider opened up but the room did not extend into a balcony) there was sufficient room nonetheless. Our cabin was cleaned to perfection every day by Andreaa and she was always very friendly and helpful. Our Cruise Manager, Natalia, went out of her way to make sure we were happy and if we needed anything she was right on top of it. She really took the time to get to know us and we enjoyed her company. The Housekeeping Manager, Dierk, was always there to greet us and chat as were many of the other crew. The food was absolutely outstanding and the service in the dining room and lounge was top notch. We particularly liked the excursions, which was a lot of biking during the day into the vineyard areas and through small villages. We also visited several wineries which were all quite nice. The people that were hired to conduct our tours were well versed and enjoyable and our safety, especially when we were biking was always looked after. I would highly recommend this cruise line to anyone and to top of their hospitality upon our return home there was a hand written post card from the crew thanking us for sailing with them. I'm not sure who get's that fun duty to send out over 100 thank you notes after every sailing but that special touch meant a lot to us. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We took our first river cruise on the AmaDolce Bordeaux cruise. I should have checked the amount of cruising because there was very little scenic cruising on this route. To me, this river cruise is just assisted living on a ship. Your ... Read More
We took our first river cruise on the AmaDolce Bordeaux cruise. I should have checked the amount of cruising because there was very little scenic cruising on this route. To me, this river cruise is just assisted living on a ship. Your meals are prepared for you at specific times and you go on excursions on large buses. We're not quite at that age, yet. If you like river cruises, then I would recommend not upgrading unless you have a daily scenic cruise. Otherwise, you're paying for balconies and doors to use while you're sitting at the dock, sometimes with other ships attached to your ship. Not really worth the extra money. Plus, and this applies to all Amawaterways ships, DO NOT get a room on the same level with the Chef's Restaurant. Rowdy and inebriated folks will come down the hallway at all hours and will wake you up if you choose to retire after 10PM. We need to age 10 more years until river cruising would be worthwhile. We should have just gotten a hotel in Bordeaux; taken some private chateau tours and then sat at a wine bar every day to try all the different wines. Then, go to a wine shop, order and ship. A local Bordeaux river cruise would have been better. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We were on a wine cruise. The ship is lovely, the staff fabulous. We enjoyed the cities and tours we took of wineries and sites. The cruise director Chris was very good. I generally enjoyed the food but after a few days the food started ... Read More
We were on a wine cruise. The ship is lovely, the staff fabulous. We enjoyed the cities and tours we took of wineries and sites. The cruise director Chris was very good. I generally enjoyed the food but after a few days the food started to taste the same. My last meal of a white fish and risotto was not very good at all. My biggest issue, food handling. I was surprised upon arrival on the ship to find platters of food available without staff present and passengers served themselves. They had many food stations similar to this at breakfast and lunch and I was really uncomfortable with this. Many people do not wash their hands and with everyone touching the utensils many times this can only lead to disaster, which it did for me. I had a terrible gastrointestinal illness as several other passengers did. I am careful to wash my hands many times but on a ship, illness is sometimes unavoidable. I am not an experienced cruiser except for a one time Mediterranean cruise on a smaller ship. On that particular cruise line, I recall that they did not have food available sitting out for self serve. Also, unfortunately, our cabin was on the side of the ship that was parked next to another ship for 24 hours. We did not have a view or sunlight for that amount of time. So bottom line, a very nice ship and staff but I would not travel with them again unless they improve some of the food handling procedures and find out if blocking out my rooms view by another ship would be avoidable. I realize that is no guarantee but it would be an improvement I am sure. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
This was our first ever cruise (river or sea). So for those who live in the cruise lifestyle, we may not be the best review for you. While we have never been very attracted to the cruise lifestyle, we have always been interested ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise (river or sea). So for those who live in the cruise lifestyle, we may not be the best review for you. While we have never been very attracted to the cruise lifestyle, we have always been interested in trying a river cruise in France. We are also wine enthusiasts and collectors with a special love for French red wines. So when we heard that AMAways was having a special wine cruise in the Bordeaux region, we thought that this would be a good opportunity to try a cruise and to get the lay of the Bordeaux region for a drive trip we are planning next year. Expectation: Our expectation was that we would be on a one-week cruise through the Bordeaux region, a cruise solely focused on French wines, having wine tastings everyday on board, going on wine tours everyday in a different port, enjoying specialized wine-focused dinners every night, and sharing the wine cruise experience with passengers/fellow wine enthusiasts from all over the world. The reality was that we did have a nice time, but we were on a one-week cruise through the Bordeaux wine region, on a boat full of Americans, was provided three 40-minute wine lectures and one wine pairing dinner over the week, and only a small percentage of the tours offered over the week were actually focused on wine (because you are in wine country, a tour of a small town or chateau does not constitute it as a wine tour). It may be the standard for the wine cruises, as we are not experienced in river cruises, but it did leave us wanting more. Overall, we had a great time. But given the expectations, we are not sure we would go again unless there were changes to how a wine cruise was conducted. Boat: The AmaDolce is a very nice boat. It is a good size river boat and has all the amenities. The lounge was very large and the dining facility was also very nice. Because most of the ship's movement was done late night, we really did not experience the top deck area. Our one disappointment with the boat is that it spent 90% of the time in ports and we did not spend more time underway, enjoying the sights of the river from the boat. That is what we had thought we would be doing on a cruise. Food: For us, one of the best experiences of this cruise was the food. Chef Dumitrascu and his kitchen cooked up three fantastic meals each day. If you did not want a full meal, they had light breakfasts and lunches in the lounge as well. Breakfasts were very well managed in the dining rom. They had buffet style with self-serving sections, to include the standard eggs, bacon, and such, a breakfast pastries section, a bagels and lox section, and various juices. There was an omelet chef every morning taking orders and there were menu items you could order through your food server if you want. The eggs benedict were my favorite breakfast item. Lunch was also very good. It was a menu lunch and also had some goodies out in buffet style available. They had a salad bar as well. It was very functional. The dinners were amazing. It was also a menu dinner and each night it had great selections that made it difficult to choose. The table service was very impressive. The tables in the dining room were set up as tables of 2, 4, and a few that were tables of 6 or bigger. The menu options each night always had a fish and a beef selection. While the theme of the cruise was wines of Bordeaux, the meals onboard were not. They were French, but they did not appear to be regional dishes of where we were visiting each day. That would have been nice. But I am not complaining about the quality of the food at all. This was by far the highlight of our cruise. We did not expect the quality of food and service at each meal on a cruise. The wine that was served with the meals was good. While the selection was good, they were somewhat limited and were not really representative of the regions we were visiting each day of this wine cruise. That would have made it more interesting. I would have also loved it if they could have had each dinner be wine-paired-themed. While we had just one wine-paired dinner on the fourth night of the cruise, which was very good, it would have been in theme of the cruise to have one every night, even if it was not a full-blown pairing dinner. I think it would have been fun and with the scope of the cruise. I do want to mention a special dining experience they provide in a dining room located in the back of the boat. It is called The Chef’s Table, and you need to make reservations. The dining room seats around 24 people. The fixed multi-course menu does not change during the cruise so everyone gets to sample the same meal. It is a six course meal and both the food and the service was excellent. It was a nice experience that I would recommend to everyone. Port Visits and tours: While we were not really interested in the castle and chateau tours offered on this cruise, there were very few options with respect to choosing specific wine tours at each port visit. Cadillac – We loved the little town of Cadillac but we had no time to visit, explore, or taste the wines. The morning tours took us swiftly through the town and then back to the boat. Then after lunch we were taken 30 minutes out of Cadillac by bus to see a castle in Mazeres, France and then to vineyard in Sauterns for a tour and a wine tasting of the sweet wine. We had the first of three wine lectures in the lounge that afternoon, which was a French wine introduction lecture. We were scheduled to spend the night in Cadillac so we had planned to go out that night and enjoy the local wines and scenery. However, the schedule had changed, due to tidal issues, and we relocated the boat back to Bordeaux that late afternoon. It was a shame as Cadillac was one of the most interesting towns we had visited on this cruise. Pauillac – The town was not really as historic looking as Cadillac, and we opted out of the morning walking tour of the town. We instead walked around on our own and visited shops and bought some wine. The afternoon tour started with a bus ride around the top winemaking vineyards and chateaus of the area. We then stopped at a Grand Cru Classe estate which we toured their cellars and had a Medoc wine tasting. I really liked this tour and was what I thought we would be doing every day. It was a great wine, and I bought a few bottles. Blaye – We spent four hours in Blaye before the boat moved on to Bourg. In the morning, we did a bike tour of Blaye. It was not really wine-related and mostly focused on the Citidel of the town. Before we headed back to the boat, I talked to one of the local bike tour guides into taking me to a local wine shop that specializes in their regional wines for a tasting. We ended up bringing most of the bike tour folks with us when they found out. I bought a few bottles there as well. We had lunch onboard as the boat made its way to Bourg. During the transit we had our second wine lecture, the Wines of Bordeaux. Bourg - We skipped the walking tour of Bourg and ventured out on our own. I found a wonderful wine cellar that had some great wines that I ended up buying. We ended up on top of the hill looking over the town, and attended a special wine festival that was organized especially for the passengers of the boat. It was very nice, had great entertainment, and wonderful wine from vintners who were hosting the event. I bought a few bottles of their wines as well. Libourne.- The town was nice. We skipped the morning walking tour and strolled the streets, exploring and doing some shopping. We took the afternoon tour bus into Saint-Emillion but did not go with the group on their walking tour. Instead we walked around and explored the beautiful town on our own. We did some wine shopping and enjoyed this very beautiful town. One of my favorite visits on the cruise. That evening we had our third and final wine lecture on champagne. We spent the night in Libourne and the next morning we skipped the tour and went into the town of Libourne to explore. After lunch, we were scheduled to go on the Fronsac Wine Tasting tour, one of the tours I was actually looking forward to. Unfortunately, they put us on the wrong bus and we ended up visiting another chateau. I am not sure if the mistake was the staff’s for giving us the wrong boarding card, or we were not paying attention. But it happens. Bordeaux – Our final day was in Bordeaux, where we did a bus and walking tour of the city. Afterword’s, they took us to the wine museum, Cite du Vin. It was very nice and there is a lot to see at that place. We left and had lunch in town before we headed back to the boat. Staff: The staff and the cruise director were all great. The Captain was a bit young, standoff-ish, and not very sociable when engaged in conversation. Because we spent a majority of time in ports, and the distance between ports were not far, he seemed to have plenty of time to be sociable with the passengers if he wanted to. The hotel manager (Raluca) and her staff were fantastic. They really do a great job and I felt as if I was in a five-start hotel with the treatment. Octavian, the maître d’, and his staff was totally attentive to everyone and made each meal a wonderful experience. We looked forward to our meals every day. I had already mentioned the chef, Bogdan, and his staff. They were artists in the meals, presentations, and taste. Our cruise manager, Camille, was great. She was very informative and very busy daily herding the cats between their tours. She did a great job. Also a special recognition to Roberto, Octavian's right hand man. he is a man of many talents, many languages, and always puts a smile on our face when we engage with him. Passengers: If you were expecting to cruise on this boat in France with fellow cruise guests from other nations, be prepared. With the exception of about three couples, the rest were all Americans, over half who were not even on the cruise for the wine and a small group were members of American wine clubs. What we did not know at the time of our purchase of the cruise, and was later explained to us onboard, AMAways focuses these type of cruises on Americans who love the cruise lifestyle and on American wine clubs. The wine clubs, we were told, come aboard these European cruises and provide daily wine lectures on American wines (yes American wines) by American winemakers who are pitching their wine clubs to the passengers. However, we were very lucky in our cruise, as the American wine club organizer who brought his group onboard our cruise had actually hired a wine educator from Paris to ride the ship and provide a series of lectures on French wines only. In addition, the cruise line made some arrangements with some of the winemakers to offer tours during the cruise. Had these not been the case, we do not think we would have stayed on the cruise. In addition, while this cruise was a special wine cruise offered by the cruise line, a large number of the passengers we talked to onboard were not interested in wines (some did not drink wine) and were only on the cruise because they like cruises. Some of the quotes from these passengers included: - "I don't drink wine" - "I don't drink and my husbands just drinks beer" - "I like California wines better" - "Didn't know this was a wine cruise. We wanted to catch the last cruise of the season" - "We signed up through our agent and did not know this was a wine cruise" - "Too many wine tours on this cruise, I just want to go shopping" - "I only drink Rose" Overall, doing a river cruise in Bordeaux was a very nice introduction for us in the world of cruises. While it left us wanting in many of the areas of expectations we had on the cruise, we can understand why many enjoy this lifestyle. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
My wife and I and another couple wanted to explore the Bordeaux region of France and also try out a river cruise. None of the four of us knew Bordeaux, AMA, or river cruising. The entire experience was delightful! First, the ... Read More
My wife and I and another couple wanted to explore the Bordeaux region of France and also try out a river cruise. None of the four of us knew Bordeaux, AMA, or river cruising. The entire experience was delightful! First, the AMADolce is a wonderful ship. It was absolutely immaculate. Everywhere. From the moment our taxi pulled up to the embarkation area, the staff were immediately available to help with our luggage and escort us on board. Every single staff member we met throughout the week could not have been nicer or more professional. They were kind, fun, and anticipated every need. They immediately created a sense of family, warmth and care. The public spaces on the Dolce are beautifully decorated and comfortable. They were spacious. The amount of windows all over the ship contributed to a very open feeling. The dining room was always beautifully appointed with white linens and beautiful tableware. We were in Cabin 204, a category B room. When I was investigating the cruise and realized the cabin sizes were only 170 SQF, I was concerned that the room would be cramped and uncomfortable. While I can't say the room was spacious it was efficient. Beds were great, nice amount of space for hanging or laying out our clothes. The bathroom was very nice. Shower had various jacuzzi spray options. Water pressure was excellent. It was great having the double french windows in the Category B cabin. The opened up the space in the room a great deal. I wouldn't take another river cruise without having double sliding doors/windows like this. The cabin was serviced twice daily. I can see why there is a premium for cabins on the higher decks simply because when you are docked you can see out and over a little better. Cabin 204 was toward the front of the ship and I would opt for cabins toward the front, rather than the rear, when we go again. Dining on board was excellent. Wide selections for breakfast and lunch. Dinner choices each evening were varied with a chef's selection but also some great standard menu items. I would give the food quality a 4 out of 5 in the main dining room. Certainly very good and nothing to complain about but achieving 5 star food quality when serving so many guests would be difficult. We had dinner one evening in the Chef's table restaurant which accommodates about 16 people. It was excellent and I would rate that particular dining experience as a 5. The cruise itinerary itself was perfect. Enough time in ports to enjoy the very enjoyable shore excursions and also have free time as needed. And, enough time on the river itself to enjoy the cruising experience. What we all enjoyed so much was the intimacy with the water and one's surroundings that occurs on a river cruise. Unlike an ocean cruise where the water can be 12 decks below you, on a river cruise everything is right in front you at all times. It makes watching the world go by a very enjoyable experience as things change moment by moment. Our cruise manager, Elia, was absolutely outstanding. If there were any problems behind the scenes, one would never know. Elia had everything operating efficiently and she handled all our individual requests with grace and a smile. Captain Dany was a delight as were the rest of the crew. We can now see why so many of the new friends that we made on board had sailed with AMA previously. The experience was top notch in every way. Thanks, AMA, for a great time and a very memorable vacation. Read Less
AmaDolce Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.5 0.0
Entertainment 3.5 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 2.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 3.0 0.0
Service 5.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0

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