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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2016
This was the second cruise we have made with AMAWaterways. They are all about service from the cruise manager, to housekeeping, to the crew handling the ship. The local guides speak good English and are very knowledgeable. Almost ... Read More
This was the second cruise we have made with AMAWaterways. They are all about service from the cruise manager, to housekeeping, to the crew handling the ship. The local guides speak good English and are very knowledgeable. Almost every walking tour has different walking paces to accommodate everyone so they have an enjoyable time. They are Active, Regular and Gentle. There are two or three choices of tours each day. Local entertainers come aboard each evening which adds to the experience of the area you are traveling through, plus they are a lot of fun and very talented. A guest can be as involved or not involved as they desire each day. The ship is quiet, with high end snacks available all day. The food and the choices are excellent. You can eat as little or much as you wish. Healthy options to the wonderfully decadent. The rooms are clean, I used the laundry service and wish I could have taken them home with me. We have traveled with one other organization, there is no comparison to the quality and customer service in every aspect of traveling and making arrangements with AMAWaterways. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2016
Our first cruise adventure started with a 3 day guided tour of Paris, then took a train to Lyon and boarded the AmaDagio. From the moment we boarded, the crew were amazing. The very welcoming atmosphere, the cleanliness of our cabin, the ... Read More
Our first cruise adventure started with a 3 day guided tour of Paris, then took a train to Lyon and boarded the AmaDagio. From the moment we boarded, the crew were amazing. The very welcoming atmosphere, the cleanliness of our cabin, the quality of the food and dining experiences were so incredibly awesome, even after a month, I continue to spread the word to family, friends and co-workers that this cruise is a "MUST DO" in their lifetime. The Amadagio exceeded our expectations that we are planning our next river cruise. One personal experience that really showed how much they care about each passenger, is one night I was feeling under the weather and didn't go to dinner. About half an hour after dinner started, there a was knock on my cabin door and there they were with a bowl of hot soup and bread and an offer that if I wanted dinner, to give them a ring and they will bring dinner to me. Talk about making me feel like I was very important. At that moment, my spirits were lifted and I slept very well. The daily guided tours to Lyon, Colognes, Vienne, Tourney, Viviers, St. Etienne, Avignon, Arles and Barcelona were so educational that they have sparked my interest into reading more European history, art and architecture. What an awesome learning adventure. My recommendation to anyone, you must do this river cruise. Thank you Amadagio crew of Captain Alex, Cruise Manager Camille and our favorite server, Stella. Thank you for making our first river cruise the best ever. See you soon!!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
It was recommended by 2 family members who travelled in april 2016.The all inclusive nature appealed to us.The various excursions that were included as part of the program gave us value for money.We were very pleased with the crew and ... Read More
It was recommended by 2 family members who travelled in april 2016.The all inclusive nature appealed to us.The various excursions that were included as part of the program gave us value for money.We were very pleased with the crew and the support and assistance they gave at each stop on the trip. The historical sites were lovely and the various wineries were interesting and gave us a greater appreciation of the Rhone valley.Both Avignon and Arles were great stops and were well worth the trip in themselves.We were provided with complimentary room upgrades on day 1 of our voyage which was a very pleasant surprise. I cannot say enough about the staff on board.From captain to first officer on down.Each always seemed to have time to give to passengers.The food was excellent and the chef made a point of dropping by every evening to ask us how we had enjoyed our meal. Once we had a brief critic of a meal and were thanked for bringing it to their attention. As a person who worked in customer service for most of my career I was most impressed from beginning to end. we will return and enjoy AMA again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
Heard that AmaWaterways was very good with excellent services and excursions. I was thrilled with the experience and the trip. We had a wonderful, personable and knowledgeable Cruise Manager who was always there and helpful. The ship ... Read More
Heard that AmaWaterways was very good with excellent services and excursions. I was thrilled with the experience and the trip. We had a wonderful, personable and knowledgeable Cruise Manager who was always there and helpful. The ship was lovely, the service excellent, the food fantastic, good wines, and it was so easy to meet people. As a single traveler, it was the best experience yet. I enjoyed the on shore excursions which were varied and the extra options that were provided. The guides were very good and knowledgeable. The room was roomy, lots of closet space and hangers! The bathroom was adequate with a nice shower set-up. The room was cleaned and linen always fresh each day. There was nothing I could complain about this trip on AmaWaterways except that I wish it was longer or possibly that we could stay in one town for more than one day at a time. Truly a lovely experience and totally satisfying. Will definitely do another AmaWaterway River Cruise again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
This was our third cruise with AMA and it met every expectation. This is an excellent cruise line that knows how to "do it right." Everything was perfect; accommodations, food, and tours. We really enjoyed our pre and post time ... Read More
This was our third cruise with AMA and it met every expectation. This is an excellent cruise line that knows how to "do it right." Everything was perfect; accommodations, food, and tours. We really enjoyed our pre and post time in Barcelona and Paris. The Barcelona hotel was on the La Rambla right in the middle of everything. The Paris hotel was a little bit away but still within walking distance of many of the sites. The staff on the AmaDagio was superb. They met every need. The were friendly and helpful. With the small number of passengers we were able to get to know the staff on a more personal basis. The ship was emaculate. For an older ship, AMA did a great job making it seem like it was brand new. There is more space per person because of the smaller number of passengers and cabins and the average age is lower than other cruise lines (55). I would strongly recommend that anyone wanting to do a river cruise to look into AMA. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2016
We traveled many times and more then ten times by cruise..This time the cruise with AmaDagio every thing was excellent. The cabin was very convenient,clean and nice The food was excellent.Dinner was five stars and the chefs special ... Read More
We traveled many times and more then ten times by cruise..This time the cruise with AmaDagio every thing was excellent. The cabin was very convenient,clean and nice The food was excellent.Dinner was five stars and the chefs special restaurant for one night for every passenger was very very special. The excursions guided by local very professional guides were very interesting. Some days two excursions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Every one of the crew was very friendly and did the best to make the passengers happy. The best among all were the two cruise managers - Rachel Couto and Camille Dernis, Both of them did every possible effort to satisfy us along all cruise days. Thank you Rachel & Camille and all the crew. We shall never forget the special celebration of our 57 anniversary by the restaurant manager and his crew. Hope to be with all of you again in one of Ama cruises.. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2016
Cannot say enough positives about this cruise. Ports were excellant, mostly small villages wth terrific excursions and guides. The food was outstanding, rooms were clean and comfortable. Staff was beyond great - friendly, helpful, ... Read More
Cannot say enough positives about this cruise. Ports were excellant, mostly small villages wth terrific excursions and guides. The food was outstanding, rooms were clean and comfortable. Staff was beyond great - friendly, helpful, knowledgeable and energetic. Even with a breakdown of ship and locks this trip was absolutely the best. The scenery is gorgeous! The only negative was a group traveling together. They were the rudest people I have ever encountered. The staff did their best to control their bad behavior. My only complaint with how the staff handled this group was allowing them reserved places at meals. No other group had such a luxury. All groups large and small were told first day tables could not be reserved but this demanding group had reserved tables at every meal. This group caused AMA to have two cruise directors on the cruise and they both worked hard to accommodate this group while not slighting other guests, a job I saw as almost impossible. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2016
I choose this cruise because it had very good ratings on this site. I also like being able to add on Barcelona onto the end of the cruise. The destinations were down the Rhone River in France. First, I had heard the food was not that ... Read More
I choose this cruise because it had very good ratings on this site. I also like being able to add on Barcelona onto the end of the cruise. The destinations were down the Rhone River in France. First, I had heard the food was not that good on river cruises but that was definitely not the case. The food was excellent and reflected the cities that we stopped in. The wine was flowing freely during lunch and dinner which was excellent. The service was top notch. Everyone was helpful from the people who cleaned the cabin to the servers in the restaurant. The ship was not that large which was perfect as we got such personal attention. The tours were also excellent. In every city we had a good choice and the fact that we had tour guides that were local and spoke beautiful English and French added to the charm of the tour. Between the wine tour, the truffle tour and the artist tour I can't say enough about how terrific the tours were. We met great people from all over the world which only added to the experience. Even the entertainment at night was wonderful. It was a small performing area but the performers were well received. The boat was nice, no bad room really, although I was on the top level which was nice. After the cruise we took a bus to Barcelona ( a long ride I might add) but we stayed at a great hotel, Le Meridian, had a nice tour the first morning and we were well taken care of. I definitely recommend this cruise line and I am sure I will be a returning customer. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2016
As our second cruise with AMAWaterways, we were comfortable with the details of the itinerary and arrangements. The AMAWaterways Cruise Manager, Christian Abker, was a marvelous addition to the cruise. He recognized that as return ... Read More
As our second cruise with AMAWaterways, we were comfortable with the details of the itinerary and arrangements. The AMAWaterways Cruise Manager, Christian Abker, was a marvelous addition to the cruise. He recognized that as return customers we were not as "needy" as others but was always there when we had a question or problem. The hotels both in France and Spain were high class. The tours were different from our previous tour insofar as more coach travel was involved in getting to the various points of interest. The locations were great experiences providing not only historical information but in the case of the vineyard, olive and truffle farms gave operational details not easily obtainable elsewhere. There were interesting tour options offered (which we took advantage of) and the billing and details for these on-ship charges were handled with aplomb. The on-board entertainment was local and eager to share their talents with our cruise. Making CDs available was a way to retain the memories. The crew was what we are calling a "typical" AMAWaterways crew as they were unflaggingly courteous, knowledgeable and helpful. The food was excellent and served in a clean and impeccable service environment that made appreciation easy. There are many European cruise options for those interested in such. We "found" AMAWaterways for our first cruise and feel no reason to switch to another line. The amenities and care taken by AMA to insure a enriching and yet relaxing cruise are just what we want. We will continue both to return to AMA for cruises and to highly recommend AMA to friends who are considering a cruise vacation. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
My name is Mike my wife's name is Kathy we are both certified travel agents, we help our , family, friends, and acquaintances get the best travel experiences. We do not work full time as travel agent as we are retired. One thing we ... Read More
My name is Mike my wife's name is Kathy we are both certified travel agents, we help our , family, friends, and acquaintances get the best travel experiences. We do not work full time as travel agent as we are retired. One thing we had been wanting to do was take a river cruise, we felt we didn't want to go for longer than a 7 to 10 days since we were not sure how well we would like river cruising. After much searching we felt doing a southern France cruise would be perfect for our first time. Below you will see our review of the the Amadagio and it's crew. First off keep in mind that due to the locks used in river cruising "All" river cruise ships are the same width. Some come with balconies, some with french balconies, some with no balconies. I highly recommend the french balconies which the Amadagio has. If you get a room with a real balcony it will eat up much needed room space, remember all river boats are the same width. Rooms on river ships are small, smaller than large cruise ships. But they are large enough. Being 6"3" and 230 lbs I had serious reservations about the size of the bathrooms and especially the showers (I like big showers). I assumed I would have to live with something akin to an airplane bathroom. Boy was I wrong! the bathrooms on the Amadagio are so well designed that I had plenty of room even in the shower!. Actually two can be in the bathroom at one time assuming one is taking a shower. The bedding on the Amadagio was extremely good. When my wife and I travel we always get king beds, but no such thing on river ships, queen is the best you can do :(. But in Europe a queen bed is much larger than a U.S. queen so we had plenty of room :)). The cabins are not ultra fancy like on Uniworld but very comfortable and nicely decorated and CLEAN. (We toured a Uniworld ship) The food is very good! and plenty of it. Wine and beer is included and very good, not cheap, champagne with breakfast if you want. And the wait staff which is WONDERFUL, keeps coming around asking if you want more wine or beer or whatever. The rest of the ship staff is also great always helpful and cheery. They do such a good job I can't find anything to criticize and I am picky. The Captain Michelle and his wife his first officer are just top notch as is the rest of the crew. The ship is very clean and up to date with the exception of the furniture in the main lounge, which should be replaced. The furniture is not threadbare it just looks like it is time to be replaces, but is still comfortable. The excursions are included, some cruise lines charge extra for everything, not so with AMA. The tours and guides were top notch. They had good entertainment every night but keep in mind it is for an older crowd. Most river cruisers tend to be "mature" not someplace you would want to take the average teenager. Regarding embarkation and disembarkation all went very smoothly. The Cruise Manager ANDRE was just the BEST! he made sure everyone was taken care of and everything went as smooth as is humanly possible. Also Andre and the tour guides are extremely careful to make sure no one gets hurt or lost. They were always checking to make sure everyone was accounted for but never in such a way that you never felt smothered, or slowed down. Also they have regular paced groups on the tours and leisurely groups. There was plenty of free time to explore but also so much to do at the ports. I always was tired (in a good way) at the end of the day. One caveat if you are looking for a cruise where you sit and sip wine on the sun deck while the world floats by this is not the cruise for you (Southern France and Provence) most travel was done at night since there was so much to see and do during the day. If you want to sit in the sun and cruise I would recommend the Castles on the Rhine cruise. Another thing to keep in mind is that the Amadagio only holds 140 passengers (smaller is better on a river cruise much more personal attn.) Other ship lines like Viking tend toward 200 passengers ,you tend to become more of a number. Keep this in mind when booking a river cruise. All in all I don't think you can beat AMA or the Amadagio. We traveled with middle incomers and multimillionaires and all were very happy. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
From Arles to Lyon, South East of France. Ship = Very nice and cristal clean. Embarkation = Smooth. Staff = Friendly and professional. Special thanks to Cruise director Maddy and Hotel manager Igor for everything. Cabin = ... Read More
From Arles to Lyon, South East of France. Ship = Very nice and cristal clean. Embarkation = Smooth. Staff = Friendly and professional. Special thanks to Cruise director Maddy and Hotel manager Igor for everything. Cabin = large with nice french door. Some of them are more noisy then other. Dining = Food was great ! Oyster, truffle, etc. All the best. Amazing pastry. Wines could have been better. Entertainment = Very good piano player + exceptional Jazz Trio + Lovely Local performances. Port = Rhone Valley at this best. Winery Galore. Beautiful places. Shore Excursions = More then interesting. All those picturesque villages are full of history. Disembarkation = Smooth and perfect. Highly Recommended. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
This trip was wonderful from start (Lyon) to finish (Arles). Our cruise manager, Dejan, looked after everything and everyone from our pre-cruise start in Paris to our post-cruise finish in Barcelona. The tours were well planned, ... Read More
This trip was wonderful from start (Lyon) to finish (Arles). Our cruise manager, Dejan, looked after everything and everyone from our pre-cruise start in Paris to our post-cruise finish in Barcelona. The tours were well planned, informative and well executed. The hotel accommodation at both ends was lovely. The ship was fantastic. In really good condition. The crew couldn't do enough for you. Every meal was a joy and the wine was excellent and you were never in want for a top up. We will definitely cruise with AMA again and if Dejan was our Cruise Manager again that would be the icing on the cake. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
We truly enjoyed our time in Provence and on AmaDagio! AMA delivers a great cruise, starting with the design of their ships [which proved itself in the 2013 flooding and again in this year’s low-water on the Danube] and carrying through ... Read More
We truly enjoyed our time in Provence and on AmaDagio! AMA delivers a great cruise, starting with the design of their ships [which proved itself in the 2013 flooding and again in this year’s low-water on the Danube] and carrying through with the food and drink, entertainment and shore excursions, and the staff and crew. Almost everything is top notch, and if it isn’t they will bend over backward to make it right. And as noted below the level of inclusiveness fits our needs just fine. [B]Food[/B]: AMA is known for their food [the Berlitz guide to River Cruising in Europe says they spend more per passenger on food than any other river cruise line] and it showed on this cruise. The daily line-up of food offerings went like this: • Early Risers’ Pastries in the Lounge • Breakfast (buffet, omelet station plus menu for Eggs Benedict, waffles, etc.) • Late Risers’ Pastries in the Lounge • Lunch (buffet plus menu with different items each day) • Light Lunch in the Lounge • Afternoon Tea in the Lounge • Dinner (served, many menu choices) • Late night snacks in the Lounge • 24-hour self-service coffee/tea in the Lounge There were also four special theme-meals: • Welcome Dinner • Lyonnais Delight Lunch • Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Dinner • Farewell Dinner Plus each passenger had one opportunity [at no extra cost] to dine at the Chef’s Table restaurant. [B]Drink[/B]: AMA is not all-inclusive, but I was never tempted to spend my own money for drinks outside the complementary fare so the bartender got no work from me. Here’s what’s included: Daily: • bottled water in cabin (replenished faster than you could drink it) • breakfast: sparkling wine • lunch: wine (same red and white all cruise), beer, soft drinks • dinner: wine (different red and white each night, or they will serve any night’s selection that you like better), beer, soft drinks Special: • Welcome Cocktail on first evening before dinner • Past Passengers’ Reception • Chef’s Table pre-dinner reception • Farewell Cocktail [B]Laundry[/B]: Some cruise lines offer laundry machines [who wants to take time for that on a cruise?], but AMA has a laundry service that is very fast and reasonably priced. [B]Gratuities[/B]: This is a bone of contention for some Cruise Critic posters, but with our history of mass-market cruises we are used to it and follow the cruise line’s guidelines. And this time it didn’t feel like it cost us anything, because our TA had given us enough OBC to cover the gratuities with some left over to cover our laundry bills. We left the ship with an onboard charge of 0 [zero, nada, nil, zilch] – can’t ask for better than that. [B]Entertainment[/B]: two afternoons [a silk painting and printing presentation; and a wine tasting], and five evenings [a French chanteuse; a music quiz; a classical trio; choice of Viviers Ghost Walk or Limited Edition Boulangerie Experience; sail-by the lights of Avignon followed by a pianist/singer with dancing. No hairy legs or wet t-shirt contests, but no adult should complain about a lack of activity on this cruise! [B]Shore Excursions[/B]: We enjoyed this cruise tremendously in all aspects, but I have to give AMA extra top marks for the shore excursions because every option on this cruise was complementary and many are the same excursions that I have read about on other cruise lines as extra cost. Also everyone was accommodated for every one of their choices: gentle walkers [every day], bicycle tours [two, plus free use of bicycles any other time you want], hike [one – we took this], wine tastings [in Beaujolais, onboard while we sailed to Tournon, and the two options in Tournon], Pont du Gard [as an alternative to Avignon, after the general morning tour to a truffle farm and the village of Grignan], Carrières de Lumières [along with the Van Gogh asylum in Saint-Rémy, as an alternative to Les Baux and an olive oil farm, before the general walking tour of Arles]. I think the brochure overstates the amount of bus time, although the return trips were always "nap time" so maybe I undercounted? Anyway, they seem to mention two hours of bus rides on many days, but it never felt that long. For one thing almost all the tours included two stops, so the ride was split into three sections. Also AMA never fills the coaches, so there's plenty of room to spread out. Each guide had 15-20 people [this will vary because AMA lets you sign up based on gentle walkers, regular, fast-paced, and the occasional bike or late risers tour]. This cruise also involved more daytime sailing than our Rhine cruise: often we would wake up somewhere, do a tour and return to the ship for lunch during which it would sail somewhere else where we would have an afternoon tour. The overall experience was one fully-packed day after another. [I was very glad for the opportunity to nap while driving to Marseille after the cruise!] [B]Staff & Crew[/B]: Working on a river ship is no easier than ocean cruises, so I take my hat off to all the hard-working staff and crew of AmaDagio. Every seven days they have to say goodbye to one group of passengers, quickly clean and refit the ship, and welcome the next group – and there don’t seem to be any days off. We had very little to complain about over the entire week, and any complaints that we did make were quickly attended to. [I’m still amazed at the immediate acquisition of EVOO that enhanced our table’s dining experience.] [B]Dress[/B]: River cruises are by nature informal, and the world seems to be getting more informal with each passing year. I brought a sport coat and never took it out of the closet. The dining room was cool, but dress was informal enough that I used a chamois shirt instead. DW says she wore black slacks and a fancy blouse for the Captain's dinner. The only skirt she packed was a print peasant skirt which she wore twice. We like to freshen up and change into nicer clothes for dinner, but she thought that dining attire on this cruise was more casual than on our 2013 AMA Rhine cruise [e.g. men wearing shorts to dinner, even though it wasn't really hot] and many people seemed to wear their sightseeing clothes to dinner. [B]Planning[/B]: My planning bible for this trip, as usual, was Rick Steves. I think the France book is a high point even for his always-excellent series. Every hotel and restaurant recommendation proved worthy, the sightseeing selections are high on everyone’s list but Rick gives more depth to his inclusions including guided tours of the major churches and museums and walking tours of many towns and cities, and the planning sections [e.g. “Whirlwind Three-Week Tour of France by Car”] are an invaluable starting point. My only complaint about Rick’s coverage of France is that you need to buy at least three books to get everything [the Paris book is more comprehensive than the Paris chapter in the France book, and the Provence book is much more comprehensive than the France book for that area]. [B]The French[/B]: We had no problem at all with the famous French “attitude” – we always started with a Bonjour and tried our creaky French, sometimes the conversation could conclude that way and other times they would steer us into English, but almost everyone was very helpful. In Paris we got the brushoff a few times when asking for directions in the street, but that just felt like being home in NYC and it was probably either that the person didn't really know the neighborhood or was in a hurry – we can relate to that, so we weren't offended. In Marseille [also not known for its friendliness] a young man realized that his directions to the nearest gas station were quite complicated, so he jumped in his car and led us there! Our guides were all properly ambivalent about the famous 28-hour work week and long vacations and holidays that sap French productivity [they after all are independent contractors who have to work hard for their income], but we never felt that anyone gave us less than good service and attention. Perhaps the biggest surprise to me was how totally the Académie française has failed in its effort to keep the French language pure: le weekend, le parking, le camping. And at every intersection you see a red octagon-shaped sign with the letters “STOP,” not “arrêt” [although that is apparently not a recent trend: our guide said that her grandmother remembers such signs from her youth]. [B]DW’s Observations[/B]: The French (all ages) smoke like chimneys. Is it cultural? Are they just trying to stay skinny? I think they could exist on tobacco, wine and bread. I can understand the bread part! Their plumbing sometimes leaves a lot to be desired, especially the public toilets along the highway. Gross! (Needed my SheWee). It was only on the ship and in Giverny that we had a fully-enclosed shower and washcloths. (We always bring our own washcloths to Europe). If there is a toiletry or health-related product you really might need, bring it with you. (We couldn’t find Zicam or any zinc cold remedy in the many pharmacies; Vicks cough drops, yes.) Safes for personal belongings were rare to come by in lodgings. Traveling with Jazzbeau is like one of Caesar’s forced marches in the Gallic War or the Death March to Bataan – this is what I told him in the beginning of the trip – however, he did ease up as we progressed on our way through Brittany and actually eliminated sights from our punch list – Jazzbeau is flexible (who knew!) [B]Conclusion[/B]: we loved every minute of this trip, and renewed our appreciation of France [after those tense moments of “freedom fries” and President Sarcastic]. Every province has its charms, and even with three weeks we could only scratch the surface. Paris especially demands a return visit(s). And AMA will definitely be getting a return visit. We plan to book the Port Wine & Flamenco trip as soon as the 2017 schedules come out. The loyalty benefits are great: 5% discount for buying a Future Cruise Benefit, 5% early-booking discount, $100 per person discount starting with the second cruise [plus free airport transfers and 50% discount one-category upgrade starting with the third cruise – increasing to free one-category upgrade starting with the fourth]. But that would mean nothing to me if the product wasn’t also great. Thankfully it is. We had a great time, loved France – and mirabile dictu – neither us of gained a pound, despite eating [and in my case, drinking] very well! You can find a detailed blog of this cruise on the River Cruising forum: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2264109 Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
We began the trip in Barcelona and ended in Paris. Embarkation was in Arles. The ship was lovely, the staff outstanding, the food better than we even hoped for and the excursions interesting---we learned a ton. The air conditioning broke ... Read More
We began the trip in Barcelona and ended in Paris. Embarkation was in Arles. The ship was lovely, the staff outstanding, the food better than we even hoped for and the excursions interesting---we learned a ton. The air conditioning broke in 95 degree weather and the staff outdid themselves in taking care of us and making adjustments. We ended up cruising the Rhone at sunset with a classical trio playing romantic music on the top deck--a magical night. Helene our cruise manager was funny, organized and thoughtful about all of our needs. We will definitely cruise again with AMA. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2015
It was our first and I do hope the first of many, river cruise experience. We loved it. Because it's a small boat (150 passengers), everybody gets to know everybody and that makes a very special trip. Even the crew get to know you ... Read More
It was our first and I do hope the first of many, river cruise experience. We loved it. Because it's a small boat (150 passengers), everybody gets to know everybody and that makes a very special trip. Even the crew get to know you by name and what your preferences are. Talking about the crew, they are super friendly and responsible; they make the extra effort for everything. The Chef is super, the tour organizer excellent and I have no words for the captain and his right hand, The food is extraordinary too. One thing that call our attention was that every where we went, the responsible of explaining everything, was a professional in his field. In shprt terms, we can't wait for the next one. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2014
We recently had a wonderful holiday with AMA Waterways on their Provence and Spain itinerary. This was our second river cruise in just over a year and we are hooked! The trip started with a 3-night stay at the conveniently located Pullman ... Read More
We recently had a wonderful holiday with AMA Waterways on their Provence and Spain itinerary. This was our second river cruise in just over a year and we are hooked! The trip started with a 3-night stay at the conveniently located Pullman Montparnasse in Paris. This hotel was very busy as it catered to tour groups so the downside was line-ups and not such great service for breakfast but, apart from the very awkward to access bathtub, the room was well-appointed and we had a great view of Paris. Save on expensive taxi fares by taking the Air France shuttle bus from the airport. It only cost 16 Euros and stops at the Gare de Lyon and Gare Montparnasse right opposite the hotel. Our charming, efficient and excellent Tour Director, Abel, met us at the hotel and stayed with us throughout our entire trip. He did a wonderful job and we were sad to say goodbye to him. We boarded the cruise in Lyon after an efficient TGV high-speed train ride from Paris (lovely train but smelly washrooms). We were impressed with the ship. It has a very welcoming feel to it and we soon made ourselves at home. The public areas were well designed and very conducive to meeting fellow cruisers. The food was delicious with plenty of variety and the service throughout the ship was exemplary. Wine and beer were included both at lunch and dinner. The in-house entertainment was a bit weak with a pianist who played "elevator music" where everything pretty well sounded the same. He was very nice and friendly but didn't play anything we could dance to. He rarely sang. Some of the guest entertainers were better. We thoroughly enjoyed the entire itinerary. We loved Lyon-such an interesting city with so much to do. The included excursions offered a wide variety of things to see with some ports offering several options. We particularly enjoyed visiting the hilltop villages of Oignt in the Beaujolais region, pretty Grignan and the picturesque Les Baux-de-Provence. We also loved just being able to wander around the towns where we were docked. We were busy all the time but it was still relaxing and we had plenty of time to explore on our own. With the odd exception, the tour guides were excellent. Our cruise finished in Arles in the South of France but we were then taken by coach to Barcelona for three nights. This was an enjoyable journey with a two-hour en route stop in the charming French town of Perpignan. In beautiful Barcelona we stayed at the lovely, modern Le Meridien Hotel located right on the bustling La Rambla-perfect location within walking distance of the Gothic District, Plaza Catalunya with its department stores, the marina area and La Boqueria market and a multitude of bars and restaurants. We loved our room with its huge walk-in rain shower and plentiful lighting including motion-sensor nightlights. Apart from the included sightseeing tour, we would recommend taking the optional tour to spectacular Montserrat with its mountain-top monastery. Again, we saved on a taxi transfer to the airport by taking the very efficient airport shuttle bus from the Plaza Catalunya. It runs every 5 minutes and only costs 5.90 Euros. On a Sunday, it only took about 20 minutes. It was within easy walking distance of our hotel. We recommend this cruise itinerary. It was well-organized, varied and allowed us to stay in two of our favourite cities and visit areas of France we had never seen.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2014
My husband and I heard about AMA Waterways from an acquaintance. We booked our trip on the AMADagio .The trip was absolutely wonderful and the staff was outstanding. Our cruise director, Abel Ramos, was always there and always able to ... Read More
My husband and I heard about AMA Waterways from an acquaintance. We booked our trip on the AMADagio .The trip was absolutely wonderful and the staff was outstanding. Our cruise director, Abel Ramos, was always there and always able to answer any questions we had. AMA did a wonderful job of selecting the excursions we had and the guides were very knowledgeable in each of the areas we went to. We found our room to be very nice and fit our needs perfectly. We enjoyed the entertainment that they provided. The staff in the dining room was very pleasant and tried to accommodate any dietary needs that you wanted. As for the staff, I had a sleep machine with me and the young lady taking care of our room knew to bring in distilled water. We can't wait to go on another trip with AMA!!!!! It was fantastic. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2013
I joined the AmaDagio after 10 days in Europe during which I broke my shoulder and hand - I am young enough (50), but was feeling fragile. When I saw the crew waiting at the train station to welcome me I nearly cried with relief. They took ... Read More
I joined the AmaDagio after 10 days in Europe during which I broke my shoulder and hand - I am young enough (50), but was feeling fragile. When I saw the crew waiting at the train station to welcome me I nearly cried with relief. They took my bags and my arm and I knew right then they would take good care of me and make this week a dream. And that they did. I travelled solo during this portion of my trip and the small, intimate environment made sure I met nearly all of my sailing mates. There were family groups of siblings, girl's get-away groups, couples, a few singles and three wine clubs (this was a wine themed cruise). There are usually no children on this type of sailing but I did see one grandmother with her daughter and two teen granddaughters. They seemed to enjoy themselves and were well behaved. It was a wonderful mix of people and all were courteous, well educated and well traveled. Many owned their own businesses or were enjoying early retirement. This was NOT a bunch of elderly folks or people out for a cheap vaca and freebies cramming 4-6 into a cabin! No spring breakers or wild partiers, either. Most people were in the 40-60 age range. If you want a Water park, casino and disco, this is not for you. If you want family fun, this is not for you. I compare it like Vegas to Vienna. If you want culture, sophistication and class, this is for you. The wine lectures, the history and unique excursions are second to none. From the moment I stepped on board I was treated like a valued member of the family. The cabin was spacious, although not as large as my Med ocean cruise, but completely adequate. The bed was soft and had a fluffy duvet. There were plenty of pillows and the bathroom amenities and towels were excellent. There was an in-room entertainment system for watching movies and TV or using the internet. I had my own laptop and had no problem logging on each night and uploading pictures for friends. I was in the cabin one day when the housekeeper came to clean. I invited her to do so and was amazed by how thorough she was. She literally scrubbed the bath from top to bottom - floor, walls, glass, and fixtures until they shone. If they do that every day you could eat off those surfaces!! The French balcony was not as nice as a full one, but by sitting in the lounge chair next to the railing, it was an acceptable substitute. I really did not miss that at all. It is all about smelling the fresh air and being able to lean out over the water. The excursions. Wow. These were all included and the best I could have imagined. We visited a truffle farm - my favorite - and saw a little dog, Aimee, search for and retrieve the precious nuggets. Afterwards we tasted the truffle oil and had wine. We had a market tour and cooking lesson that was world class ( and the instructor was de-lish!! :) ). We toured an olive farm and tasted the fresh oil and some tapenade. And there was the chocolate and wine pairing!! Need I say more? We saw villages where time has stood still, views beyond compare from hills over the river, and all of this done with the best guides ever. And I would be remiss for not calling out our Tour Manager, Elke. She was so kind and knew everyone of us by name. When a couple of us who were less mobile wanted to go on a market trip, she took us personally by taxi so we could skip the walking portion. Now that is customer service!! And speaking of service and thoughtfulness.I was on a trip over the Easter holiday. On Sunday we found an Easter Basket on the bed with a Godiva chocolate bunny. Later in the week it was a beautiful woven scarf thanking us for being their guest and inviting us to their new cruises on the Mekong - which I WILL be doing!! I will say the service was above and beyond anything I have experienced on an ocean cruise. I will be a river cruiser from now on! I am a fan of AMA! Entertainment. We had wonderful classical (a string trio that brought tears to my eyes) and regional (think Parisian cabaret singer) entertainment on board. There were also some silly fun things like a comic and a theme night with 60's music. Food. I cannot say enough about the wonderful food and wine. I never did get up early enough to enjoy the breakfast - I was on holiday!! - However, the other meals were divine. The lounge was always open with drinks and snacks. The wine was not complimentary in the lounge, but that was a choice for a more relaxed setting. A buffet style offering of some of the choices in the main dining area was set up in the lounge for those who preferred it. It was always possible to sit on the outdoor deck with a snack or drink any time of day. And the rooftop deck was also a site for gatherings and groups with bottles of wine and snacks. But the dining room.oh the wondrous things that they had there! I made it a point to go to the main dining room for every lunch and dinner. This is not my usual practice on the bigger ocean ships since I feel uncomfortable as a solo traveler with all the couples and the assigned seating. This was different. The tables were set up in twos, fours, sixes, eights and more and you could sit anywhere. Oftentimes people I had met during the day asked me to join them. Other times I sat at a small table by myself and read or chatted with others at adjoining ones. I felt very welcome and not at all alone. On the big ships I only dined in my room because the dining room was too formal and cold. This was so much nicer. So, the FOOD. Wow. The bread basket and daily assortment of spreads alone would have been worth the price. Sometimes it was flavored butters and sometimes a cheese spread or tapenade. All were excellent and there were always three different kinds. First course choices included a soup - always a broth for the weight conscious and a cream soup for those who were not. I had soups flavored with a variety of veggies, mushrooms and herbs. They often came with a dollop of cream and a breadstick artfully placed atop the bowl. Appetizers ranged from a simple salad (as if you could call the beautiful presentation simple) to a wonderful regional treat like marinated mozzarella pearls with tomato coulis and basil cream. The entrees were so special it was hard to choose. Often there was a fish dish or pasta. The choices reflected the area we were in. There was always an option for a steak, burger or vegetarian meal. Every single thing I tried was delicious and better that the finest Michelin restaurant in service. The "wine boys" kept the beverages flowing and made the meals fun with their smiling personalities. There was always a cheese board and variety of crackers and breads on a table in the center of the room. There was often a fruit plate as well. Lunch was less formal and could be served at your table or by visiting a spread in the center of the room. One thing I loved about the river cruising was that the scenery was right outside our window 24/7. During dinner, swans would swim up to the windows and castles would glide by. Amazing. We were never more than a few feet from shore. The intimacy of the ship and the ease in which it glided into the center of towns was perfect. You can get off and walk mere steps to the town centers. No lines, no big groups, no hassles getting on and off the ship. In fact, we were always welcomed "Home" with a beverage that suited the day. A fresh lemonade on a hot one or warm cider on a cold, blustery morning. This experience has changed my perspective on cruising forever. I will only be on river cruises from now on.   Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
I joined the AmaDagio after 10 days in Europe during which I broke my shoulder and hand  I am young enough (50), but was feeling fragile. When I saw the crew waiting at the train station to welcome me I nearly cried with relief. They took ... Read More
I joined the AmaDagio after 10 days in Europe during which I broke my shoulder and hand  I am young enough (50), but was feeling fragile. When I saw the crew waiting at the train station to welcome me I nearly cried with relief. They took my bags and my arm and I knew right then they would take good care of me and make this week a dream. And that they did. I travelled solo during this portion of my trip and the small, intimate environment made sure I met nearly all of my sailing mates. There were family groups of siblings, girls get-away groups, couples, a few singles and three wine clubs (this was a wine themed cruise). There are usually no children on this type of sailing but I did see one grandmother with her daughter and two teen granddaughters. They seemed to enjoy themselves and were well behaved. It was a wonderful mix of people and all were courteous, well educated and well traveled. Many owned their own businesses or were enjoying early retirement. This was NOT a bunch of elderly folks or people out for a cheap vaca and freebies cramming 4-6 into a cabin! No spring breakers or wild partiers, either. Most people were in the 40-60 age range. If you want a Water park, casino and disco, this is not for you. If you want family fun, this is not for you. I compare it like Vegas to Vienna. If you want culture, sophistication and class, this is for you. The wine lectures, the history and unique excursions are second to none. From the moment I stepped on board I was treated like a valued member of the family. The cabin was spacious, although not as large as my Med ocean cruise, but completely adequate. The bed was soft and had a fluffy duvet. There were plenty of pillows and the bathroom amenities and towels were excellent. There was an in-room entertainment system for watching movies and TV or using the internet. I had my own laptop and had no problem logging on each night and uploading pictures for friends. I was in the cabin one day when the housekeeper came to clean. I invited her to do so and was amazed by how thorough she was. She literally scrubbed the bath from top to bottom  floor, walls, glass, and fixtures until they shone. If they do that every day you could eat off those surfaces!! The French balcony was not as nice as a full one, but by sitting in the lounge chair next to the railing, it was an acceptable substitute. I really did not miss that at all. It is all about smelling the fresh air and being able to lean out over the water. The excursions. Wow. These were all included and the best I could have imagined. We visited a truffle farm  my favorite  and saw a little dog, Aimee, search for and retrieve the precious nuggets. Afterwards we tasted the truffle oil and had wine. We had a market tour and cooking class that was world class. We toured an olive farm and tasted the fresh oil and the tapenade. And there was the chocolate and wine pairing!! Need I say more? We saw villages where time has stood still, views beyond compare from hills over the river, and all of this done with the best guides ever. And I would be remiss for not calling out our Tour Manager, Elke. She was so kind and knew everyone of us by name. When a couple of us who were less mobile wanted to go on a market trip, she took us personally by taxi so we could skip the walking portion. Now that is customer service!! And speaking of service and thoughtfulness..I was on a trip over the Easter holiday. On Sunday we found an Easter Basket on the bed with a Godiva chocolate bunny. Later in the week it was a beautiful woven scarf thanking us for being their guest and inviting us to their new cruises on the Mekong  which I WILL be doing!! I will say the service was above and beyond anything I have experienced on an ocean cruise. I will be a river cruiser from now on! I am a fan of AMA! Entertainment. We had wonderful classical (a string trio that brought tears to my eyes) and regional (think Parisian cabaret singer) entertainment on board. There were also some silly fun things like a comic and a theme night with 60s music. Food. I cannot say enough about the wonderful food and wine. I never did get up early enough to enjoy the breakfast  I was on holiday!!  However, the other meals were divine. The lounge was always open with drinks and snacks. The wine was not complimentary in the lounge, but that was a choice for a more relaxed setting. A buffet style offering of some of the choices in the main dining area was set up in the lounge for those who preferred it. It was always possible to sit on the outdoor deck with a snack or drink any time of day. And the rooftop deck was also a site for gatherings and groups with bottles of wine and snacks. But the dining room.oh the wondrous things that they had there! I made it a point to go to the main dining room for every lunch and dinner. This is not my usual practice on the bigger ocean ships since I feel uncomfortable as a solo traveler with all the couples and the assigned seating. This was different. The tables were set up in twos, fours, sixes, eights and more and you could sit anywhere. Oftentimes people I had met during the day asked me to join them. Other times I sat at a small table by myself and read or chatted with others at adjoining ones. I felt very welcome and not at all alone. On the big ships I only dined in my room because the dining room was too formal and cold. This was so much nicer. So, the FOOD. Wow. The bread basket and daily assortment of spreads alone would have been worth the price. Sometimes it was flavored butters and sometimes a cheese spread or tapenade. All were excellent and there were always three different kinds. First course choices included a soup  always a broth for the weight conscious and a cream soup for those who were not. I had soups flavored with a variety of veggies, mushrooms and herbs. They often came with a dollop of cream and a breadstick artfully placed atop the bowl. Appetizers ranged from a simple salad (as if you could call the beautiful presentation simple) to a wonderful regional treat like marinated mozzarella pearls with tomato coulis and basil cream. The entrees were so special it was hard to choose. Often there was a fish dish or pasta. The choices reflected the area we were in. There was always an option for a steak, burger or vegetarian meal. Every single thing I tried was delicious and better that the finest Michelin restaurant in service. The wine boys kept the beverages flowing and made the meals fun with their smiling personalities. There was always a cheese board and variety of crackers and breads on a table in the center of the room. There was often a fruit plate as well. Lunch was less formal and could be served at your table or by visiting a spread in the center of the room. One thing I loved about the river cruising was that the scenery was right outside our window 24/7. During dinner, swans would swim up to the windows and castles would glide by. Amazing. We were never more than a few feet from shore. The intimacy of the ship and the ease in which it glided into the center of towns was perfect. You can get off and walk mere steps to the town centers. No lines, no big groups, no hassles getting on and off the ship. In fact, we were always welcomed Home with a beverage that suited the day. A fresh lemonade on a hot one or warm cider on a cold, blustery morning. This experience has changed my perspective on cruising forever. I will only be on river cruises from now on.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2012
We had saved and prepared for over a year, and arrived in Paris May 14 for 3 days. Our taxi was there to pick us up on time, despite being an hour late, and check in at the Pullman Montparnasse went well. I have seen some criticisms of ... Read More
We had saved and prepared for over a year, and arrived in Paris May 14 for 3 days. Our taxi was there to pick us up on time, despite being an hour late, and check in at the Pullman Montparnasse went well. I have seen some criticisms of the hotel on the site, but our only complaint was we were totally unaware of the evening meet and greet and were only advised of the info package by way of a message on the tv after a day of touring the area. The AMA rep was REALLY annoyed. Much like the problem with the Grand Marina in Barcelona-hotels are always going to be an issue when they are somewhat outwith the control of AMA. Both hotels were well located(Any city with a good metro is easy to travel-(bite the bullet guys and go for it) The tours in Paris were very good-thank you Isabel!! The transfer to Lyob via TGV went well, and the cooking lesson to allow the crew to transfer luggage to the boat was well planned. Can't say enough about the cruise-weather did its best to disrupt things, but thw tours and culinary surprises were excellent. Food was totally fantastic, as were the wines. Crew were MORE than helpful. Yes there was a balls-up on the Perpignan to Barca bus, but hey $h!t happens Would be interesting to try another company to compare them with AMA.....but can't take the risk. Might be a few years, but we'll be back Read Less
Sail Date: May 2012
Our AMA Waterways tour of Provence and Spain started one day prior to departing Paris for Lyon and embarkation on the Amadagio. See link for information on this wonderful ship. http://www.amawaterways.com/ships/amadagio We wanted to ... Read More
Our AMA Waterways tour of Provence and Spain started one day prior to departing Paris for Lyon and embarkation on the Amadagio. See link for information on this wonderful ship. http://www.amawaterways.com/ships/amadagio We wanted to arrive one day early to recover from jet lag and as insurance not to miss the cruise. Our flight from the US on Air France was good. Air France is a good airline. We arrived in Charles de Gaulle Airport in the morning, made our way through passport control, found an ATM, collected some Euros, then signed up for the Air France Bus number four that took us to the Montparnasse Rail station, which was across the street from the Hotel Pullman Paris Montparnasse, the hotel we had booked with AMA for the one night. The Air France bus is a great deal for us at 16.50 Euros per person. http://videocdn.airfrance.com/cars-airfrance/index_en.html The bus did take a little over two hours to arrive at the hotel, but Paris traffic was heavy. We could have saved some money on booking our own hotel, but we had to be at the Hotel Pullman at 7am that morning. That would have let to a difficult morning, so we signed up for the one night at the Pullman. We didn't want to do Paris, since we lived in Germany for four years and had been to Paris before. We checked out of the hotel, and AMA's busses took us all to the Gare de Lyon train station to board the TGV high-speed train. The train was nice and our second class tickets were not bad. The train goes up to 190 MPH, but we were able to see some of the countryside. After arriving in Lyon, we had lunch (our bags were put on the bus so we only had to carry our important light bags with us. We then met in the main square of Lyon (Place Bellecour) for a short walk for a cooking demonstration. The demonstration was interactive and we had to assist in the cooking. We enjoyed the event and were able to sample our dishes. We were transferred to the Amadagio, where we had a welcome dinner. We found the ship to be more spacious than on our previous river cruise in Russia. The cabin was almost as large as some ocean cruise ship cabins. The ship looked very new, even though we knew it was built in 2006, but we discovered that it had been refurbished just two months ago. The Captains (Husband and Wife team), crew and staff were very nice and responsive. Many of the staff was from Hungary and Bulgaria. Service was excellent. The ship had a spacious dining area, separate, also spacious bar/lounge area, as well as the top deck. There was a beauty shop, small exercise room and small shop as well as a nice library. One of the advantages of river cruising is meeting a lot of people. There were 150 passengers and we got to know quite a few of them, much better than we would have on an ocean cruise. On the train down from Paris, we met Sue and Gary from LA and enjoyed their company during the cruise, especially at meals. Sue and Gary had travelled quite a bit and we were able to compare notes on places. I became more familiar with one of Gary's legs after he fainted during the cooking demonstration in Lyon and one of the passengers (a physician) told us to hold is legs up. Gary quickly recovered and seemed to have a good cruise. We found the cuisine on the boat to exceed our expectations for a river cruise. We had three choices for an entree, but frequently a waiter brought around more of the entrees and vegetables if you wanted more. Dear Wife, Ginny indicated that we seemed to eat every half an hour. That was not quite true, but eat we did, and eat well. Also, AMA provides free wine with the dinner meal and a waitress was constantly making the rounds of all 150 passengers, filling up partially empty wine glasses. On another point, this cruise should be called a wine cruise, not just due to the free dinner wine, but because we visited so many vineyards and wineries on our cruise. We enjoyed the wine; after all, it was France. The next day we had a tour of Lyon that included a drive around the city and visit to the Basilica of Notre-Dame, as well as the ruins of a Roman theater. Lyon was called Lugdunum when controlled by the Romans. Emperor Claudius was actually born in Lyon. The views of the city below were worth the trip to the top of the hill alone. Lyon lies between the Saone and Rhone rivers (Saone is a tributary of the Rhone, but runs parallel to the Rhone for some distance. Lyon is the third largest city in France, and has spilled over both banks of both rivers. Also, walking we were taken to the "traboules" or houses in the old city that originally were workshops for silk workers. Later converted to homes, many of the homes (like interconnected townhouses with interior courtyards and passages) allowed resistance fighters to avoid capture by the Gestapo during WWII. After the Lyon tour, we returned to the ship and enjoyed a lecture on wine on our way to the small village of Trevoux. The city is on the East bank of the Saone, and was independent of France until recent centuries. We enjoyed going to a small village with its medieval ramparts and hillside Chateau. We were to discover several wonderful villages, towns and cities on our way down the Saone and Rhone to Arles. Also, in Trevoux we learned about the Provencal game of petanque (Bocce). The game is played with hollow balls the slightly smaller than a softball on a flat sandy surface. A player tries to place his balls close to the small target ball. I was one of the volunteers that played an abbreviated game. The next day, our bus tour departed from the ship at Trevoux through the beautiful Beaujolais wine region, often called the land of golden stones, after the limestone of the houses and villages. After a visit to a winery, where we sampled the Beaujolais wine and learned more, first hand, about its wine, we wound through the hills to the medieval hilltop village of Oingt. Oingt was like a mini-Rothenberg (walled city in Germany). The city was one of many historical walled or not cities that we visited on this trip. We returned to the ship and continued downriver past Lyon toward Vienne. Vienne was one of my favorite cities on this cruise. It was loaded with Roman history and medieval sites as well. We visited the Roman Temple of Augustus and Livia, the ruins of a Roman theater and the medieval churches of St. Andre-Le-Bas and Abbey St. Pierre (the ancient abbey was loaded with Roman sculptures, mosaics, amphorae, etc. ) and rode on the mini train to see a wonderful panorama of the city, river and surrounding areas. After the Vienne tour, the ship departed for Tournon, where we visited another winery. The wine from this winery was better than what we had in Beaujolais. The wine from this region is named after the region: Cotes du Rhone. We had another wine lecture on this ship that helped us to understand the different regions of France. The next morning we visited Tournon and its 16th Century castle, which is now the town hall. Tournon was another French town with character. We returned to the ship and sailed to Viviers. We had the choice of a nougat tour or the ghost tour of Viviers. The "ghost walk" through this the medieval town, was enjoyable, due to the setting and the acting of the Day 10. We learned of the story of Nol Albert, who was beheaded when he ran afoul of the authorities. His ghost still lives in Viviers. The tour was interesting, but we were not able to enjoy the city very much at night. Still, when you consider all the cities and villages that we visited, I can see why a night visit was in the works. Viviers was another remarkable stone medieval city. It only has about 3000 residents, one it had more than ten times that much. Still, we were told that the city fills up in the summer. The next day, we visited a farm that cultivated truffles. We learned that truffles take over ten years to grow. Trees are planted with truffle seeds in the roots. Dogs are used to find the truffles (pigs were once used, but they ate the truffles). We sampled some shavings of truffle, which were very tasty and watched the dogs (two blonde labs) in action. Then we visited Grignan, a village perched upon a hill surrounded by lavender fields, including a Renaissance castle. Again, we had a great view of the beautiful countryside. In the afternoon, our bus arrived in Avignon. After lunch, we visited the ancient Roman aqueduct of Pont du Gard, which is the highest in Europe and you can find its image on the five Euro bill. We chose the aqueduct rather than the walking tour of Avignon, since we were coming back to Avignon on an excursion from the Norwegian Epic (another cruise we were to take after the AMA tour ended in Barcelona). The aqueduct was awesome; it was made of stones fitted together. Apparently, it had survived some massive river flooding until modern times the river was controlled by a dam. Later, the ship's Captain took the ship past the partially destroyed bridge connected to Avignon's walls on a short mini cruise. Avignon's walls still surround the old city and are quite impressive, even though there are many modern building inside the walls. The next morning, we arrived in Arles, our final port. Our morning excursion first visited an olive farm, where we learned about how olive oil is made, as well as how it once was made. Then we proceeded to the village of Les Baux de Provence. This village was a fortress and Protestant stronghold during the French Wars of Religion until destroyed by Louis XIII and Cardinal Richelieu in 1633. Some took the "Van Gogh" tour which took them to the Saint Paul de Mausole Asylum. Later in the afternoon, took a walking tour of Arles that started with the Roman Amphitheater that is still used for many events, including occasional bullfighting. Also, we saw the Romanesque cathedral, site of the old Roman Forum and places frequented by Van Gogh, including the site of the house in which he once lived. The house was destroyed by bombing in WWII. I haven't mentioned much about the entertainment on the ship. AMA provided entertainment every night. We had a piano player in the bar/lounge area that provided entertainment, but we also had special shows most every night. We had a classical trio; French cabaret singer; 50s/60s music with got us all dancing; and a Latin singer with a limbo contest, which Ginny won The next day, Thursday, we disembarked the ship in Arles and loaded up on three busses for Barcelona. About three-fourths of those on the cruise were along for the post-cruise three day trip to Barcelona. We had a guide on the bus, on our way to Perpignan, France (near the border with Spain). We left the bus and our luggage, carrying our important hand baggage (not suitcases) and had a nice lunch in Perpignan. We did not see much of the city, but an old gate, built by the Count of Catalonia. At one time this small part of SE France was a part of Catalonia. The people there still speak Catalonian (a Romance language similar to Spanish and Italian). Some persons sat nearby and did not get their food into to meet the busses. We just had time to eat and pay our check in a two hour time period. The food was great, but eating in this part of the world is not a fast food exercise. Our trip to Barcelona brings us another interesting item. Our busses from Arles switched our luggage with the busses from Barcelona that brought up the next river cruisers from Barcelona. We switched busses. It seemed a bit strange that our French busses did not take us all the way to Barcelona, but I suppose it was a cheaper for AMA to switch. It could be something to do with paying overtime for the bus drivers for an overnight. The trip to Barcelona was somewhat interesting, since we could see a little of the Pyrenees mountains in the distance. We saw the high speed train line that was partially complete from France to Barcelona, but also the incomplete portion. Our Spanish guide told us that the new Government in Spain said there was no more money to complete the project. Upon arrival in Barcelona, we checked in to the Grand Marina Hotel, which was a five star hotel close to the cruise port, Las Ramblas and the Bari Gothic area (old town). The next day, we had the option of a full city tour, or a short tour that included a tapas and boqueria excursion. We chose the tapas excursion, since we had been to Barcelona in March 2011 and seen all the sites on the city tour. The tapas excursion took us back to the Bari Gothic area, which included the old Roman area, Cathedral, palace and historical area. Closer to lunch, we visited two tapas restaurants for tasty dishes. We had 3 or 4 tapas at each restaurant, as well as wine. One of the restaurants is located on the corner of a large market about 100 yards east of the Cathedral Square, across the street from the Gothic area. The name of the restaurant was Cuines Santa Caterina. After our tapas excursion, we left the group and found the hotel where my Son Jack and his friend, Jason were staying, while in Barcelona, prior to our next cruise on the Norwegian Epic in a couple of days. They had just checked into the hotel and we arranged to meet them at a restaurant later than evening. They wanted to nap, due to jet lag, so we departed and visited the City Museum in the Bari Gothic area prior to walking back to our hotel to change clothes. The City Museum is a must see in Barcelona. It is located close to the Palace and Cathedral. The museum largely displays underground ruins from the Roman era, along with some centuries later. The museum had an audio hand set that opens up the history for visitors, as well as a show movie that rotates in several languages. After walking back to our hotel, we had to hurry to meet the guys for dinner, so we took a cab, even though it was a short distance. The cab ran about 8 euros, due to all the red lights and circuitous manner of getting to a hotel on Las Ramblas. Jason had been in Barcelona on business for 9 days within the last year and was familiar with restaurants there. We had dinner at ATN, which was located close to a Roman excavation of tombs just off Las Ramblas on Canuda Street. The restaurant was open, even though it was about early by Spanish dinner standards. We had a wonderful meal with great service. Separate checks were not a problem with a party of six and credit cards were accepted. The next day, we had dinner at small tapas restaurant near the Plaza Sant Just on Palma De Sant Just. That restaurant, Bodega LaPalma, was not modern like ATN, but small and rustic. The tapas were excellent, with large servings for very reasonable prices. I highly recommend both restaurants. On the Saturday prior to our Sunday embarkation on the Epic, we had a free day of tours from AMA. We decided to take the train to Tarragona. That city was once the Roman capitol of Eastern Spain. I could have purchased the rail tickets prior to leaving the US, but was not sure which train we would take and different trains had different prices. We took the Metro to the rail station and on arrival there located several ticket booths serving those buying tickets. We waited about half an hour get to a booth and were told we were at the wrong counters and to go to ticket counters 1-7 at the other end of the station. We did so and found a line twice as long as the one we had waited for half an hour. We decided to give up our plans and walk back to Las Ramblas, which was about 3 miles away. We walked off our frustration. We had lived in Germany for four years and ridden European trains in Germany, Italy, Austria, etc. encountering nothing like this kind of delay. I love Spain, but this kind of thing would not happen in Germany. After reaching Las Ramblas, we walked down to the sea coast and found another great museum, The Museum d' Historia de Catalunya. It provided artifacts from different periods of Catalonian history with explanations in some depth. We spent about 2.5 hours there and only got up to the late 18th Century. The next day was Sunday, May 27th and time to check out of our hotel and board the Norwegian Epic with Jack, Jason, Nick and Joel for our seven day cruise of the Western Med. That story to follow. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2010
This was our first ever river cruise. We have taken about 10 ocean cruises, so we wanted to see how a river cruise compared. What's nice about cruising on a river is the fact that you can always look out and see something and not just ... Read More
This was our first ever river cruise. We have taken about 10 ocean cruises, so we wanted to see how a river cruise compared. What's nice about cruising on a river is the fact that you can always look out and see something and not just open ocean. Plus you stop a lot, sometimes twice in one day. And since the river boats don't hold as many people (ours had 140 passengers), it's easy to get on and get off. And the ships are designed to hold the required number of passengers. In other words, there is a seat for everyone - in the lounge, in the dining room, etc. Our trip was the 7-day Blue Danube Discovery from Budapest to Nuremberg with a pre-cruise extension in Budapest and a post-cruise extension in Prague. All we can say at this point is that we are really glad we went on this trip. It was very enjoyable. Would I say it's better than an ocean cruise - in some ways yes, in some ways no. Each has it's pros and cons. Would we do a river cruise again, you bet. With AMA? YES! The hotel in Budapest was the Sofitel Hotel sitting about 200 feet from the Danube. Our double room overlooked the river and the beautiful castle/fortress on the hillside on the other side of the river. The bridge over the river and the this castle/fortress were lit up at night giving an impressive view out the hotel room window. It was a very comfortable hotel and we were in want of nothing. The room package included a big buffet breakfast each morning. Usually we ate enough at breakfast that we only needed a snack during the day to keep us going until dinner. Food in Budapest is what we called rather spicy because the Hungarians seem to like putting paprika in everything and in every conceivable way. But you still have to try it just for the experience. We tried the Hungarian Goulash which is different from Czech Goulash in that the Hungarian variety is like a soup served in a bowl and the Czech Goulash is meat and dumplings served on a plate and not as spicy. The included city tour of Budapest was quite good hitting all the highlights of Budapest with its rich history. Of course, the bus doesn't have time to stop everywhere, but the guide points out the sights of interest to most visitors and you can always go back somewhere with your free time of which there was plenty. We're not going to go into all the details of every stop we made on this 7-day trip down the Danube, but what we will say is that you should take advantage of all the included excursions as they are quite informative and enjoyable and you did pay for them. As for the optional excursions, we would suggest the evening concert in Vienna for those who do not normally have the opportunity to attend such classical events. We think it was probably the best of all the excursions we took. Another one that was fun is the optional Folklore dinner in Prague. It was a different experience than anything we have seen before. The food was good, the beer and wine flowing freely, and the entertainment very enjoyable from the Czech/Slovakian musical players, singers and dancers. As for the cruise itself, the ship was comfortable and the crew outstanding. One thing we did notice is that during our 7-day cruise, the ship never once rocked from side to side or bumped or anything else. It was a very, very smooth ride! Everyone was so very friendly. We upgraded our cabin by one category so that we would have a large window and sliding door so as to see the scenery as we cruised along the Danube. We're glad we upgraded after seeing the inside of one of the lower cabins. You would have to be at least six feet tall to see out of one of those windows. I think they're simply designed to let in light as opposed to offering any kind of view because they are high and small. Our cabin was quite comfortable with a queen size bed, lounge chair, ottoman we used as another seat, a flat-screen TV/computer, makeup desk, in-room safe, and plenty of closet space. The bathroom was well-equipped and modern. We were very comfortable during our week long journey. Internet in your room is included with your cruise. We only used the internet when we were in ports as the reception was always better. There is a large lounge and bar on the main deck with enough seating for everyone. This is also the entertainment area when performers come aboard for evening entertainment of which there was a lot. And it was all good. The dining room is directly below the lounge area at the front of the ship. There again there is enough seating for everyone at the one and only dinner service at 7:00 p.m. -- dinner has no assigned seating. There is no alternative restaurant or eating venue on these ships, but they do offer a number of different dinner choices each evening. The dinner choices are normally things from the country or area where they are transiting that day. As are the included wines. It was amazing how many different wines they served on a 7-day cruise. And they always had both red and white wines at dinner. If you are not a wine drinker, you can have beer or soft drinks if you like at no charge. They also had main course staples each evening - steak, chicken, fish, chef salad - for those not wanting to brave the local cuisine. A vegetarian dish was also on the menu each night. We had the chicken one night and it was very good. Breakfast was always buffet style with a lot of choices, but you could also order eggs cooked to order, omelets, pancakes, etc. Food is served just about every 3 hours. Coffee and tea are available 24-hours. Early risers can nibble on pastries and toast until the breakfast room opens (times vary but usually by 7:30). A cookie tray is put out about 10:30. A light lunch (soup, salads, one hot menu item, and dessert) can be eaten in the lounge or you may partake of the full lunch in the dinning room. After lunch the cookie tray appears and around 3:30 finger sandwiches and small pastries appear. We had some laundry done on the ship because we didn't want to pay the airlines $90 for another suitcase. The cost to have roughly a week's worth of underwear washed for two of us was 24 Euros (about $34). They picked it up at 8:00 p.m. and it was back the next morning by 10:00 a.m. The boat also had a very nice aft lounge that always had fresh fruit and water available. Board games and a computer with a printer were also available in the lounge. Just off the lounge was the exercise room. Although small, it had something for everyone -- sauna, free weights, treadmill, and bike. Bottled water was also available. For nice days, the sun deck had a walking track, sun chairs, small Jacuzzi, and large chess board. Our cruise ended in Nuremberg, Germany where we stayed overnight on the ship and then boarded motor coaches the next morning for our trip to Prague. Each motor coach had a local Czech tour guide on board who provided narration on our journey to Prague. The trip to Prague was pretty much an all day affair with a restroom stop at the German/Czech border and then another stop for lunch in the beautiful little town of Karlovy Vary. It's a picturesque little spa town with a river running through it. There is a fancy hotel there where some of the scenes from the movie Casino Royale with Daniel Craig were shot. After a short tour of the town, our Czech tour guide suggested a local restaurant for lunch. That's where we sampled the very good Czech Goulash along with a good Czech beer. Our lunch stop was two hours and then the rest of the trip to Prague lasted about another one and a half hours arriving at the hotel about 3:00 p.m. Our hotel in Prague was the Intercontinental Hotel located right in the old town area and just a couple blocks from the Charles Bridge and five minutes from the central plaza. The hotel is a 5-star hotel with all the amenities we could want. The room included a large breakfast buffet each morning. There are too many items to mention, but suffice it to say they have everything - meats, cheeses, eggs to order, pancakes, cereals, breads, juices, fruits, etc. Prague is a beautiful old city. It's easy to walk to most of the tourist attractions, shopping areas, and restaurants of which there are many. Prague is where we did the optional Folklore dinner. We had two full days to explore, but it wasn't enough so we'll have to go back someday. Our cruise director, Csaba, from Budapest was absolutely outstanding. He was there at the hotel when we first arrived and stayed with us all the way through to Prague. He was very professional, knowledgeable, and most of all he was very friendly. He's a 36-year old single guy who loves his job and you can tell by the way he goes about his business. We'd love to see him again on another cruise. Csaba also used his computer to check everyone in 24-hours before our flight departed Prague. He could not print out boarding passes, but you could get your seat assignments and do pre-check-in. Although you may initially be taken aback by the price of a river cruise, you must remember that a lot of things that may not be included in an ocean voyage are in included here such as local tours with transportation provided and local tour guides. You are also given an audio box with ear pieces so you can hear the guides as they take you through these old towns without having to be two feet from the guide in order to hear something. They really work quite well. They also have three different paced tour levels - fast, regular, and slow. Join whichever group you want. Free bottled water is also provided in your stateroom each day. Postcards are mailed for free by simply dropping them off at the front desk on the ship. It doesn't matter where they are going - U.S., Europe, etc. All in all, we were very pleased with our first river cruise and would not hesitate to do another one. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2009
  Our AMA Waterways cruise began in Minneapolis/St. Paul on Saturday April 18, 2009, at 7:30 PM on Northwest Airlines. The flight was non stop . We each had a window seat because the plane was full and could not get seats together. ... Read More
  Our AMA Waterways cruise began in Minneapolis/St. Paul on Saturday April 18, 2009, at 7:30 PM on Northwest Airlines. The flight was non stop . We each had a window seat because the plane was full and could not get seats together. When we got to Amsterdam at 10:30 AM the next day, we cleared customs and then looked for the AMA Waterways representative. Because we purchased the air separate from the cruise line, it was less cost to take a taxi then purchase the transfers from the cruise line.  The agent, Paul, helped Bob get a taxi and some Euros. The taxi ride was 52.00 Euros. He was pleasant and ready to help. This was our first experience with AMA Waterways and a nice one. The taxi ride was about 30 minutes. Guests who purchased air with AMA Waterways had transfers included.   When we got to the port, there were about 6-8 river cruise ships at the port. To get to our ship, we had to go into the lobby of the Amadeus Princess, up the stairs to the sun deck and then across to the Amarelle sun deck and then down the steps to the reception desk. The ships were connected to each other in many places we visited. We went to the sun deck to wait because the cabins were not ready. I found our cabin and the door was open and went into it a couple of times to take some pictures. We waited on the sun deck and also in the small lounge near our cabin. There are 4 decks on the ship.   The ship has two lounges, a small one aft and the Grand Lounge on the Violin Deck. This lounge had plenty of soft chairs for seating, to read, relax or have a conversation with new and old friends, a dance floor, a piano, some round tables at the back of the lounge and where we had the wonderful entertainment. This was a place to sit and have a nice view as we sailed and went through the locks. The lounge also has coffee (espresso, cappuccino, regular), cocoa, tea and ice water available at all times. There was always something to eat like a light lunch, cookies, desserts or a light breakfast. The aft lounge was smaller and had a computer, games to use (cabinets not locked), some tables and chairs; it is a nice place for a group to meet. There was a very small exercise room that had weights, a treadmill and a stationary bike. There was small beauty shop and also a sauna (I did not see that) which was at the back of the ship. The ship has a library and a chair to use on the Violin deck. There was selection of books including a world atlas and books on Europe; I left a paperback I had finished. The cruise director had his desk here also. The gift shop was small but had a nice selection of gifts and postcards; it was near the reception desk. Boarding passes are used for passengers getting off and on the ship. They are small laminated cards (1/2" by 2") that have your cabin number; passengers are to take them when they leave and return them when they return so the ship knows when you have returned from shore. There is a bar in the main lounge and a drink special of the day. Peter was our cruise director. He was really good about his job and took the time to answer questions from anyone, anytime. He was on all the excursions and was quite knowledgeable about the area. He was pleasant and always helpful. The dining room was on the Cello Deck has plenty of room for the one sitting for dinner and your choice of where to sit. Breakfast and lunch were buffet but you could also order optional items such as Eggs Benedict and a hamburger off the menu. The variety of food could please everyone: eggs, cereal, sweet rolls, croissants, cheeses, cold cuts and more were always available. Lunch has a variety of hot and cold and also buffet. There was a light lunch of soup, sandwiches and desserts in the main lounge daily. We ate there 3 out of the 7 days. The dinner also had a variety of choices, usually 3 entrees. The meat was always tender and flavorful; some of the best of any cruise line I have sailed. I never heard one complaint about the food. The food was fresh and hot. The maitre d always offered more servings of vegetables during the dinner by going table to table. Wine, beer and soft drinks were available for dinner for no extra charge. The wine was from a local area in most cases. I personally liked the red wine ( I normally drink white) because it was not a heavy red wine; some guests from California thought the red wine was not "bold " enough. Personal opinions. There were quite a few birthdays, including mine. My husband asked about something for me and they said it was already done; the ship must have checked the birth dates for the passengers and celebrated the birthdays automatically; this was another quality feature of AMA Waterways. They brought a nice cake. It was Turkey Independence Day while we were on the ship and they brought a large cake for the group of Turkish guests on board the ship to celebrate.   In Germany, the Southern part of Germany are mainly Catholic, the Northern area Lutheran and the middle section of Germany is a mixture of religions.   The words "berg" and "burg" in names have two different meanings. Berg means a hill and burg is fortress. The Piano Deck is the lowest deck of the Amacello and has 2 windows instead of the French balcony that are almost level with the water; The elevator does not go this far and so guests who stay there, have to walk down steps. The crew also lives in this area. There is a window sill on the windows and a guest bought some flowers and put them in their cabin; her husband always buys her flowers for their Sabbath.   The ship has an audio headset system which allowed us to hear the guide using ear pieces without having to be next to the guide. We were given ear pieces the beginning of our cruise for us to use and keep, the receptive boxes we had were color coded and this was the same color as our guide used for the frequency so each group would hear their own guide; the color code was also the bus and guide we would use of that specific tour.  The system can work a distance of 1 mile, so we were told not to go too far from the guide. I have never had this on a tour and it was so easy to take in the sights, take a photo and listen at the same time.   Our first port was Amsterdam; the ship did not depart until the second day. Our city bus tour and a canal cruise were included excursions in the cruise fare as are all excursions on the cruise portion of the trip. This is the way to see Amsterdam, the Venice of the North. The canal boats are covered and also has a restroom on board. The first night we were entertained by fun Dutch Folklore dancers in the main lounge. There was the Captain's welcome cocktail party and a Gala Welcome Dinner. On Day 2 we left at 12:15 PM to sail along the Rhine River. Day 2 also had a safety drill on the sun deck. The entertainment on the second day was La Stada, a group that had 2 violinists and a guitar player. Their music was fitting for this river cruise and offered us some wonderful entertainment. Day 3 we were in Dusseldorf, the capital of Germany, and the excursion was a panorama bus tour of Dusseldorf of about an hour; we then had free time of about 45 minutes to shop, sit or walk back to the ship which was docked about 1 kilometer ( 0.6 miles). We departed for Cologne at 11:15 AM; we had a bus tour of Cologne as soon as we arrived and then some free time; this is where I purchased some 4711 original Eau de Cologne and the Dom Liqueur.  At 7:00 PM we departed for Frankfurt.   Day 4 we arrived in Frankfurt. Peter gave us a briefing on the upcoming excursion. At 11:30 AM, "Fruhschoppen" was served in the main lounge which was beer and sausage (no charge); I was told this must be served before noon. A Bavarian lunch was served in the dining room for lunch. We arrived at 2:30 PM and left for a walking tour of Frankfurt and the Cathedral. We walked back to the ship. Most of these tours are not handicapped accessible. This evening we had a trio called the Pitchfork who sang for us. They began with the song "Down by the Riverside" and had the audience hooked. We left this port at 3:00 AM the next day to sail to Mainz.Day 5 we arrived in Mainz at 7:15 AM and had the choice of 2 excursions, Mainz or Heidelberg; we chose Mainz as I wanted to see the Gutenberg Museum where the first printed copy of the Bible was printed. The museum has old books which were interesting and an original copy of the Bible. No pictures allowed except for the area where the printed a page for us on an old press. This level has printers all types and you were allowed to use the camera here. Mainz had a small area that did not have any car traffic; this was done about 20 years ago. There were bakeries, a church, coffee shops. 55% of the people in Mainz are Catholic, 35 % other religions.  In Mainz, the ship was docked about 1/4  mile from the city; this was a walking tour of about 45-60 minutes. The tours were in 3 categories; one was  gentle for slower walkers, again with the different color codes.   The passengers who chose the Heildeberg tour had a bus ride of about one hour and 15 minutes. The ones who went said it was a wonderful tour to the old city. We sailed to Koblenz where we overnight. Peter took about 75 people on a night walk in Koblenz. Day 6 we arrive in the fairy tale village of Cochem on the Mosel River (Mozelle is French and English spelling); one of the most scenic wine growing villages in the Mosel Valley. This is where we get to see the Reichsburg Castle. The minibuses drove us to the castle almost all the way. Because of construction, we had to walk up the rest of the hill to the castle. The walk down was not as bad as I thought it would be. What a beautiful view of the area. Lots of steps in the castle also. We saw several rooms of the castle. The trophy room had a door key for guests of the castle that had a little too much wine.; it was a V shape and the key could be slid down the opening and open the door. There was lots of waking on this stop and lots of steps. We had to dock across the river and then walk about 2 blocks, up stairs and across the bridge and down the stairs. There again, they had 3 groups for walking. People who wanted to take photos as well as slower walkers chose these groups. Bob and I shared a strawberry pie (good!!) at a cafe and I had a glass of local wine and Bob his coffee at a cafe before walking back to the ship.   Day 7 had us in Berkastel-Kues; a favorite of many passengers as well as for me. This was a village of half-timbered houses and lots of side streets as well as the medieval market square. This village is friendly, clean and really takes you back into time.  The square is surrounded by many well preserved half-timbered houses as well as the Renaissance city hall built in 1608. Especially well-known is the very small and narrow so-called "Spitzhäuschen" (the "Pointed House") which dates back to 1416. At the center of the market square lies the fountain of St. Michael (St. Michaelsbrunnen). Day 7 also took us to Trier, the oldest city in Germany. We again did a bus and city walking tour and using the Vox system so we could hear the guide. The bus took us to the top of the hill top to a city view and photo stop, and what a view it was. After the bus tour, we parked and did a walking tour of the town area. It was Saturday and there were lots of families shopping,eating and visiting the market square. The market had lots of fresh fruits and vegetables; they are known for white asparagus and they looked like nice stalks. Trier was founded in 16 BC under Augustus and today has the same population during the Roman Era, approximately 100,000 residents. We saw the Roman Baths, Roman Amphitheater and Porta Nigra Gate. The Porta Nigra Gate (Latin for black gate) dates from 180 BC and is the last remaining gate of the city; it is the symbol of the city. Trier is a city that would be nice for an overnight if you are flying in or out of Frankfurt which is 120 miles from Trier. We were there during the Holy Robe Days (April 24- May 3,2009) and were unable to go to The Cathedral of Trier, the oldest church of Germany, which was originally built by Constantine the Great, the first Christian Roman Emperor; The Cathedral of Trier houses great works of art and a holy relic that draws many pilgrims: the Holy Robe, the garment said to be worn by Jesus when he was crucified. We were docked at a small village called Piesport our last night and walked through the village to get to the ship which was waiting for us after the Trier bus tour; we again walked to the buses to go on the trip to Paris; The busses could not travel the narrow streets. Our cabin faced the Village Church and the cemetery. There was a walking path next to us and adults and children and biked along this area. It was quiet and peaceful.   This was a wonderful cruise. I have been on the Mississippi Queen but this is my first European river cruise. I have been on many cruises and have done most of the world but this is a wonderful way to travel to Europe and other parts of the world. ( AMA Waterways has many sailings.) I have seen many of the large cities of Europe, and this is a chance to see the smaller villages and countryside. The Rhine River was busy with cargo traffic; the rivers are their highways. The river was flowing quickly and had lots of locks. The people are friendly and most spoke English. We used the Euro for currency, even on the ship, throughout the trip. I am look forward to other river cruise sailings in the world. This has become so popular, there are more cruise lines and ships being built. The hotel in Paris was the Crowne Plaza Republique at Republique Square. A 19th-century Neo-Baroque style building with a striking facade than had been renovated and was a nice 4 star hotel. We were near the Metro station. The rooms were good sized, a double sized bed, a large bathtub with a high side that you had to climb into, amenities in the bathroom, a table in the room and our room was at the front of the hotel. We were able to see part of the Eiffel Tower from our large window. Breakfast buffet was included in the rate of the room and there was a nice variety of food and drinks for any nationality. We found quite a few places to eat within waking distance including KFC and McDonalds. The city tour the next day, included in the cruise package, was about 4 hours and took us all over the city including a visit to Notre Dame. Paris is large with many old structures and gardens. We bought a Metro day pass and this allowed us to use the train and bus, getting off at the Louvre (closed Tuesdays), the Eiffel Tower and Old Opera House.   Our trip ended with a Delta flight from Paris to Minneapolis/ St/ Paul on April 29, 2009; the plane was not full and so many people were able to lay on the seats and sleep; Delta served us a good dinner and also pizza before we landed. We got through customs, cleared and headed home.   This was a memorable trip for me and I look forward to my next river cruise.There was so much more I could have added but thought I had written enough so if anyone has questions, please email me at mncruise@aol.com. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2015
My wife and I (both in our early 50s) were looking to do something special for our 30th wedding anniversary when I came upon the idea of going on a river cruise. Being from Florida we have had our fair share of experiences with the large ... Read More
My wife and I (both in our early 50s) were looking to do something special for our 30th wedding anniversary when I came upon the idea of going on a river cruise. Being from Florida we have had our fair share of experiences with the large Caribbean cruise ships and a river cruise from Lyon to Provence seemed the perfect antidote to that experience. We realized that these type of all inclusive river cruises would attract an older, retired crowd but did not expect to be the youngest couple on board by far. The average age must have conservatively been in the 72-75 range easily. The cruise manager advised me that this was fairly typical for them and indeed from what I saw disembarking from the competitor lines (Viking, Scenic and Avalon) in port, fairly typical for European river cruises in general. After the initial shock of our situation we decided to make the best of it and AMA Waterways made it very easy. The ship (one of the oldest in the line) was in excellent condition although the elevator was out the entire trip. Nonetheless, our state room was clean and ample in size with a wonderful french balcony sliding door that allowed us to watch the world glide away from the comfort of our room. The meals were definitely on the formal side with each night bringing a wonderful creation based on the cuisine in the area we were traveling. The wine was free flowing with frequent refills of your glasses. There is an optional Chef's Table restaurant which we visited one night but frankly I found the food in the main dining room just as delicious. The staff and crew of the Amadagio were top notch with special kudos going to Abel our cruise manager. Entertainment on board was okay mainly consisting of the ship's organist with special guests being invited to perform on a few nights. The included tours were very good, educational and fun. Everything is perfectly organized with all transfers to the sites included. We ultimately met some very nice people and enjoyed their company immensely. Nonetheless, I cannot recommend this cruise to anyone under 60 unless you are traveling with 2 or more couples or friends. Small children and teenagers will be completely lost/bored on this type of trip. I certainly would recommend AMA Waterways based on their service, attention to detail and wonderful itinerary, however I feel that it will be more than a few years before my wife and I are eligible to return. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2014
This was our 4th AMA cruise and 8th overall river cruise. We learned 48 hours prior to boarding that high water levels had dictated a change in our embarkation city as well an overall reshuffling of ports on our itinerary. AMA did an ... Read More
This was our 4th AMA cruise and 8th overall river cruise. We learned 48 hours prior to boarding that high water levels had dictated a change in our embarkation city as well an overall reshuffling of ports on our itinerary. AMA did an outstanding job of working through these issues. Extra staff was brought aboard to facilitate the changes and make sure all passengers arrived at the new port of embarkation. We visited all ports in our itinerary, just in a different order than originally planned. The only downside for us was the shortened time in Lyon, which turned out to be our favorite of all the ports visited. We were a bit concerned about booking the AmaDagio since it is the oldest boat in AMA's current fleet, but this concern was put to rest as soon as we boarded. AmaDagio was lovely, very well maintained and had the warm and welcoming decor we have come to expect from AMA. Our Cat. A French Balcony cabin was comfortable and well appointed and similar to the other AMA boats we have sailed on. Housekeeping was excellent. Laundry service quick and reasonably priced. Internet service was consistently good on this trip. I cannot say enough about the staff and crew of the AmaDagio. While we have always been impressed with the caliber of staff on our AMA cruises, this experience was truly exceptional. Our wonderful cruise manager Kriss; our movie star handsome and very approachable Captain Danny; the front desk staff led by Victor; Tomas and Peter in the bar who always met us with a warm smile; and every member of the crew and staff we encountered - the team AMA has assembled on AmaDagio was exceptional in every way. The entertainment included La Strada; a chanteuse who was very good; and the highlight of the cruise, a crew dance routine that brought the crowd to its feet on the 2nd to last evening The entertainment that evening was a solo gentleman whose name I cannot recall but who provided an exceptional evening of music and dancing. It was one of the best nights ever aboard a river cruise ship and we had a blast with the crew and other passengers. Bravo, AMA, for having a crew that is not only warm and professional, but that truly integrates with the passengers and made us all feel part of a special family. Excursions were mostly good with our favorite being a visit to a truffle farm in the countryside. We also enjoyed a visit to a family owned olive oil farm. We were docked within the city center at each port, making it very easy to explore on our own, as we often prefer to do. Food was good on AmaDagio, though not as good as we have enjoyed on previous cruises with AMA. Several of the fish dishes at dinner were not up to their normal standards and we noticed that portions were very small. We are not big eaters and prefer smaller portions of food, but this chef took that to an extreme in my opinion. Best meals were at Erlebnis and in the main dining room on the evening where duck was featured. Breakfast and lunch were quite good. Wines were local and really good this trip. Desserts were hit or miss according to my husband, who has a sweet tooth and sampled many of them. We enjoyed the itinerary and are glad we experienced this part of France, but prefer other itineraries we have experienced in previous river cruises. We do enjoy AMA and feel they offer a top notch overall experience.   Read Less
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