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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
This is our third cruise with AmaWaterways which must tell you that we like the Ama experience. Our first cruise was on the Danube on AmaSonata - and I rave about that elsewhere. Our second cruise was on the Rhine, on AmaSonata by ... Read More
This is our third cruise with AmaWaterways which must tell you that we like the Ama experience. Our first cruise was on the Danube on AmaSonata - and I rave about that elsewhere. Our second cruise was on the Rhine, on AmaSonata by coincidence. I was less happy with that trip - mostly because I did not like the Rhine as much as the Danube which was not Ama's fault and there were too many Asian flavours in each meal - which was Ama's fault. It would still have been 5 stars even then. This year we searched for a new Ama European cruise that provided the right balance and type of activities and came up with the Rhone - Colours of Provence aboard the AmaCello. Coming from the UK, we flew to Lyon from Heathrow and back to Heathrow from Marseille booked through Ama. The flights were not fun - proper cattle truck flights - and that seems a huge shame as they top and tail what was a luxury cruise. If I was doing it again, I would investigate the train services which were used by other guests on the cruise and reportedly were excellent. Our transfer to the ship from the airport was handled well, though the traffic was bad so we only arrived at 1810 to find we were invited to the Captains Table for Dinner starting in 20 minutes - no time to unpack or shower so we were the scruffy pair at the table. Oh well - at least the Captain - Philippe Stypa was a really good host who managed not to notice. He was the most pleasant and affable captain we have sailed with. He remembered us throughout the week, gave tours of the wheelhouse to those of us who wanted to know how the ship operated and greeted each on-shore excursion as it returned. An excellent captain. AmaCello is an old ship by Ama standards. Compared to AmaSonata, the cabins are smaller, have French Balconies rather than twin balconies and the en-suites are smaller. Those are not necessarily minus points. I prefer the French balcony as I get more uninterrupted window space and my wife preferred the en-suite - mostly because it did not have the unnecessary window into the cabin the illumination from which woke her when I used the bathroom at night on the AmaSonata. Although small, the cabin was perfectly adequate for the two of us. So score one to AmaCello. The restaurant and lounge were different but similar to those on the Sonata - generally very adequate though the air-conditioning struggled in the very high temperatures experienced during the cruise when the rooms were full - at mealtimes or during briefings for instance. The food in the restaurant was a pleasure to eat. There was a good variety, it was well presented, tasty and much more appropriate to the region than on our Rhine cruise. The quantity was generous - we were encouraged to have second helpings of desserts for instance and our glasses kept getting refilled as long as we continued to allow it. The excursions were good, the coaches comfortable though the journeys sometimes seemed long in relationship to the time at the destination. The guides generally spoke good English, many were really excellent. They all knew their subject though occasionally it sounded as if they were bored to be giving the commentary to yet another group. I enjoyed the Steam Train in Tournon, the Pont du Gard visit and the Truffle Farm visit. We had been doubtful about the latter but a truly excellent guide made it totally hysterical fun. You would be lucky if you had the same guide visiting the same Truffle Farm. I am slightly less enthusiastic about the onboard entertainment. The resident musician played Spanish style guitar mostly. Maybe if I had concentrated on listening it would have been excellent but as a background noise it could be jarring. The evening entertainers were all impressively skilled but I was too tired by the day's activities to really appreciate them; my loss I suspect. So that brings me to Service and the "but....". Every member of the crew greeted us whenever they saw us. Initially I thought that was excellent but it did begin to sound a little bit overdone by the last day. Our cabin was kept beautifully clean and organised by our room steward. I thought the housekeeping on the previous cruises was excellent but this was just that little bit better, more thoughtful. The receptionists were brilliant, very professional. The cooks must have suffered greatly producing excellent food in a small kitchen area that I guess was like an oven what with the cooking and the sun's heat. The restaurant and bar staff worked very hard - they were always rushing on some errand or another. But.... - two of the waiters seemed totally untrained. I doubt that either of them had worked at anything before much less coped with the huge pressures of serving a complex menu to customers who all descend on the restaurant within minutes of it opening. They did not have a clue - forgot to serve courses that had been ordered, mixed up the orders, gave people courses they had not ordered. Some guests gave up and left the restaurant without finishing their meal. Other waiters tried to help but had plenty to do themselves. I am NOT picking on those two novices; they should not have been put in such a situation. Many of the guests will not even have noticed these problems especially if they sat at the other end of the restaurant and were served by hard working and competent waiters. Some guests who were effected took it all lightly but it should not have happened on a cruise that claims to be a luxury cruise specialising in a superb eating experience. On our first cruise, the waiters were impressive. I do not remember them putting a foot wrong. The second cruise was slightly less impressive and this one was poor; not in terms of the effort put in by the staff but in terms of the failure of Ama senior management to employ trained staff or to train them before letting them loose on guests. Therefore, I deduct one star due to a failure by Ama senior management. The AmaCello's reputation suffers but that is really collateral damage, it seems that Ama Waterways have put business growth above quality of service. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
We had not cruised the River Rhone before and were interested to see this part of France. We were not disappointed. The boat was just the right size, pristine and welcoming. The crew were all friendly, from the Captain, Cruise Manager and ... Read More
We had not cruised the River Rhone before and were interested to see this part of France. We were not disappointed. The boat was just the right size, pristine and welcoming. The crew were all friendly, from the Captain, Cruise Manager and Hotel Manager, through dining room and kitchen staff, to cabin staff and the engine room and maintenance staff. We were introduced to them all. Our Chef was inspirational, producing four-course lunches and dinners with ample choices at each course, all to an extremely high standard. Wine and soft drinks complemented each meal and were included in the cost of the cruise. There was a choice of on-shore excursions from each port, depending on our interests and abilities, and we travelled in modern coaches to reach the further destinations. There were guided walking tours from the boat at each port and some tours by bicycle. We would highly recommend cruising with Ama Waterways. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We were invited to a wine cruise by our wine club. We have been contemplating a river cruise for years. This cruise offered a three day end in Barcelona which is a destination we both were excited about. I t was everything and more we ... Read More
We were invited to a wine cruise by our wine club. We have been contemplating a river cruise for years. This cruise offered a three day end in Barcelona which is a destination we both were excited about. I t was everything and more we than we were expecting. The staff was amazing! The food was delicious. Our chef and his staff were so professional and the food was a work of art. Our cruise director Andre was a person who has such a love of his career and the people that handled the excursions were amazing. The whole experience was unforgettable. As a side note, we arrived in Barcelona 40 minutes after the terrorist attack which happened 100 feet from our hotel. Andre kept us safe. He moved us to another hotel within an hour and we were safe . I love him for all of his skills. Great experience!!!! Thanks to AMA for a perfect experience! Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
This was our third trip with AmaWaterways. The first two were very good experiences. This one was extremely disappointing. There were many issues. The most upsetting was the cruise manager. He was cranky, rude and intimidating. Every ... Read More
This was our third trip with AmaWaterways. The first two were very good experiences. This one was extremely disappointing. There were many issues. The most upsetting was the cruise manager. He was cranky, rude and intimidating. Every day, without fail, he made me feel bad in one way or another. And I was not alone in this feeling. I guess he felt he could act this way because he was leaving AmaWaterways. However, that’s no excuse and AmaWaterways should apologize for letting someone like him represent the company. Another problem was being mislead by the description of it as being a scenic cruise. One day we stared out our window at a wall. The last two days we got to stare across into the window of another ship. Also, it was very noisy. We had the privilege of paying to be on the highest deck. That means that the sundeck was above us, so people would walk over us until late at night. There were other issues. The fitness room is terrible, and had boring equipment. The rooms need updating, including an antiquated heating/cooling system. The shower was very nice and updated, but the lighting in the room was also poor. There was free Internet, but it was often pretty bad. Food is always an important part of a cruise. The breakfast was good, but the coffee was terrible – cold and either too weak or too strong. The lunches were very good, but dinner usually was either boring or downright bad. The staff tried their best, but clearly some of them needed more training. The good – Marketa, the hotel manager, was very nice and professional. The excursions were very good, and the guides (for the most part) were excellent. This was the cruise's saving grace, and why I gave it three stars, instead of two. Overall, we left thinking that this might be our last trip on Amawaterways: there’s plenty of other river cruise companies to consider. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We did a cruise on AMA starting on July 31 with a trip to Barcelona for a cruise up the Rhone, with add on for a trip to Barcelona and Paris. This was our first river cruise after several ocean cruises. This a five star cruise and we ... Read More
We did a cruise on AMA starting on July 31 with a trip to Barcelona for a cruise up the Rhone, with add on for a trip to Barcelona and Paris. This was our first river cruise after several ocean cruises. This a five star cruise and we had a great time. AMA met us at the airport in Barcelona and took excellent care of us every step of the way until dropping us off at Delta check-in at Paris. Our cruise manager, Sebastian, was excellent and was very attentive to details and made sure we were all well cared for. The shore excursions were excellent and the local tours guides were too. AMA does a nice job of vetting their guides. The optional tours were very good as well; Montserrat and the cabaret in Paris. Most days had choices of tours and they were well-paced and started around 9:00 each day. We thought the food on board was very well done, at breakfast, lunch and dinner, and beautifully presented. This was a wine-focused cruise, and included some wine excursions that aren't part of the regular itinerary. We did a hike to the M. Chapoutier vineyards, a tasting at Chateauneuf-du-Pape, and a tour of another old family vineyard. The wine events on board were a little disappointing since they focused on Virginia wines from the US instead of French wines. Service on board was very good. Since there was only about 125 passengers the crew got to know our preferences. The Maitre D even got us one of the chef’s recipes! The captain also invited us into the bridge on the spur of the movement one day. A couple areas weren't great. The on board entertainment was mediocre, especially the ship’s singer. The guest performers were better. Also, the bar drinks were bad. We ordered them once and didn't finish them. These were minor areas though. Our stateroom was small, smaller than most ocean cruise ship cabins, but worked fine and the bathroom and shower were good too. Plenty of hot water and good shower heads and water pressure. The ship’s top deck was nice too, with plenty of seating. The hot tub wasn't very hot and was hardly used. The ship (AMA Cello) isn't new and it shows a little when compared to newer ships. Overall, this was an excellent vacation. We’d definitely look at AMA for another river cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
My daughter, mother and I just returned from cruising on the AMACello last week and wanted to commend AMA on an overall fabulous experience. This was a wine cruise and we found the Cave B Estate Winery representatives, Freddy and Carrie, ... Read More
My daughter, mother and I just returned from cruising on the AMACello last week and wanted to commend AMA on an overall fabulous experience. This was a wine cruise and we found the Cave B Estate Winery representatives, Freddy and Carrie, to be extremely knowledgeable and we enjoyed the lectures and tastings. Also, a French sommelier came onboard and they compared and contrasted French wines with American wines. One night they even paired each meal course with a specific wine. My daughter and I were on the Violin deck, while my mother was on the Piano deck, and both of our cabins were kept immaculate. We felt the food was excellent with multi-course meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Sorin, the dining room maitre d', brought our table our own large piece of walnut cheese that was not displayed on the cheese plate at the time, but we had previously had it and enjoyed it so much we wanted more. The ice cream party was lots of fun as well. The variety as well as the quality of the tours offered was excellent. AMA arranged for local guides and they were outstanding. We were provided with multiple choices of tours each day with different difficulty levels that catered to the passengers' personal activity levels. My daughter and I biked alongside the river and through several smaller towns in Vienne and loved it. We would have enjoyed biking more often, but if you choose to bike, you will not experience as much of the city, and if it's a city you haven't visited before, I would recommend the walking tour over biking. In addition, we loved visiting an olive farm, truffle farm complete with lavender fields, a wine and chocolate tasting at a chateau, the Valrhona Chocolate Factory, and the hike through the Chapoutier vineyards with gorgeous views. The cruise director, Andre, was particularly outstanding - he literally stopped what he was doing and went over in detail the entire itinerary to help us make choices for tours. Throughout the cruise I saw different times where he demonstrated an infinite amount of patience with passengers. He also helped arrange a transfer to Marseilles Airport at a MUCH more reasonable rate than we had previously set up. Captain Tony was a lot of fun and even gave us a tour of the wheelhouse! Marchetta, our hotel manager oversaw every detail and was always available and friendly. A special shout-out to our dining room wait staff, Damir and Julian, who treated us like three princesses. The only area we felt could be improved upon was upgrading the fitness equipment. I look forward to cruising with AMA again in the near future - next time I'm bringing my husband!! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We started three days before in Barcelona and then took a high speed train to Nimes, FR and settled in for various excursions off boat to olive farms, city tours, roman ruins, wine tasting and walks in vineyards and a visit to a truffle ... Read More
We started three days before in Barcelona and then took a high speed train to Nimes, FR and settled in for various excursions off boat to olive farms, city tours, roman ruins, wine tasting and walks in vineyards and a visit to a truffle farm. We liked the tours because they had one for active walkers so we were able to cover a lot of ground and see many more parts to the villages and cities. The truffle farm experience was neat to see a dog find a truffle and then the tasting with wine and crackers was perfect. We also were allowed onto the Pont Du Gard aqueduct and actually had access and walked across inside the aqueduct. The cruise director "Camille" was so great and seemed to handle everything with hardly a hiccup. She recommended several additional sites and restaurants to stop and visit and especially gave us great info on our extended trips to Barcelona and Paris all thru AMA. The 130 passengers were a perfect size for this ship and dining was busy but not crowded, they had tables for 2/4/6 so dining was easy for talking and meeting new people. Also, our table always was perfect with wine and food because Elana and Damir were such h good and fun hosts...AMA is lucky to have them for their service excellence!!!! AMA was a perfect fit for our trip. R/A Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
We had enjoyed AMA's Porto cruise, so this was a natural next choice. Our cruse tour was organizd by AMA and included 7 nights on the Amacello, followed by the Loire vally and return to Paris.The cruise was A1 from start to finish. ... Read More
We had enjoyed AMA's Porto cruise, so this was a natural next choice. Our cruse tour was organizd by AMA and included 7 nights on the Amacello, followed by the Loire vally and return to Paris.The cruise was A1 from start to finish. Most of the passengers were seniors on this trip. We were met in Paris at the Paris Marriott Opera hotel by the cruise director Rachel, and everything flowed from there. Paris was rained out...the Louvre was flooded and closed, the Metro was flooded and closed, Roland Gaross was rained out. We took the bus trip to Montmartre and found dinner near Sacre-Coeur. Not much of the bohemeian life style left, but the view of the city was worth the effort. The TVG was on strike, so we boarded a bus rather than the TVG for Bordeaux to join our ship.. 9 hours later we arrived in Bordeaux and boarded, having enjoyed a very comfortable luxury coach ride through the French countryside. Our cabin on the Violin deck, port side forward, was very comfortable with a juliet balcony from which we enjoyed watching the river activity. The walkin shower had a multihead arrangement that took some getting used to, but once accustomed worked very well. Excellent hair dryer in the dressing table away from the shower, a nice touch. We exchanged the duvets for light blankets. The lounge is comfortable, with enough good seating for most events. We heard that the ship was 60% on this cruise so the wait staff and housekeeping were very attentive. With a full ship the lounge mght have been a bit crowded. When on board we took our lunches there, usually a soup, sandwiches, salads, a hot entree, fruits, cheeses or a light dessert were provided, More than enough, tasty and beautifully presented. Familiar listenable music on the electric piano in the corner by the ship's musician each day was pleasant and not intrusive. Dinners in the dining room were open seating. The predinner chat in the lounge with Rachel was always fun, interestiing and informative as well as entertaining. Evenng entertainment featured ccomplished young local musicians and dancers. A walking tour of Bordeaux was offered, but as the guide talked more than she walked we soon abandoned, headed back to the ship, took bicycles and explored Bordeaux on our own. Buses accompanied the ship each day along the rivers. One aftenoon I left my nexus phone on the bus. By the time i realized it was missing the buses had moved on to the next day's rendevous. The ship staff made contact with the bus company, and my phone was waiting for me at the desk the next morning before we departed the ship. The drivers come early to the ship for breakfast, and the driver had had found the phone and brought it back. What excellent service. Shore excursions led to daily wine tastings in vineyards in the Bordeaux, Garonne and Dordogne rivers. Tastings of various vintages were invariably accompanied by fine cheeses, meats and fresh breads. Many very famous Vineyards could be seen in the area. The cruise ended in Bordeaux and we had time to visit the new Citi du Vin wine museum, just opened. Filled with hundreds of interactive displays it is well worth a visit, to be topped off with a glass of wine of your choice as a treat on the 8th floor, which features a panoramic view of the city of Bordeaux and the river. The ship doesn't actually sail much on this itinerary, as the distances are short. I was left wanting more sea time. Next time , a longer itinerary, perhaps. All too soon we left our comfortable Amacello, boarded the TVG post cruise for the Loire Valley arranged by AMA. Didn't see much as the tracks run through cuttings much of the way to Tours, then on to Amboise to view Chateau D'amboise, Chateau du Clos Luce which featured working models of many designs and drawings by Leonardo da Vinci, Chateau de Chenonceau, and then to Blois to view Chateau de Chambord. We then bussed to Paris to the Pullman Paris Roissy, CDG airport, where the rooms are comfortable but the food at dinner was awful. Fortunately our flight home was not with Air Fance as they were on strike again, so we left on time. Altogether a memorable cruise tour. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
While my husband has never been on a cruise, I have been on several ocean cruises. Cruising on AMAWaterways beat them all. Because there are only 140 passengers, you get to know each other and the staff and crew. All of the staff and ... Read More
While my husband has never been on a cruise, I have been on several ocean cruises. Cruising on AMAWaterways beat them all. Because there are only 140 passengers, you get to know each other and the staff and crew. All of the staff and crew were friendly and on the spot with whatever you needed. The excursions were all well-organized and excellent, led by knowledgeable guides. The ship itself was clean and in great condition. The food was very good - I really enjoyed the light lunch option. The entertainment was ok, but that's not what we were looking for in a cruise. From the time our greeter met us at the airport and took us to the ship to disembarkation early to catch a train (they even packed food for us!), AMAWaterways took great care of us. We would definitely recommend AMAWaterways. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2015
This was our first river cruise - we (my wife and I) have been on several ocean cruises with HAL in the past. Overall we would give this cruise an 8-10 rating. Pros: Generally well organized and well run. However, some people ... Read More
This was our first river cruise - we (my wife and I) have been on several ocean cruises with HAL in the past. Overall we would give this cruise an 8-10 rating. Pros: Generally well organized and well run. However, some people need more detailed instructions which would help things move a bit smoother. Food was good but not outstanding - compared to HAL they have a long ways to go. We primarily choose this line over others for their gym on board - we didn't expect much but it did meet our needs. Cruise director (Rachael) was excellent. We were surprised to find some tables for 2 in the dining room which we appreciate as I am not always wanting to have a conversation with others at meals. We didn't expect much for entertainment - the classical music trio was excellent - otherwise a boring keyboard player most of the time. Best parts: Rhine river castles and optional excursion in Switzerland - Mt. Pilatus Cons: Internet access is really horrible - even when the ship is docked in the cities. They warned us of bad service on the north end of the cruise approaching Switzerland, but it really was bad - but their bad internet was free. They like to blame the local phone company service - but I was constantly being dropped from the ships network. Instructions for transfers to the airport were confusing to most people - there was a lot of issues with the process of gathering luggage from rooms and then having it loaded correctly on the buses. We generally choose to take our own down (as opposed to leaving outside the room) - which was an acceptable option to AMA. This way we were able to ensure we stayed with our luggage. Overall: We would travel with AMA Waterways in the future. This cruise is beautiful. NOTE: check store hours if you plan on shopping - in Zurich the stores are not open on Sundays - except at the train station. WARNING: Switzerland in not a place to shop - except for Swiss chocolate - yum. Their prices are almost 75-100% higher that anywhere else (but so are their salaries). Just one example: a big mac sells for 11.70 Swiss Francs ($11.90). Read Less
AmaCello Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 0.0
Dining 3.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 5.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 2.0 0.0
Family 1.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 3.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 3.0 0.0
Value For Money 5.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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