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6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Wanted to see Provence when chance to see lavender in bloom. Chose AMAWaterways based on price. Travel solo and while still paid single supplement the promotion going was the best deal for the time could go. Did not do pre or post ... Read More
Wanted to see Provence when chance to see lavender in bloom. Chose AMAWaterways based on price. Travel solo and while still paid single supplement the promotion going was the best deal for the time could go. Did not do pre or post cruise package. Cruise only. Did pre-cruise time in Paris on own. Purchased transfer from Paris to Lyon from AMA. Worked great. Met group at hotel for transfer to train station and ride to Lyon. From that moment entire vacation great. First stop in Lyon was a cooking class. Lot of fun. Because visiting during heatwave the cafe/school geared lessons things that did not require lot of 'cooking'. Cabin on ship was fine. Had a single cabin. The bed was small/single but worked ok. French balcony. Service excellent all around. Had a good cruise manager in Dragan. Our captain was very personable and friendly. I enjoyed the quality and variety of the food presented. I liked that the walking tours offered different levels of activity. There were active walker groups and gentle walker groups. I joined gentle walkers and felt that saw enough of given sights without stressing about keeping up with the group. Appreciate that crew helped bring luggage to top of ramp when disembarking. Entertainment different as jazz dagen group had their own. The excursions offered were fun. The ones I attended: Walking tour of Vienn plus little train to panoramic view--Enjoyed the view. Interesting through trip to discover so many vestiges of ancient Roman influence Steam train--Beautiful scenery. Kind of short ride. Forgot the smell of burning coal and the cinders/soot. Still recommend because of beauty. Truffle farm--A Highlight. Owner Serge and his truffle hunting dog Aimee. Such personality. Beaujolais village and wine tasting Arles-light show in quarry-van Gogh plus asylum visit--Light show was fantastic. Arles- van Gogh featured walking tour Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
Background information: I picked this cruise because I wanted to revisit the places I had been on a trip I made in 1964, and I took my 18 year old granddaughter with me because she wanted to see France and practice her French. She had ... Read More
Background information: I picked this cruise because I wanted to revisit the places I had been on a trip I made in 1964, and I took my 18 year old granddaughter with me because she wanted to see France and practice her French. She had been on 2 cruises prior to this and I had been on 30 cruises. One of my prior cruises was on AmaViola which was a newer AmaWaterways ship with a pool. The AmaCello was an older ship. I use a mobility scooter because I cannot walk very far, and although the crew on the ships are most helpful, it is sometimes difficult to get on and off the ships with a scooter. The actual cruise on AmaCello went from Lyon to Arles, with two days in Paris at the start and an option of two days in Barcelona at the end. I decided to arrive in Paris four days before the tour. We flew in to Charles de Gaulle airport - arriving on 20 June, and our travel agent arranged for us to be picked up and taken to the hotel. HOTEL: We stayed in the same hotel as the AmaCello groups were staying in. Originally this was to be the Renaissance Arc de Triomphe but we were switched to the Renaissance La Parc Trocadero. I think the switch was because there was a large Jazz group on this cruise and they filled up the first hotel. The hotel had three steps up to the lobby - they had a small lift for wheelchairs but it was awkward because I had to have staff assistance to use it. It had to be unlocked both at the top and bottom. Normally I went in to my room through the garden (which was a cool relaxing space) because there were no steps. The hotel had handicapped rooms (with a shower instead of a tub) but they were all doubles. I didn't want to sleep with my granddaughter, so I got a rollaway bed Breakfast was included and it was more than adequate, and we also got room service twice and ate in the restaurant which had delicious food. Our travel agent (who was with Vacations To Go) also arranged a private tour of Paris, a trip to the Louvre and the Catacombs, and a Riverboat cruise dinner. On our own we visited the Musee d'Orsay and L'Orangerie, and I booked a walking tour of the Left Bank with a company called Discover Walks. The rest of the group came in on June 24th. We had a meeting with our Cruise Director Dragan Reljic that evening. Paris was in the middle of a unusual heat wave where the temperature would be over 100 deg. F. EMBARKATION was 27 June. We were to take the high speed train from Paris to Lyon. Initially I was told that I would have to ship my scooter with the luggage and that I would have to walk to the train. After I flatly refused to do that, they figured out that there were elevators in the station, and Dragan took us (my granddaughter and me) to the elevators. In Lyon we got on a bus and there was an arrangement for us to cook and eat some food and then walk or take a shuttle to the ship in Lyon. But it was way too hot to do that, so most of us just went directly to the ship. At the ship, they had a buffet for us while we were waiting for our rooms, and quite quickly, we could get into the room and unpack. We had a meeting to do the safety briefing - the Captain kept us laughing and then Dragan talked to us about the schedule. When the meeting was over, all the women got roses. There was a vase in the cabin for us to put the roses in DINING: The dining room is on the lowest deck. For awhile the door to exit into the dining room would not open and this was a problem for me. After a day or so they figured out a manual override, but I always had to wait for someone to let me out (or for the person with the key to let me in). The food at dinner was excellent. Breakfast and Lunch were mainly a buffet. I absolutely cannot do a buffet. There's no room for the scooter, the food is almost too high for me to see, and if I get something, I can't carry it. If my granddaughter was with me, she could sometimes bring me food from the buffet, and sometimes the waiters would help me. The food was good, it was just hard for me to get. ACTIVITIES and ENTERTAINMENT There was a gym and Alex was the guy doing the exercise classes. There were nightly concerts, which in the case of this cruise were often Jazz performances. Neither the ship nor any of the hotels had a pool, which was a big disappointment to me. I normally do my exercises in a pool for a hour three or four times a week. My health deteriorates when I can't get into a pool. This ship only had a hot tub. I did go up on the Sunshine Deck once and sat there in the shade and enjoyed the breeze. SERVICE: In all aspects, excellent. PORT and SHORE EXCURSIONS PARIS: Most people arrived on 24 June. On June 25th, we had two tours. First an overview of Paris in the morning. And in the evening we had an evening illumination tour - first they took us up to Sacre Coeur where we could have dinner on our own. Then we went down the funicular, and got back on the bus. We got to the Eiffel tower a little before 11:00 - just in time for the sparkling light show. The next day (June 26th) we had on our own but then our cruise director Dragan Reljic had arranged an optional visit to a dinner show cabaret up on Montmartre. This was really a terrific show and a lot of fun. LYON: There was a Bike Tour, but my granddaughter can't ride a bike, and a City Tour which my granddaughter took. They went up to the Basilica and did some of what my granddaughter called "secret passageways" (Traboules) She enjoyed this tour. It was too hot for me to go BEAUJOLAIS: Neither of us took this excursion because we are not interested in wine tasting. VIENNE: The Mount Pipet hike was my granddaughters favorite tour. She said: The view of the city was spectacular. Vienne is definitely my favorite of the places we have visited so far. It’s beautiful and quiet with more story to it than it seems. Vienne is the underdog city. TOURNON: Steam Train RIde: This was the first tour that I did, and it was a really nice ride up the gorge and back. We went through tunnels, and then at the top, the engine turned around and went to the other end of the train to pull us back down the mountain. I went to the little museum at the end of the train trip. AVIGNON: My granddaughter did the Pont du Gard (aqueduct) tour and then the visit to the Truffle farm, both of which she enjoyed. Dragan arranged for me to get a taxi, and the taxi took me up to Las Baux, and to the Les Remy Antiquities, to King Rene's palace and then around to the Pope's Palace ARLES: We went on the Camargue and Aigues-Mortes tour and this was a disappointment. For some reason I thought we would see some of the Camargue horses, and we did, but just through the bus window. We did see lots of sunflowers and the bus stopped so we could get out and take photos. Then my granddaughter went on the Van Gogh walking tour. She felt that she knew more about it than the guide. Also it was very hot. BARCELONA: I have been to Barcelona before, but I had not seen the old city nor had I been into the Sagrada Familia. So we made a reservation for the Sagrada Familia for 12:15 which I thought would be at the end of the "Best of Barcelona" tour. Be the tour had been rearranged so after we saw the Gothic Quarter, we got a taxi to the Sagrada Familia. It was an amazing experience. The following day my granddaughter did the Mountains and Abbey of Montserrat excursion, which I think she enjoyed. DISEMBARKATION: Some people got off the ship in Arles but we were going on to Barcelona. So first we went to Nimes, where we had a nice tour, and some free time so we could buy lavender honey. That part of the day was good. We got to the train station and first we had to change platforms for the train and then we had maybe 6 minutes to get everyone and their hand luggage (and the scooter) onto the train. The train had two levels, and I was blocked getting to my seat in a timely manner because someone was getting another person settled and wouldn't get out of the aisle. We finally got to our seats which were facing another couple which means you have no room for your feet like in a regular seat. Although you have someone to talk to. There was no real provision for lunch, but my granddaughter went and got me a sandwich. I ate it, but it was soggy. I hate soggy bread. Then the train stopped in a station and just stayed there for a hour. The A/C was not keeping up. It was hot. We got to Barcelona about a hour late. HOTEL in Barcelona - It was another Renaissance. Other people got handicapped rooms with a shower, but I did not. They had to scramble around to find one that had a shower, and, as before it had a double bed. I got a rollaway. My granddaughter loved this hotel. She said it was fancy. The bathroom has one of those rain shower heads and a button IN the mirror that turns on this LED light around one part of it. At one point it got really really cold in the room, and I had to turn off the A/C and the fan because it was blowing cold air on me. I opened the window and let the sun warm up the room a little. SUMMARY: It was very hot, but that (and the non-working bow camera) was almost the only flaw in this cruise. The cruise director was great, the service was excellent, the food was good, and there was a good variety of excursions and things to do. When I didn't go on an excursion I could sit on the bow and take photos (until it got to hot, and then I could go to my room and take photos) Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We selected this cruise based on recommendations from Cruise Managers from our prior cruises who highly recommend the Colors of Provence cruise. In addition we booked the pre cruise visit to Barcelona and the post cruise to Paris which I ... Read More
We selected this cruise based on recommendations from Cruise Managers from our prior cruises who highly recommend the Colors of Provence cruise. In addition we booked the pre cruise visit to Barcelona and the post cruise to Paris which I would highly recommend. The Ama Waterways staff was excellent notably the Cruise Manager Rachel Coutro who was with us for the entire two week and did a marvelous job. The Ama Cello is referred to as the Grand Dame of the fleet and is well appointed and comfortable. The food was very good and presented in a delightful way. They blended the food with Provence, the morning we visited a Truffle Farm when we returned to the ship for lunch the chef served pasta with truffe oil which was out of this world. The cabins are smaller than ocean going ships but are very comfortable. I am 6 foot 4 inch's and I fit in the shower without a problem. I would highly recommend Ama Waterways and will sail with them in the future. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We had a wonderful time on the AmaCello in the south of France. The ship, cuisine, crew, staff, excursions, and scenery were excellent. This was only our second river cruise, the other being with Crystal, and we found Ama to be very ... Read More
We had a wonderful time on the AmaCello in the south of France. The ship, cuisine, crew, staff, excursions, and scenery were excellent. This was only our second river cruise, the other being with Crystal, and we found Ama to be very good, with the Crystal cruise being better in most every way, but of course, at a higher price point. This Ama cruise was just a notch below Crystal, but a better value, and every element was fantastic, so you can't go wrong with Ama. SHIP: I had read that the AmaCello was older, but there were no signs of that at all. It was clean, modern, classy, spacious, functional, well laid out, very nice. River cruise rooms are smaller than ocean ships, and these were smaller than Crystal's, but again, at a lower cost. I am 6'-8"/203cm, so I could not stand up in half the ship, especially the shower (which was tiny), but I was expecting that and an average or tall person will have no problems. Everything on board was comfortable and luxurious. There wasn't a big screen TV in the cabin, but there was a Mac computer that doubled as a screen, so that was a win/win. A little small, but we actually watched a couple of on-demand movies and it was fine. Bed & linens were comfy, french balcony was nice- good to be able to open it from floor to ceiling and sit there admiring the view and breeze while cruising the waterways. The fitness room was adequate and it even had a sauna that my wife used a number of times. There were a few cardio machines and just a few free weights. The heaviest weight was so light I had to put two dumbbells in each hand to get a sufficient weight workout, but I did it. There was a spa for massages, but we never got one. CUISINE: All the meals were top notch and wonderfully presented by the hard working and friendly staff. River ships have smaller galleys and staff than ocean ships so there is a more limited selection of what they can do, so the cuisine lacks the wow factor of ocean ships, but everything was gourmet and delicious. Compared to Crystal, which has a larger galley and more staff on their river ships, Crystal was a significant notch better, but Ama's food was wonderful and we were very pleased with every meal, drink, and snack. Crystal offers more sugar-free and gluten-free options, however. ama was very accommodating with my wife's food allergies. STAFF: The AmaCello staff were wonderful, friendly, delightful, and helpful in every way. Compared to Crystal, which has a much higher staff to customer ratio, I sensed that everyone was spread more thinly and had to work harder, but they did that all with aplomb. Where Ama exceeded Crystal was with their marvelous cruise director Cesario Santos who was with the group in the hotel in Paris before the cruise, took us on the train to Lyon, then on the ship, and then traveled with the guests on the train to Barcelona for the extra days after the cruise. This was a very nice touch that other cruise lines do not offer and it was very welcome. Cesario worked day and night, hammering out details, serving the customer, he was truly excellent and made me want to travel with Ama again. I had even left my coat in the hotel in Paris and Cesario immediately had it shipped to our next stop for me. Truly excellent service. CAPTAIN/PILOT: Our captain or his pilot did manage to bang the ship into a few pilings or river locks on the trip, in fact, they smashed into someone's room breaking the window and denting the whole french balcony. That couple had to be moved down to a below water level room. I think the captain got removed from the ship at the end of the cruise judging from his farewell speech. No one was hurt and the cruise was not impeded, and everyone was amused by it except the displaced couple. ENTERTAINMENT: There's not much entertainment on a river cruise due to space and staff issues, and that's fine. Compared to an ocean cruise where there is so much it can be exhausting, the river cruise model is more laid back. The AmaCello had nice pianists and DJs and such, and some musical guests, all who were good. EXCURSIONS: From the trip from Paris to the ship and all the excursions during the week (all the cruise excursions were included in the price), every one was fantastic, seamlessly integrated with the ship, informative, interesting, luxurious, really great. The Rhone Valley and Provence are simply beautiful, and the cities and towns are wonderful. They would be even more spectacular in the summer when the lavender blooms, but everything was so picturesque, we were delighted. The village of Grignan is a must-see, simply the most picturesque village I can remember anywhere. The Papal Palace in Avignon is well worth it, and the Carrières de Lumières show in Arles in an underground rock quarry is an amazing and mesmerizing experience that you shouldn't miss. If you continue on to Barcelona, the Basílica de la Sagrada Família is one of the most spectacular sights in all the world and is a must-see. So, we would highly recommend the AmaCello. Everything was top notch without breaking the bank. A highly enjoyable, luxurious vacation with all the details taken care of by a superb staff. We will definitely go on another Ama cruise. Read Less
3 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
1 Helpful Vote
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
9 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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
We chose Ama Waterways for our 25th Anniversary cruise and we were not disappointed. From the moment we stepped onto the pier in Amsterdam until we said goodbye in Basel, everything was done for our comfort and enjoyment. The ship is ... Read More
We chose Ama Waterways for our 25th Anniversary cruise and we were not disappointed. From the moment we stepped onto the pier in Amsterdam until we said goodbye in Basel, everything was done for our comfort and enjoyment. The ship is tastefully appointed and sparkling clean, despite it's *relative* age in the industry (built in 2008). Our stateroom was stylish and comfortable, with plenty of space for our belongings and nice features such as a French balcony and flat-screen TV with internet access. Meals were freshly prepared (we saw fresh produce come aboard at every port of call) and portions were just right. The shore excursions were informative and featured different ability groupings so that all passengers could enjoy the sights as their mobility level allowed. Where Ama Waterways truly stands out, however, is in the professionalism and attentiveness of the crew. Everyone from the Captain and Cruise Director, to the wait staff and housekeepers, worked to make the cruise a wonderful, memorable experience for all passengers. I would not hesitate to recommend Ama Waterways to anyone who wants a truly first-class cruise vacation. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
Amacello review- seven nights Romantic Rhine (June 4-11, 2015): Day 1- Amsterdam (embark) Day 2- Amsterdam canal tour, then bus to meet up with ship at first lock. Day 3- Cologne (morning walking tour of city), Koblenz (evening ... Read More
Amacello review- seven nights Romantic Rhine (June 4-11, 2015): Day 1- Amsterdam (embark) Day 2- Amsterdam canal tour, then bus to meet up with ship at first lock. Day 3- Cologne (morning walking tour of city), Koblenz (evening walking tour) Day 4 morning cruising Rhine gorge, (Rudesheim (afternoon and evening tours), Day 5- Speyer or bus to Heidelberg (afternoon walking tours), Day 6- Strasbourg (morning walking tours, afternoon explore city on your own), Day 7- Bresach/Riquewihr (bus to city then afternoon walking tours), Day 8- Basel (disembark). Post cruise extension possible I have taken over 20 ocean cruises on 8 cruise lines. I wanted to try a river cruise and this one worked out with my schedule. I arranged my own air transportation and pre and post cruise hotels. I traveled solo. Good 1) The ship is nicely appointed. Cabins are compact but with loads of not easily accessible under bed storage. Closets were perfect for one person, but would be much tighter with two. Nice bathroom, with a good-sized shower with glass door, but limited bathroom storage. 2) The staff is very nice and repeatedly stated that “all you have to do is ask”. I did ask for and get pants hangers, and asked and paid for a cabin up grade from lower deck to one with a French balcony. 3) Free Internet is included, although cell coverage is spotty due to cruising on border regions. The in cabin media system had a range of European and American TV channel coverage, and recent movies on demand. 4) Wine/soft drinks/beer are included with meals. Cocktails are ~$7. 5) Food was generally very good. Eggs, waffles, pancakes MTO, fruits, all breads baked onboard. 6) Excursions are included, generally a bus tour followed by a walking tour with several types of tours for active and gentle walkers and also biking tours. Have to read closely to differentiate between see (drive by) and visit (get out of the bus). Use the quiet boxes, so I could wander away from the group and still get the commentary. 7) Lots of small groups (2, 4, 6, 8) travelling together- no large groups on this particular cruise, but I has head from fellow passengers that large groups (30-40) have occurred on previous cruises which dramatically changed the dynamics. Most passengers are 60-90 retirees, with one group of 40-ish travellers, and several extended family groups. 8) Local entertainment brought on to the ship was mostly good to excellent. Bad, 1) Ship is small (146 pax maximum, 112 for this voyage). The beds were European and very hard. Would have liked to have a choice of pillows. Really no place to hang out to read. Often the only room (Lounge) is in use for port talks or entertainment. So I spent a good deal of time in cabin watching movies, the scenery, or reading. 2) When I asked for sweetener other than “sweet and low”, the answer was that knew there were other kinds, but they did not carry them. So much for “All you have to do is ask”. Feel free to ask, but the answer might be no! 3) Nothing bad to add about media- They can’t control the cell coverage 4) Wish wine was available all the time, not just at meal times 5) Everyone ate at the same time. Lunch 11-1 pm depending on excursions, and generally 6-7 PM for dinner and you are asked to come within 20 minutes of those times. Didn’t like that, but it is a small ship so they have limited staff and kitchen space. 6) The excursion had limited choices. Some local guides ere excellent others not so good. 7) No accommodations made for solo travelers. Walking into the dining room brought back the horrors of high school lunchroom with lots of little cliques that formed immediately. Most nights I just asked around to sit with people, sometimes “seats were being held”, other times I met lovely fellow passengers. Sometimes if I sat down at a table then when the late arriving member of the “clique” arrived that acted put out. Really-I travel to meet new people, not sit with the same people every day. I am more used to ocean cruises were there are tables of solo travelers. On this ship there were only two solo travelers. This was my least favorite aspect of the cruise. Would I recommend this cruise? Yes for couples and small groups, definitely not for solo travelers. I might try another river cruise in 10 years, but I did not consider this a luxury experience. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2014
14 years ago we were on a river cruise and decided to go back and do another one with friends we met 14 years ago!! We've done many ocean cruises during that time. We took the pre-cruise extension from Zurich and had wonderful warm ... Read More
14 years ago we were on a river cruise and decided to go back and do another one with friends we met 14 years ago!! We've done many ocean cruises during that time. We took the pre-cruise extension from Zurich and had wonderful warm weather and it didn't get cool until the Rhine Gorge. Karen Bies the Cruise Director is indefatigable and always smiling. She was very helpful to everyone. We used the Gentle Walkers shore excursion section as I had a second knee replacement and the cobblestones aren't walker friendly. There were only 8 of us in the group, but the tour leaders were patient with us and gave great information. The evening entertainment was quite nice, however we had a group of 35+ Canadians who were rather rude and talked throughout the evening, despite severe looks from the singers. Food was plentiful and although not always hot in the chafing dishes at the end of the meals, there was a good selection for everyone. Danilo in Elibnis, the specialty restaurant, was a delight and we suggest you make reservations when you first board the ship. I had a birthday on board and the crew walked in with sparklers, plus a big one on the cake. VERY festive!! Disembarkation was a breeze! We used the ship's transfer to the airport and it was worth the cost as someone helped us get to the right desk for check in and helped with the bags. It was a relaxing tour and the foliage was nice, but I think I would suggest going earlier in September. Service throughout the cruise and the pre-extension couldn't have been better. The only thing that ruined our trip was coming home through JFK, where we had to wait an hour to get through Customs, and then more after we got our bags. The Global Re-entry pass is looking better and better!!   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2014
This past September I took a dream trip with my mom who had always dreamed on taking a River cruise along the Rhein. We started the planning in the early spring and could not believe how popular these river cruises were. We were doing this ... Read More
This past September I took a dream trip with my mom who had always dreamed on taking a River cruise along the Rhein. We started the planning in the early spring and could not believe how popular these river cruises were. We were doing this blindly as we didn't know of anyone that had ever went on a river cruise, so we had no idea what to expect at all. We arrived in Amsterdam the day before our cruise. We boarded the Amacello and from that first moment, we felt comfortable. The staff was friendly and accommodating, our room was beautiful, the boat was clean, and classy. The food was outstanding, our cruise manager was outstanding and helpful, we cannot say enough about this boat & staff. The tours offered many options, there is absolutely nothing negative to say. We have highly recommended Amawaterways and the Amacello to everyone that asks! Thanks for a very memorable trip. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2014
First river cruise. The ship was immaculate! Clean and classy. The rooms were clean and well put together and all the other areas on the ship were very nice. The staff are AMAZING! The best customer service ever experienced. River cruises ... Read More
First river cruise. The ship was immaculate! Clean and classy. The rooms were clean and well put together and all the other areas on the ship were very nice. The staff are AMAZING! The best customer service ever experienced. River cruises are not cheap so you hope the service will live up to the cost - and it does. The staff are courteous, friendly and professional. These guys welcome you with a smile all the time. The receptionist on board (Blasich (sp?)) is a sweetheart! The food was fine. It was not gourmet but not bad. Didn't stop us from eating! There is plenty of food throughout the day so you will never be hungry. 24 hr coffee machines and cookies out all the time. There are several selections for breakfast as well as a buffet. Same with lunch. Dinner is sit down. There are plenty of tables for 2 if you don't want to join the bigger tables. Wine and beer were free throughout lunch and dinner. The cakes were really bad. Several other passengers commented too. The "cake" part was like cardboard. I'd also heard about how great the soups were - again, they were okay, not great. There were tours every day. I took a tour almost every day - I found them to be quite boring. I would have liked something more active and maybe even a detailed informational sheet about where we were going and what we would see (they give you a short daily program with where you are going and so on). There is a guide and he/she speaks to you via the vox system (I think that's what they call it) but there is some difficulty in hearing everything since it's so busy around town and you're trying to watch your pockets and bags and so on. Tours also depends on the guide - had a great one in Speyer plus it was a smaller group. The others not so much. The Cruise Director - Karen - was very sweet but didn't do much. I was told that a Cruise Director can also make your cruise and the other passengers kept talking about how great their last CD was - Reko? We had one incident when we were cruising along the Rhine and the CD was talking about castles - no one could hear her so she said something similar to - "I understand not everyone can hear me but it's not my fault since it's windy, so there you go... " I thought that was a strange way to put it. Anyway, we all went into the front lounge and no-one could hear her there either until a passenger went to the reception to complain - the suddenly we could hear her. So, idea to cruiseline - instead of depending on CD for explanation of each castle and so on, maybe provide that in reading form as we are sailing. Also, it would be nice to have info as to other places we sailed along, such as "this bridge was built in so and so" and "to the left there is a Mercedes plant". Little tidbits of info along the way... Passengers are mostly 60-70+, Americans and Canadians (I'd say 50/50). They have wifi but it's worse than dial-up. Most people don't really care about that but I was trying to stay in touch with my business whilst sailing so it was a nightmare for me. Entertainment was okay. One night there was a singer and he had most people up on the dance floor - other nights local entertainment, which wasn't really my scene. Conclusion - we had a great time and so glad we experienced a river cruise. Next time I will do more research as to a more "active" cruise but in the meantime - AMAWaterways is the way to go!   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2013
This was promoted as a Culture and Wine Legacy of the Rhine cruise with a wonderful wine host named Holly Howell. She will be doing another one next year so if you'd like to learn more about Rhine produced wines, as well as Finger ... Read More
This was promoted as a Culture and Wine Legacy of the Rhine cruise with a wonderful wine host named Holly Howell. She will be doing another one next year so if you'd like to learn more about Rhine produced wines, as well as Finger Lakes, NY wines, do try this fun cruise on an excellent ship with extraordinary crew. The on board wine tastings were well done. We learned a lot and had fun too. The wine tastings at some large tasting rooms were less interesting. Skip those and do some private tastings on your own in one of the many tasting rooms in some of the towns. Yes, it was cold and dreary in N. Europe, but there were no crowds in the interesting port stops along the way. They were setting up for the Christmas Markets, and I shudder to think of the crush in a week. This was a lovely well appointed cabin with plenty of storage space and a beautiful bathroom with a great shower. Due to it's location forward on the top deck, however, I think we experienced more "people traffic" noise than had we chosen one further aft. (A little more courtesy from passengers traveling the corridors at early and late hours would be welcome!)   The shore excursions, included in the cruise, were mostly very good, but we sometimes chose to wander about a town exploring by ourselves. The meals were all very good with a nice balance of meat, fish and vegetarian choices well prepared and served hot. There were healthy choices at all meals, and also lots of marvelous desserts! Our only complaint was the choice each meal of only one white wine or one red wine. One evening, a very sweet white wine was the only offering with my fish, so I chose the drier red wine. We felt that especially on a "wine themed" cruise, more choices should have been offered. Our excellent tour director Christian was knowledgeable, unflappable, entertaining and very helpful....everything could every ask for to keep things running smoothly. The efficient crew provided top notch friendly service. We would definitely sail with AMA again! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2013
My husband and I sailed on the Amacello from Basel, Switzerland to Amsterdam on the Rhine River from November 1st to November 8th. I have never been on a cruise before. What a great experience from the 1st moment we arrived! Dragan, our ... Read More
My husband and I sailed on the Amacello from Basel, Switzerland to Amsterdam on the Rhine River from November 1st to November 8th. I have never been on a cruise before. What a great experience from the 1st moment we arrived! Dragan, our Cruise Director, greeted us at our taxi! We were quite early to the ship and he invited us on the ship for lunch and a tour! He was amazing the whole cruise! Amacello is lucky to have such a wonderful employee! He is wonderful at his job! The food was delicious, the rooms were comfortable, the staff was so friendly and worked tirelessly to please passengers. Every day we had two to three choices of excursions. All of our guides were locals and very knowledgeable and funny! I loved every stop. The entertainment was great. I have only great things to say about this cruise and especially our cruise director, Dragan. This was a trip of a life time! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2013
AMA Cello and crew were awesome. AMA offered three or four excursion options for each city; some walking, some bus and bicycling options. They were very flexible as to which one you took right up to the minute you walked off the ship. They ... Read More
AMA Cello and crew were awesome. AMA offered three or four excursion options for each city; some walking, some bus and bicycling options. They were very flexible as to which one you took right up to the minute you walked off the ship. They ran all excursions even if only a few people signed up. Twice we were on large bus with English speaking guide and only three other people. Our transportation to the airport was large bus, help with luggage both at ship and airport for on 24 Euros. Entertainment at night fun and relaxed; not big productions but very enjoyable. Food very good. Two espresso/latte machines on board that were available 24 hours at no cost. Wine served with meals complimentary. Bar drinks other times reasonably priced. Internet complimentary with available terminal in room and wifi throughout the ship. Not the fastest speed I've ever seen, but significantly better than large cruise ships. Our trip was the Rhine Christmas market from Basel to Amsterdam. It was the first time I've been to European Christmas markets. They are very enjoyable; good local food and drink and lots of handmade Christmas gifts to buy. Some factory made stuff displayed but that's easy to pass by. Weather cold, but we planned for it and that added to the Christmas atmosphere. Justin C Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2013
AmaWaterways  We were totally impressed by every aspect of our cruise. Even before we departed, the cruise document package was very classy and the luggage tags will be our permanent tags from now on. The AMA ships have a very practical ... Read More
AmaWaterways  We were totally impressed by every aspect of our cruise. Even before we departed, the cruise document package was very classy and the luggage tags will be our permanent tags from now on. The AMA ships have a very practical design [shallow draft for low water conditions, ingeniously retractable pilot house for high water], and they are very nice from the passenger point of view too. The décor is modern and luxurious without being fussy, the split-level decks allow the dining room and lounge to have spacious high ceilings while still getting in three decks of cabins, and there are public spaces fore and aft as well as the entire Sun deck. Cabin Our cabin seemed smaller than its measurements at first, but we were able to store all our stuff and get the suitcases under the bed so it worked just fine. The shower was a little tight, probably because it is shaped as a triangle. The French balcony was very nice: the window-wall gave nice views [the drapes shut out almost all the light so sleeping wasn’t a problem], and we were glad to be able to open the sliding door and look out several times. Next time we will hope to sail on one of the newer AMA ships and upgrade to a 235 sf twin-balcony, but even the 170 sf French balcony cabin was quite acceptable. Food  We had been warned that ''"no river cruise matches the food on ocean cruises” ''" BUNK! The food on AmaCello was the best we have had on any cruise to date (excepting the extra-cost specialty restaurants Normandie and Qsine on Celebrity Summit). Most of the food was excellent: the first dinner we had a zucchini pancake amuse bouche, appetizers [enjoyed, but detail forgotten], Asian-style salad, pumpkin soup, steak with horseradish-crust entree, and hazelnut chocolate cake and ice cream parfait desserts. [These were the items we chose; there were many other choices on the menu.] There was also a cheese table in the dining room at all meals, but we were too stuffed to consider it at dinner. Two different soups (cream and broth) were offered every day and all were amazingly good. The pastry was always excellent, as were the breads. [We later learned that there is a separate person in charge of each of these three areas ''" no wonder they are so good!] Salads, entrees and desserts were always good [except the steak the first night and one fish that was a little dry], and were varied and localized. Wine and beer were freely available throughout lunch and dinner. The wines were different every day and were a good selection of European table wines representative of the regions we were sailing through. The beer was draft Bitburger. Normally I do not drink lagers or pilsners, but this was not your father’s Budweiser: it was tasty and refreshing, and I was happy to drink it all week long. The bar also had a range of wines, liquors and liqueurs [and beers, for all I know] available for purchase. Schedule food was available pretty much throughout the day: early risers’ breakfast, regular breakfast [the best Eggs Benedict ever!], late breakfast, lunch, cookies and snacks in the bar, tea time, dinner, and late night snack. Lunch and Dinner were one fixed seating only but this turned out not to be a problem since the packed schedule of activities made these the right times to dine anyway. Our gang never had a problem finding an open table for six, although we did have to move around the dining room a bit ''" but that let us experience good service from different waiters! Service  The service throughout the cruise was excellent across the board. Our Cruise Director Reka Piros worked like a dog but delivered like a god [dyslexics of the world untie!]. The dining room staff were all friendly and efficient, especially our wine pourer Vesi who kept our conversation well-lubricated! The cabin staff were efficient and invisible [except for the cute towel animals that greeted us most afternoons]. And the gifts at the end [no details: spoiler!] were a nice touch. Having the Cruise Director stay with the group throughout the land extension was a great idea. We were familiar with Reka, so there was no transition ''" and she continued to provide great service as she coordinated everything in Luzern and Zurich. The only weak spots in AMA service were at the Amsterdam airport and our communications with the home office. We were told to look for the AMA ‘desk’ at the airport, but there is no such desk. HQ also assured us that the first activity on Day One would be dinner at 7:30 ''" but it turned out there was a mandatory Muster Drill at 6:00 and dinner was at 7:00. These two glitches need to be worked out, because coming at the beginning of the cruise they could get everything off on the wrong foot. Shore excursions  Each day had one or two shore excursions, sometimes with choices of location. Every tour on the cruise portion was included in the cruise fare. We were always split into four groups [always a slow walkers group, sometimes an active group], and the Quietvox made it easy to hear the tour guide. Most days also had a bicycle option, but none of our gang tried them. The tours were well planned and covered most of the high points that I had flagged from my pre-cruise research. Some of the local guides were better than others, but only one that we had was less than good and most were very good. The Daily Cruiser newsletter and daily presentations by the Cruise Director kept us well informed about on-board activities and shore excursions. AMA provided a map for each town, and Reka usually provided a handout with points of interest and tips. We always felt well prepared when stepping off the ship. Two excursions on the land extension were optional at extra cost: Mount Pilatus and the Rhine Falls. We ended up doing Mount Pilatus on our own at a considerable savings, but it involved taking responsibility for planning the trip and finding the bus at the end so most passengers were probably happy to pay the premium for the extra service. The Rhine Falls/Stein am Rhein tour couldn’t have been done on your own and was definitely worthwhile. Entertainment We weren’t expecting much, but the three nights that we had local entertainers were really enjoyable. The first was the La Strada string trio who played light classics lovely. Next was Jela, a duo who played rock tunes  the girls in our gang danced their tootsies off! And the third was the duo of Armand, accordionist, and Muriel, chanteuse a very French evening featuring Piaf and Aznavour, very nice! Infotainment The ship apparently had an infotainment system, but the only way we could get a free outlet to charge our devices was to unplug it and it stayed that way throughout the cruise. [We had brought a complete selection of adapters for European 2-prong, German 3-prong, and Swiss 3-prong. It turned out that the basic 2-prong would have worked everywhere, and even if you didn’t have anything both the ship and the hotels would lend you adapters.] Nickel-and-diming  None! Nobody tried to sell us anything on the whole cruise! What a nice change. Future Cruise Benefit We enjoyed our first AmaWaterways cruise so much that we purchased the Future Cruise Benefit [5% off and a reduced deposit], even though we have a bunch of cruises booked up for the next two years. [Hawaii may have to wait so that we can do Provence. Let’s get that 2015 schedule out ASAP!] Conclusion ''" After one cruise we are AMA fans [in case you hadn’t noticed…]   Read Less
Sail Date: July 2013
My sister and I decided to take a river cruise together. I contacted several different cruise lines for information. AMA Waterways was our choice, and I cannot say enough about them. They are wonderful, only have one complaint about the ... Read More
My sister and I decided to take a river cruise together. I contacted several different cruise lines for information. AMA Waterways was our choice, and I cannot say enough about them. They are wonderful, only have one complaint about the boat and that would be the double docking. We had a French balcony third floor room and it was annoying when we docked on the side of another boat and had to look into another traveler's stateroom one evening (closed the curtains so didn't really look in) and then on another night with a different boat we had just a view of the side of their boat. While this was, as I say annoying, it wasn't enough to ruin anything. I can only guess that this is done due to lack of enough docking space. All in all, with the service and the care they do take in accommodating their passengers, this is truly a top notch company. We booked four days in Switzerland (2 in Zurich and 2 in Lucerne) prior to boarding the AMA Cello in Basel. The Zurich Continental Hotel was very nice, would have been excellent had it only been a little closer to midtown. But really no complaints, it was within walking distance. The City of Zurich is beautiful, interesting and busy. Loved it for the extensive transportation system they have. Lucerne was my favorite city of all we visited. It is beautiful and a little more quaint than Zurich. The views are beautiful, the people a bit less rushed. We stayed at the Radisson Blu Hotel, which wasn't really up to par in the opinion of several I spoke to who were on the tour. The beds were uncomfortable and the room we had was like a college dormitory. However, the restaurant was top notch. The food was excellent and the presentation superb. I would hope that if AMA gets enough complaints about the hotel they will reconsider using it and finding something more in line with the one in Zurich. Now the tours, we took every tour available to us. All but two were included. We took both optional tours and are extremely happy we did. They are pricy but well worth it in my opinion. I, as I said, was extremely happy with the tour, it exceeded my expectations. The food on the ship was excellent, the entertainment was all right, not to our tastes but we didn't mind we found other things to do. The cabin was clean and comfortable. The service could not be better. Here is the best part of the entire trip: the other passengers. I was concerned about traveling with my sister as I thought we would be among only couples. But, not so. There were Mothers and daughters, friends, couples, singles traveling too. We made some dear friends on the trip. There were 8 of us who ended up spending our time together, two couples, a gal traveling alone, another who was traveling with her stepmother and my sister and me. What a diverse group, yet strong bonds developed between us and I anticipate that we will keep in touch well after this trip is a distant memory. We have even decided to plan another trip together. All I can say is if anyone says they didn't have a great time, it was their own fault because AMA Waterways definitely did all they could to insure that everyone had a good time. I recommend AMA Waterways as the way to travel. Smaller boat, excellent service and their staff is the absolute best. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2013
We booked this cruise because we wanted to experience the Rhine and nearby sites without hassling with trains, nightly re-packing, trying to decide where/what to eat, how to navigate local connections/transportation, etc. -- that has often ... Read More
We booked this cruise because we wanted to experience the Rhine and nearby sites without hassling with trains, nightly re-packing, trying to decide where/what to eat, how to navigate local connections/transportation, etc. -- that has often consumed our other European trips. We wanted a splurge trip that was relaxing and stress-free, yet offered chances to see towns and culture along the way. Short version: AmaWaterways fit the bill perfectly! We were further delighted by the high level of friendly service. Our needs and questions were addressed promptly and well. The food (good variety) was on par with any other cruise we've taken (Alaska, Mexico (x3), China); and the beer/wine/champagne was inclusive. The cruise offered a selection of two excursions per port, plus usually an "active" bicycle tour (we didn't take those). The excursions were inclusive, also. We didn't feel nickled and dimed; and the gratuities are at your discretion (not "automatically charged"). We didn't take the optional trip extension, as we wanted to do our own self-guided addition (but that's available on some cruises, apparently). On a couple of excursions, the guide gave a little too much history to digest, but we've encountered that on different trips where we've paid on the spot. Still, the local connections were usually flawless. The Internet worked most of the time, but was sometimes down due to a specific location. ANOTHER IMPORTANT SUMMER CONSIDERATION: Unlike many hotels and restaurants in parts of Europe, your cabin, dining room and public areas are air conditioned. Even if it's hot while touring on excursions, you can at least retreat to the ship, shower and recover. If you don't take heat and humidity well (like my wife and I), consider the value of this advantage. This Rhine cruise was our second river experience, inspired by a Yangtze cruise in 2007. Taking that, we realized something -- we were not stressed out by traveling as a couple, and could actually enjoy the sights. Let's be honest: you can get a "cheaper" trip; but you'll pay for it with your stress, arguments and uncertainty. If you want cheap, don't take a cruise. Read Less
AmaCello Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.5
Dining 3.0 4.5
Entertainment 4.0 3.9
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 2.0 3.5
Family 1.0 3.5
Shore Excursion 3.0 4.3
Enrichment 4.0 4.2
Service 3.0 4.8
Value For Money 5.0 4.3
Rates 4.0 3.9

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