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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We were on the Iconic Christmas Markets Cruise during Christmas Week, and purchased the additional two nights in Prague though Ama. We have traveled extensively through the years, including ocean cruises, but this was our first river ... Read More
We were on the Iconic Christmas Markets Cruise during Christmas Week, and purchased the additional two nights in Prague though Ama. We have traveled extensively through the years, including ocean cruises, but this was our first river cruise. To say we were completely pleased is an understatement. The entire experience was top notch from the moment we landed in Budapest until our departure from Prague. We traveled with our two children, who are in their 20s. The Boat: Overall, the ship was extremely clean, and the rooms were comfortable. We had two rooms on the Cello Deck (mid-level) with a French balcony and outside balcony. It was too cold to use the outside balcony, but it made the room brighter. Our Housekeeper cleaned the room at least twice a day, including turn down service. The room was quiet and we slept well with nice linens and pillows. Since the boat is small, everything is a short walk and we never felt rushed to get to dinner or to the lounge. The Food: Excellent! Breakfast was primarily buffet style with a great selection of meats, cheeses, fruits, juices, eggs to order, and a huge pastry table. There were a couple of menu options, like Eggs Benedict. There was also a light breakfast option, pastries, in the lounge for late risers. Lunch was primarily buffet too, with different soups and main courses available. We could also order some items off of the menu, like cheeseburgers, which were delicious. Beer and wine were included with lunch, along with different desserts. Dinner was the highlight of the day. Each night featured a different 5 course menu with a couple of choices for each course. The main courses varied from beef to fish to chicken to lamb. We had dinner one night at the Chef’s Table Restaurant, and it was awesome. Beer and different wines included at dinner. Entertainment: There is only one lounge, and it was the meeting place at all hours of the day. There was a coffee/tea/chocolate maker that was available all the time. As far as I could tell, there was always a bartender on duty. People gathered in the lounge to read, socialize, and view the stunning countryside. At night there were some local entertainers, and there was a piano player/DJ to keep the guests entertained. In the rooms, the entertainment system didn’t always work, but it was not a problem for us. Wi-Fi was also spotty in some areas, but we enjoyed the views as we floated up the Danube. The gym is very small, but it was fine. The Cities and Tours: In order, Budapest, Vienna, Melk, Passau, Regensburg, Nuremberg. The Illuminations Cruise in Budapest was amazing. Since it was Christmas week, we only had Christmas markets in Budapest and Vienna (also Prague, but more on that later). The Christmas Markets were fantastic, and having cash was preferable for smaller purchases, like food and drink. Each stop had its own magic and charm. The contracted tour guides in each stop were incredibly knowledgeable. Since this cruise was over Christmas, most shops in the towns visited from December 24th – 26th (Melk, Passau, Regensburg) were closed as Christmas was being observed. Regardless, each was still charming to walk through and some coffee shops and restaurants were open. Each location was also busy with locals out strolling. On Christmas Day, anyone wanting to attend Mass could do so at the Cathedral in Passau, about 10 minutes’ walk from the ship. The Crew: Even though this group had been working for months and had encountered a couple of thousand guests and were almost done for the season, they were all amazingly friendly and helpful and patient. Every crew member I encountered smiled and greeted me and took the time to answer my questions graciously. The service was as good as any we have encountered in our journeys. Due to high water in Germany, the cruise was slightly modified, requiring us to spend the final full day at sail – no stops. The crew adjusted well, hosting a Bavarian themed lunch and ice cream party. We did not mind at all. The Captain and Cruise Manager provided briefings to the passengers on river conditions. Post Cruise Tour: We purchased two nights in Prague for a reasonable price. We were transported by bus from Nuremberg, and were treated to a top hotel, the Cosmopolitan. The Cruise Manager accompanied our group, which was great. The hotel was located just a few minutes from the Christmas Market and historical center of the city. Even though it was after Christmas, the Christmas Market was still open as the holiday is celebrated through January 6th in Prague. The package also included breakfast in the very nice hotel restaurant, and a walking tour of historic Prague. Transfer Service: We purchased from the airport in Budapest to the ship; and from the Cosmopolitan Hotel to the airport in Prague. Both experiences were great. In Budapest, we were greeted by Ama reps and transported in a roomy bus. They had bottled water, which was a godsend after the long trip. In Prague, our Cruise Manager greeted us as we left, even though it was 4:30 AM, and gave us a boxed meal to go. At the airport, an Ama rep met us and guided us through check in, which was much appreciated. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
This was our first river cruise. When traveling, I prefer to stay in luxury hotels and spas. Prior to the cruise, I was anxious about the quality and space onboard, since I had read many reviews of small cabin space. We opted for the suite ... Read More
This was our first river cruise. When traveling, I prefer to stay in luxury hotels and spas. Prior to the cruise, I was anxious about the quality and space onboard, since I had read many reviews of small cabin space. We opted for the suite upgrade and was given suite 304. I was pleasantly surprised at the space and finishes. We were given little extra tokens of appreciation such as in room champagne upon arrival, ama logo travel bags and luggage tags, Ama scarf and ama cap. These were nice little surprises that made us feel appreciated. There were numerous small things that they did for us that made us feel like family and that we mattered. The saying that people may forget what you say and do but never forget about how they make you feel, is so true with this ship. The entire staff was professional and considerate. Our bathroom had both a full sized tub and a smaller shower. The shower was a little tight for my husband as he is 6’3” and a big guy but he managed. The tub was full length and comfortable. We had both a French and traditional balcony. It was too chilly to sit on the balcony but would be nice in warmer weather. We had a computer and a wall of closet space. Very limited drawer space but plenty of hanging space and shelving The Amaserna is a beautiful boat. The interior looks new and well cared for. Due to staying busy with tours, food and finding new friends, We didn’t use the spa or small gym. They also have a small hair salon.a nice walking track and heated pool which were on the top deck. We were told they offer fitness classes in the top deck during warmer weather. The captain was pleasant and efficient. We had no issues with docking, locks or travels. The food was good and at times exceptional. The chefs table was a nice surprise and a fun and excellent dining experience. The breakfast was standard and good. I didn’t have lunch any day on the ship. We were constantly offered food - early breakfast, breakfast and late breakfast, lunch, tea time, sip and sail, dinner, and late night snack! Plus, we are at the Christmas Markets or stopped in small cafes in town. The tours were small groups of around 10-15 people. They offered active, regular and gentle walkers. My husband was having hip pain. So, a few days we did the gentle walker and it was so nice to have door to door service to and from the Abbey and Churches. We were given audiovox headphones to hear the tour guides. This was helpful. We could move away to make pictures while still hearing what they were saying. Of course, there was never enough time at any location. But, this was a 7 day cruise and we had 7 days of towns and cites to visit. It was nice that we were given the opportunity In Linz to (1) stay entire day in Linz (2) short Linz tour and half day excursion to Salzburg (3) full day In Salzburg. (4) morning in Linz and excursion to Chesky Krumlov I wanted to do all of them but chose the morning in Linz and half day to Salzburg. Great choice for us. On board entertainment was what I expected. Not the best and not the worst. We had a pianoman full time and some “lock hoppers” who hopped on board between the dam locks and provided unique local entertainment. We had a trio of classical musicans, “Von Trapp family of singing and dancing, lastly a one man acoustic guitar rock and roll oldies entertainer. These were fine and what one would expect on a small boat. Our transfers to and from the airport were easy and the staff was helpful. We had someone at the airports (arrival and departure) from Ama who helped with our luggage and finding our way to checkin and to security. Overall, it was a great experience and makes us want to do it again with Ama. If we had planned to visit all these cities and towns with tours and food , the cost would’ve been so much more. Currently, we are planning our next trip with Ama Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
From the moment we arrived in Munich, AMA waterways service was top notch. We opted for the smallest cabin. The layout was very good, storage under the bed for suitcases, plenty of closet and drawer space for clothing, and good space ... Read More
From the moment we arrived in Munich, AMA waterways service was top notch. We opted for the smallest cabin. The layout was very good, storage under the bed for suitcases, plenty of closet and drawer space for clothing, and good space in the bathroom for toiletries. Transfer from the airport was on a very comfortable coach with our guide providing nice commentary along the drive to Vilshofen,but knowing when people were getting a bit of shut eye so she kept it to a minimum. Although the room was not ready when we came onboard, there was a light meal in the lounge and we set off to walk around Vilshofen with a map from reception to stretch our legs after a long flight. Upon return to the ship our room was ready and our bags were in place waiting for us. We enjoyed the Octoberfest in the tent on the pier and then dinner in the dining room. Our waiter was so wonderful we tried to sit in his area throughout the cruise. The staff could not do enough to make you happy. Wine poured freely and the food was very very good. Breakfast was basically the same every day on the buffet but there was plenty of choices as well as options from the kitchen. Champagne was available at breakfast, as was the detox/vitamin water or the day. Lunch on board was a good variety. One day they had make your own Pho soup, you picked the meat and veggies and the chef put it together with the noodles and broth. So delicious. Again if you did not care for the buffet, there were menu options. Dinners were delicious. I will never forget the lamb or the mushroom soup. Although there was open seating it was nice to find new friends to eat with. People from all over the United States and the UK. Excursions were good with most guides being very knowledgeable. The only guide we didn’t care for was in Budapest. The captain was very nice, and our cruise director, Nicola was the best. Due to low water levels we had a change in plans and had to be bussed from Bratislava to Budapest. We spent one night at the Kempinski hotel. Beautiful room (and coming from the smallest room on the ship, a huge upgrade for us!). But the food on the illuminations cruise was not good but AMA stepped up and offered a credit on a future cruise. We met a travel agent on board who said we had picked the right company to cruise with. Although I had seen Viking commercials every Sunday while watching Downton Abbey, my research showed that AMA was the way to go. We are in our mid 50’s and felt there were people of all ages on board. The only negative of river cruising is the lack of time in ports such as Vienna and Budapest where you need more time. But that said, we can always go back. Ports - Passau was wonderful as was Melk and Linz. Loved Cesky Krumlov. Durnstein was ok...I would have preferred more time in Vienna instead or Budapest. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
We chose AmaWaterways Melodies of the Danube river cruise to celebrate our 42nd wedding anniversary, and we could not have made a better choice. We were to embark in Budapest, but unfortunately, due to low water levels on the Danube, ... Read More
We chose AmaWaterways Melodies of the Danube river cruise to celebrate our 42nd wedding anniversary, and we could not have made a better choice. We were to embark in Budapest, but unfortunately, due to low water levels on the Danube, Budadpest closed its ports, and the ship was in Vienna. This was at no fault of AmaWaterways. Although we were disappointed, AmaWaterways and our cruise manager, Sebastien, made sure that we did not miss a meal, excursion, or port due to the closure. We had arrived in Budapest two days prior to our cruise, and upon learning of the port closure, AmaWaterways arranged a room for us in the Budapest Ritz Carlton. It was here that we met Sebastien and soon realized how valuable he would be to the success of our cruise. He was very knowledgeable of the ports and excursions, and extremely organized. With his guidance, we were bused to Vienna where we embarked the AmaSerena, and the cruise continued its schedule unimpeded. The AmaSerena was impeccably maintained, and AmaWaterways commitment to safety, comfort, and service was at the highest level. Cleanliness was a high priority throughout the ship. The crew of the ship was very friendly and helpful, and exuded a pleasantness that made you feel like family. Our cabin, though on the small side, was very clean and well stocked. Our cabin stewardess was very efficient and timely in maintaining our room. Meals were well organized, and the food was of the highest quality utilizing many locally grown products from the area near our ports. The ship has two dining areas; one being open seating, and the Chef's Table Restaurant, requiring reservations and providing a wonderful fine dining experience. Following meals, entertainment was provided in the lounge for both listening and dancing. Local musicians and entertainers were brought on board to provide a taste of the local culture. AmaWaterways even provided an exclusive "Oktoberfest" in a tent on the pier next to our ship in Vilshofen, Germany, the terminus of our cruise. Lastly, excursions were well planned and used local guides knowledgeable in the customs and history of the city being visited. A brief description of the next day's excursion was placed in our cabin nightly. We could not have been happier with our AmaWaterways anniversary cruise on the AmaSerena. Service was top notch from beginning to end. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
Our Amex travel agent suggested AMA Waterways as the very best onboard service she had experienced among several major river cruise lines, and we went with her recommendation. She was not off base at all. The onboard experience on AMA is ... Read More
Our Amex travel agent suggested AMA Waterways as the very best onboard service she had experienced among several major river cruise lines, and we went with her recommendation. She was not off base at all. The onboard experience on AMA is second to none. All staff and crew were attentive, extremely helpful, and clearly focused on making our onboard experience special. The Tour Manager, Peter Whitehead, was the star of the show. Peter amazed me with his ability to recall details of his passengers and their itineraries, and to ensure that everything onboard was wonderful. Even when telling the passengers at daily briefings things we might not have wanted to hear, Peter was great--tactful, funny, but very direct and clear. Food onboard was very good, especially the once a voyage tasting dinner at the Chef's Table restaurant which was a very special evening open to all passengers once during the cruise. The dining experience in the main dining room was also very good, with a variety of offerings every meal, attentive and friendly service, and complimentary unlimited beer/wine at lunch and dinner. While alcohol was extra outside of those times, every day had a happy hour with free cocktails available. Overall, this was a superb onboard experience. Where the trip fell apart was on land where AMA appears constrained to use local guides of varying levels of skill at managing large groups of people, varying fluency in English, and varying levels of knowledge/interest/sensitivity to the needs of the group members they were guiding. On two occasions guides lost group members (fortunately, Peter Whitehead recovered everyone!), once in Prague where a group of 25 people was simply too large for one guide to manage while navigating the immense crowds on the Charles Bridge and Old Town, even with the QuietVoice headsets we were issued on almost every tour. On only one of the tours in Austria and Germany did the guide address the historical elephant in the room--Nazi Germany and Hitler. This was in Linz where it was probably pretty hard to avoid Hitler as he was born just outside the city and was welcomed into Austria there by cheering crowds in the main square after Germany annexed Austria just prior to WW II. Not sure what AMA can do about the guide issue, but if there is anything they can do (perhaps only hiring local guides who are fluent in English, skilled at managing large groups and knowledgeable, or when a large group format is necessary in a city like Prague, having two guides for each group--one to lead, one to collect stragglers!). The good news about tours was that physically every level of strength was covered. Those who were not able to walk fast were offered Gentle tours, which those hardy hikers among the passengers were led on strenuous hikes up castle promontories, etc.! Bikes and bike tours were also available at some ports. My partner and I felt that some of the stops on this voyage were superfluous. If you've been to Europe and ventured outside of the big cities, you've seen quaint medieval towns. They are all pretty much alike. This tour, however, stopped at three of them. We would have preferred more time in Vienna, where we only had really one day, Linz and Salzberg each only one day to just barely scratch the surface of fabulous histories and attractions! Overall, however, we had a very nice time and would highly recommend AMA Waterways. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
This was our very first experience with a river cruise. We selected Ama based on recommendations both from our travel agent and friends. It was an excellent choice and there's really very little in the way of anything negative to ... Read More
This was our very first experience with a river cruise. We selected Ama based on recommendations both from our travel agent and friends. It was an excellent choice and there's really very little in the way of anything negative to say about the cruise or the cruise line. In terms of the positives, the ship was excellent. It was very well taken care of and well maintained by the crew. The cabins were very nicely appointed, and assuming you pick the right class of cabin, much more room than you might expect on such a small ship (more about that later). The food was just superb... very well done with lots of choice and really something available to eat virtually any time during the day if you're feeling a bit peckish. The specialty dining venue is called the Chef's Table and it truly is something special. You're entitled to eat there once during your cruise (no additional charge) and it's very much a "don't miss" affair. The crew was very attentive and willing to accommodate most any request with a smile. On the negative side, not having done a river cruise before, I think we chose not so well in terms of the cabin that we selected (French Balcony). It was certainly comfortable and quiet, however, the size was fairly restricted. The bed took up the majority of the space in the cabin and in fact trying to walk around the bed often required having to move the desk chair to a different location. If it's affordable, I would definitely recommend at least the next cabin class up where the cabin size and layout seems much more practical. Probably the highlight of the cruise was our cruise director, Peter Whitehead. Pete was a fountain of knowledge and had an wonderful sense of humor evident in his daily briefings and simply when chatting. He took the time to patiently answer all questions and go the extra mile to make sure that passengers got the most out of their excursions and time on the ship. Where Pete really shone in his role was when things went a little off the rails. I managed to fall down a flight of metal stairs and injured my hand and badly bruised a few other places (totally my fault, no issue at all with the ship or crew). Not only did the crew immediately jump on getting first aid, but Pete took ownership of arranging for a doctor's visit, and ultimately a visit to the hospital nearby in Melk for stitching and other "repairs." I can't thank him (and the crew) enough for their help and support. Bottom line, an excellent cruise and cruise line and highly recommended. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
We traveled on AmaWaterways upon the suggestion of the other couple we would be traveling with. They had heard good reviews about Ama. Neither of us had taken a river cruise previously. We all agreed that the river cruise was much ... Read More
We traveled on AmaWaterways upon the suggestion of the other couple we would be traveling with. They had heard good reviews about Ama. Neither of us had taken a river cruise previously. We all agreed that the river cruise was much better than any of the ocean cruises we had taken. We plan to take another river cruise. We were greeted warmly and our bags were retrieved from the taxi for us. Embarkation was very smooth. Our cabin was nicely appointed (we stayed in an AA cabin on the uppermost cabin deck) and our cabin steward kept us well stocked with bottled water. The bed was super comfy. The bathroom is decently large for a cruise ship and has a full size shower. Due to the size of the ship, 83 cabins, you will get to know most of the staff and passengers. There is only one dining room (open seating) but lighter fare is served in the lounge most of the day. The food was excellent, usually four course meals, along with a good selection of wines. Breakfast was either the well stocked buffet or menu items. All meals had some local tie-in. The boat is very stable, even when small speed boats passed while we were docked. The sun deck was a pleasant place to hang out and watch the passing scenery (we were on the Danube river). The staff were very pleasant and always able to assist. Only one crew member was rude, the Captain. But everyone else was superb so he was easily ignored. The vessel is not handicapped accessible (this is mentioned on the website). Also, this is not a cruise for children as there are no activities specific for them. Most of the passengers ages ranged between 40 and 70. The live musician was a joy, taking requests and keeping us dancing. I missed the string quartet but heard from other passengers that they were excellent. There are no broadway reviews nor is there a casino but those are not the entertainment draw for me so were not missed. The daily excursions are included in the fare with only a few exceptions. They offer city walking tours, hiking tours, and bicycle tours. I took all three types. Walking tours are separated into gentle walkers and active walkers and are led by local guides. My only complaint is that the gentle walkers should not take the active tours or hiking tours, but this is a passenger issue, not a cruise issue. The bicycles are also available if you want to go for a ride on your own (take the paved trail along the north bank of the Danube in Vilshofen, go west for the planetary displays). When needed, motor coaches were provided to get to towns further than walking distance. The coaches were first class. Disembarkation was easy. We took the post-cruise extension (Prague) so the transportation was provided (motor coach). Our Prague hotel was excellent and situated a block from old town. A note about our particular sailing: the Danube river had very low water levels due to the lack of rain in the area. Our captain decided to sail directly to Vienna (water levels were expected to be a little better west of Vienna) after we all boarded. Most of the other river cruise boats stayed in Budapest. We had a few short stops along the way to drop off and pick up passengers who were driven (motor coach) back to Budapest and Bratislava for tours. The itinerary change gave us an extra day in Vienna which was fine by my group. Much better to have sailed than to stay docked all week in Budapest. The remainder of the cruise was as initially scheduled. The cruise director did an excellent job with the changed schedule. Overall an excellent experience. I would definitely recommend AmaWaterways and plan to take another cruise with them. note: I did not use the fitness room so cannot rate it. I walked, hiked, and biked to work off the wine. :-) Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
This was my first river cruise, and my husband and I were very impressed. From the excellent service on board to the delicious gourmet meals and multiple shore excursion choices, we felt pampered and relaxed. The ship itself, Ama Serena, ... Read More
This was my first river cruise, and my husband and I were very impressed. From the excellent service on board to the delicious gourmet meals and multiple shore excursion choices, we felt pampered and relaxed. The ship itself, Ama Serena, is clean and beautifully equipped. There was always something to do, on-board or off. There were interesting talks on the history of the local cities/countries and their wines, lounging poolside, listening to live music, or exploring the cities and shops on shore. Maddy, our tour guide was excellent with her knowledge and advice in planning shore excursions. Dining, particularly the dinners, were fun and excellent. Every detail was attended to, and we weren't ready to leave the ship after the week was over! We would definitely recommend AmaWaterways and would cruise again with them on another trip in the future. Our one complaint would be something many others found frustrating as well, and I'm not sure in this day and age with all the boat traffic on the river that this will improve or change any time soon. Be aware that in some ports and depending on what side your cabin is located, you will dock right next to another ship and you will look directly into the cabins of the neighbor boat. You may not be able to enjoy the views from your window/balcony and will want to keep your drapes drawn. When you disembark to go ashore, you will need to walk through the neighbor ship to get on land. This was particularly obnoxious when a neighboring ship (not AmaWaterways) had their laundry hung up all over their balconies (this only happened one time). I still would recommend getting a balcony room, however, because it is so beautiful to sit outside and watch the countryside go by, and even to experience the locks from your balcony. I really enjoyed going through the locks (we went through 12 of them!), especially at night--it was kind of spooky, but fun to experience. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
Accommodations, crew, food: Impeccable, superb, stellar! Ama has put together a wonderful combination of large and mid size cities along with small villages that provides a wonderful taste of Eastern Europe. Began with pre-cruise ... Read More
Accommodations, crew, food: Impeccable, superb, stellar! Ama has put together a wonderful combination of large and mid size cities along with small villages that provides a wonderful taste of Eastern Europe. Began with pre-cruise extension at the Cosmopolitan hotel in Prague, which was terrific. Be sure to dine in hotel at “Next Door,” their award winning restaurant. Email concierge in advance for necessary reservations. Shipboard, try the intimate chefs table seating. Great guides from AmaWaterways throughout trip. Comfortable coaches for transport as needed (Prague to Danube, certain city tours). Various tour options to suit every fitness level - although cobblestones and steep hills everywhere can be a workout for all. Transfers through AMA meant door to door support. Be sure to advise in advance of allergies or special diet needs - when I advised I couldn’t drink wine with sulfites, they said they would have special-ordered others for me! Be sure to choose AMA trip that ends in Budapest - the Illuminations night cruise is amazing. Special kudos to Capt. Henk, Cruise Manager Sara, Mr Z, Luka, Milos, Milan’s and Georgianne. Only thing we would have done differently - not booked mid summer in the middle of a heat wave! Read Less
AmaSerena Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 0.0
Dining 5.0 0.0
Entertainment 3.0 0.0
Public Rooms 5.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 5.0 0.0
Family 2.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 5.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 5.0 0.0
Value For Money 5.0 0.0

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