4.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
Founded in 2002, California-based AmaWaterways has ships sailing the rivers of Europe, Asia and Africa and is one of the more family-friendly river lines with newer ships offering accommodations for three to four passengers and connecting rooms.
Most passengers are North Americans, though a good share come from Australia and the U.K. Most are in the 50-plus range, and are well-educated and active. AmaWaterways attracts solo travelers and couples, and recent ships draw families and multigenerational groups with stateroom designs accommodating multiple passengers.
A little bit, particularly in Europe where, in general, the dress code is country club casual, with cruisers turning up the notch a bit for the captain's night and farewell dinner, showing up dressed as they would be for a fine restaurant.
In Southeast Asia, the line urges cruisers to travel lighter with smart casual clothing for the welcome and farewell dinners, and in Africa the rule is casual throughout.
The destinations visited are the main draw for cruises on an Ama sailing, and passengers take advantage of shore excursions that range from Gentle to Active Walker groups; there's even a concentrated Late Starter option for people who want to sleep in but still see key tour highlights. In Europe there are also guided bicycle and hiking tours in some cities along the way.
While sailing, wine tastings and lectures draw a crowd, and when nothing is on the schedule, cruisers are just as happy to relax on deck or in the lounge and watch the scenery go by or read. Some afternoons local cultural groups come onboard to perform and share their heritage.
AmaWaterways has found that many of its passengers want active pursuits onboard, so the line established a wellness program onboard. Passengers do relax in the lounges, but they also show up for stretch sessions, yoga, cardio/core strengthening, resistance band workouts and circuit training.
There are quite a few reasons to be in your stateroom, too; the line's Entertainment-On-Demand system not only provides high-speed internet access but also movies, music and English language TV stations.
In all destinations, AmaWaterways offers free Wi-Fi, coffee, tea and bottled water, and in Europe, Vietnam and Cambodia, a complimentary shore excursion is provided in each port. In Africa all excursions are included in the fare.
On all European river cruises (except Portugal), there is complimentary sparkling wine and juices at breakfast, and beer, soft drinks and unlimited wines at lunch and dinner, plus a cocktail hour with complimentary wine, beer and spirits. These same cruises provide free bikes and helmets for independent use in port.
In Vietnam and Cambodia, cruisers have complimentary soft drinks, juices, house brand spirits, local beers, filtered coffee and tea during the cruise, with free flowing wine with lunch and dinner onboard and bottled water, replenished daily.
In Africa complimentary wine and beer is served with all lunch and dinners onboard.
Gratuities, laundry, spa and beauty services and some shore excursions carry an additional fee, as do premium alcoholic beverages and drinks outside of meal times.