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My wife and I just finished an AmaWaterways cruise on the Danube in Budapest and overall had a very good time. The cruise portion went from Vilshofen, Germany, to Vienna, Austria. The cruise could not continue on the Danube past Vienna due to low Danube water levels but the cruise line and staff made sure that travelers got to both Bratislava and Budapest by bus. My wife and I did not mind this at all, however, as we spent the extra time exploring the wonderful city of Vienna.
The cruise was on the Amalea, a brand new boat in Ama’s fleet that is about as nice a ship on which I have ever been. The cabins were well planned and appointed. Bathrooms were very well planned. The balconies were adequate for a ship. As a negative, the ship occasionally docked at port alongside other cruise ships so that the view from the balcony was entirely obstructed for the night by that adjacent ship. It seems this happened on the starboard (right) side more than the port (left) side. I am not sure this would be the same when traveling from Vienna to Vilshofen. The common area/lounge was spacious and comfortable. The bartender was attentive and could produce almost any drink. Entertainment was primarily a talented pianist that made the lounge that much more relaxing. There were occasional bands and singers that gave brief shows after dinner in the lounge that I did not see.
The cruise manager, Christian, was outstanding and provided anything that one needed during the cruise as did his staff. In fact I really think that Christian significantly improved our cruise experience and Ama is lucky to have him. The dining experience provided the best food in terms of nutritional value and taste that I have had on a cruise. My one complaint is that there are no two top tables for couples wishing a quiet dinner together. Most of the time 4 top tables are shared with others. There is a “Chef’s Table” restaurant that we didn’t go to for a more refined dining experience. I will confess that many nights my wife and I elected to dine in restaurants in the port cities which is a great option to get a flavor of the countries/cities you are visiting.
The excursions were for the most part included with the cruise and good. I recommend the bike tour In Weißenkirchen but beware it is long (15 miles) and does require some strenuous activity and is around traffic on occasions. The castle in Passau (lots of steps) is recommended. The long tour to Salzburg was good. There is an included stop at Mondsee, Austria, that is mainly for Sound of Music aficionados (as an aside we got a great piece of apple strudel there). Salzburg is a beautiful city and shouldn’t be missed. I believe there is a short trip to Salzburg that ships Monndsee.
My husband and I cruised from Paris to Normandy in late April 2018 on AmaWaterways. This was our 3rd and last cruise with them as the experience was less than satisfactory. We felt that AMA cut corners in the preparation of food, wine served and choice of tours. This was not the case on two previous cruises. I had to send back two of my dinners (lamb was raw and my portion of fish was about 3 square inches). While the cruise director raved about fresh seafood in the Normandy area, we didn't experience it on the ship.
In Rouen, we were supposed to go in the Notre Dame Cathedral but it was closed the morning we were there (poor planning on the part of AMA). On the way back to Paris from Normandy, we visited Château Malmaison, the former home of Napoleon and Josephine Bonaparte, although Versailles was in the same area and not available as a tour. Tauck, on the other hand, offers this choice on their cruise. It was very moving to visit the Normandy beaches and the American graves. Entertainment on the ship consisted of a piano player. The best AMA cruise we took was from Prague to Budapest on the Danube River several years ago. I suggest anyone considering this tour should look into Uniworld or Tauck, not AMA.
Spent 5 days on the Rhine and only 1 day were we able to see any sights of interest - the rest of the time was super boring. The dinner was great but breakfast and lunch had very limited selection. Only one night was the entertainment reasonable but was cut short when they had to leave the boat after an hour to return home. Shore excursions were decent and we enjoyed the tours. Happy hour wasn't a happy time! Way understaffed and hard to get more than 1 drink during happy hour, service was better other times when I was picking up the tab. Filled in a survey with similar comments and was advised they would follow up - surprise surprise never heard from anyone. Do your research and pick another cruise and cruise line.
We came up with an idea of a Rhine River Cruise in October. There were not many vacant cabins left, but what we got was fine - after all, who stays in the cabin all day? I will have to say that we enjoyed the cruise - and learned a lot. I've sailed before - including a British China freighter dating from the '20s or so and MSTS. My companion had never sailed. The staterooms are small, but they have to be.
The food was very good with good service. Our cruise included beer, wine, and soft drinks at lunch and dinner. I understand that sparkling wine is now served at breakfast. I thought the bar prices were quite reasonable. All of our shore excursions but one had really great guides. To name names, the one in Cologne just didn't seem to have the touch. He also didn't seem to know where his group was. That said, all the tours were well done and I really got a sense of the area. I have a deposit for another AmaWaterways cruise, The question is where, when, and with whom?
AMA is somewhat pricey as compared to other cruises but my personal opinion is that I got more than my money's worth. There are a variety of cruises offered lasting anywhere from one to three weeks. My recent cruise was a week down the Seine with numerous stops and tours at historic sites along the way. Passengers were given a mix of options and there were also choices for either short or longer walking tours, hiking tours and biking tours. The tours were thorough with knowledgeable and detailed coverage and often lengthy, three of them lasting the entire day.
Dining was absolutely kingly and accompanied by the best wine and cheese selections I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing and the food was marvelous and flawless and prepared by an award-winning chef who often came around to monitor our personal reactions. The comfort level on B-Deck was outstanding and complete with a wall-to-wall vista of the entire Seine and bank, easily viewed throughout the night (of course a drape was there for those who just wish to sleep).
Stateroom was clean and comfy, lighting was just right and the shower was modern and made me feel like I had taken a super shower. A/C and heating were controllable. TV with dozens of channels and varying languages was available in each room. There was a terrific bar and goodies being served all the time, drinks often handed to the passengers as they entered the lounge... just to get you started... and espresso and coffee makers available at all hours (there are no coffee makers in the staterooms but I did use an electric water heater and had brought along my own coffee).
After dinner entertainment featured a number of well-known stars, including singers and musicians, etc. and there was a dance floor as well and orchestral accompaniment. The lounge was quite large with comfy fundraising, tables and looked out onto the bow at one end. The dining room was luxurious and much classier than I had experienced on other cruises. The top deck hosted exercise programs, a track for walking or running, bicycles to take on shore were available as were exercise equipment. Captain's Table dinners were also served to passengers on a selection basis. Passengers were also allowed to tour on their own and to dine where ever they chose. There was a constant emphasis on security.
I think that the best thing going, aside from the great luxury and camaraderie, was the way the Social Director was in constant touch with every passenger and manged to solve virtually every type of problem that would come up. In our case, there was a transportation strike. The Director pre-arranged for our luggage to be transporter and each passenger was provided personal transporter free of charge. Nothing was ever left to chance. Loved it! Plans already made to do it again in another part of the globe.
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I absolutely could not think of anything that would have made my cruise with AmaWaterways better. The staff, tours, tour guides, cabin and food were great. I took the cruise on the Seine from Paris to Normandy on the AmaLyra. It is one of their older ship, having been build in 2008, but was very nice. I had a single room and it was great on the B level, room 221. I loved opening my sliding doors and feeling like the water was at my feet. The guides on the tours at each location were very knowledgeable and entertaining. The entertainment was very nice, but it will never be like a huge ship. If you are looking for big productions, a small river cruise will not be what you're looking for. I enjoyed the small number of people at 115. Made a lot of new friends.
Here's what impressed me the most. I have a gluten and dairy intolerance and have not wanted to travel because it can be a real challenge to avoid these foods. I was so amazed that the chefs had made gluten free bread, desserts, and sauces without gluten or dairy. If you any food limitations, they accommodate them. Also, since this was my first cruise, I asked other cruisers how they would rank this company. They complied by saying that is was the best cruise that they had been on.
I booked a cruise with AMAwaterways - first mistake - through their designated travel agent Avoya Travel - second mistake. I paid $800 deposit. Six months later I was asked to pay the balance. Avoya Travel asked if they could use my credit card. My wife was in hospital and I delayed answering until we discovered what was wrong and when I got the diagnosis and we couldn't travel. I told Avoya Travel and asked them not to charge my credit card. Avoya Travel still charged my credit card account without my permission!!! When I phoned up I discovered the agent was on holidays and I couldn't speak to her. Through major detective work I managed to reach and talk to her and she told me it would be dealt with. It was not and still has not been to this day, six months later.
I asked my credit card company to dispute the amount paid and they are in the process of doing that now but the company is fighting this all the way. Be aware that I cannot get through to anybody in the company and the travel agent isn't responding. This is incredibly frustrating. Be very very careful when using this company, they do not allow direct access on complaints. This is no way to gain customers. I would like to talk to somebody in the company about this but I cannot.
I definitely valued this trip. It was relaxing, it was fun, and it was greater than my expectations. This trip didn't put a hole in my wallet but it wasn't just a small dent either. It was definitely worth every penny. This had to be the best part. The STAY was too good to be a cruise. It was quiet and I didn't really worry about a shipwreck or anything drastic. Well, there were many things I had planned to do while on the cruise and I did everything and more. There were so many options and I did them and I really enjoyed myself while doing them. The heating and those other things relating to that were great and didn't cause any problems whatsoever to me at all.
Cost too much to go around puking my guts up all over the deck so there really was no value I could have got drunk at home and did the same thing. They made me make my own bed. That's **. The maid was hitting on me and I told her I would punch her in the kisser if she did it again. Not much to do on a river. I mean seriously they only had 1 show that they did over and over and over and over and over again every day. Besides the bar which was too expensive at least they had one that I could drink away the memories of the horrible thing. And yes I'm talking about my girlfriend.
It was an amazing experience for me and my family. The food was good, cruise was good. Me and my family are going to try to take at least one a year. I definitely would recommend to anybody who wants to experience a trip like ours.
AmaWaterways expert review by Michelle Baran
Founded in 2002, AmaWaterways offers river cruises in Europe, Southeast Asia and Africa. The company is headquartered in Calabasas, California.
Themed cruises: AmaWaterways offers an extensive portfolio of wine-themed cruises, as well as Jewish heritage, beer and art themed cruises. Activities like painting, wine tastings and beer tastings reflect the themes.
Free bikes: AmaWaterways provides its cruisers with bikes that they can use for free so they can explore cities on their own or on guided biking excursions. Signup is required and a bike is not always guaranteed.
Safaris: The company offers safaris as part of its river cruise packages in Africa. On the Zambezi Queen, which sails the Chobe River in Botswana, the ship offers floor-to-ceiling windows and private balconies for an optimal viewing experience.
Excursions for varying levels of activity: Excursions allow you to choose between a gentle walkers or an active walkers group. While AmaWaterway does not recommend its trips for children under eight, the company recently partnered with Adventures by Disney, which is offering family-friendly river cruises on AmaWaterways’ AmaViola vessel.
Best for: AmaWaterways caters to older travelers, couples and younger adults alike.
AmaWaterways Company Information
- Company Name:
- Year Founded:
- 26010 Mureau Road 200
- Postal Code:
- United States
- (800) 626-0126