We have traveled extensively. In the past ten years, we've done 20 cruises. We had great expectations for AMA Waterways. This cruise did not live up to our expectations in any way. If you have an opportunity to book an alternative cuise company (Viking, et al) I would recommmend it.
Here is my analysis:
- Food selections at breakfast, lunch and dinner were unimaginative. Breakfast, particularly, was repetitive. We were grateful when we finally reached Prague as the host hotel (Hilton) has more options and the food offerings were better.
- Check-in at host hotels was disorganized and lacked pre-planning. Two busses of guests (probably about 60 people) arrived. The Cruise Director and a local guide just spread out the card keys on a table and asked passengers to "look for their name" (and card key). We've take a previous river cruise where card keys were distributed on the bus prior to the arrival -- which meant absolutely no drama at the hotel when we arrived. In this case, it was every man for himself. Ridiculous. Both the "arriving" and "departing" guests crossed-paths at Regensburg, Germany. It would have been very easy to send the card keys for the guests "checking in" with the Cruise Director accompanying the guests "checking out" from Prague, but nobody seemed to have that insight.
- Friends and family of ours ordered two bottles of wine to be delivered to our stateroom at disembarkation. Unfortunately, only one bottle made it to our stateroom. This seemed to be a sign of the apparent lack of "attention to detail" that our entire cruise suffered from.
- Our reservations for our three night stay in Prague was lost. When we got to the host hotel we had no reservation. We had to check-in at the main desk on our own. Even then the host hotel (Old Town Prague Hilton) tried to book us direct for two days of our stay (that we had booked via AMA Waterways).
- Two guests fell down the stairs because the stairs were only painted ( no anti-slip coating). The crew seemed surprised -- though I'm doubtful it's the first time it's happened). This is not the first time this ship has been on this intinerary in early spring. Moisture on the stairways should not be a surprise. The anti-skid product from 3M is readily available, yet the onwers of this cruise line seem unwilling to take those steps to protect their guests. Unbelievable.
- The shore excursion "briefing" was delayed for more than 30 minutes while 12 guests "toured" the wheelhouse. Many had set their alarms and awoken from naps to attend the briefing scheduled for 2:00 PM that never occurred.
- The AMA Waterways marketing materials indicated that there would be audio-assisted guides in every port. Indeed there was audio receiving devices in our staterooms. In one port, our "local" guide was handed a receiver instead of a transmitter. We spent the entire tour wondering why we weren't able to hear his narrative. He was talking into a receiver (the same device we were holding). No one in the crew seemed to understand that he was holding (and speaking into) the wrong device.
On a positive side:
- The wine sommelier was incredible. She was knowledgeable and very responsive.
- Our room steward was nothing short of perfect. She was there when we needed her. She left the stateroom incredibly organized (and yet not intrusive). Probably the best experience with a room butler/room attendant we've ever had.
- The ship was clean and well maintained.
The bottom line: We spent about $6,200 (plus airfare) and didn't feel that we receive the value for our investment. If you want to use this cruise line, fine -- but expect to be fairly unimpressed.