Our initial river cruise and what a delight. The ship is relatively new and quite stylish. The beds were nice and firm, luxurious linens and delightful cabin staff. We loved having our room at the end of the hall as we had much less traffic than others. The rooms were quite but this just added an additional layer.
The food was well presented by an artful culinary staff who took pride in their work. The wine selections were also of good quality that paired well with the evening meals. All the breads, cookies, pastries were made fresh on board...in addition to homade ice cream ! Previous cruise lines serve volumes of calories without taste but AMA serves well proportioned meals with wonderful favors reflective of the areas you are visiting.
The size of the ship and number of passengers is just right. We felt like we were on a floating five star hotel. The water motion is almost nonexistent on the Rhine river. No readjusting of balance when on land.
The cruise director Cheri Coll did an outstanding job.
The excursions were all included and offered a third option for those who had been to the area before, this also included a culinary twist which again was delightful. The shore guides were some of the best we have experienced and the transportation, if needed was first class. By far the best deal for the money. Ports:
Breisach, Germany: you had the option of Colmar France,Blackforest, Germany or Breisach Germany. We chose the Freiburg and Breisach tours which are delightful communities one from the 12 th century.
Strasbourg and Speyer: options included tour of Strasbourg with or without an additional canal cruise. We were delighted by rows of nesting storks with their young ones just recently hatched. The cathedral with it's astronomic clock was wonderful. We opted to stay out and explore and ate at a wonderful cheese Resturant "la Cloche a formage" which had pairings of cheese with the fresh white asparagus that was in season.
Speyer options included a walking tour of the town, or a trip to Heidelberg. We choose Speyer which again contains a cathedral in the Romanesque fashion. This also allowed us time on our own to walk in the parks adjacent to the ships docking site.
Rudesheim : included a visit to siegfried's mechanical museum which included all forms of mechanical instruments. Difficult to describe but well worth the visit. Then we had free time on our own and hiked to the top of a hill to visit the Abbey of St Hildegard.
Other options included wine tasting
Cologne: Cologne is a large bustling city dating back to the 13 th century. We enjoyed a walking tour and visit to the cathedral with plenty of time to explore on our own. We also managed to fit in a tasting of Kolsch style beer.
Venlo: Floriade expo: this is a horticulture expo that occurs every 10 years with contributions from all over the world. We only had 2 hours so not alot of time to cover the entire area. I would suggest taking the cable cars to get an overview and then visit the sites at either end. It was quiet interesting and my favorite site was the food tent where one learned about organic food production and chefs created various dishes for tasting.
The wooden tulips sold here can be purchased at 1/2 the price in the markets inAmsterdam.
Amsterdam: if wanting to go tour the Anne Frank house it would be wise to request tickets on line 3 months in advance, otherwise you wait in line for a chance at a ticket. They also have a wonderful purse museum.