AmaLegro Cruise Review by GeorgicaPond: Happily surprised on the Danube
Overall Member Rating
Happily surprised on the Danube
Destination: Europe - River Cruise
I had done luxury and expedition cruises in the past, but never a river cruise. My one barge trip in France had disappointingly turned out to be the nautical equivalent of a Greyhound bus. Given the age of the average Ama traveler and the small size of the room, I wasn't expecting much in terms of atmosphere....a floating Red Lion perhaps. I was happily surprised.
The rooms are small, but very comfortable if you travel lightly. Ideal for summer.... less so if you have to pack winter coats and sweaters. The bathroom is minuscule, but workable. The full sized sliding window/doors make the whole feel much larger than it actually is. Most importantly, the room staff is impeccable. The room is serviced twice daily so it is always clean and pristine when you walk in. Our cabin steward was lovely and was always available for anything we needed, whether extra towels and hangers or anything else.
The one drawback of the rooms is that there are few convenient outlets so you More will need to rotate the electronics to charge them.
We were traveling as a large group of multiple ages and the set up river cruising made it easy for all to have a good time. Unlike most regular cruises, there were no "days at sea" so there was something to do every day even for the most restless among us (a 5 year old). With the exception of Vienna, all the docks were easy walking distance from the towns themselves so each stop was very convenient to what you would want to see.
The boat's range of shore options was very good, but if you want to do something off the beaten path do arrange a private tour ahead of time. Some of the more rarified options were canceled at the last minute for lack of participation. Also, the guides are local and some are better than others. In each city, fast, slow and regular walking tours are offered. If you don't like the guide for the group you're in, you can just join switch groups mid tour. You are never trapped with one guide or only one option and you are always welcome to go off on your own to explore.
The dining room: Breakfast and lunch are very good. They're done buffet style with a wide range of options for all palates. Dinner is pleasant, but by no means superior cuisine (as I've found is true of most cruises). Eat in port where you can. Order simply where you can't. Surprisingly, the Danube has some of the best baking in the world, but none of it was in evidence on the AmaLegro. Multiple desserts, but none particularly good. They will always make you a beautiful fruit plate upon request though.
The dining staff is excellent. One of our group didn't eat sugar, salt or red meat. Others didn't eat dairy, and the five year old (the youngest passenger aboard by at least 35 years) would only eat hamburgers. They accommodated all with grace and humor. Whatever the dining room lacks in culinary prowess, it makes up for in welcoming spirit.
If you are a couple, be aware that they only have 8 tables for two and they're given on a first come/first served basis. If you're not at the dining room the moment the doors open, you will likely share a larger table with others.
Other things to be aware of:
There is free internet throughout the ship, but it blocks all sites that will tax the bandwidth. It's fine for email, but you can't access most search engines. It also goes out anytime you are going through a lock, which is fairly often.
Matyas, the cruise director, is rather snarky and not very helpful, even about things like distinguishing between the various off shore options. Do your own research and leave him out of the picture to the greatest extent possible.
The on board entertainment could not be more awful. Likewise the "briefings" which are interminable, boring, and could easily instead have been written on the daily sheet that is delivered to your room. Avoid them at all costs.
Other than those few minor glitches, everything else is much nicer than I had anticipated and I do recommend them. Less
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We were in cabins towards the front end of the third floor hallway. They were all exactly the same and they were all good. You hear very little noise because they have doors to block it out at the end of each hallway. Given that the majority of the passengers are 50+ years old, there's little noise anyway.
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