Well I could tell you so much but will try and keep it relevant to the AmaCerto and the route we took. We did the Blue Danube Discovery from Budapest to Nuremburg but as we are from the UK we made our own travel arrangements so did not stay in Budapest or do the Prague extension.
Arrival / Check In
Very smooth, members of the crew met our taxi and took our luggage straight to our cabin. At check in they provide you with plenty of reading material so that they don't have to blind you will all the details at once. This gives you chance to go through the schedule, how things works, times, payment etc. They asked you to lodge a credit card with reception but as we were paying cash they didn't require one. They do not however take Mastercard Travellers Cash Passport cards it has to be a card with your name on it.
Our cabin was 206 on the middle Violin deck. We had a sliding French balcony and a walk on traditional balcony which most cabins on the middle and top decks have. The French balcony is more than enough and all of the cabins were much the same except the staterooms which had a bath tub as well as a shower. Beds were very comfortable and plenty of wardrobe space, shelves and under bed storage. Rooms have fridges with bottle water replenished daily. Bathrooms have a large cabinet and the shower is superb with plenty of room. Bathrooms are not dark as they have a window in them which you can make clear/opaque using the light switch. Seems strange at first but you appreciate the light which is missing in most hotel bathrooms. We were able to lie in bed and open the balcony doors and watch the world go by. Our cabin steward was a delight and was never very far away to attend to anything we needed. Plenty of sockets to charge phones, ipads etc. Wifi worked in our cabin as well as the TV (mainly news channels for English speakers) and channel 1 gave you a front camera view as well as access to public announcements. Each cabin has 2 umbrellas which came in use on one of our trips.
This is predominantly the main lounge and the restaurant below. Talks, receptions all take place in the lounge. There were always biscuits, fruit, water and iced tea available along with a coffee/tea machine 24 hours a day. An early risers breakfast (6.30-7.30am) is served as well as a late risers breakfast (9.30-10.30) in the lounge. Between 7.30-9.30 main breakfast is served in the restaurant. The lounge leads out onto a covered deck and provide access up to the sun deck.
The restaurant is made up of tables for 4, 6 and 8 people with two private dining areas for 8 people. You can sit where you like but staff will always escort you and seat you if required. After a couple of days people have made friends with most of the passengers and it is great to sit with different people.
The sun deck provides a pool (fresh towels provided), a giant chess game, sun loungers, sun shades, a walking track, a lower chill put area with comfy seats and sofas with cushions. The pool was very warm and it was great to sit on the submerged bar stools with a cocktail. Sometimes the sun deck is out of bounds as everything folds down (including the bridge) to navigate low bridges. The lower deck with the sofas is always available though.
The chefs table restaurant at the rear provides a great view of the river and had a great atmosphere. There is a set menu with a choice of two entrees. You should book this restaurant as soon as you arrive as we embarked at 2pm on the first day and already there were 3 days that were fully booked.
These were well organised and you are given a sign up sheet on arrival so that you can make a choice as some excursions are run simultaneously. Each excursion was made up of different groups identified by colours depending on ability. You collected a coloured card and a boarding pass each time you leave the ship and your guide is the one with the corresponding AmaCerto wooden paddle. The guides were very good, knowledgeable and funny. They provided you with an overview for about an hour to an hour and a half and then let you go for some free time. I would definitely recommend these guides just to get your bearings. In Vienna, Mel and Nuremburg buses were provided, the rest of the time you can walk directly off of the ship. We didn't get to stop at Linz, only to let the Salzburg excursion off at 8am and we then continued to Passau and I believe if you travel the other way you miss out Passau. Highlight of the excursions was the bike ride from Durnstein to Melk. Such a fun day, all flat along the riverside cycle path with such beautiful scenery. You actually ride faster than the ship and there was quite a bit of banter and words of encouragement being shouted from the sun deck from those not brave enough to join us.
The food was never ending and of a high quality from the 7 chefs on board. With a huge buffet for breakfast and the option on a light lunch in the lounge or sit down in the restaurant as well as at least 5 courses each evening and we NEVER went hungry. It was great to try the different regional wines and dishes as well as the various demonstrations on how to make apple strudel by the pastry chef and the Bavarian sausage morning. There was always a fish and a vegetarian option as well as the main beef or lamb dish. If you didn't want any of those they had their standing order menu where you could order something plain such as salmon, steak or burgers or convert anything to a main course salad. The last evening was 7 courses and had a real party atmosphere with all the waiters dressed in black tie and tails. Don't forget to tell them if you have a birthday or anniversary as they celebrate with a cake and indoor fireworks with everyone celebrating.
This is very well organised. Depending on whether you are going on to the Prague/Budapest extension or have made your own arrangements you are given a coloured luggage tag and asked to leave your luggage outside of your cabin at your assigned time. Your luggage is then transferred to your bus or to the quayside ready for you to disembark. If you need a taxi then there is a sign up sheet in reception and they arrange it for you.
On the whole we couldn't fault it, we made some wonderful memories and met some truly fantastic people. As the only English couple on board we were made to feel very welcome internationally and made some lovely American and Canadian friends. We would have liked to have spent a bit longer in some ports but it gave us a great snap shot of places that we will perhaps return to. There was a lot more sailing than I have expected, I think I imagined sailing all night and arriving at the next destination by morning but some days we sailed at 6pm and didn't arrive until 2pm the next day. I think the bike riders should have set off a bit earlier and had lunch ashore as we were pushed by this very forceful cycle guide who does the route every day to reach the ship in time to meet the bus to travel up the abbey in Melk. If they had let us leave around 11am then we could have cycled at a more leisurely rate but then again this could have been to an over enthusiastic guide. I am more than happy to answer any further questions you may have and we are now looking at booking a Rhine cruise for 2014!