We boarded the Amacello in Amsterdam for the first leg of our APT cruise to Monte Carlo. The cruise was everything we had hoped for and more. Right from the start , Kate our fantastic tour director set the tone for a fun, well organized , informative holiday. The staff were all really helpful. Nothing was too much trouble. We were always greeted with big smiles and it was easy to tell that they were happy to be working on the Amacello. The excursions were well paced for the most. We were at the younger end of the passenger list and so found the pace of some of the walks a little slow but there was ample opportunity for free time to do things at our own pace. We struck a very hot spell in Germany when it was 40 degrees plus 3 days in a row and we always had plenty of bottled water, cool towels and iced drinks on our return. The ice cream party went down a treat one hot afternoon!
APT used excellent local guides and high quality coaches for the excursions. The group size on these was not large at all and the Vox boxes were really good because you could move away a little and still hear.
Last but not least the food was incredible. Breakfast was the usual buffet but with the addition of beautiful freshly cooked omelettes! Lunch and dinner was beautifully presented and represented the local cuisine. Wine flowed freely and was a better quality than the usual house wine. I would like to make a special mention of the delicious cheese board too!
Our first river cruise was incredible but little did we know that it could be bettered! Read on for the second installment of this review!
We left the Amacello early in the morning to travel through Switzerland to Lyon to board the Amadagio for the second part of the cruise.
Same great tour director Kate, different but just as fantastic staff and another very well kept boat greeted us in Lyon. This is the first year that APT has sailed on the Rhone but you would think they had been doing it for ages by the quality of the included tours and local guides. The boat only sailed during the day and only for short times as the towns were a lot closer than on the Rhine. This meant that each evening we could take a walk into the town after dinner. One evening there was a guided ghost tour into Viviers which was a highlight for us!
The itinerary for this cruise has something for everyone- visits to hilltop villages, medieval and Roman towns, wineries, a truffle farm, a goat farm and an olive farm.
Again the food and wines were beautifully prepared and chosen and the servings just the right size. On this cruise the evening entertainment was fantastic as was the silk demonstration one afternoon near Lyon. My husband really enjoyed the visit to the wheelhouse with Captain Alain too.
The only time we could not get Internet on our iPad was when we were in a lock and there was always enough strength to use Skype video.
The laundry service was really efficient and reasonably priced and both boats had a great little gift shop with topical souvenirs so that you did not have to waste time ashore looking for them if you did not want to.
The one tiny disappointment was that there weren't many people our age on the cruise, most being in their late 60's or 70's. However we soon learned that age is no barrier to having fun just that maybe we can go a little longer!
Thanks again to the wonderful Kate for giving us so many laughs and good information about the towns we visited or sailed past. This may have been our first river cruise but it won't be our last! Thank you APT or Amawaterways as it is known in USA.