We recently returned from a cruise tour that started in Paris and ended in Amsterdam. We arrived a couple of days early to tour Paris on our own and had a problem with our room reservation booked 10 months earlier through the cruise line. Apparently the hotel overbooked quite a few rooms and there was finger pointing on the part of the hotel and cruise line but the problem was resolved quickly. The only cruise sponsored activity we participated in was the bus tour of the city. We transferred to the embarkation city via TGV and bus, touring Metz and Luxembourg.
Embarkation was a breeze, we were met by the entire crew and a glass of champagne. Upon arrival in our rooms, our suitcases were already there and our cabin attendant introduced herself immediately. The ship was immaculate, the hotel staff was cleaning every surface all the time and I have never had such as spotless cabin(or hotel room for that matter!) The decor was modern with warm fabric colors that made the ship very comfortable and inviting. The cuisine was 5 star, such a variety of tastes and textures, some of the best food I have had anywhere in the world. We enjoyed regional wines every night with dinner. The waitstaff were fast and efficient and anticipated your needs before you said anything. They got to know the passenger's tastes and preferences quickly. The cruise manager was the "go to" guy, he arranged all the shore excursions, transport, entertainment and made sure everything went smoothly.
We appreciated the 24/7 self serve coffee station where you could get any type of coffee, tea and hot chocolate. There was always a sweet snack station set up in the lounge to welcome you back from shore excursions. The bar was extensive and the prices for the drinks were very reasonable.
Shore excursions were included in the cruise fare, you had local guides that were very knowledgeable and you even got insight into local customs and daily life. There were bicycles onboard if you chose to use them. Local entertainers were brought onboard in some ports which were wonderful. The entire crew knocked themselves out to ensure that you wanted for nothing and that you had the best vacation ever. Everyone was so friendly and upbeat and all the officers(including the captain) chipped in to help at all times. I liked the intimate passenger size(only 140) so you were able to meet everyone. The slower pace allowed you to relax and watch the moonlight on the river pass by your balcony at night. There was enough entertainment going on in the lounge in the evening if you wanted to pick up the beat and party late.
I cannot say enough good things about this ship and crew. It was our first(but definitely not last) river cruise and I have no desire to try any other river cruise line as AMA waterways has set a very high bar.