This was my first river cruise and my first solo Christmas holiday and I couldn't have chosen better, the cruise was faultless and I had a wonderful Christmas. 122 passengers was a small enough group to make it really friendly and sociable. Open dining with tables from 2 to 8 means you can be as sociable as you wish at mealtimes. The food is top quality, in particular the dinners were superb. Afterwards we could relax in the lounge to piano music until about 10.30 when Miroslav upped the pace for dancing.
My cabin was really well designed with ample space. Linen and towels are changed after each use and like the entire ship it is kept immaculately clean. My cabin was quiet and the heating worked well. Full height patio doors make it feel larger and would be lovely to open in the summer.
Because the Rhine was flooding some ports of call had to be changed and there was uncertainty as to whether we would be allowed to cruise on to Basle. I heard no complaints or murmurs of discontent because we were confident the crew of Amacello would do their best for us. It couldn't have been easy to find 3 coaches and local guides to take us from Mannheim to Strasbourg on Christmas day but that is what Rolf, our cruise manager achieved. It was a bonus to discover the Christmas market in front of Strasbourg Cathedral in full swing! Some of us changed our planned excursions at short notice which again was handled with smiles. The coaches were only ever half full making travel comfortable. On our return we were greeted with warm towels and gluhwein that was much better than we had at the markets.
The majority of passengers were from the USA, then Brits, some Canadians and Australians. They were a well travelled and interesting crowd and we all mixed and made new friends. There were families from 3 generations travelling together and I met about 6 other singles.
I booked my own flights (using Avios)and walked the short distance from Amsterdam station to Amacello in pouring rain and a gale, so it was a great relief to be spotted by one of the crew who came running from the ship to meet me with an umbrella. I subsequently discovered there was an AMA desk at Schiphol and I could have been transferred! Disembarkation was very efficiently organised by Ama, I requested a shared taxi to Basle station from where I caught a direct train to Zurich airport.
The cruise was not cheap but so much was included in the price (including all the shore excursions, quality wines with dinner and teas and coffees all day) that I spent little while I was away. Prices at the bar seemed fair to me, about 4 euros for a Bellini, 5.5 for Cuba libre.
I can't wait to travel with Ama again, probably at short notice when they waive the single supplement. I am crossing my fingers for the Danube cruise next Christmas!