AmaCerto Cruise Review by RoyT11: AmaWaterways
Overall Member Rating
Destination: Europe - River Cruise
The Amawaterways "tulip cruise" was very good, but not exactly what I expected. The waterways of Holland and Belgium are heavily industrialized and the landscape is flat. Therefore, there was not much scenic cruising to be done. In fact, the boat mostly moved from one location to another during the night, which I think was the right choice.
Although the brochures make it seem that the entire country of Holland is blanketed with flowers and windmills, these are actually clustered in a few spots, and due to the harsh winter, most tulips were still dormant although we were there at what is usually the peak time (April 20th).
Every day, we had an opportunity to tour very interesting towns, either as part of a group or on our own. I enjoyed them all. The tours used wireless earphones, so you did not have to be right on top of the tour guide to hear what was being said. The trip built to a nice conclusion. On the final three days, we went to 1) Brugges, then 2) More Willemstad and the Kinderdijk windmills, and finally the 3) Keukenhof Flower Gardens. (You spend the first and last nights at the dock in Amsterdam, within walking distance of the historic district).
I was worried that there would not be many flowers at Keukenhof, but I was not disappointed. The outdoor displays were not in full bloom, but some parts were quite pretty. However, the flowers in the indoor pavilions were in full bloom. You cannot imagine how many varieties of tulips were in one of the pavilions. Another pavilion was devoted to orchids, and another to other flowers. It was quite amazing. If I had to choose between seeing the flowers in full bloom in the pavilions or outdoors, I would choose the pavilions. We were forced to get up early to go to the gardens to avoid the worst crowds. Good call.
The AmaCerto is a great ship. We had one of the smallest cabins (Cat. C), but it was all we needed. The next step up would have given us a larger bathroom and shower, but for $1000 extra I think I would pass. It helps to be on the top deck because some of the docks blocked the lower decks' windows. I liked being near the rear end of the boat because not many people walked past us at night or in the morning.
The beds were comfortable, the water pressure was good. A nice amenity is free movies. However, we were so busy that it took us three nights to watch one movie. Most useful if you get stuck on the boat for a day due to illness or weather.
The food was very good. The service in the restaurant was exceptional. The wine flowed freely at dinner (and lunch if you were inclined) and, if you did not care for the wines they were serving that day, they would find you something else. The specialty restaurant, Erlebnis, was not worth the trouble. Neither the food nor service was as good as in the main restaurant. Of course, that can change from week to week, depending on the menu and the chef.
Each evening there was some entertainment in the lounge. Not world class, of course, but usually fun.
The ship has a small, but nice heated pool with a swim up bar, but it was not used by anyone due to the chilly weather. The exercise room was larger than I expected, but I never saw anyone use it.
My one gripe is that when we arrived at the ship in Amsterdam around 3:30, we learned that we could have boarded as early as 10 AM, and they would have provided sandwiches, etc. for lunch. The cabins were not ready until 3:00, but it would have made our day a lot easier and more enjoyable if someone had told us about the early boarding option. Less
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