This was our first river cruise on AMA Waterways and we really enjoyed it. My husband and I took the 7 day cruise from Paris and Normandy. We docked at Vernon (Monet’s home and gardens), Rouen (capital of Lower Normandy, trips to Normandy landing Beaches-WWII, seaside town of Honfleur), Conflans (trips to ruins of Richard the Lionhearted’ s castle in Les Andelys, town of Auvers-sur-Oise where Van Gogh spent the last 2 months of his life). Then we had the 2 day Paris extension.
Our ship the AMALegro has a capacity of 150 passengers and was nearly full for our trip. The AMALegro is a very well maintained and comfortable ship. We had a B level cabin. It was comfortable and nicely decorated. It wasn’t spacious but it wasn’t cramped either. As we weren’t in the cabin all that much, it met our needs perfectly. Our cabin was thoroughly cleaned every day. Our room steward was terrific.
The meals were delicious—better than we expected. Any local dishes were noted on the menu. We saw at the end of the cruise when all of the crew was introduced that there are 10 chefs/kitchen staff preparing meals. No wonder the food was so good! Sample dinner dishes included Normandy Free Range Chicken Breast with Lavender Potatoes and Vichy Carrots; Lamb Medallions Mont Saint Miguel with Ratatouille and Potato Gratin; Grilled Fillet of Pike Perch in Mustard Dill Sauce with Parsley Potatoes.
Included in the cost of the cruise were the “house” (changed every day) white and red wine, beer, soft drinks, tea and coffee during meals. Mixed drinks and other wine choices were available for a cost. If you wanted a Coke at say 4pm, that would cost you about 1.50 Euro. Ice water, iced tea, hot tea and coffee were available for free at any time of the day in the lounge. Our bill at the end of the cruise was minimal.
Our tour director Sebastien was knowledgeable, funny, energetic, and respectful. He answered all questions that we had. Sebastien conducted informative optional sessions most afternoons concerning the excursion choices for the next day. He also did an interesting commentary of the sights we were seeing as we cruised. On a related note, the local tour guides at each of our stops had a passion for educating us on what we were seeing so that we got the most out of the excursions.
We really liked that usually half of the day was excursions (all included in the price of the cruise) and the other half of the day was free time. This gave the cruise less of a “sightseeing” feel and more of a relaxing atmosphere. This unhurried pace made possible 2 unplanned excursions: 1) to hear a choral concert given by fellow cruise passengers in a several hundred year church in Vernon, and 2) to see a highly advanced sound and light show (think George Lucas ) at 11pm using the 12th century Rouen cathedral as a backdrop.
Regarding the 2 day Paris extension that we did at the end of the cruise, my favorite part was the tour of the art museum Musee d’Orsay. Our guide’s knowledge of art history and the time period really made the paintings and sculpture she highlighted even more meaningful.
We really enjoyed our AMA Waterways trip, and we’ll be back for another!