AmaPrima Cruise Review by SoCalTraveler: Great River Cruise
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Great River Cruise
We cruised from Prague (actually a bus trip from Prague to Vilshofen via Regensburg) to Budapest.
We had a Category C, cabin 230.
Embarkation at the Hilton Old Town was quite easy. AMA sells a pre-tour which stays at the Hilton. We stayed there on our own, and there are other hotels on that block. All you need to do is get your bags to the bus in front of the Hilton by the departure time. AMA will load all bags, other than the smallest carry-on (purse or back pack), in the luggage compartment of the bus, and it will not be available until the bus reaches the ship. No roll aboards in the passenger compartment.
Embarkation at Vilshofen was very easy. It seems the entire crew worked to load the bags, which are promptly delivered.
The cabin was small, typical for river cruises. However, I note that if you sit at the desk, no one can pass between the bed and the chair.
The cabin has a flat screen TV. Reception is poor.
There was More entertainment nearly every night, and a piano player on board.
The bathroom is small and space is tight. There is not room for two people in the bathroom at the same time. The shower is small and odd shaped. The electrical outlet in the bathroom is behind the medicine cabinet door, so you can't plug something in and use the medicine cabinet mirror at the same time. There is an additional mirror.
Food was very good. There was never a time that I could not find something I would eat. Often it was tough to choose. There was ice cream after each lunch. The ice cream steward was the second most popular person on the ship, after Valentin, the wine steward. Ice cream flavors changed every day.
Beer and wine is provided for lunch and dinner. Champagne (or Proseco) was available for breakfast. The wine steward, Valentin, was always available to refill the beer and wine. I think in the entire week we never had to ask for a refill as Valentin was always there first. The beer and wine were good. I think our group of 4 rejected one selection at one meal, and Valentin promptly served an alternate.
Service by the entire crew was outstanding. Of course, in a river cruise, the crew is always there with you. You see the captain multiple times a day, and he eats in the same dining room. The hotel director and cruise director have desks out in the open. The purser is always at his post. The service is what really distinguished this cruise from our past cruises.
We tried doing laundry, but the room does not breathe well, and the bathroom does not breathe at all.. The ship offers laundry service, which we used 4 times. Very prompt and efficient. The cost is modest compared to hotel rates. I think we paid about 1.20 Euro (about $1.58) to wash, but not iron, cotton t-shirts.
Tours are included. All of the tours were good. Local guides who knew the area. The ship tried to stratify the tours where possible into active, regular and slow. We selected active where possible.
On occasion, the ship offered extra cost tours. We took one, a trip to Schoenbrunn Palace in Vienna. (We were returning to Vienna, and Schoenbrunn is a little out of town.) That tour was excellent. We stayed at Schoenbrunn to explore the extensive grounds, and took a taxi back to the ship.
One of our reasons to take the Prima was that it had a pool and Jacuzzi in the pool. The weather was generally not conducive to being in a pool. The one time I went and it was sunny, the pool was at about 70 degrees F. The "Jacuzzi" consists of jets at one end of the pool. As that end was monopolized by a group of 6 who were partying, I never got to try the Jacuzzi. My sense is that whether or not the ship has a pool should not be a consideration.
Our cabin had a French balcony. That means sliding glass doors. Other than one afternoon of scenic cruising, you don't need a balcony. Moreover, as the ships are moored together in ports, there is often another cabin facing yours while in port. On one occasion (I think in Budapest), we had a view of the town from our "balcony," but the doors were easily accessible by anyone walking on the pier. We typically take and use balcony cabins on ocean-going cruise ships, but I would judge a balcony as less essential. If you want to see the scenery, go up on top. More than enough chairs and a better view.
We did not try the specialty restaurant (which is also included in the price). Our friends did and loved it. The menu is the same for the entire week.
Disembarkation was a breeze. The cruise director arranged for a taxi.
One significant ding (at least to us) was that the internet was the worst of any ship we have every been on. (That includes large liners where internet could only be accessed in a few locations.) Even if sitting in the lounge, while at a dock and not moving, the connection could and would disconnect with regularity. Signal strength in our room, which was at some distance, was consistently good. It's just that the system repeatedly fails. Some programs could not be accessed at all, including my proprietary office software. The hotel manager took regular reports, and photographed error messages to send to IT at the Hq, but we never heard back. If you sat in the lounge and connected, and the signal dropped, you would hear sighs and cursing around the room.
Would I travel with AMA again? Absolutely. Would I take a river cruise again? Absolutely. For business reasons, I'll need to solve the internet issue. Less
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Cabin review: C230 Stateroom with French balcony
Small room (but typical for river cruising). Small bathroom. Our friends had a larger room with a real balcony. Having made the decision pre-cruise not to pay for a bigger room, I'm comfortable with that decision.The bathroom is small and space is tight. There is not room for two people in the bathroom at the same time. The shower is small and odd shaped. The electrical outlet in the bathroom is behind the medicine cabinet door, so you can't plug something in and use the medicine cabinet mirror at the same time. There is an additional mirror.Internet service in the room, but internet service anywhere on the ship was the worst we have ever had.Flat screen TV, but it suffered from frequent pixilation and freezing, making watching anything with a story painful.Excellent view from windows, but often tied up to other ships without any view. A view from the room is not essential. I would take this cabin again.
Grand European tour
Very good, but not excellent