This was our first river cruise and we were a little apprehensive. Have been on 3 Cunard cruises (all great quality with perfect food and service but completely impersonal with sanitised land based tours). We were recommended to cruise with AMA Waterways by Ponders Travel (personal agents near Cambridge). They selected a river cruise focused around wine tasting in northern Portugal.
My wife and I were stunned by the friendly, professional and personal attitude shown by ALL of the crew. So many lovely touches including the same coach driver; same guide all week. Some of the drives could have been scary (side of small mountains on single track roads with no barriers) but the driver was very sensitive and drove at speeds that made us all feel safe.
The food was perfect with choice for all diets. Champagne for breakfast!!
We got to know so many new folk from other countries.
One of the AMA owners was on this cruise (Kristin Karst). She is completely committed to ensuring all travellers have a fantastic experience and supported her team really well. They have a great way of selecting passionate crew and delivering perfect service for the entire cruise. How the crew keep motivated with out a break for many weeks I don't know but I guess combining the desire to ensure guest have a great memorable time with the chance of meeting new folk every week or so keeps their interest going.
Just one request for AMA - avoid seminars which are more brain washing than informative (US wine) - we are all old enough to make our own minds up if today will be a great day and don't need a motivational speaker to help. But thankfully we managed to avoid most of the loudness from just one person.
We are about to book another cruise with AMA for Xmas this year.
For those who haven't found Portugal yet (as we hadn't) I highly recommend a visit. It is beautiful; hot; clean and the locals are so friendly.