We began our vacation by flying into Luxembourg and spending two nights in the Novotel Luxembourg Centre. The hotel was very clean and conveniently located to the city center. It was an easy 10 to 15 minute walk to get to the historic center. There are plenty of shops and restaurants, especially outdoor cafes. We did not eat at the hotel restaurant (other than breakfast), but those in our group that did had favorable comments. Breakfast was a very good typical European breakfast. On the second day we had a wonderful tour guide, Mark, who walked us around the city. We would highly suggest that you walk along the wall, there are spectacular views.
Do not miss sites in Luxembourg: Notre Dame Cathedral (Our Lady of Luxembourg) and the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial, the burial place of General Patton and American soldiers who died in World War II. The cemetery is a very moving experience.
Our third day consisted of an hour and a half ride through the countryside to Remich to meet up with the AmaLegro on the Moselle River. This was a very pleasant ride and our guide was full of historic information. We arrived in Remich around noon, which is three hours prior to boarding time. However, we were allowed onto the boat and provided with a light lunch in the lounge and were then able to spend time walking around Remich. Around two-thirty we returned to the boat and our rooms were ready.
We were on the Violin Deck in room 305. While all the rooms (with the exception of the four suites) are same size, we believe the difference in price is mostly location. Our cabin was forward. We did hear from people that had cabins in the back of the ship that they could hear the engines and feel the vibrations while going through the locks at night. We never experienced any noise or movement. Our cabin attendant was absolutely lovely and very attentive. We left a bottle of water and wine in a dry ice bucket. When we returned it was all on ice and every day thereafter our water was on ice. She also kept up well supplied with bottled water.
The ship is very well maintained. All public areas are spotless. There is a constant supply of freshly baked cookies and a wonderful coffee machine that makes lattes, espresso, etc. The welcome aboard dinner was excellent and made a great first impression.
Our first stop was Bernkastel. We did not take a tour, but those that did enjoyed it. Our next stop was Cochem. We did take the Cochem walking tour and a tour of the Reichsburg Castle. Our local tour guide was Mary Louise and she was excellent. After the tour there was a little time to walk around the town before returning to the ship.
Our third stop was Koblenz. We took the tour to the Koblenz Horticulture Show. Our guide stated it is not a flower show, it is a Horticulture Show. We returned to the main part of town via the cable car across the Rhine River. After a short tour of the area , there was free time to walk around and back to the ship. Our local guide was Arthur and he was excellent. This was a very good tour, the highlight was the cable car ride across the Rhine.
In the afternoon we began sailing down the Rhine River Gorge. The scenery is absolutely beautiful and the Rhine is dotted with castle after castle for picture taking and the famous Lorelei statute and rock. During the afternoon we were served Rudesheimer Coffee. (Tasted like a chocolate Irish Coffee.)
Our next stop of Mainz-Rudesheim. Here we had a choice of taking the Walking Tour with Rudesheim Wine Tasting or taking a hour and a half bus ride to Heidelberg. For those that opted to go to Heidelberg, they left the ship around 9am and met up with the ship in Rudesheim at 5pm. We opted for the tour of Mainz. Our tour guide here was not as good as the others. Her English was difficult to understand and she did not speak into the microphone. A number of people in our group had problems with their audio set not working. She was also not that well organized. We passed through the same market place four times to different sites. Even with the difficulties, we felt the tour was worth our time. We returned to the ship and sailed on to Rudesheim. Here we walked the town on our own, however in the evening after dinner we attended the tour of Siegried's Musical Museum. This was an interesting and fun little side trip. (Folks that went to the Rudesheim wine tasting in the afternoon enjoyed it, however it was a great deal of walking uphill and said it would be difficult for anyone with mobility problems. We were a little sorry we opted for walking on our own.)
Wednesday, we spent the day in Cologne on our own. The site not to be missed is the Cathedral. It is spectacular. There was plenty of free time in Cologne, not like other stops where your time was very limited. Lovely city with lots of high end shops and outdoor restaurants. We enjoyed a wonderful German lunch at a sidewalk cafe before returning to the ship. This evening was the Captain's Farewell Cocktail Party and Dinner. The dinner was outstanding.
Thursday we docked in Amsterdam and had a city tour and canal cruise. Our local guide, once again, was excellent. I must say that Amsterdam was not quite what we expected. There is nothing quaint about it, it is a modern city and not all that clean. However, it was very interesting to see and we did enjoy the tour and free time. It was the only port on the cruise where the description on the daily program warned of pickpockets!
Friday we disembarked and headed home.
Overall, we absolutely loved our cruise. The ship is beautiful and the service is exceptional. The food was very good. There were plenty of choices at each meal. This was referred to as a Vineyards of the Rhine and Mosel River Valleys cruise. Every night we had wine from the region we were in. The wine was very good and there was definitely no holding back by the servers. It seemed as if every time you took a sip from your glass it was being replenished. The only negative aspect we found of the cruise is that there is only one seating for dinner at 7pm. You end up not finishing dinner until approximately 9pm. This made the dining room extremely loud and difficult for conversation. We would prefer to have at least a little flexibility in dining a little earlier. However, this is certainly not a deal breaker when it comes to cruising AMA again.
Recommendations if you are going on this trip: Bring binoculars. The Rhine river is loaded with castles and other beautiful sites. The afternoons spent cruising down the river were very relaxing and enjoyable. Also, an enjoyable fact is that it is casual. The captain's dinner is the only somewhat dressy night and less than half the men wore jackets, however no ties. Most women wore slacks and a nice top or sweater. So, no need to bring anything dressy. Good comfortable walking shoes are a must. Most stops are small villages with cobblestone streets. Cologne and Amsterdam are modern, but there is a lot of walking.
This was our first river cruise and I guess you tell that we are very pleased with AMA and our trip.