OnboardAmaWaterways focuses on Europe's Rhine, Danube, Mosel and Main rivers using its own ships, and also offers options in Russia, Africa, France and Vietnam mostly through leased boats. Though its itineraries are international, AMA cruises are typically aimed at English-speaking passengers.
An AmaWaterways cruise offers ambitious regional cuisine, well-designed cabins, guided port stops (included in the fare) -- all set on the most modern river ships in the industry, boasting amenities like in-cabin multi-function TV/Web setups, elevators, and mechanized wheelhouses that can be lowered to transit under low-slung bridges.
Each vessel has two lounges -- a large main lounge at the bow and a more intimate lounge located aft -- that offer panoramic views of Europe, as well as expansive sun decks with plenty of loungers. Public areas offer free Wi-Fi and all cabins have "Infotainment" setups, basically flat-screen TV's with Internet access, movie and music libraries, bow and navigational cams and more. Eighty-two percent of cabins feature French balconies, which consist of a sliding door and railing. It's two newest ships, AmaBella (2010) and AmaVerde (2011), feature some true balconies.
Every ship is non-smoking (except on the sun deck) and features a beauty salon and massage therapist. Unlimited local wines, as well as beer and sodas, are included with each open-seating dinner, which consists of indulgent regional cuisine with special selections from local European ports.
AMA ships feature an international staff. The majority of workers onboard are Hungarian, Romanian and Slovakian, and all staff members speak English. Each cruise also features a knowledgeable cruise director who does everything: leads shore excursions, arranges for airport transportation, offers running commentary during scenic cruising and more.
Daily sightseeing programs are included with each cruise, and tours include wireless audio devices so cruisers don't miss a word on history or culture. All six ships offer roughly 20 bicycles that passengers can use to explore ports.
Entertainment is focused on local customs and culture -- performances by European dancers or an orchestral group keep passengers occupied in the evenings. There are also some more down-to-earth offerings such as an always entertaining crew talent show and wacky trivia night.
About AmaWaterwaysFounded in 2002, California-based AmaWaterways is one of the newest entrants in the European river cruise market -- and since its launch, the line's growth has been nothing short of remarkable. The fleet expanded to 10 ships in 2011, and that number will become 11 in 2012.
To be fair, the rapid growth isn't that surprising. While the line itself is new, AmaWaterways president and CEO Rudi Schreiner isn't a novice when it comes to operating a river cruise line. Schreiner has held executive positions for Uniworld and Viking River Cruises, two major competitors who sell European river cruises to the North American, British and Australian cruising population. With Uniworld, he served as vice president of tour planning for eight years before heading to Viking River Cruises, where he opened Viking's USA office in 2000 before becoming the line's first president. In 2002, Schreiner helped opened up AmaWaterways (then called Amadeus Waterways; the name was shortened in June 2008). By 2006, the line was introducing its first new-build.
AmaWaterways FleetAmaWaterways now offers six 148-passenger and two 162-passenger European riverboats. The lines' latest addition is AmaVerde, which debuted in 2011. AMA will introduce the 164-passenger AmaCerto, a sister to AmaBella and AmaVerde, in 2012.
Outside Europe, AmaLotus debuted in spring 2011, joining La Marguerite in Vietnam and Cambodia. The boats sail along the Mekong River.
Beyond the boats it owns, the line leases two vessels: cruises to Russia are offered onboard AmaKatarina; and the 28-passenger MS Zambezi Queen plies the Chobe River in Botswana.
Fellow PassengersYou'll sail with a well-traveled, somewhat affluent older crowd. Passengers tend to be casual folks who enjoy a nice bit of social mixing. Leave your foreign phrasebook at home -- passengers are largely English-speaking North Americans, Europeans and Australians.
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