AmaWaterways has carved out a niche for itself in the river cruise arena with its emphasis on wine and food amid comfortably stylish surrounds.
The majority of AmaBella's staterooms (along with those found on AmaVerde and near-sisters AmaCerto and AmaPrima) feature double-balcony configurations. One side is a French verandah, with floor-to-ceiling doors that open wide, and the other is an actual balcony, with comfortable chairs. Notable, too: These spacious staterooms aren't limited to a lucky few. On the top two cabin decks, they're plentiful.
Other delightful features on AmaBella make it such a welcoming ship. On the sun deck, a splash pool (with swim-up bar) and deep, comfy wicker-like sofas are popular gathering spots. The small gym is well stocked with state-of-the-art equipment, and the sprawling lounge features a library nook with a faux fireplace.
It's important to note, though, that the ship's gorgeous decor and creature comforts are a backdrop to the experience you'll have on land. AmaWaterways features a nice range of possibilities in each port (most of which come in the complimentary category) that target a variety of travel styles. Highlights include standard tours; themed experiences geared toward interests in areas like art, food and wine; and recreationally oriented expeditions on bicycles. (Two dozen of them are stored onboard, and they're free for passengers to use in port.)
AmaWaterways offers terrific value-for-money extras on its cruises; these include free and unlimited Wi-Fi (with an unusually fast connection for a cruise ship) and complimentary beer, wine and soda at lunch and dinner.
Rounding out a superb cruise experience, the crew on AmaBella are outstanding. Warm, efficient and personable, the tone was set for us on the first night onboard, when a couple, having traveled all day, arrived well after mealtime. They plaintively asked the bartender if there were snacks available. Instead, she went down to the kitchen and assembled them a full meal.