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12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
My family and I do a big adventure trip every year and we had been wanting to do SE Asia for a couple of year and just couldn't find anything escorted that lined up with school holiday breaks. We booked about 9 months in advance for ... Read More
My family and I do a big adventure trip every year and we had been wanting to do SE Asia for a couple of year and just couldn't find anything escorted that lined up with school holiday breaks. We booked about 9 months in advance for myself, my active but older parents and my 16 yr old daughter. We have previously done only land packages with Tauck tours and were looking for something close to that level of service and accommodation and we were pretty pleased overall with the AMA experience. We had a day of our cruise cut off due to a typhoon in the area closing the embarkation port. The cruise line added an extra day in Ho Chi Minh City at the Sofitel with lunch and dinner (but no additional excursions), we did not miss any ports but did lose time in pheom phen and had to forgo an excursion there. Accommodations on the land portion (all Sofitels, including the Phokeethra in Siem Reap and Metropole in Hanoi) were first rate. The Metropole is a truly special hotel experience, especially if you are as into history as our family is. We had a category B stateroom on the ship and I was pleasantly surprised (with limited cruise experience) having previously sailed with disney and on an expedition ship in the Galapagos, with the size and comfort of the cabins. The bathroom allowed for a shower without having to do any strange contortions, and there was ample space to spread out a little, dress and relax with two people. We chose the one on the end of the ship by the gym, didn't feel any movement at all, and it was much quieter location. Things we liked: The staff was all very nice and accommodating, but the hotel manager (Marcus) and the restaurant manager (I am horrible and forgot her name but she was beyond fantastic) were standounts. Massage/spa prices were very reasonable for a cruise ship, as were the additional charges for upgraded wines. The included wines were also very drinkable, but I wish they would serve wine by the glass in the bars instead of just at dinner. We did the chef's table one night, I didnt think it was anything extra special. In general the food was perfectly edible, but nothing standout EXCEPT when they cooked local. I wish they had more local options at dinner, where it was pretty much all western style. The local items on the action station and morning noodle soup were always excellent, the rice paper wraps and spring rolls, etc were also fantastic. We tended to leave dinner a little wanting some evenings. They do have more mainstream choices available for every dinner (salad w/chicken or shirmp, hangar steak etc), but when in a place like SE asia, there's too much good local stuff to be cooking up fancy french food - but the brand knows their audience and I'm probably the weirdo who wants to eat pho all the time. The local guides changed with each region, and they were all good, but we were lucky enough to have two really outstanding guides in southern Vietnam and in Cambodia before we got to Siem Reap. Vinh and Buntha really make the trip special with their insight and their stories. Loved all the shore excursions we did from the standpoint of the sights we saw, loved they had options for people with mobility issues or who wanted less challenging temple climbing etc but still wanted to actually see the highlights. The overnight cruise in Ha Long Bay at the end of the trip was also great for scenery and the accommodations on that boat were also really nice. The cooking class and bingo, and a a few of the other daytime onboard programs while the ship was in transit were fun. I wish they had more enrichment, maybe a photography class, more in depth lectures about the history and culture, etc. but what they did have was fun and informative. What i wasn't crazy about: Some of the shore excursions I would have liked to have a little more time allowed at some of the museums and temples, etc. I felt rushed especially at the War Remnants Museum and Temple of Literature, Reunification Palace and the market in Ho Chi Minh City. I also wasn't crazy that for New years eve we were tied up at basically a loading dock in the middle of nowhere Cambodia, and there was no place to get off the ship to maybe check out some local nightlife. The staff tried really hard with the evening entertainment, but it wasn't really my speed, especially in a region known for night markets and such. We were VERY and I recognize VERY lucky that our trip included a few multi-generation families with younger people so there were other people my daughter's age or near it on the trip, which made it more fun for her. the food on the Ha Long bay boat was edible, but nothing to write home about. Also, the wifi on the ship worked intermittently at best and there is no roaming service in Vietnam - no biggie for me, but for some it might be an issue. Also no wifi in the cabins, only the lounge and the sundeck unless you're in a suite. We also didn't get our documents from AMA until about week before we left (2 weeks before the actual tour start date) and as we were visiting another country on our own and 2 days of transit to get there, it left me a little anxious and we were unable to pre-register for shore excursions, as they had already closed by the time we had had a chance to review everything. Overall, we loved the trip, we were fortunate to have some experiences that were really life changing (touring the Killing Fields and S-21 Detention center with Buntha, Sunrise on Angkor Wat), I came back wanting to return to explore more because I found the people so welcoming, and feel like on such a whirlwind trip I didn't get to explore the cities as much as I would have liked to. The river cruise does allow you to get to places like Tan Chau, Sa Dec and the rural areas of Vietnam and the floating villages on the ton le sap, etc in Cambodia where there really aren't western tourist class accommodations. My mom thinks river cruising is now the greatest thing. It wouldn't be my first choice to go back to for something like Europe, but for something more exotic such as the Zambezi, the Irrawaddy I'd probably book another one. It was a good trip for the diverse ages we have in my family, there was plenty of activity for my daughter and i and enough down time to allow my folks to be able to enjoy most of the sightseeing and still relax. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We chose AMA Waterways based on reviews from friends and a travel advisor who indicated that it was a step up from competitors. We had a lovely trip and very much enjoyed the AMAWaterways experience (apart from item #2, below). We ... Read More
We chose AMA Waterways based on reviews from friends and a travel advisor who indicated that it was a step up from competitors. We had a lovely trip and very much enjoyed the AMAWaterways experience (apart from item #2, below). We found the staff to be thoughtful, efficient and fun and the journey was very well organized. We’ll also share a couple of suggestions that we included in our end-of-cruise evaluation~~~ 1. The excursion offerings seemed a bit limited in some locations, and also somewhat short in duration. For example, in Cologne, the “general” excursion (the one not for hikers or bikers), was a drive into Cologne and a tour of the outside of the Cathedral. The excursion lasted 3 hours and could have included a stop at a famed chocolate factory or another site or two before returning to the ship. 2. The stateroom took some adjustment, as it is smaller than what we've seen on ocean cruises. It did have all you needed once you adjusted. However, the stateroom beds were more like dorm room mattresses than what would be expected on a luxury cruise line. AMAWaterways profiles itself as upscale hoteling, yet most upscale cruisers will expect a higher quality mattress with a pillow top in today’s competitive environment. And candidly, mattress comfort is a high enough variable for us that it would make us think twice about another AMAWaterways cruise, which is such a shame. Our Silversea mattress, for example, was of a much higher quality and more comfortable. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
This was our first River Cruise. We chose AmaWaterways and the Enchanted Rhine because of the Itinerary that included the Pre-Land Extension in Zurich and Lucerne, Switzerland. We chose the AmaKristina because it is a new ship. I will ... Read More
This was our first River Cruise. We chose AmaWaterways and the Enchanted Rhine because of the Itinerary that included the Pre-Land Extension in Zurich and Lucerne, Switzerland. We chose the AmaKristina because it is a new ship. I will focus more on the Land extension because I have not seen much focus on that on other reviews. We traveled to Zurich on our own after sightseeing in Munich. Our tour began at the Hotel Stiegenberger in Zurich. We came prepared but still dismayed that the hotel was not air-conditioned and the temps were already in the low 80's F. The room was sweltering even with a fan. It is a very nice and scenic hotel otherwise. However, the city view room was overlooking a crowded courtyard of buildings. The cruise director covered all aspects of the tour times as well as transportation and optional excursions. We were happy that the excursion to Rhein Falls and Stein en Rhein was available. It was an additional charge of about $80 per person. The tour guide, Judith was wonderful and she was with us for Zurich, Rhein Falls and Lucerne. We enjoyed a very informative and scenic bus trip to Vitznau followed by a beautiful boat trip across Lake Lucerne to the city. Our hotel in Lucerne was at the elegant Hotel Schweizerhof. I already knew from research that I wanted to go to Mt. Pilatus so we opted out of the AMA excursion to Mt. Stanserhorn. Mt. Pilatus was truly awe-inspiring and we really enjoyed our free time at Lucerne. Sadly, it was time to go. We traveled by bus to Basel. After completing a city tour and lunch on our own, we were delivered to the ship. Our check went smoothly. We were in Room 231 Cello Deck. I was disappointed that there was dirt on my bed before I even touched it. There was also a hair (not mine) on the pillow. For the money, I guess I thought the cleanliness would be impeccable. The bathroom is small and it contained an annoying metal trashcan that would tip over when you used the footstep to open it. The paper was not always replenished either. While new, the actual toilet seat cover felt loose and banged against the tile when you sat down. We felt the movement of the ship and it would feel like it shuddered when it went through other ship's wakes. I would definitely move to the higher (Violin) deck and near the front for the next trip. We also noticed a creaking noise coming from the ship around the midship area. Apparently, we were not the only ones that observed it because we saw a passenger speaking to the Ship Engineer about it one day. The WIFI was not operational for the first day. It also tended to be out when we were docked. We enjoyed the guided tours to which included Riquewihr and Strasbourg, France, Rudesheim, Heidleberg, Koblenz, Cologne and Amsterdam. I wish we could have had more time at Cologne. There was a lot to see there and I felt it warranted a full stop there instead of one afternoon. The guides were all good except for mine in Riquewihr. Johannes was not too informative and he did not even discuss the city gate and moat. I only know this because my mother took the Gentle walker tour and their guide covered it. I went on the Active Walker tour of Strasbourg. It was very informative and I believe we did cover about 6 miles. However, I wish we could have stayed at the Orangerie longer and/or visited Empress Josephine's Palace. It would be good if that were included on an actual tour. Friends that I talked to enjoyed the bike ride excursions. I chose a hike to Ehrenfels Castle and it was terrific uphill hike through the vineyards. The tour information listed it as 6 miles. It was only 3 miles. My favorite part of cruising was actually cruising. The deck chairs and seating were very comfortable. The boat was usually moving at night or during meal times so we did not get to enjoy the cruising as much as we would like. The cruise through the Rhine Gorge was incredible and my favorite part of the actual cruise. We were blessed with good weather and it was actually cool enough to need blankets. The cruise director provided excellent commentary on the scenic castles and towns that we passed. There was an added bonus when they brought up Rudesheimer coffee for us. The food on board was indeed wonderful and plentiful. The selection was vast. The Omelet Station attendant, Dejana, was wonderful and remembered how I liked my omelet after one visit. Do book your reservations for the Chef’s Table as soon as you arrive on the boat. It is a wonderful 5 course sampling meal full of imaginative and memorable dishes. We wanted to go again! There were a couple of things that marred the dining experience. The time between meal courses was exceedingly long. It did not matter which server station you chose. Dinner took at least two hours. Our table would finish a course and then it would take a long time for the next course to arrive. Meanwhile other tables that arrived after ours would be on to the next course. The other issue was with the wine and beverage stewards. They would not come by the table to offer any refills at times. Some mornings I got my excellent Cappuccino from the 24 hour Coffee bar and took it with me to breakfast just to make sure I received coffee. I do know everyone worked very hard. It seems like they need more crew to handle the meals but then where would you put them? Their memory is excellent. One morning the steward asked me if he had offended my mother because she did not touch her dessert the previous night. I assured him that was not the case. She was too full to eat anymore. The receptionist remembered our cabin number even before I did. Cruise culture is new to me but each meal involved a great deal of socializing. You could indicate to your waiter if you wished to either join someone else, have someone join you or dine alone. We met plenty of friendly people. There were mostly Canadians and Americans on the cruise. A few couples from the U.K. The Well to do’s kept to themselves. We heard the evening entertainment was very enjoyable but since it did not start until 9:30 p.m. thus we went on the prepare for bed. We got up at 6:30 each morning so we could get to breakfast at 7:30 a.m. before the rush. The sightseeing excursions usually loaded up about 8:45 a.m. We received some free time in every city and that was appreciated. I never even saw the fitness room or used the spa. Who had time? A few people used the walking track. Some friends enjoyed the pool but I did not bring a swimsuit so I missed out. The lounge was very tastefully furnished and comfortable. Our voyage with AmaWaterways has given us cherished memories that will last a lifetime. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
The cruise was fantastic for the first 5 days, then the low water hit. Although, AMA says they are not affected by this, that is not the truth. We had to dock and be bussed to Regensburg and Nuremburg. The bus rides were 3 to 5 hours long. ... Read More
The cruise was fantastic for the first 5 days, then the low water hit. Although, AMA says they are not affected by this, that is not the truth. We had to dock and be bussed to Regensburg and Nuremburg. The bus rides were 3 to 5 hours long. Very disappointing but not AMA's fault. Although, Viking, who is very upfront about their itinerary changes, did a boat swap during this period, which would have been preferable to being bussed. The transfer to Prague was also changed. Instead of visiting a quaint small town as planned we drove for 7 hours wasting 2 hours in a forgettable Pilzen with nothing to see. Even the tour guide couldn't think of anything to say. There was a brewery (not enough time to visit) and a church. Finding a place to eat lunch was a challenge. The cruise, itself was great. The ship was beautiful and the crew terrific! I would take another trip with AMA, I just wish they were more forthcoming with itinerary changes. We lost two days of cruising, which is the reason we took this trip---not the destinations. Bussing may be necessary but a big disappointment to the guests. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
Overall a nice experience but thanks to the many new friends we made during the cruise. We booked this cruise soon after a cruise on the River Douro with AMA only 5 months earlier. The AMA Douro cruise was perfect. Sadly this cruise was a ... Read More
Overall a nice experience but thanks to the many new friends we made during the cruise. We booked this cruise soon after a cruise on the River Douro with AMA only 5 months earlier. The AMA Douro cruise was perfect. Sadly this cruise was a very different experience. My wife and I feel that the main things that led to our disappointment can be summed up by no one really in control or taking ownership; weak leadership; poor quantity of entertainment (not enough). Some of the general frustrations we experienced included: 1. No transfer from arrival airport arranged. Given a bottle of wine as an apology which we could have had anyway as wine is included with dinner. 2. Crew walking heavily on top deck in the middle of night numerous times 3. Drinks waiter rude - really offended that I had reported lack of mugs and milk and bar staff were not around. He made us feel uncomfortable making sarcastic comments 4. Towards the end of the week some of the drinks we had been enjoying stopped being available 5. Entertainment manager weak - nice person and tried hard but too young and lacked imagination 6. Poor entertainment - 3 nights we had no entertainment other than piano 7. Felt like no one in charge 8. Given food with gluten in chefs table restaurant despite them knowing and no care shown We already have 2 other AMA cruises booked for 2015 so I hope they will be better than this one. Suggestions for others considering AMAwaterways. 1. Avoid the last week of the season 2. Check to see if entertainment is planned for every night on winter cruises 3. Ask if one of the AMA directors will be on board Read Less
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