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15 AmaWaterways AmaCello Cruise Reviews for River Cruises to Europe - River Cruise

While my husband has never been on a cruise, I have been on several ocean cruises. Cruising on AMAWaterways beat them all. Because there are only 140 passengers, you get to know each other and the staff and crew. All of the staff and ... Read More
While my husband has never been on a cruise, I have been on several ocean cruises. Cruising on AMAWaterways beat them all. Because there are only 140 passengers, you get to know each other and the staff and crew. All of the staff and crew were friendly and on the spot with whatever you needed. The excursions were all well-organized and excellent, led by knowledgeable guides. The ship itself was clean and in great condition. The food was very good - I really enjoyed the light lunch option. The entertainment was ok, but that's not what we were looking for in a cruise. From the time our greeter met us at the airport and took us to the ship to disembarkation early to catch a train (they even packed food for us!), AMAWaterways took great care of us. We would definitely recommend AMAWaterways. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We chose Ama Waterways for our 25th Anniversary cruise and we were not disappointed. From the moment we stepped onto the pier in Amsterdam until we said goodbye in Basel, everything was done for our comfort and enjoyment. The ship is ... Read More
We chose Ama Waterways for our 25th Anniversary cruise and we were not disappointed. From the moment we stepped onto the pier in Amsterdam until we said goodbye in Basel, everything was done for our comfort and enjoyment. The ship is tastefully appointed and sparkling clean, despite it's *relative* age in the industry (built in 2008). Our stateroom was stylish and comfortable, with plenty of space for our belongings and nice features such as a French balcony and flat-screen TV with internet access. Meals were freshly prepared (we saw fresh produce come aboard at every port of call) and portions were just right. The shore excursions were informative and featured different ability groupings so that all passengers could enjoy the sights as their mobility level allowed. Where Ama Waterways truly stands out, however, is in the professionalism and attentiveness of the crew. Everyone from the Captain and Cruise Director, to the wait staff and housekeepers, worked to make the cruise a wonderful, memorable experience for all passengers. I would not hesitate to recommend Ama Waterways to anyone who wants a truly first-class cruise vacation. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Amacello review- seven nights Romantic Rhine (June 4-11, 2015): Day 1- Amsterdam (embark) Day 2- Amsterdam canal tour, then bus to meet up with ship at first lock. Day 3- Cologne (morning walking tour of city), Koblenz (evening ... Read More
Amacello review- seven nights Romantic Rhine (June 4-11, 2015): Day 1- Amsterdam (embark) Day 2- Amsterdam canal tour, then bus to meet up with ship at first lock. Day 3- Cologne (morning walking tour of city), Koblenz (evening walking tour) Day 4 morning cruising Rhine gorge, (Rudesheim (afternoon and evening tours), Day 5- Speyer or bus to Heidelberg (afternoon walking tours), Day 6- Strasbourg (morning walking tours, afternoon explore city on your own), Day 7- Bresach/Riquewihr (bus to city then afternoon walking tours), Day 8- Basel (disembark). Post cruise extension possible I have taken over 20 ocean cruises on 8 cruise lines. I wanted to try a river cruise and this one worked out with my schedule. I arranged my own air transportation and pre and post cruise hotels. I traveled solo. Good 1) The ship is nicely appointed. Cabins are compact but with loads of not easily accessible under bed storage. Closets were perfect for one person, but would be much tighter with two. Nice bathroom, with a good-sized shower with glass door, but limited bathroom storage. 2) The staff is very nice and repeatedly stated that “all you have to do is ask”. I did ask for and get pants hangers, and asked and paid for a cabin up grade from lower deck to one with a French balcony. 3) Free Internet is included, although cell coverage is spotty due to cruising on border regions. The in cabin media system had a range of European and American TV channel coverage, and recent movies on demand. 4) Wine/soft drinks/beer are included with meals. Cocktails are ~$7. 5) Food was generally very good. Eggs, waffles, pancakes MTO, fruits, all breads baked onboard. 6) Excursions are included, generally a bus tour followed by a walking tour with several types of tours for active and gentle walkers and also biking tours. Have to read closely to differentiate between see (drive by) and visit (get out of the bus). Use the quiet boxes, so I could wander away from the group and still get the commentary. 7) Lots of small groups (2, 4, 6, 8) travelling together- no large groups on this particular cruise, but I has head from fellow passengers that large groups (30-40) have occurred on previous cruises which dramatically changed the dynamics. Most passengers are 60-90 retirees, with one group of 40-ish travellers, and several extended family groups. 8) Local entertainment brought on to the ship was mostly good to excellent. Bad, 1) Ship is small (146 pax maximum, 112 for this voyage). The beds were European and very hard. Would have liked to have a choice of pillows. Really no place to hang out to read. Often the only room (Lounge) is in use for port talks or entertainment. So I spent a good deal of time in cabin watching movies, the scenery, or reading. 2) When I asked for sweetener other than “sweet and low”, the answer was that knew there were other kinds, but they did not carry them. So much for “All you have to do is ask”. Feel free to ask, but the answer might be no! 3) Nothing bad to add about media- They can’t control the cell coverage 4) Wish wine was available all the time, not just at meal times 5) Everyone ate at the same time. Lunch 11-1 pm depending on excursions, and generally 6-7 PM for dinner and you are asked to come within 20 minutes of those times. Didn’t like that, but it is a small ship so they have limited staff and kitchen space. 6) The excursion had limited choices. Some local guides ere excellent others not so good. 7) No accommodations made for solo travelers. Walking into the dining room brought back the horrors of high school lunchroom with lots of little cliques that formed immediately. Most nights I just asked around to sit with people, sometimes “seats were being held”, other times I met lovely fellow passengers. Sometimes if I sat down at a table then when the late arriving member of the “clique” arrived that acted put out. Really-I travel to meet new people, not sit with the same people every day. I am more used to ocean cruises were there are tables of solo travelers. On this ship there were only two solo travelers. This was my least favorite aspect of the cruise. Would I recommend this cruise? Yes for couples and small groups, definitely not for solo travelers. I might try another river cruise in 10 years, but I did not consider this a luxury experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
14 years ago we were on a river cruise and decided to go back and do another one with friends we met 14 years ago!! We've done many ocean cruises during that time. We took the pre-cruise extension from Zurich and had wonderful warm ... Read More
14 years ago we were on a river cruise and decided to go back and do another one with friends we met 14 years ago!! We've done many ocean cruises during that time. We took the pre-cruise extension from Zurich and had wonderful warm weather and it didn't get cool until the Rhine Gorge. Karen Bies the Cruise Director is indefatigable and always smiling. She was very helpful to everyone. We used the Gentle Walkers shore excursion section as I had a second knee replacement and the cobblestones aren't walker friendly. There were only 8 of us in the group, but the tour leaders were patient with us and gave great information. The evening entertainment was quite nice, however we had a group of 35+ Canadians who were rather rude and talked throughout the evening, despite severe looks from the singers. Food was plentiful and although not always hot in the chafing dishes at the end of the meals, there was a good selection for everyone. Danilo in Elibnis, the specialty restaurant, was a delight and we suggest you make reservations when you first board the ship. I had a birthday on board and the crew walked in with sparklers, plus a big one on the cake. VERY festive!! Disembarkation was a breeze! We used the ship's transfer to the airport and it was worth the cost as someone helped us get to the right desk for check in and helped with the bags. It was a relaxing tour and the foliage was nice, but I think I would suggest going earlier in September. Service throughout the cruise and the pre-extension couldn't have been better. The only thing that ruined our trip was coming home through JFK, where we had to wait an hour to get through Customs, and then more after we got our bags. The Global Re-entry pass is looking better and better!!   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
This was promoted as a Culture and Wine Legacy of the Rhine cruise with a wonderful wine host named Holly Howell. She will be doing another one next year so if you'd like to learn more about Rhine produced wines, as well as Finger ... Read More
This was promoted as a Culture and Wine Legacy of the Rhine cruise with a wonderful wine host named Holly Howell. She will be doing another one next year so if you'd like to learn more about Rhine produced wines, as well as Finger Lakes, NY wines, do try this fun cruise on an excellent ship with extraordinary crew. The on board wine tastings were well done. We learned a lot and had fun too. The wine tastings at some large tasting rooms were less interesting. Skip those and do some private tastings on your own in one of the many tasting rooms in some of the towns. Yes, it was cold and dreary in N. Europe, but there were no crowds in the interesting port stops along the way. They were setting up for the Christmas Markets, and I shudder to think of the crush in a week. This was a lovely well appointed cabin with plenty of storage space and a beautiful bathroom with a great shower. Due to it's location forward on the top deck, however, I think we experienced more "people traffic" noise than had we chosen one further aft. (A little more courtesy from passengers traveling the corridors at early and late hours would be welcome!)   The shore excursions, included in the cruise, were mostly very good, but we sometimes chose to wander about a town exploring by ourselves. The meals were all very good with a nice balance of meat, fish and vegetarian choices well prepared and served hot. There were healthy choices at all meals, and also lots of marvelous desserts! Our only complaint was the choice each meal of only one white wine or one red wine. One evening, a very sweet white wine was the only offering with my fish, so I chose the drier red wine. We felt that especially on a "wine themed" cruise, more choices should have been offered. Our excellent tour director Christian was knowledgeable, unflappable, entertaining and very helpful....everything could every ask for to keep things running smoothly. The efficient crew provided top notch friendly service. We would definitely sail with AMA again! Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
AMA Cello and crew were awesome. AMA offered three or four excursion options for each city; some walking, some bus and bicycling options. They were very flexible as to which one you took right up to the minute you walked off the ship. They ... Read More
AMA Cello and crew were awesome. AMA offered three or four excursion options for each city; some walking, some bus and bicycling options. They were very flexible as to which one you took right up to the minute you walked off the ship. They ran all excursions even if only a few people signed up. Twice we were on large bus with English speaking guide and only three other people. Our transportation to the airport was large bus, help with luggage both at ship and airport for on 24 Euros. Entertainment at night fun and relaxed; not big productions but very enjoyable. Food very good. Two espresso/latte machines on board that were available 24 hours at no cost. Wine served with meals complimentary. Bar drinks other times reasonably priced. Internet complimentary with available terminal in room and wifi throughout the ship. Not the fastest speed I've ever seen, but significantly better than large cruise ships. Our trip was the Rhine Christmas market from Basel to Amsterdam. It was the first time I've been to European Christmas markets. They are very enjoyable; good local food and drink and lots of handmade Christmas gifts to buy. Some factory made stuff displayed but that's easy to pass by. Weather cold, but we planned for it and that added to the Christmas atmosphere. Justin C Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
AmaWaterways  We were totally impressed by every aspect of our cruise. Even before we departed, the cruise document package was very classy and the luggage tags will be our permanent tags from now on. The AMA ships have a very practical ... Read More
AmaWaterways  We were totally impressed by every aspect of our cruise. Even before we departed, the cruise document package was very classy and the luggage tags will be our permanent tags from now on. The AMA ships have a very practical design [shallow draft for low water conditions, ingeniously retractable pilot house for high water], and they are very nice from the passenger point of view too. The décor is modern and luxurious without being fussy, the split-level decks allow the dining room and lounge to have spacious high ceilings while still getting in three decks of cabins, and there are public spaces fore and aft as well as the entire Sun deck. Cabin Our cabin seemed smaller than its measurements at first, but we were able to store all our stuff and get the suitcases under the bed so it worked just fine. The shower was a little tight, probably because it is shaped as a triangle. The French balcony was very nice: the window-wall gave nice views [the drapes shut out almost all the light so sleeping wasn’t a problem], and we were glad to be able to open the sliding door and look out several times. Next time we will hope to sail on one of the newer AMA ships and upgrade to a 235 sf twin-balcony, but even the 170 sf French balcony cabin was quite acceptable. Food  We had been warned that ''"no river cruise matches the food on ocean cruises” ''" BUNK! The food on AmaCello was the best we have had on any cruise to date (excepting the extra-cost specialty restaurants Normandie and Qsine on Celebrity Summit). Most of the food was excellent: the first dinner we had a zucchini pancake amuse bouche, appetizers [enjoyed, but detail forgotten], Asian-style salad, pumpkin soup, steak with horseradish-crust entree, and hazelnut chocolate cake and ice cream parfait desserts. [These were the items we chose; there were many other choices on the menu.] There was also a cheese table in the dining room at all meals, but we were too stuffed to consider it at dinner. Two different soups (cream and broth) were offered every day and all were amazingly good. The pastry was always excellent, as were the breads. [We later learned that there is a separate person in charge of each of these three areas ''" no wonder they are so good!] Salads, entrees and desserts were always good [except the steak the first night and one fish that was a little dry], and were varied and localized. Wine and beer were freely available throughout lunch and dinner. The wines were different every day and were a good selection of European table wines representative of the regions we were sailing through. The beer was draft Bitburger. Normally I do not drink lagers or pilsners, but this was not your father’s Budweiser: it was tasty and refreshing, and I was happy to drink it all week long. The bar also had a range of wines, liquors and liqueurs [and beers, for all I know] available for purchase. Schedule food was available pretty much throughout the day: early risers’ breakfast, regular breakfast [the best Eggs Benedict ever!], late breakfast, lunch, cookies and snacks in the bar, tea time, dinner, and late night snack. Lunch and Dinner were one fixed seating only but this turned out not to be a problem since the packed schedule of activities made these the right times to dine anyway. Our gang never had a problem finding an open table for six, although we did have to move around the dining room a bit ''" but that let us experience good service from different waiters! Service  The service throughout the cruise was excellent across the board. Our Cruise Director Reka Piros worked like a dog but delivered like a god [dyslexics of the world untie!]. The dining room staff were all friendly and efficient, especially our wine pourer Vesi who kept our conversation well-lubricated! The cabin staff were efficient and invisible [except for the cute towel animals that greeted us most afternoons]. And the gifts at the end [no details: spoiler!] were a nice touch. Having the Cruise Director stay with the group throughout the land extension was a great idea. We were familiar with Reka, so there was no transition ''" and she continued to provide great service as she coordinated everything in Luzern and Zurich. The only weak spots in AMA service were at the Amsterdam airport and our communications with the home office. We were told to look for the AMA ‘desk’ at the airport, but there is no such desk. HQ also assured us that the first activity on Day One would be dinner at 7:30 ''" but it turned out there was a mandatory Muster Drill at 6:00 and dinner was at 7:00. These two glitches need to be worked out, because coming at the beginning of the cruise they could get everything off on the wrong foot. Shore excursions  Each day had one or two shore excursions, sometimes with choices of location. Every tour on the cruise portion was included in the cruise fare. We were always split into four groups [always a slow walkers group, sometimes an active group], and the Quietvox made it easy to hear the tour guide. Most days also had a bicycle option, but none of our gang tried them. The tours were well planned and covered most of the high points that I had flagged from my pre-cruise research. Some of the local guides were better than others, but only one that we had was less than good and most were very good. The Daily Cruiser newsletter and daily presentations by the Cruise Director kept us well informed about on-board activities and shore excursions. AMA provided a map for each town, and Reka usually provided a handout with points of interest and tips. We always felt well prepared when stepping off the ship. Two excursions on the land extension were optional at extra cost: Mount Pilatus and the Rhine Falls. We ended up doing Mount Pilatus on our own at a considerable savings, but it involved taking responsibility for planning the trip and finding the bus at the end so most passengers were probably happy to pay the premium for the extra service. The Rhine Falls/Stein am Rhein tour couldn’t have been done on your own and was definitely worthwhile. Entertainment We weren’t expecting much, but the three nights that we had local entertainers were really enjoyable. The first was the La Strada string trio who played light classics lovely. Next was Jela, a duo who played rock tunes  the girls in our gang danced their tootsies off! And the third was the duo of Armand, accordionist, and Muriel, chanteuse a very French evening featuring Piaf and Aznavour, very nice! Infotainment The ship apparently had an infotainment system, but the only way we could get a free outlet to charge our devices was to unplug it and it stayed that way throughout the cruise. [We had brought a complete selection of adapters for European 2-prong, German 3-prong, and Swiss 3-prong. It turned out that the basic 2-prong would have worked everywhere, and even if you didn’t have anything both the ship and the hotels would lend you adapters.] Nickel-and-diming  None! Nobody tried to sell us anything on the whole cruise! What a nice change. Future Cruise Benefit We enjoyed our first AmaWaterways cruise so much that we purchased the Future Cruise Benefit [5% off and a reduced deposit], even though we have a bunch of cruises booked up for the next two years. [Hawaii may have to wait so that we can do Provence. Let’s get that 2015 schedule out ASAP!] Conclusion ''" After one cruise we are AMA fans [in case you hadn’t noticed…]   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
My sister and I decided to take a river cruise together. I contacted several different cruise lines for information. AMA Waterways was our choice, and I cannot say enough about them. They are wonderful, only have one complaint about the ... Read More
My sister and I decided to take a river cruise together. I contacted several different cruise lines for information. AMA Waterways was our choice, and I cannot say enough about them. They are wonderful, only have one complaint about the boat and that would be the double docking. We had a French balcony third floor room and it was annoying when we docked on the side of another boat and had to look into another traveler's stateroom one evening (closed the curtains so didn't really look in) and then on another night with a different boat we had just a view of the side of their boat. While this was, as I say annoying, it wasn't enough to ruin anything. I can only guess that this is done due to lack of enough docking space. All in all, with the service and the care they do take in accommodating their passengers, this is truly a top notch company. We booked four days in Switzerland (2 in Zurich and 2 in Lucerne) prior to boarding the AMA Cello in Basel. The Zurich Continental Hotel was very nice, would have been excellent had it only been a little closer to midtown. But really no complaints, it was within walking distance. The City of Zurich is beautiful, interesting and busy. Loved it for the extensive transportation system they have. Lucerne was my favorite city of all we visited. It is beautiful and a little more quaint than Zurich. The views are beautiful, the people a bit less rushed. We stayed at the Radisson Blu Hotel, which wasn't really up to par in the opinion of several I spoke to who were on the tour. The beds were uncomfortable and the room we had was like a college dormitory. However, the restaurant was top notch. The food was excellent and the presentation superb. I would hope that if AMA gets enough complaints about the hotel they will reconsider using it and finding something more in line with the one in Zurich. Now the tours, we took every tour available to us. All but two were included. We took both optional tours and are extremely happy we did. They are pricy but well worth it in my opinion. I, as I said, was extremely happy with the tour, it exceeded my expectations. The food on the ship was excellent, the entertainment was all right, not to our tastes but we didn't mind we found other things to do. The cabin was clean and comfortable. The service could not be better. Here is the best part of the entire trip: the other passengers. I was concerned about traveling with my sister as I thought we would be among only couples. But, not so. There were Mothers and daughters, friends, couples, singles traveling too. We made some dear friends on the trip. There were 8 of us who ended up spending our time together, two couples, a gal traveling alone, another who was traveling with her stepmother and my sister and me. What a diverse group, yet strong bonds developed between us and I anticipate that we will keep in touch well after this trip is a distant memory. We have even decided to plan another trip together. All I can say is if anyone says they didn't have a great time, it was their own fault because AMA Waterways definitely did all they could to insure that everyone had a good time. I recommend AMA Waterways as the way to travel. Smaller boat, excellent service and their staff is the absolute best. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
We booked this cruise because we wanted to experience the Rhine and nearby sites without hassling with trains, nightly re-packing, trying to decide where/what to eat, how to navigate local connections/transportation, etc. -- that has often ... Read More
We booked this cruise because we wanted to experience the Rhine and nearby sites without hassling with trains, nightly re-packing, trying to decide where/what to eat, how to navigate local connections/transportation, etc. -- that has often consumed our other European trips. We wanted a splurge trip that was relaxing and stress-free, yet offered chances to see towns and culture along the way. Short version: AmaWaterways fit the bill perfectly! We were further delighted by the high level of friendly service. Our needs and questions were addressed promptly and well. The food (good variety) was on par with any other cruise we've taken (Alaska, Mexico (x3), China); and the beer/wine/champagne was inclusive. The cruise offered a selection of two excursions per port, plus usually an "active" bicycle tour (we didn't take those). The excursions were inclusive, also. We didn't feel nickled and dimed; and the gratuities are at your discretion (not "automatically charged"). We didn't take the optional trip extension, as we wanted to do our own self-guided addition (but that's available on some cruises, apparently). On a couple of excursions, the guide gave a little too much history to digest, but we've encountered that on different trips where we've paid on the spot. Still, the local connections were usually flawless. The Internet worked most of the time, but was sometimes down due to a specific location. ANOTHER IMPORTANT SUMMER CONSIDERATION: Unlike many hotels and restaurants in parts of Europe, your cabin, dining room and public areas are air conditioned. Even if it's hot while touring on excursions, you can at least retreat to the ship, shower and recover. If you don't take heat and humidity well (like my wife and I), consider the value of this advantage. This Rhine cruise was our second river experience, inspired by a Yangtze cruise in 2007. Taking that, we realized something -- we were not stressed out by traveling as a couple, and could actually enjoy the sights. Let's be honest: you can get a "cheaper" trip; but you'll pay for it with your stress, arguments and uncertainty. If you want cheap, don't take a cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
We have recently returned from a great trip on AMAwaterways. We boarded Amacello in Amsterdam cruising down to Basel, via a day up/down the Moselle. We were then coached/bussed down to Lyon via Gruyere and Vevey on Lake Geneva to board ... Read More
We have recently returned from a great trip on AMAwaterways. We boarded Amacello in Amsterdam cruising down to Basel, via a day up/down the Moselle. We were then coached/bussed down to Lyon via Gruyere and Vevey on Lake Geneva to board Amadagio in Lyon to sail down to Arles (we were supposed to sail up and down the Soane but the river levels were too high - so spent an extra day in Lyon - great). We found both ships wonderful and were given the same "cabin" on both ships making it easier to remember for 14 days!!!. The Amacello is a "wee" bit younger than the Amadagio, but could not fault either ship. The accommodation is first class, the showers - well I wanted to pack them in my suitcase to bring home. The food was extremely plentiful and very well presented and a good choice whether one wanted Meat, Fish , Vegetarian etc. etc. Free Wine, Beer, soft drinks with lunch and dinner.Probably our only niggle was we found the dining room on both ships a tad too noisy!! TheTea/coffee station in the lounge was available 24/7 with biscuits as well as fruit. The Freedom of choice tours were very well organised with modern coaches and knowledgeable guides, loved returning to the ships to find a hot drink waiting - loved the varieties served. The accommodation is good, we found there was enough cupboard space and our cases could easily fit under the bed. We loved having a "french" window, even tho the weather wasn't the best (we did not go in November/December for weather!!) for us having a large window it made the cabin extremely spacious, not that we spent a lot of time there, preferring to sit in the lounge (when not out touring) viewing the passing towns/villages or just chatting to fellow guests. There were two umbrellas for our use in the cabins. What we found very good was we had Little voice boxes with ear phones, so when one went on tour you could follow the guide at your own pace and still hear what was being said - an extremely good idea. Having been on the Rhine years before in Spring, this was different for us but still extremely enjoyable. We love being able to just get off the ship and wander into the town On a couple of occasions did not go on the organised tours but did our own things - this is entirely up to you, how much or little you do. There was some "night" entertainment - enjoyable - but did find that after around 10.30 or so it was very quiet around, probably folk are just too tired after being on the go the whole day. nothing was too much trouble for the crew, we had asked for a couple of things that weren't available but no problem was sorted out entirely to our satisfaction. We were bussed to Marseilles for our flight back - all again very well organised. Having cruised on a number of river ships, this met our expectations very highly, and would have no hesitation in sailing with AMA again. Our fellow passengers were mainly from Australia. I have not mentioned any of the stops - but all were great - any questions - I shall gladly answer Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
We boarded the Amacello in Amsterdam for the first leg of our APT cruise to Monte Carlo. The cruise was everything we had hoped for and more. Right from the start , Kate our fantastic tour director set the tone for a fun, well organized , ... Read More
We boarded the Amacello in Amsterdam for the first leg of our APT cruise to Monte Carlo. The cruise was everything we had hoped for and more. Right from the start , Kate our fantastic tour director set the tone for a fun, well organized , informative holiday. The staff were all really helpful. Nothing was too much trouble. We were always greeted with big smiles and it was easy to tell that they were happy to be working on the Amacello. The excursions were well paced for the most. We were at the younger end of the passenger list and so found the pace of some of the walks a little slow but there was ample opportunity for free time to do things at our own pace. We struck a very hot spell in Germany when it was 40 degrees plus 3 days in a row and we always had plenty of bottled water, cool towels and iced drinks on our return. The ice cream party went down a treat one hot afternoon! APT used excellent local guides and high quality coaches for the excursions. The group size on these was not large at all and the Vox boxes were really good because you could move away a little and still hear. Last but not least the food was incredible. Breakfast was the usual buffet but with the addition of beautiful freshly cooked omelettes! Lunch and dinner was beautifully presented and represented the local cuisine. Wine flowed freely and was a better quality than the usual house wine. I would like to make a special mention of the delicious cheese board too! Our first river cruise was incredible but little did we know that it could be bettered! Read on for the second installment of this review! We left the Amacello early in the morning to travel through Switzerland to Lyon to board the Amadagio for the second part of the cruise. Same great tour director Kate, different but just as fantastic staff and another very well kept boat greeted us in Lyon. This is the first year that APT has sailed on the Rhone but you would think they had been doing it for ages by the quality of the included tours and local guides. The boat only sailed during the day and only for short times as the towns were a lot closer than on the Rhine. This meant that each evening we could take a walk into the town after dinner. One evening there was a guided ghost tour into Viviers which was a highlight for us! The itinerary for this cruise has something for everyone- visits to hilltop villages, medieval and Roman towns, wineries, a truffle farm, a goat farm and an olive farm. Again the food and wines were beautifully prepared and chosen and the servings just the right size. On this cruise the evening entertainment was fantastic as was the silk demonstration one afternoon near Lyon. My husband really enjoyed the visit to the wheelhouse with Captain Alain too. The only time we could not get Internet on our iPad was when we were in a lock and there was always enough strength to use Skype video. The laundry service was really efficient and reasonably priced and both boats had a great little gift shop with topical souvenirs so that you did not have to waste time ashore looking for them if you did not want to. The one tiny disappointment was that there weren't many people our age on the cruise, most being in their late 60's or 70's. However we soon learned that age is no barrier to having fun just that maybe we can go a little longer! Thanks again to the wonderful Kate for giving us so many laughs and good information about the towns we visited or sailed past. This may have been our first river cruise but it won't be our last! Thank you APT or Amawaterways as it is known in USA. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
This was our first time on AMA Waterways and we came away convinced we'll sail with them again. The Amacello was well appointed; the rooms were very clean and comfortable with the French balconies a plus; staff was friendly, helpful ... Read More
This was our first time on AMA Waterways and we came away convinced we'll sail with them again. The Amacello was well appointed; the rooms were very clean and comfortable with the French balconies a plus; staff was friendly, helpful and very service oriented. Our cabin stewardess had an artistic surprise waiting every evening when she did the turn down service. Food was generous, tasty and often themed to the city we were visiting. The dining room staff and bar staff made the single seating dinners run like clockwork. Wine was often local, included in our plan and good to moderate quality. Our Cruise Director, Rachel, was a dynamo and problem solver. She orchestrated multiple excursions daily and dealt with lock congestion and delays with humor and logistical skill. Tours were convenient, interesting and accessible to where we docked daily. Guides had a solid working relationship with the ship's staff and things always went smoothly. Entertainment was simple with local musicians or singers performing most nights. The audience was engaged, but performances were much simpler than on large cruise liners. It felt a lot like a cabaret most evenings. The ship's officers and crew were very professional, friendly, and informative. It's important NOT to compare a river boat with an ocean liner cruise. They are two different kinds of sailing. Overall, this river boat sailing experience was great value for the money. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
Our initial river cruise and what a delight. The ship is relatively new and quite stylish. The beds were nice and firm, luxurious linens and delightful cabin staff. We loved having our room at the end of the hall as we had much less ... Read More
Our initial river cruise and what a delight. The ship is relatively new and quite stylish. The beds were nice and firm, luxurious linens and delightful cabin staff. We loved having our room at the end of the hall as we had much less traffic than others. The rooms were quite but this just added an additional layer. The food was well presented by an artful culinary staff who took pride in their work. The wine selections were also of good quality that paired well with the evening meals. All the breads, cookies, pastries were made fresh on board...in addition to homade ice cream ! Previous cruise lines serve volumes of calories without taste but AMA serves well proportioned meals with wonderful favors reflective of the areas you are visiting. The size of the ship and number of passengers is just right. We felt like we were on a floating five star hotel. The water motion is almost nonexistent on the Rhine river. No readjusting of balance when on land. The cruise director Cheri Coll did an outstanding job. The excursions were all included and offered a third option for those who had been to the area before, this also included a culinary twist which again was delightful. The shore guides were some of the best we have experienced and the transportation, if needed was first class. By far the best deal for the money. Ports: Breisach, Germany: you had the option of Colmar France,Blackforest, Germany or Breisach Germany. We chose the Freiburg and Breisach tours which are delightful communities one from the 12 th century. Strasbourg and Speyer: options included tour of Strasbourg with or without an additional canal cruise. We were delighted by rows of nesting storks with their young ones just recently hatched. The cathedral with it's astronomic clock was wonderful. We opted to stay out and explore and ate at a wonderful cheese Resturant "la Cloche a formage" which had pairings of cheese with the fresh white asparagus that was in season. Speyer options included a walking tour of the town, or a trip to Heidelberg. We choose Speyer which again contains a cathedral in the Romanesque fashion. This also allowed us time on our own to walk in the parks adjacent to the ships docking site. Rudesheim : included a visit to siegfried's mechanical museum which included all forms of mechanical instruments. Difficult to describe but well worth the visit. Then we had free time on our own and hiked to the top of a hill to visit the Abbey of St Hildegard. Other options included wine tasting Cologne: Cologne is a large bustling city dating back to the 13 th century. We enjoyed a walking tour and visit to the cathedral with plenty of time to explore on our own. We also managed to fit in a tasting of Kolsch style beer. Venlo: Floriade expo: this is a horticulture expo that occurs every 10 years with contributions from all over the world. We only had 2 hours so not alot of time to cover the entire area. I would suggest taking the cable cars to get an overview and then visit the sites at either end. It was quiet interesting and my favorite site was the food tent where one learned about organic food production and chefs created various dishes for tasting. The wooden tulips sold here can be purchased at 1/2 the price in the markets inAmsterdam. Amsterdam: if wanting to go tour the Anne Frank house it would be wise to request tickets on line 3 months in advance, otherwise you wait in line for a chance at a ticket. They also have a wonderful purse museum. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
Will start by saying this was a wonderful experience. Would sail with them again in a heartbeat. We had read and viewed the wonderful photos posted by a Cruise Critic regular, which you can see at http://www.thepreismans.com/ and I ... Read More
Will start by saying this was a wonderful experience. Would sail with them again in a heartbeat. We had read and viewed the wonderful photos posted by a Cruise Critic regular, which you can see at http://www.thepreismans.com/ and I highly recommend that you do so if you are interested in river cruising. As a matter of fact, look there before you go on with my review, it's that good! We were a group of five, all experienced ocean cruisers. We began with a few days in Vienna on our own (Renaissance Imperial Riding School hotel) then took a train to Budapest, staying at the Marriott. We took taxis to the boat's launch area, across the river from our hotel. Check in was smooth and right from the start we knew it was a first-class experience. First impressions are so important! Staterooms were, as we expected, not roomy but they were comfortable and the French Balcony with its full sized windows always gave a sense of spaciousness. Even the single room, which is quite a bit smaller than the regular rooms, was fine. AMA provides a walking tour of each port, with options for slow walkers and faster walkers. The one person in our group who has pretty severe mobility problems had trouble with even the gentle options. The towns just aren't set up for people who can't go up and down stairs very well. The boat has a small elevator, but it doesn't go up to the Sun Deck, so that's a limitation for anyone who can't do stairs, too. The thing I take away from me most from this cruise was the absolute professionalism of the staff. If there was a small problem at a meal (once the quiche wasn't hot) they were on top of it right away and came back several times to see if everything else was correctly prepared. One couple asked the hotel manager and food manager for a favor which they were able to accomplish. It meant a lot, and they both really went the extra mile. The Cruise Director on this line will make or break the entire experience. Our cruise director was Roland and he was amazing. We bought a transfer to Prague for the end of the cruise since it seemed much the easiest way to get there, and included a stop in Karlovy Vary, which we wanted to see. In Prague, we stayed at the Marriott which was across the street from the Hilton Old Town, the hotel AMA uses, so that couldn't have been more convenient. We are already looking to book our next AMA cruise -- a first-class experience in every way. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
This was our first cruise on AMA Waterways. Last year, we booked a riverboat cruise to Russia with Viking and decided to book with AMA this time primarily for the itinerary. The fact that AMA had bicycles on board for their passengers ... Read More
This was our first cruise on AMA Waterways. Last year, we booked a riverboat cruise to Russia with Viking and decided to book with AMA this time primarily for the itinerary. The fact that AMA had bicycles on board for their passengers also was an attraction for my husband. Essentially, we took two cruises back-to-back. The first cruise segment was called Magnificent Europe and the itinerary was from Amsterdam to Budapest for 14 days. The second segment was titled Black Sea Voyage and extended the voyage for another 7 nights from Budapest to Rousse, Bulgaria. We also booked the extension from Rousse, Bulgaria - overland by coach - to Istanbul, Turkey. The tour ended with three nights in Istanbul. We flew to Europe a few days early, and recovered from jet-lag. We spend the time touring small towns and villages, walking a lot, and just enjoying the ambiance of being in Europe. We pack light, so hopping on and off the European rail system is a lot easier. On September 17Th, we returned to Amsterdam and boarded the Amacello. Riverboat cruising is quite different from cruising on the ocean going vessels. -Staterooms are generally smaller, sometimes a lot smaller, than you typically find on an ocean going vessel. Riverboats have limitations due to the narrow locks in Europe and also the shallow waters and low bridges that have to be negotiated. Having said that, we had no problem with the amount of storage space in our cabin. I had lots of room to stow our belongings and store the luggage under the bed. -Internet access is free on board the riverboats. There was an entertainment system in our cabin that had Internet access and a keyboard. We also could take our laptop to the Forward or Aft lounge for free WIFI. The Internet access is provided through a satellite system however, and it could be unreliable or intermittent. Service was interrupted by locks and bridges and was usually fairly reliable when we were docked and stationary. We were able to use the system for e-mail and for general information. However, it was impossible to download attachments with the system. People who need to keep in constant touch with the office should bear in mind that it may not be possible. Also, if you are addicted to playing Internet bridge for hours at a time, you are out of luck. -Riverboats have no casinos and no children's facilities. Entertainment is limited to piano music in the lounge in the afternoon and evening, port talks every day, the occasional demonstration of pastry making, or glass blowing, and local entertainment that is brought on board most evenings. We were told the evening entertainment by local groups was quite good, although we rarely stayed up long enough to enjoy it. The entertainment varied and may involve a local singer, or dance troop. It is a long way from the big production shows of the large cruise ships. Evening entertainment really matters to some people but we don't care about it. We tend to get up very early, walk all day on tours or just exploring on our own, and fall into bed soon after dinner. -Tours on the ocean going cruises are optional and an additional cost. Almost all tours on the riverboats are included in the price of your cruise. We had a tour at least once a day and sometimes more. Good walking shoes are a must. In addition to the scheduled, included tours, were a few optional tours which allowed you to tailor the cruise to your particular interests. We selected three of those and could not have fit in anything more. -People with limited mobility would have an issue with a riverboat cruise. There was an elevator on our ship but it did not go to all floors. The stairs to the cabins on the lower floor were very narrow and winding. Anyone who has trouble with stairs should avoid those cabins. Also, some places that the ship docked, particularly in Eastern Europe, had uneven steps or a steep incline to navigate in order to get on or off the ship. The sailors from our ship were always on hand to help us over the unsteady bits but it could be an issue for some. -The meals on board were excellent. There isn't the vast number of choices that are available on most of the very large ships. There is one seating for meals and meals are always open seating. It is nice to be able to chose a table for two one night, and a table for six on another. Our chef, Geno, and his staff did an amazing job. There were pastries, and cookies available in the lounge 24/7 along with an excellent coffee machine that dispensed fancy coffee and hot steamed milk at the touch of a button. There were always two or three selections of every course at dinner as well as a number of staples that were available on request every night. The staff would try their best to accommodate special requests. I can't imagine anyone starving on this cruise. -There are no self service laundry facilities on a riverboat, but a clothes line is in the shower for hanging small items. Laundry bags are left in the room. You fill the bag with items for laundering, enclose an itemized list, and leave it for your room steward. Your laundry is returned the next day. The charge for the service is reasonable. Dry cleaning service is unavailable on board. I took a skirt hanger, washed out a few small items most evenings, and hung them from the skirt hanger clips, or from the clothes line in the shower. I sent out larger items for laundering. The charges are automatically added to your final bill on the cruise. I think the total charge I had for laundry was about 30 EUROS. That isn't bad considering we were on board for 3 weeks, traveling for almost 5 weeks, and I don't take a lot of clothing with me. -The wine and beer at dinner was complimentary. The wines provided were different every night and showcased the wines of the region. The wine was poured very freely. -There is no sense of motion on a riverboat. People who are troubled by motion sickness will have no problem on the river. AMA Waterways provided many little touches of service that made us feel like very valued guests. A bathrobe and slippers was in the room for our use. A complimentary tote bag turned out to be a very useful day bag for the trip. The bar staff served us cocktails up on the sun deck when we crossed the Continental Divide. The evening cruise to admire the lights of Budapest was accompanied by sparkling wine, served on the upper decks as we glided silently by this magical city. Occasional small gifts were left in our rooms by courtesy of Dan, our intrepid cruise director. It was a package of spices from Hungary one evening, a small sample of perfume in Cologne on another evening. Local guides were excellent almost without exception. We noticed that there was no obligatory shopping stop on any of the tours. We were usually given free time during or after the tour to shop, enjoy a drink, or just people watch. However, there was no taking us to a specific place just to get us in the door and spend money. Also, while we always tipped the guide a Euro or two after each tour, there was absolutely no solicitation of tips at any time during the tour. When we take tours off the ocean going vessels, we get the pitch for tips almost before the tour starts and that pitch gets repeated at least once along the way. There was a small fitness room on board. My husband and I do a series of exercises with free weights every other day and we were delighted to discover that we could continue this on board. There was a treadmill, a weight bench, and two stationary bicycles. There were a couple of floor mats. There was a small sauna in the area as well as a shower. Water and towels were provided. We found that there was enough room for two people at a time to use the facility. We exercise early and never ran into anyone else there. The ship was entirely non-smoking with the exception of a small area up on the sun deck. We really appreciated being able to enjoy any area of the ship without worrying about someone lighting up a cigarette nearby. I have asthma so that has always been a worry. It was wonderful to have a vacation and not ever give my asthma a thought. We spent a lot of time in the forward lounge. There was a lovely 180 degree view of the river with lots of comfortable chairs. Information meetings took place here. It was a great place to enjoy coffee after dinner or a light lunch. There was a small shop beside the front desk. It stocked a selection of souvenirs, batteries, jewelry and toiletries. Prices were very reasonable and purchases were tax free. The front desk staff was always friendly and very helpful. I can't figure out how they learned all our names and room numbers so quickly. Bars and restaurants in most of Europe now are non-smoking. My husband and I really love going in to have a beer in Germany or a lovely dinner in a restaurant. We can travel now so much more easily than just a few years ago. The itinerary for this trip was wonderful. We enjoyed a canal boat cruise in Amsterdam, the garden show in Koblenz, charming villages and towns along the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers, castles, cathedrals, and narrow cobblestone streets. We toured palaces and abbeys, and tried beer in several countries (no - we haven't decided which country makes the best beer). We were blessed with perfect weather. The typical riverboat cruiser seems to be pretty well travelled. The passengers on our ship were a fairly even mix of people from The United States, Canada, England, Australia and New Zealand. The average age was probably in the 60's. We met wonderful people and made some great friends. We found the riverboat experience is fairly strenuous. Of course, you always have the option of skipping a tour and striking off on your own - or just enjoying the river glide by as you nap intermittently on the upper deck. We never wanted to miss anything so our days were busy. Thankfully, we did have some time to just enjoy the ambiance of Europe and soak up an appreciation of the whole experience. By the end of the trip, we were starting to get very tired. We heard complaints from passengers who wanted a more individualized tour in some places. I think the tour company did a great job of accommodating the needs of a variety of people. It was certainly possible to book your own tour at any point and have a car and driver at your disposal - and some passengers elected to do this. However, you do have to accept some limitations if you chose to do the group tours. There were several places along the trip where group bicycle tours were organized. There were 20 bicycles available and passengers signed up for the tour a day or so ahead of time. Tours filled up quickly but if you were too late to get on to one tour, your name was put at the top of the list for the next one. It couldn't be fairer than that. Bike helmets were provided and tour guides insisted they be used. I heard one lady complain that the helmet would mess up her hairdo !!! The guide was unmoved. The tours would usually follow the lovely winding bike paths along the river with a stop or two for a cold drink. The tours were anywhere from 2 hours to 5 hours long, depending on location. We booked the extension from Bulgaria to Istanbul. We found the level of service that the riverboat company provides is exceptional. At every stop along the way, luggage was handled for us. There were frequent stops at clean restrooms along the way and for meals or snacks at very nice restaurants. The local guides were knowledgeable. They gave us information on the history of their country, as well as the location of the most convenient ATM, or a great place to go for dinner on our own. They saved us time, aggravation and money. Transfers to and from the ship or to airports were handled smoothly. We handled our own transfers but our cruise staff made sure that we were alright and that everything went smoothly for us. The hotels that were booked by AMA Waterways were very good and the Ritz-Carleton in Istanbul was outstanding. We were always made to feel that we were valued, and often pampered, guests. We could not have had a better experience. My husband and I will certainly book another riverboat cruise with AMA Waterways and would not hesitate to recommend the company to anyone else. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
AmaCello Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 5.0 N/A
Dining 3.0 4.5
Entertainment 4.0 3.9
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness & Recreation 2.0 N/A
Family 1.0 3.5
Shore Excursions 3.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 4.0 N/A
Service 3.0 4.8
Value for Money 5.0 N/A

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