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6 AmaWaterways AmaCello Senior Cruise Reviews

I did not select this cruise but joined a friend and discovered this excellent cruise line. We travelled up the Rhône River from Arles to Lyon in Provence and saw storybook views and villages. The tour guides in each location were the ... Read More
I did not select this cruise but joined a friend and discovered this excellent cruise line. We travelled up the Rhône River from Arles to Lyon in Provence and saw storybook views and villages. The tour guides in each location were the best I have ever seen and heard - we got in depth information delivered with delightful humor. My favorites were visiting the Provençal olive grower and his family run processing “plant”, the truffle farmer, Amy, the truffle dog, and the family, and Dominique, the winemaker and his vineyard. There were lots of options for excursions, all inclusive, and for whatever activity level we desired. Best of all was Heloise, the Cruise Manager, but everyone on the ship provided top quality service! Spotlessly clean, many personal touches like flowers in our room upon arrival from our AmaWaterways booking agent in the states, Louise. I was very pleased and I WILL join them again! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We had a wonderful time on the AmaCello in the south of France. The ship, cuisine, crew, staff, excursions, and scenery were excellent. This was only our second river cruise, the other being with Crystal, and we found Ama to be very ... Read More
We had a wonderful time on the AmaCello in the south of France. The ship, cuisine, crew, staff, excursions, and scenery were excellent. This was only our second river cruise, the other being with Crystal, and we found Ama to be very good, with the Crystal cruise being better in most every way, but of course, at a higher price point. This Ama cruise was just a notch below Crystal, but a better value, and every element was fantastic, so you can't go wrong with Ama. SHIP: I had read that the AmaCello was older, but there were no signs of that at all. It was clean, modern, classy, spacious, functional, well laid out, very nice. River cruise rooms are smaller than ocean ships, and these were smaller than Crystal's, but again, at a lower cost. I am 6'-8"/203cm, so I could not stand up in half the ship, especially the shower (which was tiny), but I was expecting that and an average or tall person will have no problems. Everything on board was comfortable and luxurious. There wasn't a big screen TV in the cabin, but there was a Mac computer that doubled as a screen, so that was a win/win. A little small, but we actually watched a couple of on-demand movies and it was fine. Bed & linens were comfy, french balcony was nice- good to be able to open it from floor to ceiling and sit there admiring the view and breeze while cruising the waterways. The fitness room was adequate and it even had a sauna that my wife used a number of times. There were a few cardio machines and just a few free weights. The heaviest weight was so light I had to put two dumbbells in each hand to get a sufficient weight workout, but I did it. There was a spa for massages, but we never got one. CUISINE: All the meals were top notch and wonderfully presented by the hard working and friendly staff. River ships have smaller galleys and staff than ocean ships so there is a more limited selection of what they can do, so the cuisine lacks the wow factor of ocean ships, but everything was gourmet and delicious. Compared to Crystal, which has a larger galley and more staff on their river ships, Crystal was a significant notch better, but Ama's food was wonderful and we were very pleased with every meal, drink, and snack. Crystal offers more sugar-free and gluten-free options, however. ama was very accommodating with my wife's food allergies. STAFF: The AmaCello staff were wonderful, friendly, delightful, and helpful in every way. Compared to Crystal, which has a much higher staff to customer ratio, I sensed that everyone was spread more thinly and had to work harder, but they did that all with aplomb. Where Ama exceeded Crystal was with their marvelous cruise director Cesario Santos who was with the group in the hotel in Paris before the cruise, took us on the train to Lyon, then on the ship, and then traveled with the guests on the train to Barcelona for the extra days after the cruise. This was a very nice touch that other cruise lines do not offer and it was very welcome. Cesario worked day and night, hammering out details, serving the customer, he was truly excellent and made me want to travel with Ama again. I had even left my coat in the hotel in Paris and Cesario immediately had it shipped to our next stop for me. Truly excellent service. CAPTAIN/PILOT: Our captain or his pilot did manage to bang the ship into a few pilings or river locks on the trip, in fact, they smashed into someone's room breaking the window and denting the whole french balcony. That couple had to be moved down to a below water level room. I think the captain got removed from the ship at the end of the cruise judging from his farewell speech. No one was hurt and the cruise was not impeded, and everyone was amused by it except the displaced couple. ENTERTAINMENT: There's not much entertainment on a river cruise due to space and staff issues, and that's fine. Compared to an ocean cruise where there is so much it can be exhausting, the river cruise model is more laid back. The AmaCello had nice pianists and DJs and such, and some musical guests, all who were good. EXCURSIONS: From the trip from Paris to the ship and all the excursions during the week (all the cruise excursions were included in the price), every one was fantastic, seamlessly integrated with the ship, informative, interesting, luxurious, really great. The Rhone Valley and Provence are simply beautiful, and the cities and towns are wonderful. They would be even more spectacular in the summer when the lavender blooms, but everything was so picturesque, we were delighted. The village of Grignan is a must-see, simply the most picturesque village I can remember anywhere. The Papal Palace in Avignon is well worth it, and the Carrières de Lumières show in Arles in an underground rock quarry is an amazing and mesmerizing experience that you shouldn't miss. If you continue on to Barcelona, the Basílica de la Sagrada Família is one of the most spectacular sights in all the world and is a must-see. So, we would highly recommend the AmaCello. Everything was top notch without breaking the bank. A highly enjoyable, luxurious vacation with all the details taken care of by a superb staff. We will definitely go on another Ama cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
My daughter, mother and I just returned from cruising on the AMACello last week and wanted to commend AMA on an overall fabulous experience. This was a wine cruise and we found the Cave B Estate Winery representatives, Freddy and Carrie, ... Read More
My daughter, mother and I just returned from cruising on the AMACello last week and wanted to commend AMA on an overall fabulous experience. This was a wine cruise and we found the Cave B Estate Winery representatives, Freddy and Carrie, to be extremely knowledgeable and we enjoyed the lectures and tastings. Also, a French sommelier came onboard and they compared and contrasted French wines with American wines. One night they even paired each meal course with a specific wine. My daughter and I were on the Violin deck, while my mother was on the Piano deck, and both of our cabins were kept immaculate. We felt the food was excellent with multi-course meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Sorin, the dining room maitre d', brought our table our own large piece of walnut cheese that was not displayed on the cheese plate at the time, but we had previously had it and enjoyed it so much we wanted more. The ice cream party was lots of fun as well. The variety as well as the quality of the tours offered was excellent. AMA arranged for local guides and they were outstanding. We were provided with multiple choices of tours each day with different difficulty levels that catered to the passengers' personal activity levels. My daughter and I biked alongside the river and through several smaller towns in Vienne and loved it. We would have enjoyed biking more often, but if you choose to bike, you will not experience as much of the city, and if it's a city you haven't visited before, I would recommend the walking tour over biking. In addition, we loved visiting an olive farm, truffle farm complete with lavender fields, a wine and chocolate tasting at a chateau, the Valrhona Chocolate Factory, and the hike through the Chapoutier vineyards with gorgeous views. The cruise director, Andre, was particularly outstanding - he literally stopped what he was doing and went over in detail the entire itinerary to help us make choices for tours. Throughout the cruise I saw different times where he demonstrated an infinite amount of patience with passengers. He also helped arrange a transfer to Marseilles Airport at a MUCH more reasonable rate than we had previously set up. Captain Tony was a lot of fun and even gave us a tour of the wheelhouse! Marchetta, our hotel manager oversaw every detail and was always available and friendly. A special shout-out to our dining room wait staff, Damir and Julian, who treated us like three princesses. The only area we felt could be improved upon was upgrading the fitness equipment. I look forward to cruising with AMA again in the near future - next time I'm bringing my husband!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
This was our first river cruise - we (my wife and I) have been on several ocean cruises with HAL in the past. Overall we would give this cruise an 8-10 rating. Pros: Generally well organized and well run. However, some people ... Read More
This was our first river cruise - we (my wife and I) have been on several ocean cruises with HAL in the past. Overall we would give this cruise an 8-10 rating. Pros: Generally well organized and well run. However, some people need more detailed instructions which would help things move a bit smoother. Food was good but not outstanding - compared to HAL they have a long ways to go. We primarily choose this line over others for their gym on board - we didn't expect much but it did meet our needs. Cruise director (Rachael) was excellent. We were surprised to find some tables for 2 in the dining room which we appreciate as I am not always wanting to have a conversation with others at meals. We didn't expect much for entertainment - the classical music trio was excellent - otherwise a boring keyboard player most of the time. Best parts: Rhine river castles and optional excursion in Switzerland - Mt. Pilatus Cons: Internet access is really horrible - even when the ship is docked in the cities. They warned us of bad service on the north end of the cruise approaching Switzerland, but it really was bad - but their bad internet was free. They like to blame the local phone company service - but I was constantly being dropped from the ships network. Instructions for transfers to the airport were confusing to most people - there was a lot of issues with the process of gathering luggage from rooms and then having it loaded correctly on the buses. We generally choose to take our own down (as opposed to leaving outside the room) - which was an acceptable option to AMA. This way we were able to ensure we stayed with our luggage. Overall: We would travel with AMA Waterways in the future. This cruise is beautiful. NOTE: check store hours if you plan on shopping - in Zurich the stores are not open on Sundays - except at the train station. WARNING: Switzerland in not a place to shop - except for Swiss chocolate - yum. Their prices are almost 75-100% higher that anywhere else (but so are their salaries). Just one example: a big mac sells for 11.70 Swiss Francs ($11.90). 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
Having researched all the European river cruise companies we decided on Ama Waterways believing it would be more upmarket than the most popular company Viking. The cruise was 14 days with 18 stops in five countries along three rivers.The ... Read More
Having researched all the European river cruise companies we decided on Ama Waterways believing it would be more upmarket than the most popular company Viking. The cruise was 14 days with 18 stops in five countries along three rivers.The first impression was the clientèle appeared to be older than the ocean cruising fraternity, although most of the passengers suggested they had been on other cruises. The majority of passengers were Americans, Canadians and Aussies, only two couples from Europe. It is clear the advertising budget for Ama in Europe is tiny as compared to their rivals, hence the profile of mainly North American passengers. The cabins as compared to Ocean cruising liners were very small, the boats have to be narrow to enable them to pass through numerous locks, there are over sixty on the journey from Budapest to Amsterdam. Similarly the balconies are Juliet balconies so no space there! The food was generally very good, the menu changed everyday. There would be a choice of 2/3 starters, main course and dessert. If you didn't fancy any of those there were standby options of salads, grilled chicken or steak. We could not complain about the quality or the choice. The drinks are free with dinner, they advertise wines from the various countries you travel through. In reality it was mainly cheap Austrian and German wines. There was no Hungarian Tokaj or German Franken wines, one assumes too expensive. However it was plentiful and the excellent waiters ensured you had as much as you could drink. Because there was only 140 passengers it was always dinner for everyone at the same time, sometimes at strange times. But for European tastes always too early whether it be lunch or dinner, 12 noon for lunch and 7.00p.m. for dinner, much too early! Most of the excursions are included in the price and thankfully there were different trips for the varying groups of people i.e. active, not so active and not active at all. The trips came to be known as ABC, (another bloody church), but you did have a choice, you do not have to go on them. The occasional one had to be paid for, again optional. The one worth while was in Vienna a concert in the Hofberg Palace, 70 euro each and well worth it. One very good feature was the availability of bikes, for the active you could take the bike and cycle to the next port of call along pathways at the side of the river to re-join the boat. Although in the rain it could be arduous. So to the downsides. The entertainment was generally second rate when compared to ocean cruising. The resident piano player was average at best. The dress code for dinner was very casual, no formal nights. Then there is the thorny issue of tipping. The Australian customers paid in the overall price, the majority were recommended by Ama to tip 12 euro per person per day for the crew and 3 euro per person per day for the Cruise Director. If you followed Ama's recommendation the cost was 420 euro per couple and the Cruise Director would benefit to the tune of just short of 6,000 euro all to herself! Needless to say that was not very popular and some said particularly relating to the Cruise Director, scandalous. The crew (mainly from Romania) were excellent, the Cruise Director average, the tipping recommendations are very controversial. Overall an interesting trip, very expensive when compared to other river cruise companies and ocean cruising. It is back to the large ships and the oceans for us. Read Less
Sail Date June 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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