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5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
My wife, 12 y/o granddaughter and I had a trip of a lifetime on the AmaLyra last month. The planning and execution by AmaLyra staff throughout the cruise experience was exemplary. Their transfer services were well worth the money. ... Read More
My wife, 12 y/o granddaughter and I had a trip of a lifetime on the AmaLyra last month. The planning and execution by AmaLyra staff throughout the cruise experience was exemplary. Their transfer services were well worth the money. During our arrival at CDG Paris we were met by AmaLyra reps and driver and proceeded easily to our transportation. Vehicle we rode in was very comfortable. Arrival at our hotel Paris Renaissance Parc du Trocadero was just right. Rooms were ready and while waiting to register we were greeted by Ama's sensational cruise manager Christian (more on him shortly). When we learned about our hotel change (Intercontinental to Renaissance) we were disappointed but we were highly satisfied with our experience at the Renaissance (Marriott property). Super location, rooms were well appointed, good breakfast and nice garden area for afternoon coffee/tea. We enjoyed the tours of Paris and the guides selected were quite impressive. I have visited Paris over 50 times on business but never took the time to learn about all the rich historical aspects of the city. Our tour guide/hostess was fabulous. She led us through Notre Dame (just 4 days before the fire) and our Paris at Night guide Annie, could not have been more gracious, funny and charming during our evening visit to Monmartre. She accepted our invitation to dinner and we enjoyed a wonderful discourse about the culture of France, things the French people value, life in general, etc. etc. Upon completing the two days in Paris, arrival on AmaLyra was perfect. Cabins were clean, orientation swift and all the passengers seemed to enjoy the wonderful welcome to AmaLyra's welcome aboard buffet of light snacks, drink and dessert. During the Captain's welcome reception I realized a river cruise was going to be much more intimate than your standard ocean cruise. The ship's officers were introduced which seemed to delight the passengers. The Hotel/Restaurant manager Violetta stole the show. She has an effervescent personality and was highly visible throughout the cruise. My wife particularly enjoyed the white wine (Sauvignon Blanc) served during the welcome reception and Violetta made sure it was available to my wife at lunch and dinner for the rest of the cruise (same goes for the Merlot offered at the welcome reception). The remainder of staff was excellent and we offer high kudos to several staff members. First goes to Wellness Director, Vladimir. He has enormous credibility by virtue of his study of anatomy in university. Having trained numerous world class athletes and being a former professional basketball player himself, Vladimir kept our attention as he demonstrated how to do particular core strengthening and stretching exercises but also added the why they are done a certain way and the benefit of following his technique. Since many of the early morning classes weren't highly attended it felt like a personal training session for the 4-5 regulars. Outstanding! Our head waiter Ioan, who was assisted by bar waitress Alexandra, made our meal times so special. Both were extremely accommodating in honoring our requests. Their people skills are exceptional and I was so impressed with how they handled insensitive remarks and unusual requests. Our granddaughter thoroughly enjoyed her interactions with Ioan. He really made her feel special which delighted my wife and me. Having been in the people business for almost 40 years, I especially appreciated the high level of professionalism in which they served the AmaLyra passengers. We sat in their section for every single meal - - that's how much we enjoyed our week with them. We were very sad to say goodbye to Ioan and Alexandra. Our dining experience really could not have been better. Our cabin attendant George was excellent as well and we loved his dry Romanian sense of humor. He worked very hard during our week and our cabins looked like Day 1 newly made - - every single day - - which wasn't easy considering some of the messes the girls made in their cabin - - LOL. I don't remember the name of the head chef but he and his staff did an excellent job with menu selection and overall food prep. We gravitated to the chef's recommendations each night and were especially impressed with the high standard of roasted/rotisserie meat preparation at dinner. Some of the entree offerings at lunchtime were wonderful surprises. I loved the champagne and oyster reception hosted by the captain on our 6th day prior to lunch and then the delicious steamed mussels finished in a garlic cream sauce served at lunch. Unbelievable how good that dish was! Lastly the cruise director, Christian, offered a level of enthusiasm and professionalism that would be hard to match at any cruise line (Ocean or River). He was exceptional. He never took anything for granted. His briefings on board about shore excursions were highly useful; his attention to detail to ensure nothing was overlooked (by staff or passengers) was world class. One of my favorite expressions throughout my sales leadership career was, "People don't care how much you know - - until they know how much you care". Every passenger on the AmaLyra knew Christian cared deeply about each of us having a special experience. This was best highlighted by Christian's extraordinary behind the scenes actions to ensure that one of the AmaLyra passengers injured during a biking tour, was well cared for in a Rouen hospital while the ship continued to sail. He also made sure the injured passenger's wife was updated on a regular basis and ensured she was well cared for while her husband was in hospital. If the owners of AmaLyra could have seen Christian in action, they would have been so proud. Just amazing, and inspiring. It was a wonderful, unforgettable memory we made with our granddaughter. We look forward to sailing with Ama again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
First river cruise and we have always wanted to see the Normandy beaches and cemeteries, so this was chosen. I had always heard of Viking from numerous TV commercials but a travel agent reco'd AMA as an upgrade, and it certainly was. ... Read More
First river cruise and we have always wanted to see the Normandy beaches and cemeteries, so this was chosen. I had always heard of Viking from numerous TV commercials but a travel agent reco'd AMA as an upgrade, and it certainly was. The ship is 10 years old, but stunning, as if it was manufactured yesterday. Every inch of paint is flawless and gleaming, the furniture looks new, and there is not even a speck of dust on this ship. The food choices were ample and I liked that there were buffet choices ready to eat along with many things you could order at each meal. Cruise manager Pau would be successful in any business, perfectly organized and highly competent. You get to know him quickly and he quickly attends to anything you might need. Every employee was cheery and solicitous. You could barely sip some wine before your glass was refilled at meals, all included in the price. The world's best bartender, Elena, made the week. Funny, quick and lovely, we will miss her. Were I to cruise again with AMA, I would try to choose based on what ship she is on. On-board musician Mike Minkoff played for hours and he has the guitar chops of Mark Knopfler(Dire Straits), plus gifted on keyboard and harmonica, with great song choices. We danced every single night. If you are choosing a cruise line right now, I'd pick this one, regardless of destination. It's an exceedingly well-run business with top employees and training. Oh, I really appreciated the small gym and the daily fitness classes. Might not have booked this trip without those. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
My husband and I recently sailed with AmaWaterways on the AmaLyra from Paris up the Seine River and back to Paris, stopping along the way in Giverny, Honfleur, Caudebec, Rouen and Les Andelys. Between the two of us, we have been on ... Read More
My husband and I recently sailed with AmaWaterways on the AmaLyra from Paris up the Seine River and back to Paris, stopping along the way in Giverny, Honfleur, Caudebec, Rouen and Les Andelys. Between the two of us, we have been on several ocean cruises (Oceania, Royal Caribbean, NCL and Carnival) but this was our first river boat experience. I was a little unsure in initially booking a river cruise, but I ended up tremendously enjoying the experience and definitely will book with AmaWaterways again in the future. From the moment we arrived at the dock in Paris, where we were greeted enthusiastically and our luggage whisked away to our cabin, to the day we departed, our expectations were met or exceeded. Our cabin was nicely appointed with a French balcony, king-sized bed with comfortable linens, comfy robes and slippers, and a bath with a shower, though not large, was fine for the two of us. The cabin had a flat-screen monitor and computer with WiFi included for surfing the net, or as I did most days when I was in the cabin, accessing a wide selection of classical music. They also had news, movies and documentaries to pick from too. Roxanne, our cabin stewardess kept our room in tip top shape. Additionally, the ship was impeccably clean from bow to stern. The crew members were very friendly, helpful and eager to meet every request. Because this is a riverboat with a passenger capacity of about 140, and with a crew of 45, there always were crew members everywhere we turned. The food on the AmaLyra was delicious and well presented. The Executive Chef on our cruise, Bogdan Draghici, was serving as executive chef for the first time ever on our cruise having just recently been promoted. Many evenings he came around to our table near the end of dinner service with a special extra treat or just to make sure we enjoyed our dinner. AmaWaterways offers an extensive menu of choices, with a Chef’s Recommendation featured each evening. Most evenings the Chef’s Recommendation sounded so enticing that we ordered it precisely as it was presented. But it was easy to make other selections as well. Breakfast is a very ample buffet with many choices, including hot prepared foods, an omelette bar, cereals, breads and pastries, and other more European-style choices such as meats and cheeses to choose from. We also could order Eggs Benedict – which my husband indulged in most mornings -- poached eggs and a few other breakfast selections cooked to order. Lunch was a buffet with other selections available from the galley. Most days there was a theme and we especially enjoyed the Normandy themed luncheon with fresh mussels served in a savory and delicious mustard sauce with fresh baked French bread served on the side to soak up the sauce. Also, I need to mention that each day for lunch and dinner there was a featured soup. Soup is a great specialty for AmaWaterways. Bogdan our executive chef explained to us, when I complimented him on how delicious every soup was, that the line has many special soup recipes and a secret to their success is the amount of time they take in blending the ingredients. All I can say is that every soup was tres bon! Complementing each lunch and dinner were complimentary beer and wine pairings – sparkling wine at breakfast too if you would like! There were many excellent selections of wine to choose from and the pours were very generous. Some of the vintages presented included a Blanc de Camarsac, which paired well with the numerous seafood selections offered; a nice Chateau Malager; a Chateau Belle Cure from Bordeaux, and a I’Ombe des Fontaines from the Rhone River region. We also tried a Bourgonge Aligote from Bordeaux and Beaujolais-Villages from the Beaujolais region. A 6-Eme Sens, Pays Blanc was featured at the Welcome Dinner the first evening along with a Les Collines Cote du Rhone. Again, the pours were generous and our glasses always kept filled by Anton, our favorite waiter. AmaWaterways also offers a Chef’s Tasting dinner with numerous small platings to sample along with paired wines. We booked our tasting dinner for an evening that we were sailing during dinner time – as opposed to being docked in a port -- which turned out to be a scenic delight as well as a gastronomic treat. The Chef’s Tasting restaurant is located at the stern (back) of the ship so we had some nice views as well as the opportunity to see the ship enter one of the many lochs along the Seine and experience the change in levels of the river before sailing smoothly on. Sailing on an intimate river cruise in many ways is like being with family. Our captain, Geoffrey Masson, was gracious and warm and well supported by his staff of Alioscia, the hotel manager; Kinga, the purser; Varu, the Maitre d’Hotel; and Anca, the first cabin stewardess. Captain Geoffrey was gracious and even invited my husband, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate and an airline pilot to visit him on the bridge for a ‘behind the scenes’ look. And I can’t say enough about Nick, our cruise manager, who was warm, welcoming and on the spot whenever needed. He was so gracious and knowledgeable about every port and tour. Most evenings we all met in the spacious and comfortable lounge prior to dinner. Nick would share with us information we needed to know about the evening entertainment and the next day’s events before we went downstairs to the dining room. All the crew work especially hard, but Nick has to always be ‘on’ and I know that he was up early in the morning and still at it late in the evening. Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Salina, the fitness instructor on board the AmaLyra. Several mornings we went on fitness walks with her, which were a great way to start the day and to burn some extra calories from all of the fine dining and wine we were indulging in each day. Selina is a tri-athlete who was hired by AmaWaterways to create a fitness program to encourage the line’s guests to be more active and healthy. She holds several classes a day and also is available to work with guests one-on-one. She is a great ambassador for AmaWaterways in this role! Regarding tours, AmaWaterways includes port tours in the cost of your cruise. This is an outstanding value, as we have been on other ocean cruises, including one last year with Oceania, where the port tours were additional and ended up adding over $1,500 to the cost of the cruise for my husband and I. In most ports, there were several tour options to select from. We toured Claude Monet’s home in Giverny where we saw his beautiful gardens and the water lily ponds he built and painted so often; the U.S. beaches – Omaha and Utah – in Normandy and the American Cemetery; the quaint seaside town of Honfleur; Rouen, where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake; Les Andelys where we hiked to the top of Chateau Gaillard; and Conflans where we toured Josephine and Napoleon Bonaparte’s Chateau Malmaison. The tour guides were all so very friendly, spoke fluent English and provided great insights and details to each venue we toured. One last surprise of the cruise was the enjoyable experience of meeting so many interesting and personable fellow passengers. Our first evening for dinner, the Maitre ‘d asked if we wanted to be seated at a romantic table for two or did we wish to meet some new people? We opted for the latter for that dinner and for dinner each subsequent evening. We met some wonderful people with whom we had great camaraderie, shared fun stories and laughs and made new friends, including our new friends Gilles and Diane from Quebec. This for me, was really and truly the highlight of the intimate riverboat cruising experience. All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed our AmaWaterways cruise and look forward to sailing with them again in the future! #amawaterways Read Less
Sail Date: August 2017
My husband and I have traveled extensively and this cruise by far has been the best experience to date. The AmaLyra made us feel like we were in a five star floating hotel. Our cabin was spacious, nicely appointed and the shower was large ... Read More
My husband and I have traveled extensively and this cruise by far has been the best experience to date. The AmaLyra made us feel like we were in a five star floating hotel. Our cabin was spacious, nicely appointed and the shower was large for a river boat. The wifi was excellent and they have a flatscreen TV with a computer in your cabin along with umbrellas. The ship was spotless and the service impeccable. Every member of the crew was friendly, helpful and put customer service first. The food and wine pairings were excellent, the excursions interesting and the entertainment great. A nice touch was returning from an excursion to a moist towel and a refreshing beverage. On this particular voyage AmaWaterways added a fitness director who offered runs, walks, yoga and core classes a great addition to the cruise. If you are looking for a river cruise you will not be disappointed with Ama. A great value. We are looking forward to our next sailing. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2017
After 10 days in Spain, we boarded the Amalyra in Paris bound for the Normandy coast for a 7-day Seine river cruise. The main highlights for me: - the crew and staff all spoke English and were exceedingly helpful - the small number ... Read More
After 10 days in Spain, we boarded the Amalyra in Paris bound for the Normandy coast for a 7-day Seine river cruise. The main highlights for me: - the crew and staff all spoke English and were exceedingly helpful - the small number of passengers allowed my wife and I to get to know many - the multiple INCLUDED excursions each day were above average in quality with knowledgeable and professional guides - our ship had a pleasant fitness director that offered exercise options throughout each day - their were adequate food options of good quality at all meals - a included bike tour of Paris with two professional guides was wonderful and immersive The only negatives I could come up with: - the on-board entertainment was limited - some tour guides had weak English - food options outside of the main meals were limited - the D-day itenerary seemed poorly coordinated Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2017
We chose AmaWaterways (Ama) because we have travelled with them before and know what to expect. We wanted something personal and intimate and taking a river cruise with Ama is just that. This was our third time traveling with Ama and ... Read More
We chose AmaWaterways (Ama) because we have travelled with them before and know what to expect. We wanted something personal and intimate and taking a river cruise with Ama is just that. This was our third time traveling with Ama and each experience surpasses the last. The food and presentation is absolutely amazing, top quality and service was outstanding. Our Cruise Director, Sebastian Leroy was charming, hospitable and the staff from top to bottom were extremely friendly and efficient from captain to the the waiters, bartenders, housekeeper et al. We had a wonderful time at the Chef's Table Dinner whereby the Chef hosts guests every night with his speciality. This special event is open to everyone on board on various days. This trip certainly has been a trip to remember fun from beginning to end. Only problem is it ended too soon and went by so fast. It was perfect. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2017
This was our first River Cruise and found it most enjoyable. The ship's company were friendly and willing to offer assistance whenever needed. The Cruise Director had all the tours arranged and well organized. She is a great asset ... Read More
This was our first River Cruise and found it most enjoyable. The ship's company were friendly and willing to offer assistance whenever needed. The Cruise Director had all the tours arranged and well organized. She is a great asset AMA Waterways. The Captain and First Officer made them selves available to answer questions and socialize with the guests when not on watch. The wait staff and chefs were outstanding and the food was excellent and representative of the region and represented any five star establishment in a relaxed atmosphere. Being only having a 140 passenger it made it easy to socialize and make new friends. It was more intimate than the ocean cruises we have been on.This was our first experience on a river cruise, but will not be our last. Hats of to the Captain and crew, and AMAWaterways. This is a great concept and provide an opportunity to get to now the crew and for them to get to know you and your needs. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
We were lucky enough to go on the first “beer” AND “tulip” themed cruise. In addition to the beautiful flowers/ports the tulip cruise had to offer, we also had to an opportunity to discover new and wonderful breweries and beers, ... Read More
We were lucky enough to go on the first “beer” AND “tulip” themed cruise. In addition to the beautiful flowers/ports the tulip cruise had to offer, we also had to an opportunity to discover new and wonderful breweries and beers, popular in this countries that we visited. Our cruise was extremely well-organized by managers Nick Hartog and Victoria. I believe this was the first “beer” themed cruised (which was also a tulip themed cruise). Nick and Victoria did an outstanding job juggling the needs of “tulip” cruisers and the “beer” cruisers. They were friendly with all the guests and efficiently managed to organize a double themed cruise. Onboard entertainment, speakers and beer tastings were terrific. Meeting individual needs and guest availability is a priority for this pair. The stateroom layout was good with the French and outside balcony. There is ample storage/closet space. Housekeeping staff were excellent. We appreciated the bottled waters which were provided daily and the in-room internet. The food in the dining room was wonderful. I found it very helpful that the menu is allergy coded to enable guests to make informed choices. The beer choices were outstanding and changed each night. I liked that the food choices often reflected the country that we were visiting. The friendly service staff was attentive to all requests. The excursions were well organized and the local guides were exceptional. Since the “beer” was added to this “tulip” cruise, it was a real treat for us to be able mix (for example) a city tour with a brewery tour/tasting. The clean buses were never over-crowded and the group sizes were very reasonable. This cruise exceeded my expectations in almost every way. The entire crews, from the captain to our housekeeper, were efficient, courteous and friendly. Everyone associated with AmaWaterways went out of their way to make the experience enjoyable and worry free. I would definitely recommend this beer/tulip cruise; it meets all your sensory needs! Read Less
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