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35 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
Buyer beware!!!! This was certainly a holiday of a lifetime and we call it the "Great Aussie Rip Off". Please make sure you read the fine, fine print carefully. Budapest to Amsterdam Friday 18 March for 15 days. We believed ... Read More
Buyer beware!!!! This was certainly a holiday of a lifetime and we call it the "Great Aussie Rip Off". Please make sure you read the fine, fine print carefully. Budapest to Amsterdam Friday 18 March for 15 days. We believed we had researched this holiday thoroughly before booking with APT. We asked the correct questions. We finally booked with APT because we liked the fact it was an Australian owned company. We believed the testamonials from the APT owners and we liked what we saw on heir DVD's, brochures and information books. We now know that ALL APT brochures, information and DVD's are false, implied, misleading and deceptive. Firstly, we saw your APT ad for $5,995 per person twin share (fly free and free upgrade). Flight Centre, Hastings went on to charge us $9,840.50 per person. (Our free room upgrade alone was an extra us $800). Majority of people on the cruise got 2 for 1 offer and paid between $5,000 and $6,000 per person because they booked last minute or through the cruise expo. This information was the opposite of what Flight Centre, Hastings told us. When pulling up in Budapest to the APT Cruise ship it was definitely NOT the Cruise ship that we were shown in the brochures or DVD's and it had just had a paint job to cover up all the imperfections. There were no balcony suites. There was no pool on the top deck (as we were shown when booking). We were advised that every room had their own mini-bar that was re-stocked every day. There was no mini-bar nor bar fridge (for that matter) and we had warm bottles of water left in the room on the side boards. We could not take photos of most Palaces we visited. Beware when travelling over the Easter Period (as most town, shops) you go to are closed - what a waste of money that was. We expected to see an equestrian show at the horse riding school - instead we were shown empty arena and horses that we could not take pictures of. APT brochures again are implied and misleading. Oh - one of our favourites.... Rudesheim - Gondola Ride. If you get a chairlift on the way up the hill and the same thing brings you back - it is called a chairlift! Not a Gondola (regardless of the correct name call it what it is). Once again, implied and deceptive. The on-board alcoholic drinks were watered down in the second week. The Baileys Irish Cream was Milk! The beer was flat and the wine was cheap and tasteless. Your 24 hour gym could not be used between 6.30pm and 9.30pm (any day) because Fine Dining Restaurant took over the room. There was only 2 restaurants on board. The not 3 as stated as the restaurant upstairs had almost the same menu as downstairs (just scaled down). False and misleading. The hotel manager and the cruise ship director on-board spoke to people as if they were lesser than the staff and most of the time and always smiled through gritted teeth. These women should never hold the position they hold. Overall - what a disgrace our APT River cruise was leaving us with bitter memories. This trip was only worth the 2 for 1 person deal $10,000 would have been a trip well spent. $21,200 was certainly NOT worth my savings! We contacted APT upon our return to advise of the above and they have brushed us off and denied, denied, denied. Mind you, they were NOT on board to deny? Read Less
26 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
The first 8 days were changed to the AmaVenita because of low water levels around Nurenburg...and changed to the Ama Reina for the last half of the trip....no problem there. Day one...we entered our cabin 204, Catagory T+ which gave us an ... Read More
The first 8 days were changed to the AmaVenita because of low water levels around Nurenburg...and changed to the Ama Reina for the last half of the trip....no problem there. Day one...we entered our cabin 204, Catagory T+ which gave us an outdoor balcony plus a French Balcony. Very nice, except that another ship was moored right along side us. so - no view except of a neighbouring cabin about 10cm from our balcony. This was to happen frequently during the trip, sometimes with ships moored on both sides of us for hours. When you consider that we paid $22,000 for the 15 days (airfares extra) - anyway -I decided we were quite often a 5star club sandwich. We were told by staff members that this was only going to get worse as more ships enter the tourist market in river cruising in Europe! O.k day nine - first morning on the AmaReina, we are still sleeping, it is 6.45am and in walked the cleaners to clean our room!!!! I did complain and was told that they got the wrong room - not acceptable , by my standards. We had also been led to believe, from the T.V commercials, brochures etc that most days we would be able to walk into towns/villages in our leasure time - this does not happen....mostly we were moored too far from towns, even for tours etc we were taken by bus, sometimes up to two hours, to get to the advertised daily excursion. Budapest was a very welcome exception - we were actually moored very close to town. Meals were plentiful, and very good. BUT, you did need to eat on call, no time to relax -because the days events were so over organized, be back at a certain time, lunch is now! ship is sailing now! Nurenburg was advertised that we could VISIT the Nazi War Courts - not so - we had this building pointed out to us as we went passed on the bus!! Just one of many advertised mis-informations in the brochures. Back to day one - arriving at Amsterdam airport we were met by an APT driver, however he picked up 2 others as well as us so we did not get the promised porterage - and that airport is huge.... The good points...well, if we had not done the trip we would not know that organized, regulated holidays are not for us. We will stick to our usual fly/drive holidays in Europe Entertainment on board was very good. Staff were so attentive that is became quite difficult to say 'good morning' a few dozen times. There was a 'gentle walk' available with most shore excursions - we took advantage of them..... Oh, Well, now I wonder if you will print this. I also wonder at only good reviews, there were many people on board with similar complaints....... Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
CRICKET was not exactly top of the agenda on APT’s “Magnificent Tour of Europe” river cruise from July 28 to August 11. From a passenger list of 150, more than a hundred were Australians and their heroes were getting bashed ... Read More
CRICKET was not exactly top of the agenda on APT’s “Magnificent Tour of Europe” river cruise from July 28 to August 11. From a passenger list of 150, more than a hundred were Australians and their heroes were getting bashed unmercifully by the Poms at Trent Bridge and Edgbaston. Another thirty were New Zealanders, who nodded in complete approval, and the rest the were British who knew when to keep relatively quiet. This was our trial attempt at a river adventure … from Amsterdam to Budapest in 15 days … after more than a dozen sea cruises. And it was spectacular, if not completely magnificent. The weather helped, of course, improving dramatically once we were well into the Rhine from temperate to sizzling. APT’s splendid package was also a bonus. Absolutely everything incorporated in the initial price, including drinks (all day, if you wanted, and one or two did), gratuities and a huge itinerary of mouthwatering, if occasionally exhausting, excursions. Both the MS Amalyra ship and its cabins on the were surprisingly spacious and well designed with exceptional facilities, good air conditioning and storage. Ours also had a French balcony which was very useful in a variety of conditions. And the ship’s comparative lightness meant that it completed the full course where some of the heavier vessels had to call a halt because of the low water levels. Unfortunately, our naivety meant that we missed the Amsterdam excursions. We thought that the verbal assurance that they were all starting at 9am was sufficient. Unfortunately, it was changed to 8.30am and we didn’t check in the “Daily Cruiser”. Cruise Director Arno Primig said he would wait for us as we emerged from breakfast with a minute to spare. But we didn’t think his generosity would be reciprocated by the other passengers. Otherwise, it was basically plain sailing and good to see Cologne again after a gap of too many years, with a luxurious evening banquet and piano recital at Namedy Castle in Andernach. The Loreley rock didn’t manage to snare us in the Rhine Gorge in the morning but we had an exciting afternoon in Rudesheim where an unexploded Second World War bomb poked its head above the ever-lowering river water depth, delaying everyone for three hours while it was disarmed. We heard the sirens wailing and vehicles screeching from high above on the gondola ride. I must confess to falling asleep during the following day’s glass-blowing demonstration and we also gave the treasure hunt in Miltenberg a miss. Otherwise most of the excursions we opted for (there was usually a choice) turned out to be winners. We were not allowed to film Tiepolo’s amazing ceiling frescos in Wurzburg which survived the allied bombing. Bamberg the next day was a delightful medieval town and Nuremberg, particularly the former Nazi areas, was well worth the early start. The Amalyra parked a very short distance from Regensburg centre but, sadly, the ancient stonebridge, the town’s main attraction, was undergoing a massive refurbishment, so it was a no-go area. The full-day excursion to Salzburg aboard the Orient Express-style Majestic Imperator train was an intriguing date with the past for us. The city surrounds had changed so much since we last saw it and, despite its links with “The Sound of Music” which, we were informed, flopped in Austria and Germany. Surprise, surprise! We gave Melk a miss, apart from watching our intrepid cyclists (all eight of them) set off to pedal the 36 kilometres to Durnstein while the ship and everyone else was cruising there. Four made it, two fell off and required treatment, two didn’t make it and were forced to call a taxi to complete the journey at a cost of 80 Euros. They are still trying to get their money back. Durnstein was hectically charming, but the two highlights (for us) were Vienna and Budapest, both amazing cities, full of history and stunning architecture. Vivid Vienna memory was a classical concert (an hour was just right) at the Palace of Liechtenstein. No prizes for guessing that the closing piece was Johan Strauss’s “The Blue Danube”, and, of course, a little Mozart. In Budapest, we visited the Opera House (among many other buildings) where a lady in red suddenly appeared and gave us a few arias. A cruise up and down the river there at night between the brilliantly-illuminated buildings of Buda and Pest was a good way to finish. To answer a few of the questions we have answered since our return to Blighty. Food: First class and plenty of it, and always steak and other favourites available. Special restaurant at rear of ship at no extra cost. Entertainment: OK and just about what you would expect on a small ship. Resident pianist Peter was competent with a huge repertoire. Cabin service: First class. Hotel Manager Viktoria Tuboly and reception staff: Never made anyone feel they were a nuisance. Guest communications: Very good. Locks: They were a little tedious at first but vaguely amusing and educational when you got used to them. Black spot: Walking tours were graduated but some of the guides were still far too fast and became separated from their parties. Passenger relations: The Aussies helped to make the cruise, with their naturally cheerful, friendly nature. Occasionally a little boisterous, but, hey? we’ve all seen Brits thrashing their way across the dance floor. Cruise director: Arno Primig. Excellent, knowledgeable, friendly and always available. Bonus: Flat screen computer, which also doubled as a TV, with full Internet service in every cabin Overall: Good value for money. River versus Ocean cruising: The jury is still out on that one. Ocean plusses: More time (days at sea) to recuperate between excursions. River plusses: Everything is right there outside your cabin. And you can choose whether or not to go. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
Just got back off the Amareina after a lovely relaxing week on the Danube, ship is new and very clean, staff are very friendly, nothing was a problem and they were always smiling, what a good bunch, Kate the Manager was lovely too. The ... Read More
Just got back off the Amareina after a lovely relaxing week on the Danube, ship is new and very clean, staff are very friendly, nothing was a problem and they were always smiling, what a good bunch, Kate the Manager was lovely too. The food was amazing, seen some fascinating places, met some lovely people, cabins spacious, we were #306 and it was a great location, never got disturbed, bed so comfy and bathroom great size, brill shower. The meals well what can I say ....... Beautifully presented, always hot and very tasty, plenty of choice, couldn't fault! No problem embarking or disembarkation, very well organised. 5 star from start to finish, I would recommend this cruise in a flash. Now for the down side, NOT a criticism at all, just how we felt, We would of liked to have cruised in the day time a bit more, we liked seeing all the cities, but the day we did Melk and Durnstein and cruised in the middle was the best, so relaxing....... I guess next trip we should check out the itinerary more! A bit too much coach trips for us Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
My husband and I just returned from a Xmas Market cruise on the Rhine River on the AMAReina. It was our first river cruise after 20 ocean liner cruises (the last one - Celebrity from Venice to Barcelona). We loved everything about the ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from a Xmas Market cruise on the Rhine River on the AMAReina. It was our first river cruise after 20 ocean liner cruises (the last one - Celebrity from Venice to Barcelona). We loved everything about the cruise, AMA and the ship. It was a wonderful time. The Cruise Manager John Riley was thorough, accessible and witty, handling all of our needs with follow-through and good spirit. The ship was magnificent with large cabins and the largest shower we've ever had. The schedule was relaxing with plenty of options for shopping the markets on our own coupled with tours meeting the needs of different pace-levels of passengers. I had read how excellent the food and wines were on AMA and was not at all disappointed. The special dining restaurant was icing on the cake. I especially loved the view from the cabins, always seeing the shoreline and the smoothness of passage. We had plenty of time to visit the markets but also tours were planned as another option. We really liked how many other passengers we met since interesting folks always seemed to be in the lounge. The whole trip was a very special treat and I would never consider another river cruise line to try - AMA was perfection. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2014
APT have a good reputation plus we had been to Alaska with APT, Egypt and Turkey, they always had us in the best hotels when travelling on land and very close to the city hum, therefore we did not lose time travelling into the hub which ... Read More
APT have a good reputation plus we had been to Alaska with APT, Egypt and Turkey, they always had us in the best hotels when travelling on land and very close to the city hum, therefore we did not lose time travelling into the hub which other companies do. They also allowed plenty of time for walk abouts whereas other companies just drove by areas and points of interest we wanted to stop at. Sure we payed a bit more but well worth it. The on board experience was great, very impressed with the food and variations to choose from. The free drinks, alcohol, was top shelf and late into the night. We had local entertainers which was great. I would take the same cruise again but something different, probably the French Rivers. Plenty to choose from in regards to the land excursions, we had four choices at each stop, how good is that. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2014
Just came back from a brilliant river cruise on the APT AmaVerde. We were on the ship from 19 July 2014 for 13 days sailing from Amsterdam to Budapest. One of the locks broke down on the way to Budapest so sadly missed out on sailing into ... Read More
Just came back from a brilliant river cruise on the APT AmaVerde. We were on the ship from 19 July 2014 for 13 days sailing from Amsterdam to Budapest. One of the locks broke down on the way to Budapest so sadly missed out on sailing into Budapest and had to get there by bus. Apart from that, this was one of best holidays we had ever had. We paid a bit more to get a twin balcony suite which was a bonus especially when trying to get our washing dry. It was also great to have for the few days we were cruising on the Main River as, due to the low bridges, most of the top sundeck was closed. We would like to thank Vlad, Marion and all the wonderful crew who did everything within their power to make this holiday the best it could be. The local guides who we met up with in each town were just fantastic. They were passionate about their jobs, spoke excellent English and were more than willing to answer whatever questions we had. We were surprised at how much free time we usually had after the guided walking tours which usually lasted about an hour. APT gave us maps and info sheets on every town we stopped at but we had a GPS which made our lives a lot easier. We were probably walking up to 8 kms a day depending on how much time we had at each stop. At times, lunch was scheduled on-shore in local restaurants but generally it was local cuisine. So we went off on our own and generally found pizza or pork schnitzel for lunch - normally at very reasonable prices and we were served a lot quicker than if we ate with the rest of the passengers. We also got to eat outside where we could watch the world go by, instead of being stuck indoors in restaurants which, in Europe, don't seem to have air conditioning, and it was very hot when we were over there. In Amsterdam, it reached 35C on the first day we were there. This meant we had more time to do sight seeing and got to try out our very limited German and non-existent Hungarian. We learnt to look for menus with lots of pictures so that we could just point to what we wanted. For most of the trip we did not really have to worry about other cruise ships - certainly not on the Rhine River - there seemed to be more ships around once we sailed into the Danube. The etiquette, when having another ship moored alongside is to have all the curtains on that side of the boat drawn, both in our rooms and in the dining room. It happened to us in Vienna and, apart from not being able to use our outside balcony, we also could not see the city of Vienna unless we went up on the sundeck. This would have been fine except that it was bucketing down with rain while we were there. In the Czech Republic, we met up with our guide, Adele whose nickname was Bubbles. She was wonderful and really looked after us, right up to phoning to check that a car was on its way to take us to the airport to get our plane home. Just a tip here, the meal options at Prague airport aren't that great or numerous so have a meal in Prague before heading to the airport. Would thoroughly recommend this trip except that it can be a big risk when it comes to bad weather and/or locks breaking down. I don't know what the deal is with lock maintenance but, other than holding up cruise ships, cargo boats were also unable to get through. Maybe more regular maintenance needs to be carried out on the locks? Other than that, it is the best way to travel. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2012
We booked the 'Magnificent Europe' Cruise as part of a 6 week holiday. Amaverde is used by APT Cruises, in conjunction with AMA Waterways, for the Australian market. Most of our sailing companions were Aussies, with a sprinkling ... Read More
We booked the 'Magnificent Europe' Cruise as part of a 6 week holiday. Amaverde is used by APT Cruises, in conjunction with AMA Waterways, for the Australian market. Most of our sailing companions were Aussies, with a sprinkling of Kiwis. The best things about the cruise were the wonderful staff who we all came to know on a first name basis, and our fellow cruisers. Because there were only 180 people on board, by the end of the cruise we were good friends with a core group of people, and had talked with most of the other cruisers. There is enough space to avoid people if required, but we didn't need to! We booked 2 nights independently in Budapest prior to the cruise, allowing us to unwind and enjoy the many delights of that city. We chose the Bohem Art Hotel on Molnar Street, that was 5 mins walk from where the ship docked. Embarkation was quick and easy, and the cabin was ready on time. Our cabin was 210 sq feet, on the middle, or Cello deck. It was situated toward the rear of the boat. There was no noise from above us, or from cabins next to us. Engine vibration was limited to a low 'thrum" that did not interfere with sleep. We had a balcony with 2 chairs and a table, which was very pleasant to relax on. Storage space was sufficient. The bathroom was well organised, and the shower amazing!! You have both waterfall and a standard shower - wonderful. The cabins were attended to twice a day. Often the cabin steward would make origami out of the towels, which caused great delight. The staff were always cheerful and very polite. We saw a couple of friends' cabins. One was a twin balcony like ours, but slightly bigger. These made up the majority of cabins on the ship. The other cabin had no outdoor balcony, just sliding doors, and their bathroom was a bit pokey. Our first night's dining was not a success, with the food looking and tasting stodgy, and service was a bit rushed. I felt very apprehensive about the meals to come. However, that was a fluke, and every other meal was fine. Don't expect fancy molecular gastronomy, or Michelin star quality food. Dishes often had a regional influence, and there were always choices. Food was always fresh and well presented. All food on the ship is made from scratch, including the bread. Lunch and Dinner were at set times, and we were expected to arrive within 15 minutes of mealtime being announced. This also made sure you got your favourite table and waiter, and sat with friends. Breakfast time was flexible to cater for early, usual and late risers. Breakfast was mixed buffet style, and a la carte for items such as eggs Benedict and omelettes. Portions at dinner were not huge, but given there were 4-5 food courses, this was plenty. Complimentary Wine, Beer and soft drinks flowed freely at dinner, while lunchtime saw most people limit their intake to one or two glasses. Our wait staff were attentive, and tailored their sense of humour and manner to suit each person. I think they enjoyed looking after Australians with our relaxed sense of humour! Everyone had the opportunity to dine at the 24 seat fine dining 'Erlebis' restaurant twice. We enjoyed the experience with friends we'd made, and both nights were very enjoyable. All the tours are included in the cost of the cruise. Standouts for me were the Audi Factory, Bamberg Bike ride, Vienna, and Wertheim. I spent a couple of afternoons relaxing on the ship instead of touring, and enjoyed the magnificent scenery. The small pool on the ship was warm, and a great spot from which to watch the world go by. The Sun deck was closed for 4 days while passing through the Danube - Main canal. Everyone was warned about this, so there were no grumbles. Our Cruise Director, Nick, was always helpful, and gave some informative talks. All the staff worked incredibly hard. Tipping is included in the price, but we chose to tip several staff who we felt were outstanding. Evening entertainment was variable, and a bit sedate for the younger members of the cruise. Ages seemed to range from 45 - 80, with most people being young at heart 65 year olds. The oldies partied hardest!! The classical trio 'La Strada', were excellent. We had a 60s themed night, where everyone danced. Most people were in bed by 11pm, as the days were usually busy. There was a small gym and sauna, and massage and hairdresser services. Laundry is done by the crew, and is very cheap in comparison to hotels. Most items were between 1 and 4 euros to have cleaned. Small items could be washed and dried in the bathroom on the line provided. Dress code was casual by day, and smart casual at night. My husband wore a jacket and tie to the Captains dinner, and Erlebnis restaurant, but most men were more casual. Ladies were a bit smarter, but again, no long dresses or cocktail dresses were worn. Disembarking was also stress free. Suitcases didn't have to go out until the morning of departure. Reading other reviews, I think it depends on which crew you have, rather than which ship. Also, people need to do there research carefully. The people on the ship that grumbled (and it was only a couple) were the ones that didn't pay attention to announcements, or who hadn't read their travel brochure properly. I would definitely recommend a river cruise with APT - we had a wonderful experience. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2011
Brand new ship, Amaverde, and it lived up the the descriptions put out by APT. First night tried to get a glass of red wine. Bar attendant could not find a cork screw. Fifteen minutes later when up to get my wine. Same bar attendant ... Read More
Brand new ship, Amaverde, and it lived up the the descriptions put out by APT. First night tried to get a glass of red wine. Bar attendant could not find a cork screw. Fifteen minutes later when up to get my wine. Same bar attendant looked at me with a vacant stare wondering what I was talking about. Still no corkscrew. Bar menus on every table. Its a shame they did not have half of what was on them and some items, brandy for one, none at all.Some of the crew had a work ethic of doing everything as slow as possible or not at all. I think APT should review their training of crew as this ship had a few who needed more.Service at meals very slow as only four crew serving meals to 159 passengers. Long wait for meals at times. Food service area needs a redesign. People lined up at breakfast waiting to get eggs cooked by the chef blocked everyone else from trying to get other things from hot boxes or benches.Guides at all stops very good but felt rushed at times when we had free time. Had to get back to the ship. Meals were very good but would have liked more variety at lunch. For the money you pay to go on the Concerto class ships NO VALUE FOR MONEY. Go Aria class for better value and hopefully a better crew.Beautiful public lounge area but all windows covered by gauze curtains. When questioned personnel at reception did not have a clue that we would want to look outside to see the magnificent views as we sailed along the rivers. Every time we opened them they were closed the next day. Why curtains at all?? Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2010
After quite a bit of research, I concluded that Amawaterways/APT provided the best in European river cruising - beautiful boats, excellent reputation for customer service, great on board dining, interesting ports of call and very good ... Read More
After quite a bit of research, I concluded that Amawaterways/APT provided the best in European river cruising - beautiful boats, excellent reputation for customer service, great on board dining, interesting ports of call and very good included and optional tours. These cruises are advertised in Australia and New Zealand by APT which is a significant part owner of AmaWaterways. AmaWaterways is the brand known in the USA and Europe. So, last Christmas we set off for Europe looking forward to the much anticipated Europe Christmas time cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam. We were not disappointed - we were delighted with the whole thing! I'll start with customer service, because THE defining customer service we experienced with Amawaterways really showed us the wisdom of our decision to travel with them. As you may know, Europe experienced an extremely cold winter last year and the Main-Danube Canal froze over around December 25th. Whilst another company with a boat preceding us by one day tried - and failed - to get through the Canal, damaging the boat, our Captain was not going to try that approach. Obviously there had been much talk in the background during the previous 24 hours about "plan B", so on December 26th we and 11 others going on to Amsterdam were briefed by the Captain and the Cruise Director about what was to happen on the following day. In short, the company had taken the decision to transport us by coach around the Main Danube Canal, stopping at Nuremberg as per the itinerary, to join their newest and most luxurious boat, MS Amabella, at Bamberg and continue to Amsterdam. You're probably thinking, "Well yes, a bit of a hassle for them, but makes sense". But when I tell you that Amabella was in dry dock, several hours away from the Rhine river, and by "dry dock" meaning totally stripped down - no curtains, furniture, glass ware, crockery, linen ... the list goes on, you perhaps begin to see the extraordinary work they went to in around 24 hours to "get the show back on the road" as they say. By contrast some of the other tour operators sent people to Munich for 10 days (fabulous when you thought you were going up the Rhine!) others had to make the return journey back to Budapest in one of the returning boats. Rudi Schreiner, the Amawaterways President, who had been in Egypt when the possibility of not getting through the Main-Danube Canal arose, returned to Germany and helped plan the detailed logistics of who was going where and stayed with us on the Amabella until Amsterdam. The logistics must have been a nightmare, as it wasn't a simple case of everyone getting on in Budapest and going to Amsterdam. No, they had different tour groups joining and leaving the boat at several points along the way so it was, no doubt, a great moment for lots of spreadsheets! The boats: Amalyra - We started out from Budapest on Amalyra. Built in 2009 it is a lovely boat and the staff excellent. Very friendly and helpful. It had a comforting "homey" feel. Our Captain Henk was very funny and very visible always. I don't mean his figure, rather he definitely lead by example. Rooms on this boat have French balconies and the most amazingly appointed bathrooms with 3 different types of shower, so you could choose "rain", side-pointing massage or hand shower, depending on how you were feeling. We thought they were great once we got the hang of the different control buttons, but they are a challenge for some people. Amabella - Amabella, launched in 2010, is a larger boat (in length not width) and represents another leap in the standard of accommodation (not that there was anything wrong with Amalyra). So we had a larger room with double balconies, a French balcony and an outside one, both furnished with two chairs and a small table. The furnishings and appointments are stylish and comfortable. We were a bit thrown by the seeming chaotic atmosphere the first night, not knowing at that point what had transpired to get the boat "ship shape" as it were. Also, we did not realise until the next day, that the entire crew of MA Amadolce (which had left Budapest one day ahead of us and of course could not get through the Canal either) had grabbed a few clothes and were bussed to meet the Amabella only a few hours before we got on board. From the following day, all returned to the normal air of tranquillity. On board dining: The breakfasts, served in the main restaurant, are very good - lots of choice in everything, including for those who prefer a continental breakfast or those who want a full, cooked meal. In addition there was a range of bakery items and all day tea and coffee served in the lounge, for those who took a late breakfast. Lighter option lunches plus morning and afternoon teas were also available in the lounge. Dinner has a very good "restaurant" feel, with 4 or 5 choices in each of the four courses, and wines (included) from the area visited each day. A nice touch. The there are special snacks as well - foods typical of the area you are passing through, such as "Fruhschoppen". This is a German breakfast containing all imaginable kinds of sausages - bratwurst, weiswurst etc - along with the correct epicurean accompaniments, including a delicious potato salad. I opted for a weiswurst with potato, and the very helpful chef told me how to eat the weiswurst. There were also special dinners for Christmas Eve and Christmas night and for New Year's Eve in Cologne, where the team of chefs and wait staff did a great job of decorating and preparing a wonderful dinner for us. People decked themselves out in appropriate finery for the occasion and the atmosphere was on of festive happiness. After dinner ... well, of course there was a New Year's Eve buffet served in the lounge, just in case your clothes were still too loose!! Ports of call and tours: I should mention that most of the sailing occurs overnight so you arrive in each port for the day, except where there is scenic cruising for the day, such as in the Rhine Gorge. So your chance to get out and about is maximised - but it's up to you what you want to do. Of course there are daily excursions which you can take at no extra cost, in the form of walking tours, around the various towns. We did a couple of these, but largely explored by ourselves. With information available on the internet, you can find out what you are curious about in advance and structure your own time anyway. There are optional tours too, which involve an extra cost, but I found the one I did to a concert in Vienna totally worthwhile and good value. All tours include a local and knowledgeable guide. Ports and scenic cruising: Budapest Hungary; Bratislava, Slovakia; Vienna, Austria, Melk, Washau, Durnstein, and Linz, Austria; Passau and Salzburg, Regensburg, Nuremberg, Bamberg and Wurzburg, cruising from Wertheim, Miltenberg, through the Rhine Gorge to Koblenz, Cologne, Germany; and Amsterdam, Holland. Scenery from boat: Whether you're in the lounge, on deck or beside your own private balcony, the scenery is absolutely stunning for the entire trip. We enjoyed the white winter, fairytale look of the Christmas time cruise, and obviously the other seasons too offer wonderful views. Locks: The number of locks is quite staggering - 34 on the Main River and 17 on the Danube. The navigable stretch of the Main River from Bamberg to Mainz is 384km or 240 miles. The Danube is navigable some 2415km or 1767 miles and crosses 10 countries from Germany to the Black Sea. APT provides some very handy statistics regarding rivers and the number of locks on each. An interesting thing which we don't automatically think of when talking about water is the that you go uphill (upstream) and downhill (downstream) when cruising these rivers. Cool Traveller Read Less
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