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4 Basel AmaWaterways AmaStella Cruise Reviews

We wanted to see the Christmas markets in Germany and were not disappointed. The staff aboard the AmaStella were outstanding, from cruise director Sonja Lodewijkx to our "personal" waiter, Dragos, and I say personal because ... Read More
We wanted to see the Christmas markets in Germany and were not disappointed. The staff aboard the AmaStella were outstanding, from cruise director Sonja Lodewijkx to our "personal" waiter, Dragos, and I say personal because that's the way he treated us, was just excellent. With the incident that occurred in Strasbourg, captain Rene decided to move the ship from the French side to the German side for the safety of everyone. Cruise director Sonja did an excellent job of find new excursions for the entire ship and did so with very little time, considering the circumstances. Thank to you all the staff aboard the AmaStella for ensuring the safety of it's passengers. The Christmas party on the next to last evening was fantastic. It was so much fun, no one wanted it to stop. Each meal was a culinary delight but I blame head chef Tomi for making me buy larger waist pants. All in all, and excellent experience. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
As experienced ocean cruisers we had been curious about river cruising for sometime. Since this year was our 35th wedding anniversary that seemed to be a good excuse and we decided to take the plunge. We did pre and post cruise on our ... Read More
As experienced ocean cruisers we had been curious about river cruising for sometime. Since this year was our 35th wedding anniversary that seemed to be a good excuse and we decided to take the plunge. We did pre and post cruise on our own-our fabulous travel agent set some great things up for us. We sailed from Basel to Amsterdam to enjoy the Christmas markets and the Rhine gorge. We were blessed in that, after a period of prolonged drought in Europe it Rained and rained and rained and the Rhine rose. Our cruise was the first northbound cruise in 12 weeks with out busing or ship swaps. Embarkation was so easy-an AMA baggage handler took our bags from the taxi and we saw them again at the room. Check in took a couple of minutes-no line-and we were good to go. Explored the ship, got the lay of things and then checked out our room. We had opted for a fixed window room since I didn't think that having a balcony in Germany in the winter was a huge need. It was a good choice but a lesson learned-the fixed window rooms lie below the water line and you can be subject to some noise in locks and when passing other ships on the river. Next time I will get a French Balcony room. The room was small but efficiently designed and once were unpacked and had the luggage stowed away it worked just fine for us. The food was fabulous at every meal. Between the wonderful food in the markets and the wonderful food on board it is a very good thing we opted for active tours with lots of walking! I loved the regional wines poured in unlimited quantities at dinner. It gave one a great opportunity to learn about different wines from that area. The Chefs Table is a do not miss experience as well. We enjoyed all of the tours we went on as well. There were even a couple of things that I had thought we would skip that we wound up doing at the last minute that turned out to be fabulous. Evening entertainment especially the classical music group on the last night was wonderful. Our one, no so much complaint because we understood it, but disappointment is that we would have like longer to spend in some of the places we visited. Cruising the Rhine gorge was part of the reason we choose this cruise and it did not disappoint. Huge kudos to AMA and our marvelous Cruise Director Sonja for handling a difficult and scary situation with aplomb. On Tuesday December 11th we had docked at Strasbourg around 8 in the evening. Shortly after that a shooting occurred in the main Christmas Market that left 3 dead and 13 wounded. While we enjoyed our Christmas tree decorating Sonja and the LA office were making decisions on how to handle the situation. We woke up on the 12th docked across the river in Kehl. Sonja apologized for our missing Strasbourg but due to the traffic and activity of the French anti terror police it had been determined that we should not go there-so we went instead to Baden-Baden which was wonderful. I was sorry to miss the Strasbourg catherdral but not sorry to miss dealing with the French police. Service was outstanding-Patricia in the dining room, Marina our cabin steward, the bar staff and of course Sonja and her staff delivered an amazing experience, right down to Sonja arranging a taxi to our privately booked hotel in Amsterdam. Overall a first class experience far and above what we have had on any ocean cruise line. We will be cruising with AMA again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Due to insufficient water, cruise operator purposely misleading and not informing us of the conditions, I would not recommend this company! We have enjoyed 25 luxury cruises and never had this experience. It turned out to one big bus ride ... Read More
Due to insufficient water, cruise operator purposely misleading and not informing us of the conditions, I would not recommend this company! We have enjoyed 25 luxury cruises and never had this experience. It turned out to one big bus ride through Europe. We were in Switzerland when they notified us by email that there might not be sufficient water in the river. We were not given any options. We subsequently found out that they had this problem for over a month. Even upon boarding the ship they continued to mislead us. Ultimately, they bused us through three countries to another ship, the AmaKristina. We never saw the charming towns or castles that were part of the cruise. Most of the ports and excursions that we were scheduled for never materialized. Dining was difficult because there is insufficient seating capacity for the number of passengers. The captain refused to allow us to sit at his table when we could not find seats. In fact, he was quite rude. We did not bother to unpack our suitcases as we were going to be bused to another ship. The cabin was extremely crowded as a result. Entertainment is mostly non existent. The crew works hard but that can not compensate the amount of money we spent for deceptive business practices engaged by the company. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
By the time my husband and I thought of a river cruise for a wedding anniversary we already had enough of ocean liners gigantomania and clearly knew each drawback of a sea voyage. Though, we find it very exciting to see different places at ... Read More
By the time my husband and I thought of a river cruise for a wedding anniversary we already had enough of ocean liners gigantomania and clearly knew each drawback of a sea voyage. Though, we find it very exciting to see different places at one go - that’s a huge advantage of any water travel. Applying value for money approach to the desired dates (12.11-19.11) and destination (Basel-Amsterdam) we made our choice - Amawaterways. The ship meant to carry us along the route was AmaStella, if not the low water level on the Rhine, due to which we later moved to AmaKristina. Getting ready for our maiden river voyage was full of doubt - will a small ship be comfortable enough? shall we need to share a table with some fellow passengers during meals? what if we in our early 40s feel a bit too young for such cruise? In fact, there were dozens of people younger than we, including passengers and staff members - thus, we are not too young. Never we had to share a table with anybody else. Surprisingly, I had much more private space onboard AmaWaterways ships than I ever had on any ocean cruise liner, - needless to say that sun deck in November is a paradise for misanthropes.) Food onboard Amawaterways was of rather good 4* quality. I cannot share negative opinions - with rare exceptions it was perfectly acceptable. I wonder how can one expect to have a truly high-end cuisine onboard a cruise ship, if presumably all fish and meats are defrosted? We did not seek Michelin stars experience and were completely satisfied. Dress code issue. Misled by the popular messages about the very casual style of clothing on river cruises, I witnessed quite the contrary. Many passengers elegantly dressed up for dinner. Compared to them we personally felt a bit underdressed. Obviously, this is a wrong place for a floor length evening gown. But I do recommend to bring with you some semi-formal pieces to be well dressed. And, a pair of high heels;-) Our stateroom (309 on both ships) with French and outside balcony is very rationally designed, very clean and comfortable, even though it doesn’t have much space. All public places are also very well maintained. In general, with regard to the small size of the ship onboard living conditions and facilities are perfect. And a few words about the “relocation”. When you get to know your cruise will go wrong... you feel frustrated. But later on you accept it - what else can you do? And when you arrive there appears the most thrilling thing - you do not know what exactly is going to happen to you just in a few days - it really enhances the sense of adventure, doesn’t it? They say: “Every problem has a gift in its hand”. The one for us was Luxembourg! We for sure would not go there, unless it was right on the relocation way. And it was a short but truly great impression, rated #2 on the whole trip. An extra surprise was to see Kristin Кarst on our bus - she herself expressed apologies for itinerary changes before we moved on to Antwerp - honourable. Busing? Well, it was inevitable... Probably tiresome for the elderly people, but for us - not at all. On the contrary, the scenic ride through Belgian pastoral countryside on a strikingly beautiful day was nothing but fabulous. In Antwerp there was the other ship, AmaKristina. Even though it is a bit newer copy of AmaStella, I still found the latter one more appealing. The team? May be. A prototypical what-he-should-look captain, a highly hospitable hotel manager, very attentive head waiter, excellent barman, as well as the rest of the staff - they all deserve special thanks. Which certainly does not diminish the value of AmaKristina’s team - they too did a great job! Pau, the cruise manager, such a nice guy - easy going, smart and tolerant - accompanied both parts of the cruise and left the best impression possible. The only thing our cruise seriously lacked was, of course, daytime sailing! This is the main reason to choose river cruise for. Taking a look at the Enchanting Rhine cruise map we clearly see how little we have sailed - hardly a third part of the route length. Was it really a cruise? Rather a very good travel... Well, AmaWaterways could treat the issue as a force majeure and bypass any responsibility. Instead they have voluntarily offered a generous compensation - a big discount for a future cruise which I can’t help but already dream about. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
AmaStella Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.6
Dining 5.0 4.7
Entertainment 3.5 4.1
Public Rooms 5.0 4.9
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.1
Family 3.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 5.0 4.8
Enrichment 5.0 4.6
Service 5.0 4.7
Value For Money 5.0 4.7

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