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6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
My wife's grandparents were born in Budapest & Vienna areas, and was our initial interest in this river cruise on the Danube. The crew on the AmaSerena was excellent, and went out of their way to make everyone feel like family. ... Read More
My wife's grandparents were born in Budapest & Vienna areas, and was our initial interest in this river cruise on the Danube. The crew on the AmaSerena was excellent, and went out of their way to make everyone feel like family. The cabin was very comfortable, and having an outdoor Balcony made it very convenient to be outside without going up on deck. The crew provided 1st class service and dining was excellent, with both "Chef's Choices" and anything on the menu offered at all meals. The dining highlight was the intimate dinner at Chef's Table, with many courses included over a leisurely pace. The special dining room offered views from 3 sides. All excursions offered included up to 5 levels of walking difficulty, and provided detailed history, which covered many centuries, dating back to Roman times. The use of very knowledgable local Certified Guides provided a top notch experience. The night-time cruise thru Budapest offered a stunning view of all the city lights, including the Parliament building. One of our most memorable excursions was an intimate evening concert in Vienna. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
The itinerary was great: Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna, Salzburg, to only mention the main stops, with an extension to Prague. We also stopped at some smaller towns and villages. This gave us the opportunity to discover the charm of both ... Read More
The itinerary was great: Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna, Salzburg, to only mention the main stops, with an extension to Prague. We also stopped at some smaller towns and villages. This gave us the opportunity to discover the charm of both cities and rural communities. It was a feast for the senses. We had enough time at each port to truly appreciate it. The service and the food, on board, were of the greatest quality. Each meal was a masterpiece. The waiters and bartenders were extremely attentive to everyone's needs. The choices were varied, the wine, of excellent quality, flowed at will, unless you preferred beer. The excursions were well chosen and the guides were well prepared. There was much to see and to learn and everything was a feast for the senses. The atmosphere, on board, was friendly and joyful at all times. The entertainment on board and on shore was well chosen and offered a glimpse of the local culture. Yet, there was plenty of personal time. The cruise manager, Raul Dederichs, and Gemma, the staff director, were exceptional, constantly attentive to the needs of everyone. Every member of the staff was clearly engaged in providing the best possible experience for the travelers. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We chose this cruise because we were looking for a more upper scale cruise line and a new and beautiful ship. We were not disappointed -- this was a very pleasant experience. As an overview, Amawaterways was an outstanding, ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we were looking for a more upper scale cruise line and a new and beautiful ship. We were not disappointed -- this was a very pleasant experience. As an overview, Amawaterways was an outstanding, upper-tier line (akin to Celebrity or Holland America on ocean cruises and far nicer that Viking). Our ship (the Viola) was brand new and beautiful, and every aspect of the service was outstanding. The itinerary was very good and the staff was fabulous. It caters to North Americans, and everyone on the staff speaks good English. Our cabin, while not large, was beautifully appointed and first rate. The furnishings were great. The lighting was very good and practical. The beds were very comfortable. The rooms contained every convenience you could ask for -- robes, slippers, a safe, etc. The bathroom was the nicest we have seen on a cruise ship. It was relatively large, had a great shower with two different streams and had plenty of room for personal items, including a cabinet under the sink. The towels were very nice. You can control the ventilation in the cabin, which was very important to us, because we like a cool temperature and we could make it as cool as we needed. The balcony was small, but a nice touch. Best of all, the cabins had a large television screen and an Apple keyboard, so there was easy and free internet access in the cabin. It made internet usage very easy. The service was uniformly outstanding from the moment of check-in through disembarkation. As soon as we arrived at the dock, staff was awaiting to take our bags directly to our cabin. The desk staff was uniformly helpful. The cabin steward was very good. Our room was always immaculate, the turndown service was great, and she was always available for special requests, like extra pillows. The ship provides unlimited free bottles of water, which is a nice touch. The rest of the staff was equally helpful, always greeting you with a friendly hello. I can't say enough about Gemma, who was the Hotel Manager on our cruise. She was everywhere at all hours of the day or night and was always trying to help and making sure that everything on the cruise was running smoothly. While on the subject of staff, we had a fabulous cruise manager, Raul. He was friendly, well-informed, helpful, funny and competent in every way. He made the cruise experience really enjoyable. The common areas were beautiful. The lounge and dining room were very attractive and functional. There was a gym, but it was very small. There was a massage room. My wife had a massage, which she said was excellent and was reasonably priced. The outdoor space on the top deck was wonderful. There was a variety of seating locations, some in the sun and some shaded. There was even a nice sized pool. It's a great place to sit and relax and watch the beauty of the Danube. We really appreciated the free wi-fi throughout the ship, which worked fine the entire cruise. Now for the food. The cruise offered a menu or a nice buffet for breakfast. The buffet offered plenty of choices, and the food generally was fine. Lunch offered a buffet or some menu selections. Again, the food was good. The dinner menu was creative and varied, and the food generally was very good. However, the entree portions were really small -- we often were not full even after multiple courses. I would seriously suggest larger entree portions. Keep in mind that there is only limited food offerings after dinner -- cookies or heavier food after 10:30 in the lounge, but no cut fresh fruit or similar choices. The service in the dining room was terrific. We had a great experience with one server our first night (Sabena), and we sought her out for every meal thereafter. The excursions were generally well thought-out. I liked that they offered a variety of choices at most stops and offered a "gentle" excursion for guests who had mobility limitations. The only excursion that was a little disappointing was Vienna, where we got a bus trip and then got dropped off in the shopping area to walk around for a short time before the bus returned to the ship if you wanted to go back rather than making your own way back. That said, all of our tour guides were very good. The only weak spot was the entertainment. There frankly is very little to do on the cruise. There are few activities on board during the day and only a couple at night -- the ship brought in some opera singers and musicians in two ports, but this is not much of a choice. There was a piano player/singer on board and performing each night, but that got old pretty quickly. I recognize that entertainment options are inherently limited on a river cruise with a small number of passengers and some cruising at night but, frankly, the cruise was really boring at times. All in all, this was a very nice cruise and we were very pleased with the experience. I strongly recommend this cruise line and ship because of the beautiful ship and the outstanding service. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
There was a change in itinerary which we only found out after we paid, checked in online, and received our cruise paperwork: instead of arriving in Mohacs in the morning, we arrived in the afternoon, so there was no opportunity to walk ... Read More
There was a change in itinerary which we only found out after we paid, checked in online, and received our cruise paperwork: instead of arriving in Mohacs in the morning, we arrived in the afternoon, so there was no opportunity to walk around Mohacs before boarding our tour bus. On the last day, we arrived at Rousse for our excursions into Bulgaria, instead of Guirgui, which according to the letter, made immigration easier. The excursion to Bucharest actually arrived back at Guirgui, instead of Rousse., after the ship had moved across the river. Pre-Cruise- Arrived two days prior. Stayed at the Hilton City Center which is conveniently located on the Pest side of the river. We purchased a 24 hour travel card at the BKK desk at the Airport. With the 24 hour travel pass you do not need to validate the pass, since it is valid from time of purchase. The BKK desk is in the arrivals area to the left immediately after exiting customs in either Terminal 2A or 2B. You can also buy other travel passes here for museum discounts, etc. From there we took the 200E bus which stopped right outside the doors to the left. This takes you to the Kőbánya-Kispest M3 train station and then took the M3 directly to the Nyugati Palyaudvar station. Hilton is up the escalator next to the mall entrance or you can walk outside, turn right and it is about a half block to their entrance on Vaci Ut (street). It was easy to get around from here on the M3 subway which went into downtown. Embarkation- -We still had an hour left on our 24 hour travel pass at 3pm so we used the aforementioned M3 from the Hilton and transferred to the 2 Tram at Jaazai Mari ter, and got off at the Zsil Utca stop. AmaCerto was docked at Mahart #2 and the ship was only about 30 yards away down the sidewalk close to the Erzsebet hid (Elizabeth bridge). We walked on and our bags were immediately taken to the room. We were in our room less than 5 minutes after walking on board. We were scheduled for a scenic Danube cruise around Budapest but due to the FINA swim meets scheduled later that week, we were unable to do this. Cruise Manager Florentin arranged a bus tour of Castle Hill in Buda instead. This worked great for us, because we had not made it to the Citadel or Liberty Statue. Room-In the room there is a Fridge, European power plugs (you will need an adapter if coming from UK or US), and there was a three-way splitter in the drawer under the TV. Also in the same drawer was a corkscrew. (You can bring wine on board as long as it is opened in the room). Bathrooms were typical size, although the shower was slightly larger than a typical Ocean Cruise cabin and had both overhead rain and hand held shower heads. Toiletries were a bar of soap, bottles of conditioner, shower gel, and shampoo, Vanity kit, and a shower cap. The toilet paper could be categorized as both less soft and less pliable than standard paper towels. Note- Keep your curtains closed when in port. Other ships pull in alongside to dock and you might be playing peekaboo with another cabin whose windows are lined up with yours the next morning. One towel animal on one night. On the TV, there was a good selection of movies, plus a bow cam, recorded versions of TLC, Discovery, plus live TV- CNN, Euro news, and several European sports channels. Two water bottles were provided each night for the next day, plus water was also available at the gangplank before leaving on excursions. Free Wi-Fi, but extremely undependable. One minute at 5mps, then cuts out entirely. This is regardless of where you are on the ship, room, public, deck, in port, or traveling down river. More typically slow (1mps). It’s good for checking emails or pulling up info on the next City, but not much else. Fellow Travelers- I would guess 90% of passengers were over 60 but with a good mix of nationalities. Many passengers were still spry, which is good, because after the first day there were no "active" walking tours. Every tour was the same with a number of “average walker” tours plus one “gentle walker” tour. On board activities- Not much- A few treadmills in the gym, and a small spa and beauty parlor. Native dancers entertained after dinner in Belgrade and Rousse. There is a very small pool on the top deck good for soaking that was used maybe twice during the Tipping was not automatic. Sign up on last day via Credit Card and use recommended guidelines or tip cash in envelopes. (or both depending on your preference) Itinerary- the Countries on the itinerary were not in the Schengen zone, so there were Customs formalities. Except for Serbia this occurred behind the scenes. Serbian Customs required each passenger to personally show their passport to the Customs officials at 10:30pm at night. This also caused the only delay as these same passports were taken away and not brought back by Customs until late the next morning, an hour after the official excursion start times. Food- Open seating, but after the first night passengers tended to gravitate towards the same tables and table-mates. We always sat somewhere different to meet new people so I am sure we upset a few table plans. All wait staff, as well as everyone on the ship, were personable and extremely friendly and helpful. Many of the waiters had distinct personalities, (“the jokester”, “the mother”, etc.) as opposed to the sometime robotic waiters on many ocean cruises, and it was easy to pick your favorite and sit in their area. Dress for dinner is “country club casual” which is to say slacks, knit shirts and button down oxford shirts, and the occasional sweater for men, and a wide range of preferences for the ladies. Breakfast and lunch wear matched the upcoming excursion or outside weather. Meals: Complimentary Champagne was available on the buffet for breakfast, and one type each of red or white wine was served for lunch and dinner as well as one beer (Bitburger on draft). There were also Coke products. Breakfast- typically 7am-9am: Bacon, Sausage, hash browns, plus a rotating entrée such as eggs Benedict, in addition to breads, cheese, sliced meats, and an omelet station for eggs any style. There is also an option of ordering a meal from your waiter: Minute steak; eggs; hash browns; baked beans; toast; or Waffles, eggs Benedict, or oatmeal. Wait Staff would also bring any items from the buffet to your table upon request. Very light breakfast was available from 6am-7am in the lounge consisting of bread, croissants, and donuts/pastries Lunch- I only had one lunch on board and I can’t remember exactly what was served- Salad, lunch meats, two soups, and a choice of three entrees on the hot bar plus a carving station. Every other day ice cream was also available and on the cruising day through the Iron Gates there was an “ice cream social” on the upper deck after lunch. Light lunch was also available in the lounge- This would be one of the lunch entrees plus salad and bread. Tea time 4pm-5pm- Wraps, finger sandwiches, pastries – ate snack at 1030pm- one snack items such as chicken fingers, short ribs, etc. Snacks were always available in the lounge- two types of cookies and a gluten free cookie option- Cookies and all the bread are baked on board. Dinner- Typically 7pm. Four courses that usually took about two hours. While dinner started at 7, late arrivals would be expedited through their service until they caught up with their table mates. Several appetizers, two types of soup, entree, and dessert. Sample Dinner menu: Appetizers- Fois Gras with Walnut Brioche, Fig Chutney, and a Port Wine confit OR Mixed green salad with grilled Asparagus, fresh Beets, Goat cheese, Candied Walnuts, with Raspberry Vinaigrette OR Pear cocktail with Grand Marnier Soups- French Onion with Cheese Crouton OR Foamed Cream of Potato with Salmon Main Courses- Grilled Filet of Sea Bass, with Sun Dried Tomatoes, Capers, Creamy Chardonnay foam, Sauteed spinach and Truffle flavored Mousseline potatoes OR Medallion of Lamb, lemon pepper crust and natural Jus, Broccoli, ratatouille and Potato Gratin OR Spinach-Boletus Quiche, Chives, sour cream, sauteed Tomato, and Vegetables Desserts- Molton Chocolate Baby Cake with Vanilla cream with Greed apple Sherbet OR Vanilla Ice Cream, with poached Pear, Raspberry Coulis and whipped Cream OR a selection of cheese and fresh fruits Service: Top notch. Everyone on the ship were personable, friendly, and were always helpful and ready to do whatever was necessary to assist passengers. Disembarkation- Bag tags were available based on post-cruise preference. Place your bag(s) outside your cabin the morning of departure, and they will be taken out to the dock for identification and loading prior to boarding your transportation. Cruise Manager Florentin was available for everyone to assist with any needs. This even included arranging a taxi or alternate transportation for those not taking an AmaWaterways extension. We used the AmaWaterways transfer to Bucharest but not the tour. This was a private car that drove us right to the Hotel. The post-cruise Hotel in Bucharest was the Athenee Hilton. We booked this separately but was the same Hotel was used by AmaWaterways for the post-cruise extension, so we saw Florentin each day in the Lobby. He was always available for anything we needed even though our part of the cruise was over. In my oh-so-humble opinion, this is the type of exceptional service that marks AmaWaterways far and above any other cruise line. Ports: Mohacs/ Pecs- Docked at Mohacs. We did the Pecs City Tour- Took a bus to Pecs – There we visited a Greek Orthodox church, a historical area near the church with Roman graves, a Synagogue, and then 30 minutes in Pecs on our own. The downtown area has a pedestrian street, but not much shopping. Vukovar in the morning/ Novi Sad in the afternoon- Docked in Vukovar long enough to let everyone off, then the ship left for Ilok, Croatia. Here we did the Yugoslav Civil war tour, with about 30 minutes to walk around Vukovar. We took the bus to Ilok to meet the ship and re-board. After lunch we docked in Novi Sad for a walking tour of the downtown pedestrian street. Saw the inside of a Greek Orthodox church, then free time in city. We felt we could have skipped the tour and just walked downtown. There is a a large number of outside cafes in this area along with the usual souvenir shops. Buses were available back to the ship or you could walk 15 minutes. In the evening we took a night-time tour of the Fortress via the underground tunnels. Belgrade- Docked at the port between Bronka bridge at the Fortress. The pedestrian shopping area is about a 15 minute walk up two large flights of steps. Did the Belgrade walking tour in the morning, and the Quburich Brandy tasting in the afternoon. Before the brandy tasting, we went to the TV tower, which was a good thing, because the Brandy was really strong and many did not even finish their first glass, although glasses were filled often . There were also some substantial snacks served consisting of Strudel, Salami's, and several other Serbian snacks. Iron gates- Cruised the Iron Gates all day with some nice sights. Perhaps I am a jaded traveler, but there are more scenic passages in Alaska, Norway, and New Zealand. Going through the two locks provided the most excitement. Vidin- Docked right at downtown which was maybe a five minute walk from the Ship. Several souvenir stores and many lively outdoor café/bars near the port. Really wanted more time in town. The chosen tour was the Belogradchik Fortress and Baba Vida fortress tour which arrived back at the ship at departure time. Luckily we toured the downtown walking area the night before. There wasn't much in town, but it is a very nice unspoiled city. It felt like iron curtain just fell. We left the tour when it arrived at Baba Vida and walked 15 minutes into town to use the 30 minutes we had left to do some quick souvenir shopping. This evening was also the Captain's Gala dinner. Rousse- Docked in a commercial port area . Here we did the Veliko Tarnova Fortress tour- This was my lone complaint on the Cruise. This is full day tour of Velinko Tarnova and the Fortress which is described as “..a visit to the ancient capital of Bulgaria, Veliko Turnavo. Here you will tour Tsarevets Hill, the old citadel of the city. You will see the old fortress walls, the Royal Palaces and the Patriarchal church, and the Baldwin’s Tower”, what we really did was tour two Greek Orthodox churches, with singers at the first church followed by hawking their CD’s. Then spent 30 minutes at a Rose oil retail store. We did get lunch of traditional Romanian dishes at a nice local restaurant. After this, we went to the Fortress but then were given only 10 minutes to look around or climb up to the Fortress before returning to the bus and going to the shopping district with 30 minutes for further shopping. In my view, the Fortress and town were the highlights, and more time should have been scheduled here. While the churches and tour of town were nice, the 30 minutes should have been scheduled for the Fortress, and only 10 minutes at the retail shop. Guirgiu- No time to see town as we arrived at 6:30pm and the town was 30 minute walk from ship, plus this evening it was raining. Bucharest- We used Mr Tripp for the post-cruise excursion. This was a 12 person Mini-Van with Hotel pickup. We drove to Peles (with a gas station/ bathroom break halfway. Then Brasov for a tour of downtown and one hour for lunch and time on our own, followed by a visit to Bran Castle. This was a 12 hour scheduled trip, but took 12:45. Timing is tight so every delay (such as waiting ten minutes for late arrivals or extra time for restroom breaks) should be added to the return time. A Taxi from the Athenee Hilton to the Airport was only 25 Lei. The Concierge called a taxi at 4am and the taxi was there in three minutes. It only took 25 minutes to get to the Airport. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
It was our 40th. wedding anniversary and we wanted to celebrate with a memorable trip and AMAWaterways did not disappoint! Our ship, the Amastella, was a floating boutique hotel, with every imaginable ammenity; an outstanding crew and ... Read More
It was our 40th. wedding anniversary and we wanted to celebrate with a memorable trip and AMAWaterways did not disappoint! Our ship, the Amastella, was a floating boutique hotel, with every imaginable ammenity; an outstanding crew and beautiful ambiance. The guest rooms are very comfortable and well appointed; we had an outside balcony that we enjoyed every night, while sipping a glass of wine and watching the sights along the Danube glide past. The daily shore excursions were great. We had terrific guides through each city or town that we visited and lots of fun at the folk festivals and beer gardens along the trip. The onboard amenities are topnotch, along with the staff. Our meals were sumptuous and plentiful, as my scales have shown, since our return home! Our cruise director, Kris was terrific. She seemed to be able to clone herself, because she was everywhere at once! We didn't hear a single word of complaint, other than "it's over, already!" We are already researching our next river cruise destination! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We had heard good things about AMA and had previously travelled with Viking, Avalon, and Amadeus. The ship was 4 years old and well maintained. The restaurant was on the lower deck as usual but I found the windows to be small and the view ... Read More
We had heard good things about AMA and had previously travelled with Viking, Avalon, and Amadeus. The ship was 4 years old and well maintained. The restaurant was on the lower deck as usual but I found the windows to be small and the view limited. The food? Very good on the whole with lots of choice with wine or beer included. The cruise director was young but very assured and had a good sense of humour and was clearly dedicated to providing everyone with a memorable cruise. This cruise was for 15 days and covered three rivers; The Danube, Main, and Rhine. At the midway point one of the ship's propellers was damaged which caused vibration issues. To his credit, the captain immediately made this known to everyone and his plans to deal with it. A new propeller was to be fitted on the last day of the cruise just before we reached Amsterdam. This caused some disruption to the schedule. How was it handled? Everyone had to leave the ship early in the morning at a dry dock south of Amsterdam and board buses for the city. Time was at a premium so we cancelled our original excursion and went with a city bus and canal boat tour. Having been to Amsterdam several times this was not time well spent, however we were all treated to an outstanding lunch at a very old and famous restaurant D'Vijff Vlieghen...booked at short notice. The buses went back to the ship and then back to Amsterdam by nightfall. Bad luck with the propeller but they handled it well; however it made for a somewhat negative ending for our cruise. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We were taking our first river cruise and didn't know anything about river cruise lines other than what we'd seen on PBS. AMA Waterways was recommended to us by friends who are seasoned travelers and have sailed on two different ... Read More
We were taking our first river cruise and didn't know anything about river cruise lines other than what we'd seen on PBS. AMA Waterways was recommended to us by friends who are seasoned travelers and have sailed on two different European river cruises. Their opinion was AMA is head and shoulders above the rest. This was confirmed by a passenger on our cruise who had sailed on 3 different river cruise lines and said AMA was definitely the best. We loved the fact that the river cruise setting is much more intimate and friendlier than large cruise ships. You see the same people (only 148 guests) in the lounges, on shore tours, in the dining room and just meeting in the hallways, so it's very easy to make new friends. The majority of passengers on this cruise were from U.S., several from Canada, one from UK and several from Australia, so conversation was easy. All staff speaks English very well, too, again, a big plus. There were actually very few places we went where shop keepers didn't speak English as well. Oh, the food...it was truly wonderful. My husband needed a low sodium diet. Every morning when we went for breakfast, Voila, there was a special menu for him to make selections for lunch and dinner...same as our menus but low sodium. The food is always so fresh and varied. The breads and pastries....well, just divine. Wine and beer plentiful if you want it at lunch (we didn't) but also at dinner (we did!) Port and shore excursions are wonderful, and meet different physical requirements. if you want to bike or hike, you can, or ride a bus and go slow, you can. There's a LOT of walking on shore excursions, some dicey terrain (cobblestone streets, hills), but very doable even for older people like us. Tour guides who work for AMA are very knowledgeable and engaging. Recommend good walking shoes, a hat and no heavy purse...use a money belt. . Dress is pretty casual. Didn't see many guys in sport jackets, and no women in fancy cocktail type dresses. That's nice because you don't have to drag along a lot of extra clothing to wear only one time! Many days we came back from shore excursions at 6:00 with dinner at 7:00 so just went to dinner in what we wore that day or put on a clean shirt and different pair of shoes. You can rinse out things like underwear and hang to dry in shower or send to laundry. Prices for washing, drying or ironing were very reasonable. The staff was wonderful, especially Drago, Cruise Director, and Jemma. hotel manager And the wait staff is so attentive and always handles the same tables at breakfast, lunch and dinner, so if you got a favorite, you could sit at their table. They knew our preferences (like red or white wine) or if my husband had the low sodium meal. They are really efficient. All in all, just a truly wonderful experience for my husband and me...the sites you see are like something out of a movie or book. So much history. We hope to one day sail again with AMA, next time on the Seine or Rhine. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2017
We went through a cruise club to book The Danube River vacation and had a fabulous experience. The ship was clean, comfortable and easy to navigate. Food was exquisite along with presentation. Entertainment, activities and excursions were ... Read More
We went through a cruise club to book The Danube River vacation and had a fabulous experience. The ship was clean, comfortable and easy to navigate. Food was exquisite along with presentation. Entertainment, activities and excursions were fun and enjoyable. Service on the ship went beyond my expectations. The room and bedding were comfortable.Everyone on board the ship from the Captain, to Cruise Manager, Hotel Manager, Bartenders, Waitstaff and Crew members went out of their way to make sure our needs were met. The scenery on the river cruise was gorgeous. All excursions were with a tour guide and I felt safe everywhere we ventured. There were bikes available, and if you were more active, hiking and active walking tours. I felt pampered and spoiled on the ship by the staff and would definitely use Ama Waterways again. After my first river cruise, I may have to book another one. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2017
In March of 2016 I wrote a review about my experiences cruising on the Mekong River with AMA Waterways titled "Exceeded My Expectations". After booking the Melodies Of The Danube, a AAA of Western and Central New York Members ... Read More
In March of 2016 I wrote a review about my experiences cruising on the Mekong River with AMA Waterways titled "Exceeded My Expectations". After booking the Melodies Of The Danube, a AAA of Western and Central New York Members Appreciation Trip, I became worried that this trip couldn't possibly live up to my previous experience. I shouldn't have worried! When, as our bus was getting ready to pull away on our first tour in Budapest, I heard our Tour Director Edward quietly say to our Tour Guide "have fun" I knew we were in good hands. From that first experience in Budapest until we were dropped off at the airport in Prague our every need was met with top notch service and professionalism. The Crew, The Tour Director Edward, The Captain, the Ship, the food, the level of service, the Guides, the scenery, the itinerary, the laughs and the friendships formed all exceeded my expectations. The Danube may not be Blue but the scenery is beautiful. The evening Illumination cruise of Budapest was breathtaking. Every town was charming, each castle and church was prettier and more awe inspiring than the next. The rainbow over our ship when we came out of Castle Grein was pretty special too. I'm still not sure how Edward managed that! Please be aware that this is not a restful vacation. You are on the go morning to night. There is a lot of walking, mostly on cobblestone streets. AMA does provide a Gentle Walkers options and you can choose to stay behind on the ship but there is a lot to see and do on this trip. I can't wait for my next adventure with AMA Waterways! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
My wife and I just returned from the above cruise. It was our first river cruise and we could not be happier at having picked AMA. The overall experience was very good in all aspects. WE arrived at noon before the 3 pm check in. We ... Read More
My wife and I just returned from the above cruise. It was our first river cruise and we could not be happier at having picked AMA. The overall experience was very good in all aspects. WE arrived at noon before the 3 pm check in. We had expected that we would have to leave our luggage and walk around. However the staff invited us aboard, took our luggage, and invited us to have a snack and drink in the lounge. Our cabin was made ready within half an hour. The small touches made the experience that much better. For example: 1. ladies were given a rose at dinner the first night, 2. a gift of a scarf for my wife and a hat for me were left in our cabin the second night, and 3. on one of walking tours our cruise director Nick appeared with chocolates for us. While the room was small it was well set out and very clean. The bathroom was great. The stops were well picked. The choice of tours allowed everyone to tout at there on pace. The guides used were all very good. The food was exceptionally good every day. Kudos to the chef. The waiter we had for most meals was Vladimir. He was very efficient and a lot of fun to be around with. Also want to point out Marianne. She worked in the lounge and dining room. She was always busy and helping out. Always had a smile and we enjoyed talking to her. Nick our cruise director was in a word great. Made the trip that much more enjoyable. The captain had a very dry sense of humour and certainly knew how to handle the Danube and the locks. As to the other passengers they were very much enjoyable to meet and we made numerous friends. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
This was our first-ever river cruise and the only way it could have been better is if the weather had cooperated better. It was mostly cold, temps sometimes in the high 20s at night and mid-40s during the day. Because of this, we did not ... Read More
This was our first-ever river cruise and the only way it could have been better is if the weather had cooperated better. It was mostly cold, temps sometimes in the high 20s at night and mid-40s during the day. Because of this, we did not use the sun deck much at all. We selected this cruise because it was the inaugural American Wine Society (AMS) cruise, of which we are members. The itinerary looked like something we wanted to do, visiting 3 countries along the Danube and destination cities such as Budapest and Vienna that we had not been to. The ship was very nice and the accommodations were as good as any we've had on ocean cruises. Our cabin had a french balcony that we seldom used due to the cold temperatures on the cruise, but it certainly made our cabin (170 sq ft) feel bigger. The bathroom was smaller than most we've had on ocean cruises, but the multi shower head shower with a powerful water stream made up for it. Service was outstanding--everyone, cabin room attendant, wine stewards, restaurant staff, exceeded our expectations. Food was outstanding including entrees we never had on previous cruises. My favorite was the venison and lamb combination. Entertainment was good but not much of it. An entertainer would board the ship for one performance and usually leave right after that, usually at one of the many locks we were going through. AMA did a fantastic job with the excursions. The buses were very nice, the tour guides were friendly and knowlegeable, and the tours themselves interesting and informative. All the tours included the Quiet Vox system that allowed us to hear the guide without being near him. This way we could take pictures and wander around a site without having to stand close to the guide. Our favorite tour was the all day Mondesee/Salzburg tour going through the Alps while it was snowing, and seeing lots of Sound of Music film locations. The AWS conducted wine tastings and selected wine pairings for several of the dinners. We sampled 52 wines onboard through the auspices of AWS and another 10 during wine tasting excursions off ship. We were very satisfied with AMA and their staff. The cruise manager, equivalent of cruise director on ocean cruises, was outstanding, virtually a one-man band organizing all of our activities and keeping everyone happy. Embarkation and debarkation went smoothly. Taxis were requested at a certain time for debarkation and they showed up right on time. We would not hesitate to sail with AMA again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
The food on board was superb and we enjoyed trying the Chef's table dining room on the last night where there was a tasting menu. We had to share a table in the evenings with tables for 4 or 6 mostly. We especially liked the light ... Read More
The food on board was superb and we enjoyed trying the Chef's table dining room on the last night where there was a tasting menu. We had to share a table in the evenings with tables for 4 or 6 mostly. We especially liked the light lunch served in the lounge which enabled us to have room for the evening meal. There is no room service that I could see so you might want to take a travel kettle. The crew were delightful from the Captain down. He interacted with the guests at each port and welcomed visitors to the bridge. The cruise director, Csaba, was active from morning until night and always available for queries. He couldn't have done more. There was plenty choice of tours at each port, for active and not so active walkers and bikers, so everyone was catered for.. Budapest was a great city for the departure port and it is well worth staying a few days before sailing. The Wachau Valley was beautiful. Vilshofen, the final port ,not so interesting, but it is near a train station. Our ship's transfer to Munich at 0900 was $30 which was the easiest way of getting there. We were in time for a 1240 departure. We didn't go to a lot of the post dinner activities as the tours left at 0900 'ish every day, but there was music in the lounge most evenings. We particularly enjoyed a classical trio. We felt as though we were leaving a family when we left and will definitely return to AMA. A nice touch was the post card we received, from the crew, on getting home, thanking us for sailing AMA. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
Fabulous cruise! We cruised from Budapest to Vilshofen on the Amaviola, from the crew, cruise manager, food & wine, to the shore excursions - everything was absolutely flawless! The cabin was roomy, great bed and nice linens, with good ... Read More
Fabulous cruise! We cruised from Budapest to Vilshofen on the Amaviola, from the crew, cruise manager, food & wine, to the shore excursions - everything was absolutely flawless! The cabin was roomy, great bed and nice linens, with good storage space; bathroom was generously sized and even had a line to hang laundry in the shower This new ship has included more electrical outlets and charging stations to accommodate the electronic devices most of us use today. The bathroom was also equipped with LED lights to softly illuminate the room in the night, to allow you to use it without the blinding glare of turning on the overhead light: a small, but thoughtful inclusion. Warm cosy robes and slippers are also provided. The housekeeping staff did an exceptional job of keeping our cabin and the ship spotlessly clean. The culinary staff ensured every morsel of food offered was delicious, with eye-pleasing presentations. The fresh local foods were well-complemented by very nice wine pairings. The servers in the dining room and bar were warm, friendly and very professional and efficient in the performance of their duties, helping to keep us all relaxed, comfortable and very well-fed. Thank goodness for all the well-th ought out excursions with knowledgeable, English-speaking local guides, to accommodate differing interests, activity and mobility levels, allowing for all to enjoy as much or little exercise and sightseeing. We very much enjoyed the opportunity to explore our embarkation city of Budapest, it was a delight, as were each of those we toured on our cruise. The on-board briefings regarding the areas through which we were passing were interesting and the entertainment enjoyable. The cosy, ship atmosphere encouraged more social interaction among the guests, allowing for friendships to develop. Great job AMAwaterways. Read Less
30 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
We decided we wanted to go away to celebrate Christmas. My teenage daughter and I had done a Viking River cruise over the summer as part of our European trip. Viking was geared much more to the over 60 crowd and never, even if you book a ... Read More
We decided we wanted to go away to celebrate Christmas. My teenage daughter and I had done a Viking River cruise over the summer as part of our European trip. Viking was geared much more to the over 60 crowd and never, even if you book a suite, allows 3 people in a room. We are a family of 3 and Viking wanted us to book 2 rooms so 1 person would be alone. Not my idea of a family vacation. It would be different if we had 4 people but it was just another reason I'll never sail Viking again. So we looked elsewhere and chose to go on AMA Waterways aboard the AMA Stella. We booked a suite which had a sitting room with balcony, an adjoining room that was separated by a wall with a large TV that could be turned to face either room. The bedroom had a French balcony and one wall was all storage and closet space. The living room area has a couch that makes into a bed, which was quite comfortable according to my daughter. It also had 2 chairs, a coffee table and a built in desk where they had a computer for our use. The mini fridge was stocked with champagne, beer, and soda and juice which was replenished daily. The balcony had 2 chairs and a small table and one afternoon of sailing was warm enough to sit out there and enjoy it! The bathroom had a toilet that closed off with a pocket door so someone else could be using 1 of the 2 sinks, the shower or bathtub. Toiletry items were replenished daily as was the fruit bowl in the sitting room. We embarked in Budapest and after dinner cruised between Buda and Pest to see the beautiful lights of the buildings. We did a tour of Buda and Pest with a local guide and went to the Christmas market which had some very nice Hungarian made items for sale as well as different food stalls. The next day, the Stella usually stops in Bratslavia, Slovakia but since it was Christmas Day, everything was closed so that stop was skipped and we went on to Vienna. We went to another Christmas market in the afternoon. The ship stopped at all the other scheduled stops and at each one we went on the activity we had chosen for that day. AMA Waterways does not only cater to the over 60 crowd. They offer many options for activity. For the very active they have bike tours which ranged from 6 miles to over 20 miles depending on the port. They also offered hikes, usually to the castle or abbey that most people took the bus to. For the "regular" active person, walking tours were at a normal pace. For the less active, or those with mobility issues, they had a gentle group. On tours, the people in this group were brought closer to the attraction by tram or minivans. Much of Austria is now handicapped accessible due to a law requiring it. There were only a few stops that some people could not do because of many stairs or walks inaccessible by vehicles. Each evening after dinner they offered some kind of local entertainment. They had excellent musicians, dancers or you could opt to walk into town and walk around. Meals were scheduled daily, not always the same time to accommodate an excursion or entertainment. Breakfast and lunch were served in the dining room over a 2 hour period of time. Each day there was a buffet and also a small menu for a couple specials of that day. You could order eggs Benedict or whatever was on the menu that day, and go to the buffet for fruits, breads, cold cereal or yogurts. Lunch was served the same way. You could also choose to have a continental style breakfast or light lunch in the lounge. Dinner was served to you. Dinner always had 4-5 choices for entrees and 2 for soup, 3 for appetizer, 3-4 desserts. Then there were 5 dishes that were always available if nothing on the daily menu appealed to you. You could sit at any table you wanted with most tables seating 6 people. This made for a great way to meet many people. We ended up sitting in the same general area because we found a waiter who we really liked. He was very attentive and a jokester, we really enjoyed talking to him. Everyon was very friendly except for one man who served at the bar in the lounge. He seemed cranky every time we saw him. The other bartender, Silvijo was great. He also served the drinks at dinner and after a couple of days, automatically brought my daughter a coke and a small bit of wine for her to try. All the staff, Frederico was our cruise manager/director and was very informative. The cruise managers change with each cruise. The captain was a very young (29years old) and very friendly man who invited my daughter to the bridge when we were leaving a port. She has a boating license that is higher then one would get for a recreational boat so he showed her around the bridge and how it can collapse down if needed to get under a low bridge. Our caibin stewardess Mariya was very sweet and kept our cabin very clean. Our butler Dimitri aka Micko brought us coffee (and anything else we wanted) at a time determined the day before. He was so sweet as he put his fingers to his lips meaning quiet so as not to wake my daughter who was asleep as he carried in the tray. When my daughter and I did a Viking cruise in July, we did not receive the same attention to detail or the friendliness of all the staff like on AMA. Yes, there were a few people who were great and did a great job but beside 5 or so people, they just were not as good. And the cruise on the Stella was the last cruise for the season and the staff would be going home for 2.5 months. Yet despite this, their attention to the guests did not show it. Their attention was on their work, they were happy and friendly and I would never had known that it was the last cruise of the maiden season of the ship had I not been told. After being in service since last March, the ship was clean and still had a new look to it. Another great thing about the Stella is the sun deck pool. Yes, it was open the last week of December! My daughter and I went for a midnight swim one night. You just told someone at reception that you wanted to use the pool and a crew member would fold back the cover which was like a heavy duty solar cover used on home pools. During the warmer months, there is a bar set up and the pool has stools in it. There is also a large chess set, a walking track and a couple sitting areas on the sun deck. On the Stella, they have a second dining room that guests can make a reservation for one time while on the cruise. It's called the Chefs Table and seats about 30 people. The menu is set and they ask about any food allergies. Since I'm allergic to aspartame, when dessert came, one of the 3 items on my plate was different than that of my husband and daughters because the other contained aspartame. The dinner in this restaurant was small portions of many different things and was wonderful!!! This ship also has a small gym with 2 treadmills, 2 bikes and weights on the bottom deck and a spa where you could have your hair done or have a massage. I didn't have time to squeeze in a massage but a woman I spoke with had one when she opted out of a tour and said it was very good, better than expected. The price of a massage was less than having one at home. Because it was Christmas AMA did a special Austrian tradition of putting a shoe out for Father Christmas. If you had been bad, you would get a stick in your shoe and if good you received a gift. My husband did not want to participate so when he fell asleep, my daughter and I put one of his shoes out with ours. The next morning each shoe had a gift and the guests 18 or younger got a gift and a beautiful chocolate Santa. So having experienced 2 different cruise lines within 6 months, I have to say that AMA Waterways is a much better line than Viking. They do many little things that make you feel special. All the female passengers were each given a nice scarf in a box. It is a nice scarf with the company name only on the tag. The little things do make a difference. AMA carries bikes on ship to offer biking to its guests. They have you fill out what excursions you want to do over the week and at what level-active, regular or gentle. On Viking the included tours were a ride around on a bus for the most part, never into an exhibit that cost admission. On AMA you went to see a place and saw it, inside and out and they didn't charge extra for the admission. AMA Waterways Stella was a wonderful place to spend Christmas and the cruise all around was so great that we put down a deposit for our next cruise! A $200 deposit per person to be used in the next 2 years. Oh, where to go? Somewhere on AMA Waterways for sure! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
This was such a wonderful Christmas/New Year. No food shopping, no fighting crowds on the high street - just a restful, relaxing, gentle cruise along the Danube, Main and Rhine rivers. The crew were all so welcoming, the food ... Read More
This was such a wonderful Christmas/New Year. No food shopping, no fighting crowds on the high street - just a restful, relaxing, gentle cruise along the Danube, Main and Rhine rivers. The crew were all so welcoming, the food delicious, the bar staff attentive and good wines and beers too. Excellent (mostly free) excursions - and graded so that anyone not so fit could still take an excursion and time was allowed for them to take their time, with seperate excursions for the fitter, faster passengers. There was on offer several optional (extra charge) excursions which included extras. Maps available at every stop with plenty of information about each of the stops. Beautifully clean river boat, well maintained. I think the visit to Malk Abbey was my favourite stop. Absolutely fantastic, and would have been even more photogenic on a clear, sunny summers day. My only complaint (?) - I had NOTHING to complain about! Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
Of the 17 cruises my husband and I have taken from the Mediterranean, Alaska, Mexico, and on the Rhine river, this past one with AMAwaterways November 21 – 28, 2016 from Budapest to Nuremburg on the Danube river was, bar none, the best. ... Read More
Of the 17 cruises my husband and I have taken from the Mediterranean, Alaska, Mexico, and on the Rhine river, this past one with AMAwaterways November 21 – 28, 2016 from Budapest to Nuremburg on the Danube river was, bar none, the best. The company sent us detailed instructions in an organized pouch three weeks before sailing. The packet contained the answer to every question we had before leaving, all neatly detailed along with phone numbers for emergencies, which set my mind at ease since the initial flight to Budapest sounded like we were visiting another world. Everything went smoothly and we embarked the first evening with the ship transport from the airport. We found the ship to be beautifully decorated for Christmas, intimate, only 142 passengers, and the crew of 49 welcoming. This company caters to Americans and English was primarily the language spoken, and unlike other river cruise lines, the announcements were not made for 15 minutes in 9 languages. This was a big plus. The atmosphere on board was also not formal like some of them. The crew seemed to enjoy their jobs and most of them had obviously formed some close bonds with each other. All these factors combined to make a relaxed and fun voyage. I can’t say enough about our cruise director, Sebastien Leroy, who seemed to be everywhere at the same time. His attention to all details from the entertainment to the bus tours ensured a seamless good time. He was always most approachable. The rest of the crew was equally helpful. The food was delectable and palatable for American tastes. Wonderful pastries, delicious steaks, along with wines from the areas through which we sailed, all complimentary made the dining experience memorable. We are through with large ship sailing. We will return to AMA again for another cruise on another river next year. It was the best! Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Just a little about myself and the group we travelled with: my husband and I are in our 50's and have been cruising with Disney and Royal Caribbean fairly regularly since 2003. We're Diamond level with RCCL. Our travelling ... Read More
Just a little about myself and the group we travelled with: my husband and I are in our 50's and have been cruising with Disney and Royal Caribbean fairly regularly since 2003. We're Diamond level with RCCL. Our travelling companions were my sister and her husband (in their 60's ) and their friends--a married couple in the 70's. We travelled from Toronto to Amsterdam to visit family for 4 days before the cruise. Flew into Budapest 1 day before the cruise. In Budapest we stayed at the BEAUTIFUL Prestige Hotel (approx. $290 CA for 1 night). Great central location, but about a 10-15 minute taxi ride to the port. Port is a loose term--it was basically in the middle of a construction site. Very strange! But it was fast. We were greeted by the cruise manager, Dragon, and walked straight on the boat. We had a light lunch in the lounge and waited to be escorted to our cabins. Check-in was speedy (literally under a minute) and we were off! When we booked, we were given cabin #227. We had been moved to the very end of the hall for some unknown reason: 233. We were next to a couple of crew cabins and a stairway that could be busy with crew at various times of the day. My travel companions were all upgraded though! they were given bigger rooms with an outdoor balcony as well as the indoor French balcony. This did not sit well with me at all---as we had all booked at the same time and paid the same price. There was a lot of misinformation given out. When escorted to our room we were told we would be invited to the chef's table at some point during the week--just watch for a card in the room. This never happened, so we never went! Apparently you have to make a reservation yourself. Bar service was erratic and pricing seemed to be a the whim of the server. When we questioned it and asked for a refund, the bartender said 'what can I do?'. The tours were wonderful though and we were exhausted at the end of the week. Busy , busy , busy! Be a good walker because even the slower paced tours involved a lot of walking. Night time entertainment was sparse and not the best. We walked out of one show. Our cruise was a wine themed one and unbeknownst to us, a large group pretty much monopolized it. Be sure to ask if this is the case on your cruise and plan accordingly. Dining room food was adequate. Service again was spotty and often times rude. Getting a glass of wine on a wine cruise shouldn't be a chore, but it was. I'm not sure if we'll river cruise again, if so, we'll do more research and definitely NOT go with AMAWaterways. Re the cabin: Our cabin was freezing! no amount of complaints or fiddling with the thermostat could remedy the fact. There seemed to be a constant draft coming from around the door. The room was TINY, but clean and well appointed. Nice to travel on a new ship! Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We completed the Melodies of the Danube crusie: Budapest to Vilshofen, October 13 to October 20, 2016. This was our second cruise with Amawaterways. The first cruise, two years ago with the AmaLegro on the Seine, became the benchmark ... Read More
We completed the Melodies of the Danube crusie: Budapest to Vilshofen, October 13 to October 20, 2016. This was our second cruise with Amawaterways. The first cruise, two years ago with the AmaLegro on the Seine, became the benchmark against which all other vacations since have been judged and found lacking. We were worried we had built up our expectations too high and might be disappointed by our second river cruise with Amawaterways. We were delighted to find the Amaviola, her Captain and crew, not only met our expectations, but exceeded them. Our cabin and the entire ship was tastefully decorated. The cabin had ample storage space to allow us to store our clothing and other belongings for the journey and the bed allowed for a comfortable night’s sleep. This newer ship has included more electrical outlets and charging stations to accommodate the electronic devices most of us use today. The bathroom was also equipped with what I assume were tiny LED lights to softly illuminate the room in the night, to allow you to use it without the blinding glare of turning on the overhead light: a small, but thoughtful inclusion. Warm cosy robes and slippers are also provided, but for the colder months, to improve an already wonderful experience, we would welcome heated tiled floors in the bathroom for future upgrades to the accommodations. The housekeeping staff did an exceptional job of keeping our cabin and the ship spotlessly clean. The culinary staff ensured every morsel of food offered was delicious, with eye-pleasing presentations; it was next to impossible not to at least sample a bite of everything! The fresh local foods were well-complemented by very nice wine pairings. We would have also liked to have had the opportunity to sample some of wide variety of the locally brewed beers with our meals. The servers in the dining room and bar were warm, friendly and very professional and efficient in the performance of their duties, helping to keep us all relaxed, comfortable and very well-fed. Thank goodness for all the well-thought out excursions with knowledgeable, English-speaking local guides, to accommodate differing interests, activity and mobility levels, allowing for all to enjoy as much or little exercise and sightseeing as they may wish and in our case to burn off some of the calories accumulated to allow more guilt-free enjoyment of the next offerings. We very much enjoyed the opportunity to explore our embarkation city of Budapest, it was a delight, as were each of those we toured on our cruise. The on-board briefings regarding the areas through which we were passing were interesting and the entertainment enjoyable. Our favourites for this cruise were the Slovakian dancers and the opera duo. We prefer to be kept both mentally and physically active on our vacations and Amawaterways does not disappoint in this regard. The cosy, ship atmosphere encouraged more social interaction among the guests, allowing for friendships to develop. From the warm welcome aboard, including a rose from the Captain to the ladies, to the last farewell, we were pampered by the crew who went beyond our expectations to provide exceptional service and make us feel relaxed and at home. For most vacations, we are ready to leave and eager to get home to our own beds, not so with this holiday! We were sad to go and look forward to our next opportunity to enjoy the comforts and exceptional service provided by the accommodations and staff of AmaWaterways. Well done! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary aboard the AmaSonata and the whole cruise couldn't have been better! The room was small but well appointed. Breakfast and lunch buffets were excellent and at dinner there were many options ... Read More
We celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary aboard the AmaSonata and the whole cruise couldn't have been better! The room was small but well appointed. Breakfast and lunch buffets were excellent and at dinner there were many options off the menu. I had told them prior to the cruise that I had an allergy to cheese, and all the waiters were aware of this and they accommodated me. For our anniversary night, we ate at the elegant Chef's Table, a separate small restaurant apart from the main dining room. It was elegant and they feted us with a cake and song. The off-ship tours were very well arranged. There was something for all ability levels. Whenever we had the option, we took one of the guided bicycle tours offered. This was one of the reasons why we chose AmaWaterways over others. It was a fairly small group of bicyclists, no more than 20 persons. The entire staff went out of their way to make you feel welcome. We especially enjoyed our cruise director Raul. There was entertainment both on and off ship, usually very high quality, especially the classical music concert offered in the evening in Vienna. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
First ever river cruise, so based on reviews we chose AMA. The ship was very nice and checkin was very easy. We were surprised at age of clientele quite geriatric, we are in mid 60's but quite active. The cruise had some challenges we ... Read More
First ever river cruise, so based on reviews we chose AMA. The ship was very nice and checkin was very easy. We were surprised at age of clientele quite geriatric, we are in mid 60's but quite active. The cruise had some challenges we were delayed through no fault of AMA because of an accident which put us about 3 days behind on a 14 day cruise, we caught up about day 12. So for the first number of days I felt like it was a bus tour, and we barely saw Vienna and had a very long bus trip to see Salzburg and had to return spending over 7 hrs on bus. I think they should have cancelled one of these and played catch up (may have been difficult because of number of locks)any way for a number of days we were being rushed through everything including meals. Oh and almost everyone got sick and they said nothing even having to call Drs on board to help people, they should have made announcement perhaps warning and asking people to be respectful of there rather than coughing in buses for numerous hrs. The food is quite good , wine not so much they must have a deal with an Austrian winery which is what they serve overall I would give them a 2 for their wine. Dress code forget it people wear worn out jeans and hats for dinner. The staff were well trained and excellent, all of them. In summary may take another cruise never for 14 days.Last but not least most excursions had very good guides but they were very quick. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We were so impressed with the quality of service, dining and cabin accommodations on this trip. We decided this was the best way for us to see the best of Europe so we chose Ama for their cuisine and overall service recommendation. We ... Read More
We were so impressed with the quality of service, dining and cabin accommodations on this trip. We decided this was the best way for us to see the best of Europe so we chose Ama for their cuisine and overall service recommendation. We were not disappointed. We started in Budapest, Hungary then sailed through Slovakia, Austria, Germany, and ended in the Netherlands with the final destination Amsterdam. What is so nice about river cruising is you unpack once and just enjoy when all your food, entertainment and hotel goes with you through Europe. We did have a pretty huge issue when we were on this journey. Another barge hit one of the locks and we had to stay longer than anticipated on the river. Then the European Union had a summit meeting in Bratislava and they closed the river for an additional 8 hours. All in all we were delayed 51 hours on our trip. The Ama captain, cruise director and entire staff were incredible in making this horrific delay palatable to us. The true value of a company is when unexpected issues happen and how they treat their customers. We were so happy to be on Ama with this unfortunate issue because they treated us with "world class service". They went over and above to bus us to our destinations and even giving us extra Euro's when we were unable to come back to the ship for lunch. I don't believe any other cruise line would have extended themselves to the level that Ama did. We had a trip of a lifetime even with the unfortunate situation. Our room was a French balcony and regular balcony room on the upper deck. It was so nice to have a lovely room with a bigger than average bathroom. We also liked having in room free wi-fi for e-mail and in room movies. The cuisine on the ship was excellent. I would compare it to the quality of the specialty restaurants on the nicer cruise ships. Everything was prepared to our liking with free flowing wine or beer at lunch and dinner. The nice part about river cruising is the entertainment is about 1 hr to 1 1/2 hours after dinner. It usually gave a local flare to the entertainment and it was quite varied from an acappella group, Hungarian folk dancers and even a rocking duo who sang contemporary songs. The bar stayed open for those individuals that wanted to continue to party after the rest of us went back to our rooms. The excursions were also included in the price of the cruise and they had very active bicycle tours, active walking or slower to regular walking tours. Each tour had a local tour guide that made the history come alive for us. Overall we loved our trip even with all the issues that had to be overcome and we hope to journey again very soon on another Ama waterways cruise. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
AMA Waterways do a Great Job. The AMA Viola is a beautiful ship. Will sail with them again. Everything went great. Arrived at the ship early and our rooms were already ready. Staff was very friendly and helpful, will take care of all ... Read More
AMA Waterways do a Great Job. The AMA Viola is a beautiful ship. Will sail with them again. Everything went great. Arrived at the ship early and our rooms were already ready. Staff was very friendly and helpful, will take care of all your needs. Food was very good, note the Chefs table was a lot of fun. Stateroom was larger than most with nice bathroom. Small balcony was a big plus and very enjoyable. Public areas were very nice with comfortable furniture, good sound system. The Cruise Manager did a great job, anything you needed was not a problem. Ports of call were nice but the best thing were the local English speaking guides that provided. They made the towns come alive. We also went on a past cruise with AMA Waterways to Munich which was great that the Cruise Manager took care of all our needs even on the land portion of the trip. Lastly the airport transfers went very smoothly. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
The AmaWaterways "Magnificent Europe" river cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam in August 2016 was my first river cruise. For several years I had researched European river cruises with most of the better known, positively rated ... Read More
The AmaWaterways "Magnificent Europe" river cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam in August 2016 was my first river cruise. For several years I had researched European river cruises with most of the better known, positively rated cruise companies. I am a single traveler (single supplement - urrgh!) so getting the most value for my dollars was a prime consideration when making a choice. Based on the budget I had allowed myself, I was about to book a similar Viking cruise for spring of 2017 when I received a last minute opportunity for the AmaWaterways cruise at a special rate. It was like a dream come true! From the moment I was picked up at the airport in Budapest to the moment of departure at the airport in Amsterdam the focus of the entire staff of the AmaSonata was the comfort, pleasure, and safety of each passenger. The ship is one of the largest and most technically advanced cruise ships on the European rivers. The design elements throughout are those of a luxurious, sophisticated five star resort on land. My stateroom was a French balcony type with an amazing bathroom and more overall storage than most best quality hotel rooms. The complimentary InfoTainment system (TV, movies, and internet access) was excellent. Caveat: it does not operate during the time the ship is going through a lock. There are 68 locks on this trip. The 12 chefs and their staff provided consistent, very high quality food choices, including many dishes specific to the regions we traveled through. I belong to a culinary society and am a strong advocate of farm-to-table and fresh food cuisine so was very impressed with the overall food and beverage experience on this trip. The Chef's Table dining room was a small high end fine dining complimentary option by reservation which I attended three times during the cruise. Both dining rooms were always spotlessly clean, the wait staff were professional while very congenial, and there was definite attention to overall shipwide hygiene with hand sanitation dispensers throughout all the public spaces. There was a wide range of on-board and shore activities to choose from. Our cruise director was John Riley, who has been with Ama for many years. All 124 passengers on this trip gave him a standing ovation at the last evening goodbye reception for sending us home with a memory of an exceptional experience. There were four levels of shore tours - easy, regular, active for the walking tours, and biking tours using complimentary on-board bikes. Some days there might be three or four separate groups within the "regular" category as Ama likes to keep the groups smaller than many other cruise lines. Ama uses the newest, compact and lightweight Audiovox units for tours so you can hear your guide without having to crowd around that person. You can also use your own earbuds, which I did. There were ample blocks of free shore time after the organized tours while in port. There were three special day trip tours at very reasonable additional cost. I went on all three of those as they gave an opportunity to travel further into the countryside to special cities like Saltzburg and Rothenburg. The professional land tour guides in Europe are independent so are not contracted to any one cruise company. We learned that AmaWaterways is one of the companies land tour guides aspire to work with. On days when there were both morning and afternoon tours available, John R. would have as many as ten guides and their groups to work with. It was rare that it took more than 15 minutes from the time we all gathered, met our tour guide, received the OK to go from John R. and were on our way. During daytime cruising there were many spaces, both inside and on the three sundecks, to enjoy reading, visiting, card games, a dip in the swimming pool, sun bathing, exercising, walking the course on the upper sun deck, or just sitting watching the scenery go by. My stateroom was so pleasant that I spent several cruise time hours with the veranda door open in a chair with my feet up watching the scenery while editing my daily photos. Each evening from about 9 to 10:15 pm there was special entertainment that was specific to our locale. After that, our on-board pianist/singer provided music for dancing or just enjoyable listening and socializing. Several times during the cruise John R. gave presentations to prepare us for the following days tours. A special highlight was an after dinner walk John R. led while we were at port in Koblenz. It was a very warm Friday evening, many locals were out enjoying the nightlife of the last weekend of the August holiday month, and John shared his very personal fondness for this town he has come to know well over the years. There are so many more very positive impressions I could share with you. In a couple of weeks I will be giving a slide show presentation about this trip to the Travel Talk group I belong to. I'm trying to keep it from sounding like a travel agent's promo for AmaWaterways, but it is hard because they did such a terrific job of giving me the value for my dollars and so much more. There were quite a few of the 124 travelers on this trip who had done other river cruises and/or ocean cruises with other cruise companies, They rated AmaWaterways as their best experience and plan to travel with them in the future. ME TOO! Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
My first cruise of any sort but my current worry is how on earth do I ever equal it in the future. I am interested in ships, so took notice of those we moored against and those we passed and Amasonata was unquestionably the smartest, most ... Read More
My first cruise of any sort but my current worry is how on earth do I ever equal it in the future. I am interested in ships, so took notice of those we moored against and those we passed and Amasonata was unquestionably the smartest, most advanced, best designed ship on the Danube. Well - perhaps Amaserena, which we passed, was nearly as good:) Ama had guides based at the airport when we arrived to welcome us (in English!) and get us onto the coach that took us to the ship. Embarkation was quick and easy and not really any different to checking-in at any good hotel. Disembarking was also well organised and again, a guide accompanied us to the airport. It is a shame that the flights themselves were not as luxurious. Our cabin was a mid-sized one which meant that it had a proper rectangular ensuite with no corners cut and adequate space around the bed. It also had an outside balcony which was nice to have but perhaps not essential. It was very comfortable. It was also the closest cabin to the reception, lounge and main restaurant making those facilities easy for us to use. Cabins at the back of the ship had quite a long walk before they could sit in the lounge for example. Dining was one of the highlights of the cruise. The food and service were impeccable at every meal. There was always a wide buffet selection. At our first lunch we helped ourselves to a good sized meal from the buffet and then discovered that that was only the starter, we had a soup course, main course and dessert still to come. So no lack of food. Ama chose a red and a white wine that they felt was appropriate to the area we were in and to the meal, though beer or a soft drink was available as well. The wines all tended to be dry wines, perhaps very dry. Breakfast was good, lunch very good and dinner was always excellent with some fantastic inventiveness. There were all sorts of entertainment, a pianist, talks on wine, dancers, singers and a string trio. The final night was an Octoberfest (in August). Not everything would suit everybody but it was all to a high standard and everybody should have been able to find much to like. Shore excursions were always of a high standard. The guides always spoke good english and knew their subject. To an extent they were asked to do the impossible. Selecting which highlights to show and to explain well when given only a couple of hours must be very difficult. Some guides were better than others at providing an overall pattern to their talk but I am confident Ama did everything they could to select the best guides available. I have left service to the last as that is what I think make Ama unbeatable. Every member of the staff, both crew and hotel staff did their absolute best to provide a good service in a quick, efficient and friendly manner. I cannot conceive of how a better level of service could be achieved. Ama get absolute full marks for service. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
We went from Heathrow, there was some confusion at Budapest airport however that was soon resolved and we had a posh taxi to the boat. Firstly the good news, the boat was very clean and the maid service exceptional. The staff were ... Read More
We went from Heathrow, there was some confusion at Budapest airport however that was soon resolved and we had a posh taxi to the boat. Firstly the good news, the boat was very clean and the maid service exceptional. The staff were excellent, a tribute to the enforced tipping system which adds perhaps £10 a day to your costs. Due I suspect to the cost, the average age was perhaps 70 and there were no children on our trip. The choice of guided and unguided excursions was very good although I was disappointed to miss out on a bike tour due to basic maintenance which should have been done. The cabins are small but acceptable, the equipment o/k but had a tendency to malfunction. The shower wasn’t designed for someone of my stature and half the buttons didn’t work but again, o/k. The TV broke on day 4 but we could still use the limited range of films. The food was o/k, there were a couple of good dishes and the majority were acceptable. The soups were poor with the exception of the fish soup which was excellent. There is small restaurant for fine dining at the rear of the boat which you are only allowed to use once. Again the fine dining was o/k, individual items were cooked very well but the combinations showed a confused pallet from the chef. I didn’t understand how one night only 6 people were in the fine dining restaurant, why not open it up if you are low on covers? Wine was free and generously provided at mealtime, probably £6 to £10 quality range. Would have been good if there was a wine list for the week since the wines changed almost daily and it took a long time to get the waiter to find the bottle from two days ago you liked instead of the bottle today you didn’t. I was surprised that the officers didn’t eat in the dining room when the guests ate, this might have given them a less aloof air. The tour manager Orloff was very good and frequently held together events and outings which would otherwise have been a disaster (see comments about entertainment). The entertainment was terrible I think the person who chose the various earnest acts must have been depressed at the time of choosing same. To be fair to the various “singers” the maintenance crew were incapable of repairing a hands free microphone for our entire voyage which made their (and the tour managers) job far more difficult than it need have been. Perhaps the best fist was made by Valerie May who had the sense to provide her own equipment. Finally, I know it sounds picky but if my wife has paid for a bath robe for 7 days, don’t take it away on day 6 because you haven’t enough robes to wash them in time for the next guests! In summary the group maintains it strives for excellence. It needs to gird it’s loins…… Read Less
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