1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. AmaWaterways
  4. AmaWaterways Cruise Reviews

140 AmaWaterways Budapest Cruise Reviews

From the moment we got on the Amalyra, we knew we had made the right choice. The boat was amazing, the food was absolutely excellent and the staff was the best ever. The price of your ticket includes almost all land tours and they are ... Read More
From the moment we got on the Amalyra, we knew we had made the right choice. The boat was amazing, the food was absolutely excellent and the staff was the best ever. The price of your ticket includes almost all land tours and they are top notch. The quiet boxes you wore to listen to your tour guides were a real bonus in all the towns & villages we visited. All of the wine & beer served at dinner was also included in your fare. The wines were always local to where you were sailing and they were great. The locals came on board to provide entertainment and sometimes it was a lecture on beer with tastings, or a lecture on wine with tastings. We were never bored, in fact the days weren't long enough. The cabin was smaller than a regular cruise ship but the shower was larger. Beds & bedding are first class. They provide slippers, robes and there is an umbrella in the closet to use if it should rain. There are sliders but no balconies as the boat must fit through the locks. Free internet in your own stateroom is such a bonus. The captain gives each lady a long stemmed rose on welcoming cocktail party and there is a bud vase in each room to hold the flower. Your room is kept stocked with 6 bottles of water, daily. All complimentary. Beer & wine with dinner is all complimentary too, and they just keep pouring. Having free internet service in your own rooms was such a bonus too. Being able to keep in touch with home, at no cost, was a bonus. We took advantage of extra time in Budapest before the cruise and we went on to Paris at the end for 3 days. The tours provided in these cities were excellent too. A tour guide is with you the whole time so there is someone to help you when things don't go quite right. We are saving to take another AMA Waterways cruise, can't wait to go again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
This was our first river cruise ~ WOW! We arrived in Budapest the day prior to boarding & stayed at the Hilton Hotel on Buda side ~ this was booked at the time of booking the cruise ~ What an excellent location ~ our double room ... Read More
This was our first river cruise ~ WOW! We arrived in Budapest the day prior to boarding & stayed at the Hilton Hotel on Buda side ~ this was booked at the time of booking the cruise ~ What an excellent location ~ our double room overlooked the river & straight across was Parliament building lit up ! The view was like a postcard when we opened the curtains. The next day, we were able to walk down from the hotel to the ship whereby we were welcomed on-board even though we were early we were shown to the lounge where lunch was served until cabins were available. The ship was amazing, sleek, clean and felt very plush. We had a very friendly crew who we got to know due to the size of the passenger/ crew ratio. As on an ocean cruise you only get to recognise a few crew members because of the vast size etc. The passengers were mostly Americans & so friendly (we were the only English) The staterooms are very well equipped and presented. Each day you have free bottled water in your room. The housekeepers do a wonderful job. Food ~ there was an excellent choice & local cuisine & wines relating to the countries we were visiting. The chefs were very creative with the presentation too ! Also the waiters always had smile ~ even though this was their last week! Nothing was ever too much trouble for them. Dress code ~ This is what I was trying to find info on before we went ~ I struggled to find any information only smart casual ~ well for you ladies that also want to know what to pack before you go I will give you a few suggestions We went in the fall though ~ layers, long sleeved t shirts/ blouses/ jumpers cardigans. smart jeans/ cords / trousers no need for skirts unless prefer to wear skirt to trousers. most people had trainers on,but we wore flat leather boots & heels for evening. smart tops for evenings with jeans / leggings. Formal dress for captains night ~ they did request to 'dress up' I wore long maxi dress made from t-shirt fabric ~(no ironing as it rolled up :)But anything goes. If you do go in the fall remember to pack gloves & scarves! Hope this helps you. Excursions & guided walks ~ these were superbly organised by cruise director Lisi ~ every excursion ran like clockwork ! The places we visited were ~ Budapest city tour, Bratislava walking tour Optional Mozart & Strauss concert in Vienna I would recommend this. Vienna city tour, Durnstein walking tour ~ a must to climb up to castle ruins! great views. Melk Abbey, Linz walking tour, excursion choices ~ we went to Salzburg Loved it! Passau walking tour ~ we gave this one a miss and did our own walking tour due to the fact it was thick fog! Last stop Vilshofen where we had 'Oktoberfest' local lager and music/dance. I have listed the places we enjoyed the most 1st ~Budapest this was our favourite city especially when we sailed away at dusk !! I found it quiet moving. 2nd ~ Durnstein ~ very scenic especially if you climb up to the castle ruins joint 3rd ~ Vienna & Salzburg both have lots of history and interesting buildings. This was our first river cruise and we would definately recommend it ~ we only have one weeks holiday at this time of year and it was a great way to see lots of countries in a short time and we met some amazing people too. once home ~ we received a handwritten post card from the captain and crew thanking us for sailing with them ~ what a lovely touch ! Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
This was our first river cruise. It is unlike ocean cruising. The maximum passenger capacity on AmaLyra is 148. It is easy to get to know a number of the other guests. AMA Waterways has every detail covered, even getting a dentist for my ... Read More
This was our first river cruise. It is unlike ocean cruising. The maximum passenger capacity on AmaLyra is 148. It is easy to get to know a number of the other guests. AMA Waterways has every detail covered, even getting a dentist for my wife's emergency treatment on a holiday. The food was excellent as was the generous offerings of complimentary wine during dinner. All of the employees on the AmaLyra were professional and courteous and did everything to make our trip a pleasant one. The AmaLyra was built about 2009. The room had ample space. The bathroom was also roomy enough. The Internet connection was hit and miss but a nice amenity when it had reception, which was often enough. There was a TV with a nice selection of English speaking stations to choose from. This room was immaculately clean when we arrived and cleaned exceptionally well each day. Laundry service was top notch and reasonable. Items were returned in less than 24 hours. If you are considering a river cruise, I would highly recommend AMA Waterways. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
Having researched all the European river cruise companies we decided on Ama Waterways believing it would be more upmarket than the most popular company Viking. The cruise was 14 days with 18 stops in five countries along three rivers.The ... Read More
Having researched all the European river cruise companies we decided on Ama Waterways believing it would be more upmarket than the most popular company Viking. The cruise was 14 days with 18 stops in five countries along three rivers.The first impression was the clientèle appeared to be older than the ocean cruising fraternity, although most of the passengers suggested they had been on other cruises. The majority of passengers were Americans, Canadians and Aussies, only two couples from Europe. It is clear the advertising budget for Ama in Europe is tiny as compared to their rivals, hence the profile of mainly North American passengers. The cabins as compared to Ocean cruising liners were very small, the boats have to be narrow to enable them to pass through numerous locks, there are over sixty on the journey from Budapest to Amsterdam. Similarly the balconies are Juliet balconies so no space there! The food was generally very good, the menu changed everyday. There would be a choice of 2/3 starters, main course and dessert. If you didn't fancy any of those there were standby options of salads, grilled chicken or steak. We could not complain about the quality or the choice. The drinks are free with dinner, they advertise wines from the various countries you travel through. In reality it was mainly cheap Austrian and German wines. There was no Hungarian Tokaj or German Franken wines, one assumes too expensive. However it was plentiful and the excellent waiters ensured you had as much as you could drink. Because there was only 140 passengers it was always dinner for everyone at the same time, sometimes at strange times. But for European tastes always too early whether it be lunch or dinner, 12 noon for lunch and 7.00p.m. for dinner, much too early! Most of the excursions are included in the price and thankfully there were different trips for the varying groups of people i.e. active, not so active and not active at all. The trips came to be known as ABC, (another bloody church), but you did have a choice, you do not have to go on them. The occasional one had to be paid for, again optional. The one worth while was in Vienna a concert in the Hofberg Palace, 70 euro each and well worth it. One very good feature was the availability of bikes, for the active you could take the bike and cycle to the next port of call along pathways at the side of the river to re-join the boat. Although in the rain it could be arduous. So to the downsides. The entertainment was generally second rate when compared to ocean cruising. The resident piano player was average at best. The dress code for dinner was very casual, no formal nights. Then there is the thorny issue of tipping. The Australian customers paid in the overall price, the majority were recommended by Ama to tip 12 euro per person per day for the crew and 3 euro per person per day for the Cruise Director. If you followed Ama's recommendation the cost was 420 euro per couple and the Cruise Director would benefit to the tune of just short of 6,000 euro all to herself! Needless to say that was not very popular and some said particularly relating to the Cruise Director, scandalous. The crew (mainly from Romania) were excellent, the Cruise Director average, the tipping recommendations are very controversial. Overall an interesting trip, very expensive when compared to other river cruise companies and ocean cruising. It is back to the large ships and the oceans for us. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
This started out just wonderfully with being met at the airport in Budapest, taken to the Hotel Sofitel, where we were greeted by the lovely and charming Pili, our cruise director. She has a way of getting along with everyone, and I know ... Read More
This started out just wonderfully with being met at the airport in Budapest, taken to the Hotel Sofitel, where we were greeted by the lovely and charming Pili, our cruise director. She has a way of getting along with everyone, and I know she had some challenges on this trip. We had a lovely suite because there was not another room available when we arrived. The hotel is in a great location on the river at the beautiful Chain Bridge. Breakfast at the hotel was a buffet with everything one could want, except--the coffee left a lot to be desired. When the afternoon to board the Amalyra came, we were taken across the river to the boat and welcomed aboard and shown our rooms. We were quite happy with the size, especially the bathroom, for such a small ship. After we boarded we had the usual lifeboat drill, and Pili gave a talk on procedures on the boat and introduced the captain, hotel manager, and restaurant manager. As we left Budapest that night, the captain took the boat down the river a bit and turned around to head north. What breathtaking sights and photo-ops we all had. We had all breakfasts and lunches on the boat in the lounge area, because we learned the first night that the dining room was a helter-skelter rushed and loud affair--more later on this. All of the stops were most interesting, and we had terrific guides. They set up walking groups for active, medium and slow. The active suited us, and was not rushed--we just didn't take as long at each place so we could have time to revisit those we were really interested in. The active groups started out small, but as more people learned that they were hearing more than they needed, they joined the active group. By the end of the trip, the active group was really too large. We ould have used another day in Vienna. We took the optional side trip to Salzburg, and were so glad we did. On the way we visited the little town of Monsdee--quite charming with an ultra baroque cathedral. We had one day of just cruising the river. This was fun and relaxing, with everyone upstairs and listening to Pili give the history of the places we went by. Whenever we met another river cruise boat everyone waved in a happy shared experience mood. When we got to Nuremburg, we had our interesting tour, and it was the only town we visited that we didn't think was impressively clean. The next morning we boarded buses for the long (about 5 hours) trip to Prague--but it was a beautiful trip, with a stop in the resort spa of Karlovy Vary. We had lunch and beer there--our first experience with how much the Czechs love beer--good stuff. The Olde Town Hilton was our hotel. It was in a very good location with lots of nearby restaurants, and was within walking distance to the castle, the Charles Bridge, and all the good things to see in Prague. Now as to the Dreaded Dinners: First, the boat was at full capacity. Secondly everyone eats at the same time. This means a busy dining room. It is small with a low ceiling and tables are close together. There was a group of about thirty traveling together who were extremely and I mean extremely noisy. Wine is complimentary at dinner so as the meal progressed, their noise level progressed--upward. We learned quickly to sit at the back away from where they congregated for dinner. this put us by the kitchen doors which were constantly banging open and shut with the manager RUNNING--not walking--in and out of there. It just plain was not relaxing at all. The food was ok at best, and sometimes it took a long time even for the menu to arrive. I think a more spread out dining situation--timewise--would help this situation. Why can't they set dining seating from 6:30 until 8? I asked someone this question, and was told that the crew would have to work too much. We did meet some travelers from another AMA boat in PRAGUE. They told us that their dining was wonderful...so I just don't know what to think. Was it the manager not being able to handle things, or was it the noise and demands of the passengers? Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
The Amazing Amalyra We just returned from a most memorable trip on the Danube with additional days in Budapest and Prague and all I can say is WOW! I don't want to discuss the ports which you can read about anywhere but focus on ... Read More
The Amazing Amalyra We just returned from a most memorable trip on the Danube with additional days in Budapest and Prague and all I can say is WOW! I don't want to discuss the ports which you can read about anywhere but focus on the features that made Ama special to us. We picked Ama because their itinerary tied in best with our nephew's wedding in Prague. The entire process of booking, flights and transfers couldn't have gone more smoothly. We have done at least 18 ocean cruises and never had the type of treatment we received with Ama. We were met at the airport and transferred to the Sofitel at the Chain Bridge in Budapest where we met our cruise director, Lilo Lehmann. The second time she saw us, she knew our names and always greeted us with a smile. The hotel was well located and very comfortable. The breakfast was quite elaborate with every imaginable thing you could want except for a good cup of coffee. Sixty of us took part in the entire trip and Lilo was there every step of the way. She made sure that our luggage was put away and with every more it traveled with us. On embarkation day we met the other 40 passengers for our week long cruise. There were a total of 106 passengers out of a capacity of 144. We were greeted by the Captain with a glass of sparkling wine and escorted to our cabins where our luggage was awaiting. On first impression, the cabin seemed small but it was very well appointed. There were plenty of electric outlets which is unusual for a ship. The current was 220v but most of our gear was dual current so all we needed were adapters. The desk would lend them if necessary. Despite the size, we had no difficulty putting everything away and the suitcases easily fit under the high beds. What impressed me was the bathroom and what was a good sized shower with it's triangular layout. And the shower-head was fabulous. The only criticism I had was that the mattresses were a bit hard for me. We then set out to explore the ship. We went to the Sun Deck where lounge chairs and tables with chairs were plentiful. A small hot tube was located behind the wheelhouse. There was minimal shade available. This area was popular when traveling through locks, 26 between Budapest and Prague mostly at night, and was the scene of a few parties. One deck down was the location of the main lounge which was the center of activity with a bar and plentiful seating. This is where the shows would take place. A piano player entertained most nights. We had a very nice show by Aphrodite, a group of 4 girls who were very talented. Another show was with La Strada, a string group, also very talented. A cabaret singer also performed one night. These shows were short but filled out the evening. The Reception Desk was outside the lounge and was the site of the excursion organizing and other business matters. Half a deck up was Lili's little desk which she staffed frequently. Next door was the shop which was rather well equipped for such a small vessel. The rear of this deck contained the small Aft Lounge and tiny fitness center. Deck 2 contained the most important area of all, the dining room. All meals were at relatively fixes times and seating was as you desired. Maybe with the sailing not being full, we never had any difficulties finding a table of any size. Overall, the ship was very nicely decorated. What impressed me was the cleanliness of the ship. I saw our stewardess on her hands and knees scrubbing our bathroom floor on more than one occasion. It was nice knowing that we would return to a clean and tidy cabin. Excursions were broken into 3 groups with active, regular and easy. Active was never a strain. Our local guides were great and very informative. Some could have been stand-up comedians especially in the former Soviet block where there were often jabs made of their former occupiers. We would be walking around and, all of a sudden, Lilo would pop up to make sure everything was going well. As to the issue with the quality of the food, we enjoyed every meal. Breakfast was the usual with hot and cold items in usual buffet style as well as hot items from the kitchen ordered from the menu. Lunch was ordered from the menu with a salad bar as well. The burgers were awful as everyone has stated. Dinner included a meat, fish or vegetarian choice as well as always available steak, chicken or salmon. My wife had the chicken and salmon which were surprisingly very good. I had fish which was fresh and good. Presentation was always very well done. What I thoroughly enjoyed was the cheese tray with all 3 meals. I chose cheese or fruit cocktail for dessert most nights although our dining mates enjoyed the desserts. Wines were free-flowing and generally very good. They would fill our glasses at the end of dinner so we could enjoy them in the lounge. At the end of the cruise, Lilo made sure EVERYONE had their luggage going to the right destination and that people were transferred where they were supposed to be going. Taxis were ordered, buses were loaded and off to Prague we went. The bus trip was long and we welcomed the stop at Karolvy Vary. We had a little tour and then went for lunch. We left the tour a little early before the crowds attacked the restaurants. Then off to our final destination. The chosen Old Town Hilton was well located but a disappointment. The rooms were dirty and very dated. Carpets in the room were stained and we had lots of cobwebs. Conrad would roll over in his grave if he saw it. But it is a logistical problem finding hotels for these large groups and there were plenty of groups staying with us. I don't fault Ama but do pass the blame Hilton. All in all, I am very impressed with Ama and especially with our good friend Lilo. When we returned home, it was nice to find a personal postcard from Lilo in our mailbox. I would not hesitate to sail Ama again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
Will start by saying this was a wonderful experience. Would sail with them again in a heartbeat. We had read and viewed the wonderful photos posted by a Cruise Critic regular, which you can see at http://www.thepreismans.com/ and I ... Read More
Will start by saying this was a wonderful experience. Would sail with them again in a heartbeat. We had read and viewed the wonderful photos posted by a Cruise Critic regular, which you can see at http://www.thepreismans.com/ and I highly recommend that you do so if you are interested in river cruising. As a matter of fact, look there before you go on with my review, it's that good! We were a group of five, all experienced ocean cruisers. We began with a few days in Vienna on our own (Renaissance Imperial Riding School hotel) then took a train to Budapest, staying at the Marriott. We took taxis to the boat's launch area, across the river from our hotel. Check in was smooth and right from the start we knew it was a first-class experience. First impressions are so important! Staterooms were, as we expected, not roomy but they were comfortable and the French Balcony with its full sized windows always gave a sense of spaciousness. Even the single room, which is quite a bit smaller than the regular rooms, was fine. AMA provides a walking tour of each port, with options for slow walkers and faster walkers. The one person in our group who has pretty severe mobility problems had trouble with even the gentle options. The towns just aren't set up for people who can't go up and down stairs very well. The boat has a small elevator, but it doesn't go up to the Sun Deck, so that's a limitation for anyone who can't do stairs, too. The thing I take away from me most from this cruise was the absolute professionalism of the staff. If there was a small problem at a meal (once the quiche wasn't hot) they were on top of it right away and came back several times to see if everything else was correctly prepared. One couple asked the hotel manager and food manager for a favor which they were able to accomplish. It meant a lot, and they both really went the extra mile. The Cruise Director on this line will make or break the entire experience. Our cruise director was Roland and he was amazing. We bought a transfer to Prague for the end of the cruise since it seemed much the easiest way to get there, and included a stop in Karlovy Vary, which we wanted to see. In Prague, we stayed at the Marriott which was across the street from the Hilton Old Town, the hotel AMA uses, so that couldn't have been more convenient. We are already looking to book our next AMA cruise -- a first-class experience in every way. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
My husband & I had a wonderful time on this cruise! We're burned out on ocean cruising - too crowded, too cheesy, that feeling that they're trying to make money off of you at every turn. The Amalyra was wonderful. ... Read More
My husband & I had a wonderful time on this cruise! We're burned out on ocean cruising - too crowded, too cheesy, that feeling that they're trying to make money off of you at every turn. The Amalyra was wonderful. Small beautiful ship (only about 150 passengers). All the staff were friendly, professional, and gracious. Food was excellent. Wine was better than expected - some was really good. Ports were beautiful, and tours were excellent. I'd never gone through locks before, and found them fascinating. Our cruise was from Budapest to Nuremberg. The ship had about 20 bikes on board that you could use, so after our tour of Vienna, we took a couple & rode through the city - highly recommend that - it's very bicycle-friendly with good bike paths. We also went on a group bike ride from Durnstein to Melk (Austria) - about 3 hours. Not too difficult (except 1 hill!). Gorgeous scenery. Days were pretty full with tours, etc. - something for everyone - more active & less active. Took a couple extra days in Budapest before the cruise started - great city! And stayed an extra day in Nuremberg. Our fellow passengers were from all over the globe, and mostly very nice. Age group was mainly 40-50-ish, but younger & older, too. No children. People we met at all the stops were nice, too. Tour guides were friendly & knowledgeable. This was a comfortable, classy cruise, without all the hoopla. If you want rock-climbing walls, bowling alleys, & rowdy partiers, this is not for you. If you want an interesting, relaxing, and active trip - this is it. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
I just got back from the AmaDolce, 7 night Danube cruise from Budapest to Nurmberg. After 33 ocean cruises, it was time to experience the wonders of River Cruising in Europe. As a travel agent, people look to me for my expertise, and I ... Read More
I just got back from the AmaDolce, 7 night Danube cruise from Budapest to Nurmberg. After 33 ocean cruises, it was time to experience the wonders of River Cruising in Europe. As a travel agent, people look to me for my expertise, and I needed to experience this, so I could sell it to my clients. We flew in a day early (something we always recommend to our flying customers) and enjoyed the hillside Buda part of the city. The next day, we checked into the beautiful AmaDolce ship to begin our voyage. Even though we flew in early, our luggage was still lost for several days, but it is so nice to get into the city a day early so you can get a chance to catch your breath before beginning your journey. It also allows a little wiggle room in case you have flight delays, etc. Instead of including all the details about the trip and the port stops, etc, I have decided to critique the ship and river cruising in general, and to explain the differences that made this trip stand out so much above the rest. First of all, instead of thousands of passengers, this ship holds just over 120 passengers. The crew knew us by name, recognized us when they saw us, smiled and greeted us each time they could catch our eye contact, and treated us like a guest in their home. They were always pleasant, friendly, smiling and had the gift of service The things that stood out most are: The steaming hot towels waiting for us as we boarded the ship after an excursion The complimentary (and good quality) wine included with dinner The complimentary shore excursions, with terrific, local guides who love their cities. The complimentary head sets to use on the excursions, so you could hear the guide without having to be right next to him/her. This allowed us to stay close, yet take a few steps away to make pictures, etc. The extra complimentary drinks they threw in as surprises, like Gluwein (hot wine served during the cold months) when you came back from a shore excursion, the blue cocktail (champagne & blue curaso) when we passed the European Continental Divide, the welcome champagne toast with the captain, the farewell champagne toast with all the staff, more Gluwein after each excursion, The complimentary bottled water in the cabin (which was replenished each day). The coffee station which provided 24 hour complimentary coffees, espresso, lattes and more, with a simple push of the button The relatively low cost of drinks purchased at the bar during non-dinner hours. The plush bathrobes and slippers in each cabin. The FREE internet, which was sometimes slow when we were in the locks, but definitely fast most other times (they included an "internet forecast" in the daily planner, so you could plan when to get online for fastest service). The fact that our flight home was not till 4:30pm and they let us stay on board the ship and enjoy the lounge area, including light lunch buffet until our cab came to pick us up at the ship about 1:30. The delicious food. Portions were smaller than in America, but they were large enough. We could not finish the plate each night. Breakfast and lunch had a buffet for quick service, and we could order additional items from the menu from our smiling server. Dinner had 3 fantastic daily special choices, a chef's suggested menu, and a few standard items that were available anytime. Not once in the whole week did we have to ask for a glass to be refilled before someone offered to refill it for us Our luggage was lost in transit and the Cruise Manager personally tracked our luggage each day and kept us informed as to his efforts and findings. He kept looking until he found all the bags and gave us an estimate of when each one would arrive at the ship. I spoke to several passengers about their current and previous experience with AmaWaterways and how it compared to other river cruises, and each one I spoke to said that this was the best cruise line for River Cruises. I spoke to several travel agents on board, and most of them agreed that AmaWaterways was the top of the line. Several agents commented that they would only book clients onto AmaWaterways because of their terrific product. I believe Cruising in general is THE BEST way to see the world. You unpack only once and you get to see several different ports of call. I can only imagine if we traveled from city to city any other way, and had to pack and unpack our bags each time we pulled into a new city and a new hotel. What a waste of time that would be, and the stress of keeping up with it all. My week on AmaWaterways on the beautiful AmaDolce was incredible. I will definitely recommend this to my clients and also will take this line again and again, as I explore more rivers. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Our first river cruise on the delightful AmaWaterways "AmaCerto" from Budapest to Vilshofen on the Danube river was a wonderful, memorable experience. We thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the cruise and the add-ons in ... Read More
Our first river cruise on the delightful AmaWaterways "AmaCerto" from Budapest to Vilshofen on the Danube river was a wonderful, memorable experience. We thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the cruise and the add-ons in Munich, Budapest and Prague, all uniquely beautiful and interesting cities. The boat itself was lovely. Brand new (this was only AmaCerto's fifth cruise), the vessel was clean, well laid out and stylishly furbished. Cabins are understandably a bit smaller than on the bigger ships but had quite sufficient storage space. The only minor criticism is with the strange triangular lay out of the minute shower that makes it difficult to do anything but get wet when in the confined space! We had a cabin with a french door configuration. The more costly cabins have both a french door and a full balcony. Interestingly, we did not miss a balcony at all. With the french door open it was just as if one was sitting on a balcony in any event and frankly, the extra cost of the balcony on a river boat seems to be an unwarranted expense as they are unusable for much of the time particularly when docked. As is typical of all river cruises, the boats tend to dock in stacked fashion adjacent to each other so, unless one is an inveterate voyeur who delights in staring into the cabin windows of the adjacent boat, it is advisable to keep ones curtains drawn! However, the balcony class cabins are probably about 20% bigger so perhaps the extra space justifies the additional cost. It is difficult to find fault with the Amawaterways brand. The almost all inclusive nature of the river cruise experience makes it a compelling option. Three plus meals a day with gourmet style dinners often featuring regional specialties, unlimited free bottled water, unlimited wines and beers at dinner ( generally quite quaffable but occasionally of questionable provenance!), included guided tours in each destination with excellent, knowledgeable local guides, welcome and farewell drinks with the Captain together with some unexpected "extras" such as a visit to a regional wine bar in Venice, a "beer fest" organised free by the Town Council of Vilshofen especially for Amawaterways, and the occasional free drink offered at lunch, can all be added to the plus side of the balance sheet. However,we found the overall experience to be somewhat restrictive, especially with the lack of any real alternative dining options on board. Having to take almost all meals in only one dining venue becomes somewhat tedious. The AmaCerto has a main dining room used for breakfast, lunch and dinner capable of seating all guests at one sitting. The only alternate dining venue is a small 20 seater speciality restaurant open only for reserved dinner to which each guest is only entitled to make a reservation once per seven night cruise to give all guests the opportunity to experience the excellent speciality menu. Apart from these a limited snack lunch is served in the bar/lounge area daily. Surprisingly, no use was made of the top sun deck for al fresco dining despite the weather being pretty good on a number of days during the cruise. Serving a limited menu such as brockwurst rolls and salads on the sundeck could make a delightful alternative luncheon option while slowly cruising through the beautiful surrounds of Central Europe. We have usually found that an ocean cruise of between 12 to 15 days to be just about right. However, because of the number of towns and cities visited in such a concentrated period (sometimes as many as three different destinations in a single day), we found the seven night river cruise to be about optimal - anything longer could have been too hectic and tiring. Destinations visited were all worthwhile and interesting. In each port an included tour was offered - normally a walking tour, sometimes a coach tour and on some occasions a combination of both. Local English speaking tour guides were knowledgeable and universally excellent. Interestingly, walking tours are split into gentle and active walker groups to enable passengers with mobility difficulties to tour at a more gentle pace while not limiting the needs and sight-seeing expectations of the more active guest. There was even a tour group that catered for the late risers! All guests are issued with an audio headset to make it easier to follow the commentary the commentary of the tour guide - especially useful on walking tours. Only three optional tours were not included in the tour price, all in Vienna. The one we went to was the obligatory Mozart/Strauss concert which was enjoyable if perhaps overrated. Other optional tours (all by coach) - a choice between a visit to the beautiful city of Salzburg, or to the picturesque Grumden Lake district or the historic UNESCO protected Czech village of Cesky Krumlov, were included at no extra cost. Entertainment options on board a vessel the size of a river boat are obviously limited. An excellent resident pianist delighted guests with his unobtrusive melodies most afternoons and evenings while on a number of occasions regional dancers or musicians were brought on board to entertain guests in the lounge/bar area. On one evening in Vienna an included visit to a local "Heuringer" (wine tavern) was organised where guests enjoyed an evening of wine and music. We are pleased we added short stays in Munich and Budapest before the cruise and are very happy we chose an AmaWaterways Prague add-on option. All three cities are just so full of culture. The history, art work, statues, monuments, music, majestic and historic old buildings of old Europe are absolutely awesome. We took organised tours in all cities but probably most enjoyed just ambling around on our own soaking in the ambience, history and culture of these delightful gems of central Europe. Have we been converted to river cruising? As indicated, we found the experience to be bit too limiting. However the wife seems to be far more enthralled with the river boat option so we could be in for some interesting negotiations when we start to plan our next adventure after we complete an Oz/New Zealand cruise next year that has already been scheduled! Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
This was our first River Cruise and it will not be the last with AMA. From start to finish it exceeded our expectations. This review really has to be done in two parts, the ship and then the ports of call. The ship and crew is easy, it ... Read More
This was our first River Cruise and it will not be the last with AMA. From start to finish it exceeded our expectations. This review really has to be done in two parts, the ship and then the ports of call. The ship and crew is easy, it was outstanding. Everything and everyone was top notch. The staff could not do enough for you. The food, from the morning breakfast buffet to the dinner was delightful. Our Cruise Directer, Sebastian, was everywhere,doing anything he could to make things better. At times we thought he had to have a twin, he was doing so much. On board the one man band and singer entertained each evening, and local performers were brought on board to share the regional music and dance with us. The ship is well maintained, clean and warm. Each cabin has it own TV and wifi center. When the system failed a technician was flown in to correct it. We began our trip with an optional start in Vienna for two days.We also took the extension at the end to Istanbul. Both were wonderful. We think this route would be preferable to the reverse. The excitement of Istanbul was a wonderful ending to the trip. The other ports of call were not ones that you would normally think of going to. That being said the local guides were of such good quality they made them all interesting and worthwhile. We were always in small groups, with individual ear sets to hear the guide. The ship had about 140 guest and a crew of 42 ... which made it easy to meet and mingle with almost everyone. This is truly an all inclusive trip. You are not nickeled and dim-ed to death. From the simple thing of always having bottles of FREE water available to surprising the women with a rose at the first dinner, or paying the small fee for toilets on a tour and making a donation for our visit to a Mosque. Tipping was additional for the crew and tour guides. We ended our tour in Istanbul and were housed at The Ritz-Carlton. A little service they provided was almost expected after the attention provided by AMA. When we called for a 2 am wake up call the operator offered us free complimentary coffee at 2:10 am. What more could you want. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
Well I could tell you so much but will try and keep it relevant to the AmaCerto and the route we took. We did the Blue Danube Discovery from Budapest to Nuremburg but as we are from the UK we made our own travel arrangements so did not ... Read More
Well I could tell you so much but will try and keep it relevant to the AmaCerto and the route we took. We did the Blue Danube Discovery from Budapest to Nuremburg but as we are from the UK we made our own travel arrangements so did not stay in Budapest or do the Prague extension. Arrival / Check In Very smooth, members of the crew met our taxi and took our luggage straight to our cabin. At check in they provide you with plenty of reading material so that they don't have to blind you will all the details at once. This gives you chance to go through the schedule, how things works, times, payment etc. They asked you to lodge a credit card with reception but as we were paying cash they didn't require one. They do not however take Mastercard Travellers Cash Passport cards it has to be a card with your name on it. Cabins Our cabin was 206 on the middle Violin deck. We had a sliding French balcony and a walk on traditional balcony which most cabins on the middle and top decks have. The French balcony is more than enough and all of the cabins were much the same except the staterooms which had a bath tub as well as a shower. Beds were very comfortable and plenty of wardrobe space, shelves and under bed storage. Rooms have fridges with bottle water replenished daily. Bathrooms have a large cabinet and the shower is superb with plenty of room. Bathrooms are not dark as they have a window in them which you can make clear/opaque using the light switch. Seems strange at first but you appreciate the light which is missing in most hotel bathrooms. We were able to lie in bed and open the balcony doors and watch the world go by. Our cabin steward was a delight and was never very far away to attend to anything we needed. Plenty of sockets to charge phones, ipads etc. Wifi worked in our cabin as well as the TV (mainly news channels for English speakers) and channel 1 gave you a front camera view as well as access to public announcements. Each cabin has 2 umbrellas which came in use on one of our trips. Public Areas This is predominantly the main lounge and the restaurant below. Talks, receptions all take place in the lounge. There were always biscuits, fruit, water and iced tea available along with a coffee/tea machine 24 hours a day. An early risers breakfast (6.30-7.30am) is served as well as a late risers breakfast (9.30-10.30) in the lounge. Between 7.30-9.30 main breakfast is served in the restaurant. The lounge leads out onto a covered deck and provide access up to the sun deck. The restaurant is made up of tables for 4, 6 and 8 people with two private dining areas for 8 people. You can sit where you like but staff will always escort you and seat you if required. After a couple of days people have made friends with most of the passengers and it is great to sit with different people. The sun deck provides a pool (fresh towels provided), a giant chess game, sun loungers, sun shades, a walking track, a lower chill put area with comfy seats and sofas with cushions. The pool was very warm and it was great to sit on the submerged bar stools with a cocktail. Sometimes the sun deck is out of bounds as everything folds down (including the bridge) to navigate low bridges. The lower deck with the sofas is always available though. The chefs table restaurant at the rear provides a great view of the river and had a great atmosphere. There is a set menu with a choice of two entrees. You should book this restaurant as soon as you arrive as we embarked at 2pm on the first day and already there were 3 days that were fully booked. Excursions These were well organised and you are given a sign up sheet on arrival so that you can make a choice as some excursions are run simultaneously. Each excursion was made up of different groups identified by colours depending on ability. You collected a coloured card and a boarding pass each time you leave the ship and your guide is the one with the corresponding AmaCerto wooden paddle. The guides were very good, knowledgeable and funny. They provided you with an overview for about an hour to an hour and a half and then let you go for some free time. I would definitely recommend these guides just to get your bearings. In Vienna, Mel and Nuremburg buses were provided, the rest of the time you can walk directly off of the ship. We didn't get to stop at Linz, only to let the Salzburg excursion off at 8am and we then continued to Passau and I believe if you travel the other way you miss out Passau. Highlight of the excursions was the bike ride from Durnstein to Melk. Such a fun day, all flat along the riverside cycle path with such beautiful scenery. You actually ride faster than the ship and there was quite a bit of banter and words of encouragement being shouted from the sun deck from those not brave enough to join us. Food The food was never ending and of a high quality from the 7 chefs on board. With a huge buffet for breakfast and the option on a light lunch in the lounge or sit down in the restaurant as well as at least 5 courses each evening and we NEVER went hungry. It was great to try the different regional wines and dishes as well as the various demonstrations on how to make apple strudel by the pastry chef and the Bavarian sausage morning. There was always a fish and a vegetarian option as well as the main beef or lamb dish. If you didn't want any of those they had their standing order menu where you could order something plain such as salmon, steak or burgers or convert anything to a main course salad. The last evening was 7 courses and had a real party atmosphere with all the waiters dressed in black tie and tails. Don't forget to tell them if you have a birthday or anniversary as they celebrate with a cake and indoor fireworks with everyone celebrating. Disembarking This is very well organised. Depending on whether you are going on to the Prague/Budapest extension or have made your own arrangements you are given a coloured luggage tag and asked to leave your luggage outside of your cabin at your assigned time. Your luggage is then transferred to your bus or to the quayside ready for you to disembark. If you need a taxi then there is a sign up sheet in reception and they arrange it for you. General Comments On the whole we couldn't fault it, we made some wonderful memories and met some truly fantastic people. As the only English couple on board we were made to feel very welcome internationally and made some lovely American and Canadian friends. We would have liked to have spent a bit longer in some ports but it gave us a great snap shot of places that we will perhaps return to. There was a lot more sailing than I have expected, I think I imagined sailing all night and arriving at the next destination by morning but some days we sailed at 6pm and didn't arrive until 2pm the next day. I think the bike riders should have set off a bit earlier and had lunch ashore as we were pushed by this very forceful cycle guide who does the route every day to reach the ship in time to meet the bus to travel up the abbey in Melk. If they had let us leave around 11am then we could have cycled at a more leisurely rate but then again this could have been to an over enthusiastic guide. I am more than happy to answer any further questions you may have and we are now looking at booking a Rhine cruise for 2014! Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
We recently completed a 14 night trip to Europe, structured around a 7 night sailing on AmaCerto from Budapest to Nuremberg. This was our 6th river cruise and our favorite so far. As much as we enjoyed our cruise on AmaDante last year, ... Read More
We recently completed a 14 night trip to Europe, structured around a 7 night sailing on AmaCerto from Budapest to Nuremberg. This was our 6th river cruise and our favorite so far. As much as we enjoyed our cruise on AmaDante last year, AmaCerto managed to top even that experience. More on that shortly. We arrived in Frankfurt on a Sunday and decided to overnight in Mainz, due to a schedule change by Lufthansa that created a 6 hour layover. We stayed at the Hilton Mainz and very much enjoyed the town and the hotel. Early the next day we flew from Frankfurt to Budapest and checked into our home for 3 days, Marriott Millennium Court Apartments. We were very pleased with our choice as the hotel was perfectly located and the apartments spacious and well appointed, as well as an excellent value. We explored the city the first day and had a casual and tasty dinner that evening at Vapiano, a favorite of ours in Europe for fresh and reasonable fare when we are not in the mood for a sit down dinner. Early the next morning we met our guide, Andrea MkKay, and spent a very enjoyable morning exploring the city. Andrea is very good and I recommend her for those looking for a private guide. Our tour helped us get the lay of the land and we had her drop us at the central market, where we had a forgettable lunch and spent about an hour, picking up a few things to take back to the apartment. We also stopped in at two of the famous public baths of Budapest as we were very curious and wanted to make a decision as to whether we would return. That afternoon we spent at the Christmas markets, which we found to be of very good quality compared to many locations in Europe we have visited. Dinner was at Cafe Bouchon, which was outstanding and reasonable. The next day we started off with a visit to the Terror Museum, which we all found both moving and educational. For any with an interest in how Hungary and its people were affected by the war (we found this insightful as to the overall personalities and temperament of today's residents) I recommend visiting this museum. We made our way back to our hotel and had a snack at the markets. Then, four of us walked to Magnolia Day Spa and enjoyed several hours at this lovely spa. It is a great value as well as a luxurious experience and the cost is so much less than at home. Later that afternoon, we did laundry at the hotel (such a convenience) and then walked the riverfront, enjoying the views as the lights came on around the city. I think that Budapest is at its best in the evenings, when the buildings along the river are truly spectacular. Dinner that evening was at Bottega la Famiglia and was very good. This place was hard to find but worth the effort. We opted out of the Marriott breakfast and enjoyed the lovely, small cafe across the street for a light breakfast each day. The last morning we walked over the Charles Bridge and took the funicular up to the castle to explore the area. We had visited briefly during our tour but wanted to spend more time there and were pleased that we did. We stopped at a place that was supposedly famous for strudel but the consensus among those who indulged was that it was quite average and not worth the calories. We also visited the Hilton while in the area which is a lovely hotel, but too isolated for our tastes. We were very happy that we had chosen to stay instead at the apartments. We headed back and packed our bags and walked to the boat for embarkation. It was about a 10 minute walk and some of our group opted instead for a taxi as they had more luggage. We boarded the AmaCerto and were immediately dazzled - she is gorgeous! The design is eclectic and mostly contemporary, with rich fabrics and a surprising mix of colors and textures in the public areas that worked perfectly together. The small library with its gas logs was cozy but could benefit from glass partitions separating it from the main lounge, as it was not always as quiet and cozy as it appeared, depending on what was happening in the main lounge. Our group had 6 cabins in various categories, ranging from the cheapest Aquarium Class to the truly lovely AA twin balcony. That room was spacious, well laid out and the bathroom was the nicest I have seen on a river boat. There was lots of natural light, enhanced by the use of light colors and rich fabrics. Our friends in Category E were thrilled with their room, which was quite spacious and very comfortable. We explored the ship, unpacked and then got ready for the welcome aboard talk and cocktail party. We quickly got to know the excellent lounge staff, including Tamas and Ivo. Dinner that evening set the standard for more to come. The food on AmaCerto was very good to excellent. Dinner was an event and we received consistently excellent service. Special mention to Bogdan (aka Beau) and Ivo, who were our waiters each evening as we sought out their stations. Our only dinner disappointment was the evening in Vienna. I had called AMA prior to the cruise to find out if dinner was going to be earlier due to the optional excursion in the evening. I was assured that those of us not going to the concert would be able to have dinner at the usual time so we did not reserve to have dinner in Vienna. The reality was that dinner was at 5:30, which is far too early in my opinion. This has happened to us on two lines now that stopped in Vienna and I personally feel that there should be an option for those of us opting out of the optional concert and preferring not to have dinner at such an early hour. Had I been given accurate information, we would have planned dinner out at a restaurant but with a larger group, it was not practical to make last minute plans. The specialty restaurant was a truly 5 star experience. Food and service were top notch and it was a highlight of the cruise for all of us. Breakfast and lunch were very good as well. The omelet station was new enhancement that many in our group enjoyed (thank you, Adrian, the "Omelet Whisperer") and most lunches offered a specialty hot food station as well. We really enjoyed the curry and pasta stations. Included wines were mostly good and always plentiful. Drink prices were fair and selection good. It would be nice to see an expanded selection of wines by the bottle, which is how we prefer to order. Csaba, our Cruise Manager, was young, personable, and very good. He had a great personality, endless patience and was always accessible. The entire staff of AmaCerto was wonderful. Veli, our room attendant, was excellent. The dining staffs hailed from many areas but were uniformly warm and professional. Angela and Alex at reception were always available to help. The head chef, Gino, was very visible and friendly and his staff put out exceptional meals on a consistent basis. The Captain and his crew were also very visible and professional and ran a tight ship. The crew was the best we have experienced on the river so far and that says a lot, as we were so impressed by the crew on our last AMA cruise. Entertainment was very good. Matthias, the house pianist, had a good selection of music and also acted as DJ. Many nights there were people on the dance floor until well past midnight. The 60s party was a blast and the cruise staff that participated ensured that all had a great time. We enjoyed local acts included La Strada (different members from last year), the Aphrodites, and a female vocalist on the last night was excellent. Port talks were information and not bland as we have experienced on some other river boats. In room infotainment system offered free internet and a good selection of movies. Laundry service was reasonable and very good. The demographic on our cruise was quite young, with about half of the guests under 50 and a good percentage under 40. No kids or teens. For us, this was really a perfect mix as things were lively and fun, something we have not always experienced on other lines. We did several of the included excursions, opting for the "Active Walker" pace, which was just right for us. Bike tours had good participation and the bikes also got taken out by a good number of guests to use on their own. We most enjoyed Nuremberg and Regensburg this trip, and felt that time was too short in both. We enjoyed the tour least in Vienna, where we opted for the "Hidden Secrets" tour and had a guide that could not operate the equipment properly, making her difficult to follow. We joined Csaba that evening for a visit to the opening of the main Christmas market, which was a mob scene but fun anyway. At Durnstein, several in our group walked all the way to the top of the castle and enjoyed spectacular views. I found the port to be too touristy for my tastes with not enough to do. Other stops included Melk, where we explored the quaint town center as we had previously visited the abbey, and Linz, where we did a DIY day in Salzburg, which was sunny and pretty. In the evening, we walked through Passau on our way back to the boat. This is a lovely town and we would have preferred more time there than stopping in Durnstein, which caters primarily to tourists. At the end of our cruise, we headed to Prague on our own, using a private transfer with Prague Airport Transfers. That was the only disastrous part of the entire trip, as they sent a vehicle very much under sized for our group, even though I specifically advised them of the exact number of people and bags. We were forced to sit with luggage around and on top of us, which was not only unsafe but also far less than comfortable. This was compounded by the first snow storm of the season and a highway accident that resulted in a three hour delay where we sat still on the highway in the snow. Next time I will go with my instincts and stick with DB public bus, as we would have had much more room as well as a bathroom, a necessity when you are driving for almost 8 hours. In Prague we stayed at the lovely Barcelo Old Town Praha, a small hotel ideally located. Rooms and staff were both very good and we would definitely stay here again, much preferring it to the Hilton Prague where we stayed previously. In Prague, we had an excellent day with Andrea Rezníckov' [Andrejka2002@seznam.cz] and the afternoon with Jana. I highly recommend this for Prague, as there is so much beneath the surface to understand. We had two great dinners in Prague; one at Ambiente Pasta Fresca and the other at Cszenka, a sister restaurant. Our meal at Vino il Vino was disappointing and quite average. All in all, this was one of best trips ever and the wonderful staff and crew of AmaCerto had a lot to do with this. This cruise will be a tough act to follow. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
Our first river cruise turned into a bus trip. Fortunately we were booked with AMAwaterways, a first class company. The team on the AMAprima and AMAwaterways moved mountains to make our cruise the best experience possible in spite of ... Read More
Our first river cruise turned into a bus trip. Fortunately we were booked with AMAwaterways, a first class company. The team on the AMAprima and AMAwaterways moved mountains to make our cruise the best experience possible in spite of floods and cold weather. The ship is brand new and is very well laid out with two beautiful dining spaces and a large lounge. The staff in the dining room was very friendly and many knew us by the third day on the ship. The service was excellent. The cabin decor was very tasteful and the shower was great as was the bed. The French balcony was private and very well designed. There was always an AMAwaterways representative in the lobby of our two hotels (Prague and Budapest). Our guides were typically excellent and we loved the QuietEar head sets so we could always hear the guide. When floods prevented the ship from continuing on the Danube, our amazing cruise director managed to reschedule on the fly and find guides and buses to allow us to follow our itinerary. We were booked into a 5-star hotel in Budapest and arrangements were made for all our meals and tours. Any of the ports that we could not visit because of the floods were covered by bus trips. We would highly recommend AMAwaterways and would travel with them again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
We took a Danube river cruise on AmaWaterways ship AmaLyra in early June. We arrived in Budapest on the day the Danube crested during the worst floods in 500 years. Nothing was moving on the river, and on the day of departure the AmaLyra ... Read More
We took a Danube river cruise on AmaWaterways ship AmaLyra in early June. We arrived in Budapest on the day the Danube crested during the worst floods in 500 years. Nothing was moving on the river, and on the day of departure the AmaLyra was marooned several hundred miles away on the wrong side of the Rhine-Danube canal. Our extraordinary cruise manager and the company made herculean efforts to keep us informed of alternative arrangements; we went to Bratislava by bus and were accommodated in a very comfortable Sheraton, so the Bratislava tour went off as scheduled. Then another bus to Vienna, and on to Ybbs, where we picked up the company's newest ship, the AmaPrima. Three glorious days on the AmaPrima took us to Wesenhufer, where we were again bused to Passau, then Regensburg, where we got on the AmaLyra at last for the last three days to Nuremburg. The company thought of everything; when we were unable to eat lunch on board (because there was no ship!) every passenger was given a substantial cash allowance for lunch. And the additional packing-and-unpacking chores were handled cheerfully by the crews of both ships. Staterooms were spotless, the food first class on both ships; and every crew mamber went out of his/her way to make the cruise a great experience for the passengers. On top of everything else, AmaWaterways gave every passenger a substantial credit - good towards any cruise through 2016 - for the 2 days that were missed on shipboard. Altogether a first class experience! Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
We just returned from one of the most enjoyable vacations we have ever taken. It combined an AMA Waterways Danube cruise with a pre-stay in Budapest and a post-stay in Prague (both pre-stays booked on our own). The itinerary was a little ... Read More
We just returned from one of the most enjoyable vacations we have ever taken. It combined an AMA Waterways Danube cruise with a pre-stay in Budapest and a post-stay in Prague (both pre-stays booked on our own). The itinerary was a little exhausting but thoroughly enchanting. More on those stays in a bit but I'll focus on the cruise portion first. To preface the review, we consider ourselves "veteran cruisers" having taken about 15 trips (I've lost count!) with Princess, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, NCL, and Carnival. Itineraries have included both the Caribbean and Mediterranean. We had wanted to take a river cruise for a couple of years but were held back by the cost (both cruise and airfare) and the concern that river cruises were only for seniors (we're in our 50's). Once we decided to take the plunge, I began to research cruises via Cruise Critic and Trip Advisor. It became quickly apparent that river cruise reviews are few and far between. Especially for newer ships. Therefore I was determined to post this review as soon as we returned. For those who don't want to read the entire review, I'll simply say that our experience was excellent and AMA Waterways is a first rate cruise line. We absolutely would sail with them again. And more specifically, the AMA Prima is a beautiful river ship with a crew that is second to none. From the moment we first approached the ship to the final farewells (including hugs), they worked tirelessly to provide a first-class experience for every guest. From the outside the AMA Prima is attractive, though after seeing many cruise ships on the river, none of them will win a unique design award. The limitations imposed by low bridges and locks pretty much dictate a low, squat profile--very different from the big cruise ocean liners. AMA Prima is a little different in that the bridge (or wheelhouse) is large and modern-looking. When needed, it hydraulically lowers almost flush with the top deck. The top deck also includes a small pool--just enough for a dip to cool off on hot days. One interesting treatment was the deck floor covering. While most ships we saw had bright blue or gray indoor/outdoor carpet, the AMA Prima has a brown carpet with stripes that makes it look somewhat like teak flooring on ocean liners. The outdoor furniture was either cushioned wicker or teak deck chairs. The overall effect was contemporary and upscale. Once inside, the ship's beauty became instantly apparent. Materials were higher end and it felt like an upscale hotel. Off of the lobby/front desk was a very large lounge with a variety of comfortable (and colorful) seating groupings, a dance floor and piano, a bar plus a breakfast/snack area and separate coffee station. In one side area they had electric fireplaces and a small library--likely a great spot on a winter's day/Christmas market cruise. On the deck below the lounge was an attractive dining room. The rest of the ship was mostly cabins and crew areas with a few exceptions. A small exercise room, beauty salon and in the very rear, a 20+ person restaurant were aft. As a point of comparison, we had the opportunity to go through one of the new Viking ships on the way to our ship. While it looked very nice and had a larger lobby, the decor seemed rather stark, modern and monotone compared to the AMA Prima. Our cabin was in steerage (as one of our traveling companions called it). Located on the lowest deck, the cabin was very nice and had two small windows just above the waterline. While we missed having a balcony (those cabins were sold out when we booked), I have to admit that I was happy we did not spend the extra money on one. As other reviews have mentioned, often the ship is docked next to other ships making them unuseable, and the fact that you are on the go so much, I think we would have made little use of it. Plus the seating areas on the top deck are so comfortable and offer a panoramic view not available on a balcony. The cabin layout was a little tight compared to large cruise liners but is so well designed that almost everything fit without a problem. The only complaint would be in the bathroom. Storage is very tight and an extra shelf would help to hold toiletries. Despite that, the bathroom is like the rest of the ship...well done with upscale materials. Floors and shower were marble (or a faux marble tile).The shower was fantastic. It is angled and has real sliding glass doors (no more sticking/blowing shower curtain!). It offers a choice of rainshower or handheld shower heads. Countertops in both bath and cabin vanity were stone. One very slick feature was the closet clothes rod. Instead of an overhead light, the rod has a strip of LEDs built in the rod that downlights the clothes hanging below. The same feature is used on some of the stair railings elsewhere in the ship. Another interesting (and convenient) feature was the cabin door lock. A simple touch of the key card to the handle unlocked the door. We found the beds and duvets to be very comfortable despite a few reviews that said AMA's beds were on the hard side. Room service was impeccable, with twice a day cleaning and restocking. Meals were near gourmet (at least for us) and they tried to use local recipes/favorites for all of the dinners. Overall I felt the food was superior to normal cruise ship dining. We did eat one evening in the Erlenebis specialty restaurant. It was a fun experience and a great way to meet fellow passengers in an even more intimate setting. Service and food were great. I will say, however, that we thought the main dining room food and presentation were so nice that the specialty restaurant was really not needed. Service was very good in the main dining room at every meal. And AMA's free flowing wine and beer policy with meals is just that--free flowing. They are generous with the pours and glasses never went empty. While I am not a wine connoisseur, my wife and our friends "know their stuff" and found the quality of the wines to be very good. What really set the ship apart, however, was the crew. They were really outstanding. Most cruise ships have staff that are pleasant and polite, but to a person the AMA Prima's crew seemed to be genuinely happy to have us aboard. I'd guess there were only about 25 or so and they were all very friendly...from the head chef (Gino Guadagni) stopping me several times to ask how the meal was and truly interested in my reply... to the captain (Josef Olaj) saying hello all the time... to the cruise director (Reka Piros) who appeared to be on call about 20 hours a day and never lost her enthusiasm and infectious attitude. A little more on Reka. Obviously the cruise director tends to be the best known of any staff on a cruise ship. On a river ship the CD is even more visible because of the small number of passengers. Reka is the consumate cruise director. A real "people person", she was constantly on the go, whether it was introducing onboard entertainment, organizing tours or flagging down busses! Every conversation with her made you feel like you were an old friend. And her skills were certainly put to the test when the lock situation happened. She was wonderful at providing updates and reassuring us that they were working to guarantee that we had a great experience no matter what happened. Reka is one in a million and certainly helped make the cruise a memorable experience! Despite my initial concerns, the ship had a very nice mix of passengers (140+ in all)--most from the US and Canada, the rest from Australia, UK and a few from Europe/Japan. Ages ranged from about 12 (only one kid on the trip) to over 90. We had a group of about 18 guys from the US/Canada- all of whom were personable and a lot of fun- that booked through a gay travel agency. AMA's tours were well done and most of the guides were professional, well-prepared and entertaining. Tour busses were modern and spotless. The bike rides were great... bikes carried on board were in good shape and the crew was happy to adjust seats and handlebars to accommodate the various riders. We weren't sure what the difficulty level would be and were pleased to find that the rides were at a comfortable pace and not hard for the average rider. As for "glitches"...the only thing that happened was that for the last 3 days there was a lot of uncertainty as to whether we could reach Nuremberg on the ship. German lock keepers had gone on strike and they didn't know if they could make it through all of the locks we needed to pass. The situation changed hour by hour. As a result, we sailed faster in some spots. In the end we made it to about 45 minutes outside of Nuremberg. The ship docked at a stone/gravel yard and they provided buses to get us into the city and return for an overnight. We didn't get as much time in Nuremberg as planned due to a late bus arrival (I was disappointed). But on the good side, Reka offered to have us travel with ship extension passengers going to Prague on cruise line buses at no cost (it saved us over $500 collectively instead of traveling on the planned German Railways bus). They had an excursion planned to a spa town, Karlovy Vary, in the Czech Republic that we also were able to go on as we traveled to Prague. We enjoyed all of the stops, though Budapest was probably the highlight. The city suffered much destruction in the war yet they had rebuilt it exactly as before (also in Nuremberg and Prague). Absolutely beautiful public buildings, bridges, castle, etc. A very young city....lots of 20/30 somethings. One friend went to the mineral baths (the other 3 of us chickened out) and said it was a great experience. Many of the most impressive buildings are on the riverfront and they light them at night. As we sailed away, the captain did a riverfront cruise by. It was really spectacular, the whole city by the riverfront was golden light. If you haven't been there and get the chance, go! The rest of the places were all worth the visit. Probably the least charming was Bratislava, where you could really see the remnants of Soviet control and they are just catching up with many of the other cities. Had a great 18 mile bike ride in Austria right along the Danube, took a current-powered ferry across the river with the bikes and even stopped for a beer at a beer garden on the way. Vienna was huge and sprawling with so many beautiful buildings. Took a tour to Salzburg (inland from the river). The scenery was breathtaking. It is called the Lake district and is surrounded by mountains and lakes. People come from all over Europe to bike from town to town. We are all fans of the Sound of Music and on the trip to Salzburg stopped at the town where they filmed the wedding scene at the local church and had time in the church. In Salzburg itself we saw the gardens where they filmed several of the movie scenes in the Royal garden. Ate lunch in an old part of the cathedral. One of our friends and I took the bike ride to Valhalla. It is a place that looks like the Parthenon in Greece and is dedicated to famous Germans. It was 400 steps up the mountain to the summit (harder than the bike ride!!). In Nuremberg we did a WW II bus tour of the Nazi Zeppelin grounds where Hitler gave many party rally speeches. There is also a colossal building near it (never finished) that was to be his party congress hall. It is the only major Nazi building still remaining. Rode by the courthouse where the Nuremberg trials were held (closed on the day we were there). One final note, we booked our hotels in Budapest and Prague ourselves. In Budapest we chose the Continental Hotel Zara based on Trip Advisor reviews and great rates . We were not disappointed. The hotel is located in a large renovated building that had once been a mineral bath. Rooms were contemporary, clean and very pleasant. The hotel manager Zoltan Geher and I had corresponded beforehand via email and he made a point of sending us a bottle of wine in the room and coming to meet me before we left. I can highly recommend the hotel. While a little ways from the city center attractions, it is still within walking distance of the sights. In Prague we chose the Louren Hotel based on recommendations in Rick Steves "Prague" tourbook. Again a great choice. The Louren is a small (20 room) family-owned hotel. It had a charming lobby and bar/breakfast room. Our rooms were large, nicely decorated with new bathrooms and spotless. Best of all, the staff were very welcoming and helpful. Even to the point that when we asked for a recommendation to a local bakery to buy a birthday cake, they sent a chilled bottle of sparkling wine for our friend's birthday. While the hotel is a subway ride away from the city center, the metro station is close by and easy/cheap to ride. All in all, it was a wonderful trip and AMA provided a first-class experience. while we had initially considered Viking, I am very glad we chose AMA in the end. Our next river cruise will almost certainly be with AMA!   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
This was our first river cruise. What a great surprise. Cabins are well appointed but smaller than Ocean Cruises. You don't spend that much time in the cabin so the size is not that important. The Cleaning girls were fantastic and ... Read More
This was our first river cruise. What a great surprise. Cabins are well appointed but smaller than Ocean Cruises. You don't spend that much time in the cabin so the size is not that important. The Cleaning girls were fantastic and their towel art was a great delight The two cities of Buda and Pest were very different but the architecture and people were fantastic. We were in Budapest when they were celebrating St. Stephens day. Many stores were closed but the city was crowed with tourists having a great time. We were held for departure until a fantastic fireworks display was completed. Captain and Tour Director were very knowledgeable and made sure that we were on the proper excursion. The food was excellent. With only 148 passengers on board, we were able to meet almost everyone on board. The stops along the way were very educational and interesting. I am not a great walker, but they made sure I saw almost everything that my wife saw, except for the stores. Every port had great attractions. We wish we could have spent more time in Vienna. Prague must be seen. AMA gets a five star rating from us. Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
The August AMA Waterways Danube Discovery cruise aboard AmaLyra was underwhelming even though AMA Waterways is supposed to provide a higher end experience than its competition. The AmaLyra was built in 2009 & therefore does not have ... Read More
The August AMA Waterways Danube Discovery cruise aboard AmaLyra was underwhelming even though AMA Waterways is supposed to provide a higher end experience than its competition. The AmaLyra was built in 2009 & therefore does not have all the "bells & whistles” of more modern ships (e.g. it has French balconies which allow passengers to open a sliding door to the outside but not a true balcony which permits passengers to actually sit outside on a balcony). It carries fewer passengers (ca. 143) than most (ca. 160-190) of its competition. Cabins: Although there was plenty of closet & drawer space, mid priced cabin floor space felt somewhat cramped. The bathroom was remarkably spacious with a modern fully enclosed shower. Linens were high end. The bed was uncomfortably hard even with two duvets used for cushioning. There was good climate control & soundproofing. The TV, which provided entertainment & information, was small, ornery & navigation was not user friendly. The free internet/Wi-Fi in one’s room, & throughout the ship, was, to be kind, not state of the art. Capturing & maintaining a usable signal was frustratingly slow and not as reliable as it should have been even while docked in a reasonable large port city where one would have expected a better signal. And, at speeds of 9 mph the ship doesn’t cover huge swaths of geography that might account for such problems. River cruise ships often do not have their own berth in port. In nearly every port, 2-3 ships from the same cruise line tied up to one another. When nested in this manner, one had to walk across one or more ships in order to get to your ship. Depending upon where your ship is docked in the nest (outside or inside), cabins of different ships are across and within a few feet of one another privacy concerns requiring closed curtains and therefore no view and limited natural light. Public Space: When relaxing on deck was undesirable (too dark or weather issues), there was little interior quiet space. Other than a multi-purpose lounge (bar, entertainment, dance space &/or lecture hall), the one interior space that could have been used for reading was also used for games and socializing as well as adjoining a tiny fitness area with an extremely noisy fitness machine. Too often one’s cabin was the only place for quiet space. At those times, a true balcony was missed. Dining: Everyone was required to eat at the same time. Seating was comfortable and tables were well spaced. One did not have the feeling of being crowded as friends have described on other river cruise lines. Menu choices were much more limited than on ocean cruising. Food was generally mediocre with occasional flashes of "good.” We found at least one of the meal time wine offerings was good. Bar prices were on the high side. After some just adequate service, we discovered, & stayed with a waiter, who was excellent. Although tips were pooled, passengers were advised that it was acceptable to tip additionally. Waiters (and cabin attendants) understood what was required & behaved appropriately. With one or two exceptions, the entertainment brought onboard was forgettable. Unfortunately, the one man keyboard/vocalist who was supposed to provide in house music for dancing and general entertainment was musically challenged in addition to having some language issues. Ports: The slow pace of river cruising (about 9 mph) means that not much distance is covered in a 24 hour period. The ports are relatively close together and notwithstanding significant differences among them, one has a greater sense of homogeneity (architecture, food, general culture) compared to ocean cruising where ports are generally much farther apart exposing one to much greater diversity. Tours: Free bus or walking tours gave an overview of each port. The bus tours were mostly drive-by’s. Tour guides were knowledgable with lots of esoteric commentary & forgettable detail. Optional tours were limited and marginally interesting.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
We just cruised from Budapest to Vilshofen on board the relatively new ship Amacerto. By booking in March for an August vacation, we surely thought we would get a cabin with a balcony, but this popular cruise sold out fast, and we were ... Read More
We just cruised from Budapest to Vilshofen on board the relatively new ship Amacerto. By booking in March for an August vacation, we surely thought we would get a cabin with a balcony, but this popular cruise sold out fast, and we were sent down to the Piano deck where the cabin only has two windows. The cabin was small, very small. But there was everything we needed: Flat screen TV with free WiFi, a safe for our valuables, a fridge for the gin, ample wardrobe space, room under the bed for suitcases plus more storage, a tiny bathroom with the best shower we have ever had on any ship. Showering on a ship is usually like going into a closet with a wet dog who shakes itself, but this shower was a real rainshower that made you want to stay in there all day... The ship was lovely, clean and modern. But, the artificial flowers that decorate the lobby and outdoors need a lot of help. Get a designer, quick! The lounge was roomy, and the little library was nice and cozy with its fake fireplace. The dining room was intimate but with large windows to admire the landscape as we sailed by. The food was sometimes very good, sometimes good. The breakfast buffet was maybe more European than some Americans liked, but with food enough to choke a horse, there was always something for every taste. The waitstaff was always eager to please although some of them were not fully trained. The wines for lunch and dinner were simple, some of them very good, though. Included in the price were tours of the various cities we visited, and the ones we took, had wonderful guides and went at a comfortable pace. The entertainment was a bit skinny, but with so many stops and so much to see, who needed to be entertained anyway. All in all, the trip on the good boat Amacerto was a pleasure from beginning to end. And when an unlucky waiter spilled a little red wine on my pants one night, I was given a cleaning and pressing free of charge as fast as they could possibly manage it. Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
We had a wonderful time on this cruise. There was a problem with a lock between Budapest and Bratislava. We were notified of this prior to leaving home. We were bussed to Bratislava. We had a very knowledgeable guide on the bus and the ... Read More
We had a wonderful time on this cruise. There was a problem with a lock between Budapest and Bratislava. We were notified of this prior to leaving home. We were bussed to Bratislava. We had a very knowledgeable guide on the bus and the trip went smoothly. Our cabin had great storage space. We booked late and could only get a cabin on the lowest level. It was quite small, but fitted out nicely. There was a lot of good storage space. The bed was quite comfortable. I was concerned about the windows being small and located high in the wall, but it was fine. It also provided a small ledge where you could store things or put wet laundry on the ledge to get the sun and dry. There was no elevator service to this level, which was OK with us, but the stairs were narrow on one side, so traffic was pretty much one way, but it worked out. Crew were friendly and professional. Tours that we took were very informative and guides always had a good grasp of English. Our first night we were able to each in the specialty restaurant - it was wonderful. Entertainment was on board for three nights and each of them were fun and enjoyable. Food was good. All in all a wonderful experience. We will do a river cruise again and the first company we will research will be AMA Waterways. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We really enjoyed our Christmas Market Cruise on the Danube. We are planning to book for the Rhine Christmas Market Cruise next year as well. Our family of three (myself, husband and 12 year old son), found the cruise to be quite ... Read More
We really enjoyed our Christmas Market Cruise on the Danube. We are planning to book for the Rhine Christmas Market Cruise next year as well. Our family of three (myself, husband and 12 year old son), found the cruise to be quite enjoyable. We had a suite and a AA room diagonally across the hall for our son. The suite layout is different than in the brochure and online. This was a bit off-putting at first, but it ended up working out ok. There is less space in the living room area since they have made the balcony larger. This eliminates the sofa in the room. We did find that you really needed to use the bed for relaxing. The two small chairs in the entry were always in the way so we moved one to the desk area and the other by the bed in the corner. Our son's room had plenty of space. The rooms were quite comfortable and well maintained. We had a large bathtub in our bathroom, but we did not use it. The shower with multi shower heads was nice. We did participate in some of the tours (Melk, Budapest, part of Salzburg), but we found it much more fun when we went out on our own. The guides were all nice and knowledgeable, but sometimes as a family we like to see more or different things than what are offered. In Vienna, we took a carriage ride, shopped, and went to the Dremel chocolate place as well went to Schonbrun Palace. I get quite seasick on typical cruises. I had no issues with a river cruise. The cruise was highly relaxing, we loved reading and watching the world go by as we sailed up the Danube. The food was mostly very good. The standout for us was shepherd's pie for lunch. It was the best we'd ever tasted. Out omelets at breakfast were quite good. The only food complaint was that it is impossible to get a meal or a snack outside of tea, breakfast, lunch or dinner. There were times we weren't hungry for a big dinner, but knew if we got hungry later we would be out of luck. The bar should offer sandwiches or something simple with the drinks for a small cost. There are simple offerings at lunch and dinner in you don't like the set menu (minute steak, chicken sandwich, french fries, etc.). I would be nice if you could get those things outside of meal times for a fee. Our server was terrific. In fact, we loved all of the staff.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Ama Certo Christmas Markets - Danube River Cruise (November 2013) This was our first river cruise on AMA and it won’t be our last! We really lucked out choosing AMA. The cruise was basically faultless and we had a wonderful Christmas ... Read More
Ama Certo Christmas Markets - Danube River Cruise (November 2013) This was our first river cruise on AMA and it won’t be our last! We really lucked out choosing AMA. The cruise was basically faultless and we had a wonderful Christmas Cruise with 156 other passengers (ages 6 to 80) traveling from Budapest to Nuremberg with about 45 staff members. We met lots of great people (Peggy and Jim (Canada), Billy and Ruth-Ann (Canada/Florida), Bart and Carolyn (Virginia), Fred and Terry (Edith) (California), and Mervin and Judy (Canada)) are just a few of the great couples we met. Open dining with tables from 4 to 8 or 10 means you can be as sociable as you wish at mealtimes. The food is top quality. In particular, the dinners were superb. Afterwards we could relax in the lounge to piano music and other entertainment until about 10.30. Our cabin was really well designed with ample space. Linen and towels are changed after each use and like the entire ship it is kept immaculately clean. Our cabin was quiet and the heating worked well. Full height French doors, and full-size patio doors, and mirrors make it feel larger and it would be lovely to open the doors in the summer. The majority of passengers were from the USA and Canada, all spoke English. There were about 40 or so travel agents on the ship. Most seemed to well-travelled and interesting crowd and we all mixed and made new friends. The cruise was not cheap but so much was included in the price (including most of the shore excursions, quality wines with dinner and teas and coffees all day) that we spent little extra while we were away. Prices at the bar seemed fair to me; 6 euros for a good sized Martini. Embarkation Embarkation could not have been easier. We flew from Boston on Lufthansa via Frankfurt into Budapest 2 days early and stayed a short cab ride away from the ship. We checked out of our boutique hotel(http://www.gerloczy.hu/?Lang=en) at 11 and were quickly delivered to the ship. The taxi stopped a short distance away from the gangway (he could have been ticketed 100 Euros if he parked right at the gangway) and there were AMA staff there to take the luggage on board. We just walked on board and felt like royalty .We were able to board, give them our bags to hold, and then spent a bit of time in the lounge. We met the cruise director Monika before we headed out to see one of the local markets. We each purchased new hats in the markets as we quickly realized we had come un-prepared for the cold weather ahead of us. We returned to the ship around 2:15 and had to wait in the lounge until 3 at which time they call you in groups by cabin #’s. I think it took less than 15minutes to service everyone. They have you leave your passports (so they could make copies for immigration purposes) at the front desk, give you your room key and then escort you (white gloves) to your room. They asked that you pick up your passports the next day. They also ask for a credit card swipe if you plan to settle your on-board account with that card. To unlock your room door, all you need to do is hold the card next to the door lock and it unlocks. This is slightly different than most hotel cards in that you do not need to put it in a slot etc. This is great because you could keep it in your walled and just hold the wallet up to the door and it unlocked. ALWAYS remember to take your key. The Room (AA310) The AMA Certo is new (only about 1.5 years old) so the rooms and public areas were immaculate. We booked a large cabin which was about 235 square feet. That being said, the room was spacious and our outside balcony was big enough for two chairs, and a small table. We did not use the balcony as much as we would have if the sailing had been in the summer but it was still nice to have for those evening times to enjoy the sights before bed. Our room also had a small 2 chair sitting area in front of the French balcony with a small round table. The bed was comfortable but on the semi-hard side. There is a box on casters under one of the beds to store things which we didn’t use. There was plenty of room under the other bed for two full-size suit cases. There were small nightstands on either side of the bed both each with 2 drawer and lamp. There were small LED lamps for reading and not bothering your spouse/partner. There was a small alarm travel clock for your use. Overhead lighting and cornice lighting and the full wall of windows during the day allowed for a bright experience. Our cabin had one TV which is connected to a mouse and keyboard and worked well as a PC but can be used as a television. The television offerings were good with regular TV being CNN International, Sky News, BBC 1 as English stations. They also had a channel that showed the camera feed from the front of the ship. Made for great viewing, especially through the 28 or so locks!! This channel also transmitted the PA of the ship. You were not disturbed in your room by the general PA system. They also offered movies on-demand with 10-15 newer movies as well as a handful of classics. They also had music available through the TV. As for internet access, you need to keep in mind the technology for ground level moving vehicles can be difficult. There were many times when there were obstructions where the satellites are that prevented internet access and TV reception. This was especially true in locks and when going under bridges. There were a few times when everyone was getting frustrated by the lack of connectivity. We then remembered we were all on vacation and all needed to relax!! Additionally, the WiFi seemed to work better in the lounge and the restaurant than in our room. And in our room, it seemed to work better closer to the front of the ship than the back. Again, having appropriate expectations is the key. If you absolutely have to have access, your best bet is to make sure you have your own hot spot or some other arrangement. Otherwise, if you are a casual user that just checks e-mail and the weather, etc., what they have is fine. We were able to use our iPhones to access the web if we wanted to but we didn’t. Just remember to set up your calling plan so you can make/receive calls/texts overseas and turn off cellular data on your phone. If you are a casual user, you really shouldn’t need a separate international data plan because you can use the ships WiFi. Not turning your cellular data off and not having a data plan is where you could cost yourself hundreds of dollars in fees that you will not see until you get your next bill. The bathroom in our cabin was beautiful (and spotless) with granite and white marble everywhere with a good sized shower (the shower floor was a bit slippery and they didn’t have rubber mats (due to health cleanliness reasons)). Lighting was perfect! It did have both a rain shower head and a regular European shower head that you can take off the hook. It had a good sized sink and good counter/storage space. The toilet is actually like one on a plane. It flushes mostly using air compression. Also, the venting seemed to work real well so that steam and smells dissipated quickly. The amenities were first-class and always quickly restocked with shampoo, conditioner, body gel, lotion, soap, bath salts, shower caps, nail files, Q-tips and cotton etc. There was also hair dryer. There is this window between the bathroom and the bedroom/sitting area that is clear (you can look right into the bathroom) but we quickly found the switch that fogged up the window so you couldn’t see in. The room is tended to at least 2 times a day with fresh towels, bed made, cleaning and bottled water replenished (6 bottles come standard and I am sure you could get more if you really wanted!). There is a mini-fridge in the room that is for your use. You are free to bring your own alcohol on board (not like the big companies who confiscate it if you try to do so!). We hardly ever saw our cabin stewardess in our room as she almost magically knew when you had left our room for breakfast and dinner and we always came back to a clean room. They also are masters at the art of folding towels into animals and other things. It was always fun to see what new creature would be in our room on our return!! The hotel staff was incredible and did everything you asked and were always friendly. Just some additional notes about the room: There was plenty of closet space with two good sized closets, one with rods, both low and high and a top shelf and the other with shelves and the safe. The safe is a standard hotel type safe where you type in a four digit code. It is big enough for your jewelry and several small laptops etc. The desk was a good size work area and had an outlet for recharging items. Don’t forget to bring your adapters and converters if you need one. There were also several plugs near the bed, one near the French patio and one in the bathroom. The room comes with two large umbrellas, two robes and two sets of slippers. The laundry service is reasonably priced ($2 for washing a pair of jeans). Depending on the when you get the laundry in, you will either get it back the same day or the next day. We put the jeans in at 1 and they were back before dinner! You just bag it up, fill out the form and leave it in your room so the steward can see it. They will take care of the rest. AMA Certo Common Areas The lobby is very nice and the desk is staffed 24 hours a day. There is an elevator that goes from the Violin (300 Level) Deck, pass the Cello (200 Level) Deck to the restaurant. It does not go to the Piano (100 Level) deck and this is because the elevator shaft cannot go from the waterline to the roof, in case of flooding. Just forward of the lobby on the port (left) side of the ship is a small library area with books & magazines as well as games. On the starboard (right) side of the ship is the small shop. It has some AMA logo items as well as gift items from the areas that you are traveling through. The inventory seemed to change throughout the cruise as we sailed through different areas. They stocked some generic toiletry items as well as batteries, memory cards etc. They had a small selection of over-the-counter medicines for minor allergy/cold issues. However, the product descriptions were mostly in other languages so you may want to make sure you bring what you need, especially if you allergies. The staff can usually help translate, however. In the rear portion of the lounge as you enter, you see a push button coffee machine that makes great coffee drinks and is available 24/7. Tea and hot chocolate are also available. There is a full bar as well and is usually staffed after noon until well into the evening. You do have to pay for all alcoholic drinks, including soft drinks, at times other than lunch and dinner. At the very front of the ship, there is a small sitting area that is fronted by glass that is great for viewing in the outdoors. The Sun Deck can be accessed through stairs on either side of the lobby or stairs on the port side of the outdoor sitting area in front of the lounge. At the very front is a sitting area with great outdoor couches, chairs and tables. This area is low enough that even if the rest of the Sun Deck is closed due to low bridges, it is open. Just aft of this sitting area is the Captain’s bridge which raises and lowers as needed. They did several tours one day where the young Captain (his father is also a Captain for AMA) showed how the ship works which was fun. Right behind the Captain’s bridge is the pool. It is small but has several fun extras. There are stools to sit on, kind of like a swim-up bar. There is also a jetted system that can be used to swim laps against a current. It would be nice in warmer weather! The entire rest of the Sun Deck is devoted to lounge chairs, a walking track and a large chess board game for those so inclined. Some of the chairs are covered by overhangs to keep you out of the sun if you prefer. Finally, the back portion of the Sun Deck is the smoking area and has some tables and chairs. This is the only smoking area on the ship. On our cruise, most of the Sun Deck was unavailable for about 2 days or so as we were on the Main/Danube canal. This was not because of high water; it is just that the bridges and locks are lower than on the Danube. They actually take down all of the safety railings and any other tall stuff. Finally, as our room was on the deck just below the Sun Deck, you could hear people walking over our room. The staff supposedly tries to discourage use of the area by passengers between 10:00 pm and 8:00 am but it can be used by staff if they are helping doc the boat and in locks so just know that ear plugs can be a good thing. It is not bad but for a light sleeper, ear plugs might become your friend!! The exercise room had 2 bikes, a treadmill and a universal machine as well as some other items. We did not use it because we were getting plenty of exercise on the included tours. We did not use the beauty shop or the message either but we did talk to some folks that did and they seemed to like the results. Dining You will NOT go hungry on the AMA Certo. I can’t say enough good things about the kitchen and wait staff. The sense we got was that you could basically order anything and they would try to accommodate you, regardless of the menu. The dress is casual. Some dress up a little for dinner but we also saw jeans and they did not seem out of place. The only two meals where folks dressed-up more was the Captains Dinner toward the end of the cruise and our night at the Erlebnis Restaurant (our first night, the Restaurant Manager recruited us while we were waiting in the lounge to be escorted to our cabin). Overall, the food was excellent and there are almost too many choices at every meal. In the main dining room, for all meals, seating is open and there is a range of times when you can come down. Breakfast was usually 7:30 to 9:30, lunch usually started around 1:00 and dinner was normally at 7:00. The dining room has many different seating options with 2 semi-enclosed small rooms at the front that can seat 10-12 each. In the main dining room, there are booths (4 persons), round tables (6 people), booth/table combos (4 persons) and a large table near the front that seated 10-12. There is a Captain’s table (4 persons) but it is really for the captain and senior staff to eat. The last night the Captain and the Cruise Manager Monika did use one of the big tables and I assume the guests were returning AMA guests. For breakfast there is a large self-serve buffet with scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, beans, hash-browns, omelet bar, several different breakfast meats, cereals, fruit, yogurt, bagels, etc. They also have a traditional European breakfast of lunch meats, cheeses and a huge bread and pastry table. The bread is baked freshly on the ship. There is also a menu you can order from that was the same throughout the cruise and had things like eggs benedict, waffles etc. The funny thing was that there were passengers that did not know that there was a menu for breakfast until well into the cruise because the buffet was so good!! For lunch, again there was an extensive buffet of salads and small lunch items but don’t fill up on this because it is only the first course. There is a more extensive menu for lunch that includes 2-3 soup choices, 2-3 regional entree choices as well as offering hamburgers, cheeseburgers, and another specialty burger every day. Beer, wine and soda are free (ok, not free but you don’t pay extra for it!) at lunch and they will keep pouring wine, often when you are not looking so beware of the bottomless glass!! For dinner in the main ding room, it is an all menu affair with a 4 course meal. Again, you will have 2-3 choices of appetizers, salad/soup, main course and dessert which changes daily. They also have steak, chicken and fish (plus French Fries) every day as well as a Caesar salad option and a dinner salad option that changes. Assorted cheese and crackers are also always available. Again, beer and wine (both red and white) is free at dinner and the wine selection changes daily as they try and bring different wines in based on the region they are sailing through. We did not have a bad wine the entire cruise. One of the friends we met had a nut allergy and the staff always tried to meet his needs. Supposedly the kitchen knew about the nut allergy, but it is my opinion that this didn’t get relayed to the serving staff. On our ship, the also have a second option for dinner at the Erlebnis Restaurant which is on the Violin Deck at the rear of the ship. This is a glass enclosed area that can seat about 28 people. Most tables are 4 people with one big 10-12 person table. For our cruise, you could sign up once per week. I would highly recommend reviewing your detailed itinerary and try and select evenings when the ship is sailing. It makes for a great view. I would also recommend you sign up as soon as you can because times fill up fast! Like the main dining room, the menu is a four/five course meal that is fixed except you usually have 2 choices for the main course. The menu is the same every night of the week the cruise. This dining room at the stern of the ship was also a quiet place to go to during the day to read and relax, seeing the activity on the River Danube. Finally, the lounge serves food throughout the day. They have an early-risers continental breakfast buffet usually starting at 6:30. They also serve what they call a light lunch buffet that has many of the same things as the restaurant, just not as much variety. The rest of the day, the lounge has iced tea, water, and an assortment of cookies and brownies. These are all at no extra cost and are in addition to the coffee/tea available 24/7. One morning around 11 we had a break where they served assorted sausages and rolls (with very good mustard) and keg beer. Monika, the cruise manager was dressed in festive German attire. For lunch that day we ate much less than normal. Entertainment As you might expect, because of the small size of the ship, all of the entertainment is basically in the lounge area. They have an on-board piano player/singer (he really didn’t sing) who did a great job of entertaining us in the afternoons and evenings. AMA also brought on several local entertainers about 3 times during our cruise. One night it was a singer with songs of Europe, another night it was three entertainers who sang songs of Austria. Near the beginning of the trip St. Nicolas came to visit and gave all the passengers a free gift. Another night, we left our shoes outside our cabin and we received 2 large hollow-chocolate figures the next morning. The second night we received a plate of candy/fruit which we were able to enjoy for a few days. There was always a small chocolate on your pillow after you returned from dinner/entertainment. Tours/Communication Daily, usually before dinner, the Cruise Manager will host a briefing in the lounge to inform the passengers on the next day’s port and any other important information. I really found them useful for planning what we would do the next day. It also gave us a great excuse to come to the lounge and have a pre-dinner drink with some of our new friends. Also, every evening when they make up your room during dinner, they leave on your bed the next day’s printed schedule with contact information as well as information about the ports/towns/tours. You should take this with you as it has all the pertinent phone numbers just in case you need to contact the ship. Your cruise director will give you her card. It is suggested you program her cell # and the ship’s phone # into your cell phone. I will not specifically review the individual tours. However, I do want to let you know about the process and comments in general. Suffice it to say, you will have plenty to do and your toughest decision may be to not do all of it!! Overall, the tours were informative and educational. It really depended on the tour guide. In your cabin there are two audio devices that will be used on almost every tour. It is a 4 inch by 6 inch by ½ inch thick and has an earpiece for one ear (left only! It doesn’t take regular earpieces. It has a cord to put over your neck but also fits easily into a front shirt pocket. It is up to you to bring the device and to plug it back into the charger after the tours to get recharged. Daily, you will go to the reception desk and be assigned a group and they will give you a corresponding colored card. This card corresponds to the group you will be with and helps determine which bus or walking group you should be with. Also, every time you leave the ship, you should get your boarding cards from the reception desk that has your cabin number. It is very important to take your boarding cards out when you leave and return them when you come back to the ship because it helps the staff know that everyone is back on board. There were several times where the Cruise Director announced over the PA if cabin so-in-so was aboard because they wanted to leave the port and had not yet received all of the cards. There was one time when the ship had to leave and the 4 missing passengers caught up with the ship about 4 hours later up the Danube. When you are with your group, the tour guide will turn on their transmitter and it should automatically sync with your receiver. You need to stand as close to the guide as possible otherwise you may get synced to another group’s receiver. They have a range of 100 or so feet so once you are synced, you should be fine. However, there was one time when our guide needed to go get some tickets for a tour and we somehow got hooked to a Viking tour on the same frequency and did not realize it for several minutes. And yes, most of the other companies use the same technology so it can happen but there are many frequencies so it seemed rare. For almost all town tours you had a slow walkers group, several normal walkers groups and a quick walkers group. You are able to start off on the tour and found something if you liked you could leave the tour. Please let your guide know when you wish to leave the group, especially if the tour is ending with a bus ride back to the ship, so they do not think they lost somebody. Just know that if you do go off on your own, know when you need to be back to the ship. Every time you returned to the ship from a day tour you were warmly welcomed by the staff and then given warm towels and warm gluhwine (mulled wine). AMA also offers Culinary Delights and Bike Tours. These tours are capacity controlled and you can actually sign up on-line on the AMA website under the Already Booked menu and select Explorer Tours. Our tour was a sausage tasting beer tasting. The local tour guide was a bit of a flake (we never did get to the chocolate store promised). It is no problem to change at the last minute if you decide you don't want to bike in the rain etc. The Cruise Director just asks that as soon as you know; let him/her know so they can offer your spot to those on the wait list. On our cruise, they did have several optional tours that were extra cost. We did several, like a concert in Vienna and a full-day trip to Salzburg. For the day in Salzburg, the ship kept moving after dropping us off and we met up with it at the next port. As with their other tours, AMA does a great job of coordinating these so if you are so inclined, I would not hesitate to spend the extra money. Just know that 90% of your tours are included in the price you paid. In advance through our TA, we made arrangements to use AMA’s transportation from Nuremberg to Prague. The morning involved a more detailed tour of Nuremberg than we received the day before, more time at Nuremberg’s Christmas Market and the afternoon involved a 4 hour bus trip from Germany into the Czech Republic and eventually to Prague. The morning local tour guide was great but the tour guide that was with us from Nuremberg to Prague was basically useless. We learned basically nothing during this part of the trip. We heard that the other 3 busses had good experience during their time from Nuremberg to Prague. Collecting our bags in Nuremberg at the hotel with the other passengers were staying was very disjointed. As for docking, most of the time we docked directly next to the dock either using the ships gangway or a gangway on the dock. Only 1 time did we dock next to another ship that we had to go through and/or over. This will probably only get worse as more and more river ships are launched but it was not that big a deal. Just follow the Cruise Manager's advice and that is when you open your curtains in the morning, you might become shocked looking into another cabin on the next ship. Most of the time we docked close enough to town to be able to walk to the main part of town. However, there were several times where we docked a ways a way and they always offered some motorized transportation to get us to the start of the tour and then back to the ship. Disembarkation This was very easy. The day before, there is a briefing that AMA asks to be attended by at least one person per cabin. They explain the disembarkation process including explaining the process for those with AMA transfers, those needing a cab, and those on their own. If you need a taxi, the Cruise Director will schedule it for you, including ordering a larger cab if several groups are going to the same place at the same time and don't mind traveling together. The day before disembarkation, you are given a summary to-date of your on-board charges. The bill is in Euros and you can pay either by cash or credit card. You are also given tip envelopes for the crew and Cruise Manager. Tips are not automatically added to your bill so you must put cash in the envelopes or fill out the credit card form of what you want to pay and it will be added to your final bill. The cruise line recommends 20 Euros (3 for the Cruise Director and 17 for the other crew members) per passenger per day. Tips may be paid in any currency, including US $’s, foreign currency you wish to dispose of, etc. Obviously, everyone has their own tipping philosophy. We also gave an additional tip directly to the Cabin Stewardess for their special attention to detail. I heard from one staff member that 70% of their earnings come from tips. Depending on when and how you are leaving you are asked to pick up the appropriate corresponding colored luggage tags. They ask that you put your large luggage in the hallway an hour before you are to leave but no later than 9:00 am since you are supposed to be out of your room by then so they can clean the room for the next cruise. The do serve a normal breakfast and it is OK to stay later in the common areas as long as the boat is still in port. Summary During the last evening on the ship I found out that the only AMA employee on the ship is the Cruise Manager. At first I thought this was a bit strange, but then realized this is quite smart of AMA. Subcontract the needed services and get the best you can and not have the headaches of being an employer. When we first started looking for a river cruise, we knew nothing and we decided to depend on a TA that specializes in river cruises. I had done some research and found that the timing and the reviews of AMA was the way I wanted to go. I contacted AMA who put me in contact with a TA for Avoya Travel. Bart specializes in cruises and in fact he was on our ship. We were leaning toward Viking because of their marketing. After listening to our wants and needs, our TA suggested AMA and we are very happy he did. It is often the little things that make the difference and this cruise was no exception. On almost any itinerary, you will be touring with and around the other major companies. (Viking, Tauck, Avalon, Uniworld, Grand Circle etc.) It seemed like the AMA tour groups were smaller allowing for better access to the guide. Overall, we could not be happier with AMA and highly recommend them to anyone. You could see from observing the other cruise lines that they offered a high value for the price. I also believe the AMA Certo is the best ship out there right now and if you add the service and attention to detail of the AMA staff, the combination is among the best, if not the best in the industry. Monika worked very hard for us all and she is a real credit to AMA. Everyone will have different experiences but ours could not have been better and I would not hesitate to recommend the AMA Certo. Bruce and Betsy (baby boomers from Boston)   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
AmaWaterways was our honeymoon and we could not have asked for a better experience! This was our first river cruise (we've cruised Caribbean and Alaska on larger ships). The ship is small, as are all river cruises, which makes it ... Read More
AmaWaterways was our honeymoon and we could not have asked for a better experience! This was our first river cruise (we've cruised Caribbean and Alaska on larger ships). The ship is small, as are all river cruises, which makes it perfect to get to know people on board, the staff, etc. Embarkation: We didn't realize when we arrived that we were about 3 hours early for check in. There was no one collecting bags from early arrivers, though they did provide transportation from the airport, so they knew we were coming. They were in the midst of disembarkation and cleaning from the previous cruise. Just think things could have been smoother for early birds. We went for a walk and came back at check in time to a full complement of staff greeting people, almost intimidating. Room: small - what else would you expect. But the bed was at least a queen, if not a bit bigger. The bathroom was huge in comparison to what I was expecting. Definitely not closet sized. We opted for a "french balcony" and I am VERY glad we did. While not a full balcony, there is a railing and the sliding door opens all the way into the wall. We slid the two chairs and table so we were basically sitting outside. Food: Amazing. Every night there was a chef's recommendation, which paired app, salad, dinner, dessert, and wine together. Or you could choose from the menu. Dietary restrictions were easily accommodated. Met friends on the ship and she was brought a dish, which she assumed had gluten in it so she did not eat it. The maitre'd brought the Chef out to explain that they remembered her and her plate had no gluten. Seating is one time and is open every night. The ship had the main dining room and a restaurant, which each guest could book one dinner during the cruise. While the food was always amazing in the main diningroom, the restaurant presentation was just a step above. Drinks: included at meals. Beer selection was poor for cruising through Germany. Wines were always great and you can take your glass from the dinner table. Entertainment: Usually cruising at night. There were a few bands/quartets and when there weren't the cruise director came on the loudspeaker to narrate the sights. Excursions: Do the bike ride from Durstein to Melk, gorgeous! All excursions are included except for the concert. You can skip some of the city tours if you have sights you want to see. Our tour in Vienna was so-so. But the rest were good to excellent. Unless you're handicapped or struggle to walk at a normal pace do the "fast walkers." The tours see the same things but because people walk faster from point to point you finish sooner, so more free time! BIKES! There are bikes on board and don't be afraid to use them. Some excursions use bikes, but once they're back or if there's no excursion you can sign them out. Disembarkation: also a little hectic. You had to tag your bags then go outside and check that they were in the right pile (airport, excursion, hotel, etc). Others... top deck was great for after dinner drinks. Take advantage of nights in port. We overnighted in Vienna, so after dinner we went ashore to check out the city. The second deck bow was a favorite spot of hours, but everyone wants to sit there! Wifi all over the place and there's internet in the infortainment, so you don't really need a phone if you have email/facebook. They do special events. My husband and I got a flaming honeymoon cake. Aboard the 50+ crowd we became known as the honeymooners (we weren't even 30 on the cruise). Need european adaptors for jacks on board Overall: FANTASTIC We met people who had cruised on Viking and they would cruise AmaWaterways over Viking. Viking is a step down or two. They only had one pitch for future cruising... one was Paris to Barcelona... sign me up! Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
This was a first river cruise for us. Loved it! We were on the Amacerto, the entire crew was wonderful. We loved our cabin with the french balcony, we were even able to sleep a couple of nights with the sliding door open, so relaxing ... Read More
This was a first river cruise for us. Loved it! We were on the Amacerto, the entire crew was wonderful. We loved our cabin with the french balcony, we were even able to sleep a couple of nights with the sliding door open, so relaxing listening to the sounds of the water. We were celebrating our 30th anniversary, my 70th birthday and upcoming retirement. They helped us celebrate with beautiful cakes on separate evenings and our cabin girl, Alexandra, did a beautiful pair of swans forming a heart made out of towels, also rose petals spelling 30 scattered on the bed and a heart banner across the head of the bed. She was also the masseuse, and gave a great massage! During the cruise we had other towel critters and on the night of the retirement celebration, we came back to a full sized towel person seated in one of our chairs with a pink balloon head and shower cap, crossed legs and rubber glove hands. Dining was great as there were no assigned seats and you could sit where ever you wanted ( we always tried to sit in Diana's section as she was a little ray of Romanian sunshine!). Lot's of good food and the wine was flowing like water. Petar, from Bulgaria usually was pouring where we sat and he was very patient and right there to refill your glass. Loved some of the entertainment, a group of Hungarian musicians and dancers were great and a group of girl musicians "The Aphrodite's" were wonderful too. Most of the shore excursions were good, most of the guides were good. we were fortunate enough to have good weather as the cruise before us had rain every day. I think another impressive thing was the camaraderie of the crew and the captain was right in there pulling ropes and helping his crew. We would highly recommend AMA Waterways and hope to cruise with them at some future date. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
A fantastic river cruise. Love every minute. The food was really good, the cabin was wonderful and the shower was the best I have had on a cruise line. First river cruise and loved the small number of people and you were treated like a ... Read More
A fantastic river cruise. Love every minute. The food was really good, the cabin was wonderful and the shower was the best I have had on a cruise line. First river cruise and loved the small number of people and you were treated like a person not a number as you are on the large ocean cruise lines. I do not drink but it was nice to have wine at each meal and you did not have to pay extra. The cruise line did not nickel and dime to death like on the large cruise ships. We were on Princess in March and they automatically add tip to a bar charge even if I walked up to the bar and bought a bottle of water. I did not mind giving a tip when they brought water to my room or my table but when I got it myself I did not like that and I did not hear anything from Princess Cruise line when I gave my review regarding this. On the AmaCerto we have complimentary water in our cabins each day and they gave drinks and cool towels when we returned from the tours (which were included in the price of the cruise not like to ocean cruise). The big ocean cruise ships could get a lot of good ideas from these river cruises. The free Internet with ships computers were great we need this on all cruise ships. It was wonderful and the staff the best I have ever had on a cruise. LOVED IT. Thanks AmaWaterways. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click