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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
We had recently sailed on AmaPrima for a 7 day Christmas cruise (Budapest to Nuremberg). Embarkation was a breeze. We arrived at around 5:00 p.m., having walked from our rental apartment to the dock - easy manageable walk along the ... Read More
We had recently sailed on AmaPrima for a 7 day Christmas cruise (Budapest to Nuremberg). Embarkation was a breeze. We arrived at around 5:00 p.m., having walked from our rental apartment to the dock - easy manageable walk along the riverbank. There was no line up when we arrived, and in less then 2 minutes, we were in our cabin, unpacking and getting ready for 6:30 welcome briefing + dinner. Cruise director's daily briefing + information was always delivered in an informative, pleasant manner, not too bogged down with lengthy information. The experience was wonderful, sounds, sight and smell .... plus the outstanding staff on board AmaPrima, made the already wonderful cruise even more perfect. Reception staff were always there with a smile, and after a few days' sailing, we felt like one big family, greeting each other every morning, saying goodbye as we embarked on our daily tours, and being greeted with a warm welcome home afterwards! Food was very good - bread was exceptional. We can smell fresh baking bread every morning as we wake up, and the quality of the baked goods were exceptional - didn't try their desserts, so I cannot comment on that. Service during meal times were impeccable. Tours were organized efficiently, with different levels of activity. We were offered a free tour to Salzburg, which would have been an optional tour on a regular sailing, but since it was Christmas, the company threw it in for free. Nice touch. We also docked at a small village on Christmas eve, so that passengers could attend an evening mass with the locals - that was so special. Disembarkation was also very efficient. There was a sign up sheet for taxi requests, what time it was needed etc. Taxis arrived on time and announced through the PA system, so one could wait in the lounge area until time to disembark. Needless to say, it was much appreciated because of the cold weather :) Great sailing itinerary, great experience. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We had never done a river cruise before, so my dad and I did some research on the best river cruise companies. Everyone has heard of Viking, but as we dug into the reviews we saw that AmaWaterways had excellent ratings. We knew we wanted ... Read More
We had never done a river cruise before, so my dad and I did some research on the best river cruise companies. Everyone has heard of Viking, but as we dug into the reviews we saw that AmaWaterways had excellent ratings. We knew we wanted to do a Danube tour and the AmaSonata ship sailed at the appropriate time. We flew into Budapest a few days early and spent some time in the city, and we also booked the Munich post-cruise land tour. If I had to sum up my experience in one word, it would be WOW. My expectations were exceeded in every way on this river cruise. I am writing this review from home, but would do anything to rewind the past couple weeks and re-do my trip. Here are some of the details: The Ship: The ship overall was very elegant - nicely decorated, comfortable lounge areas, and a great sun deck with plenty of chairs. The lounge had a coffee/tea machine and a full bar with staff members always available to get you what you need. They also had snacks out in-between meal times and served light lunches there as well. The restaurant was a few decks down, but had plenty of windows to see outside during meal times. Cabin: We were lucky enough to get upgraded to a room with a full sitting balcony (complete we two chairs). The room was small, but comfortable enough for my sister and me. The bathroom is also pretty tight, but considering the space the shower was a good size. The cabin came with a computer (Mac) that had movies (which we didn't watch) and internet access. Dining: * Breakfast - There was a wide variety of food at the buffet, complete with an omelet station that I ate at almost every morning. I'm also obsessed with the muesli in Europe, which was available in abundance each morning. Guests could also order things like eggs benedict and waffles off the menu. Juices, coffee, etc. were all available. * Lunch - Lunch always consisted of a buffet of salads, sandwiches, and a special dish (curry one day, vietnamese soup another, etc.) However, you could also order soups and main courses from a menu which were also delicious. * Dinner - Ama-zing. We had a 4-course dinner every evening, which I'm going to miss now that I'm back home. The soups were to die for; my favorite being the Parmesan soup. A few of the nights we had local-inspired food, such as wienerschnitzel or sausages in Bavaria. Note: Beer and wine are unlimited and included with lunch and dinner. However, if you want a glass of wine to sit on the deck in-between meals, you will be charged. Service: Since my sister and I were some of the youngest on the ship (river cruises have a tendency to attract a 50+ crowd...or so I'm told), we really connected with the staff. From day one, they made us feel like we were at home. Everyone from the bartenders to our housekeeping crew were so cheerful and hard-working, it gave me a new perspective on working at a job, because they work all the time, but still manage to have a sense of humor and connect with their guests. Special shout-out to Cornel, Millos, Alex, Marius, Yanos, and Evo. Ports and Shore Excursions Most of the port stops and excursions were really great. We had the occasional dud when it came to tour guides (only 1 or 2), but everything else was great. The guided tours were informative, and they always gave us enough time to explore a place on our own. We didn't do a lot of the extra (as in additional money) excursions, so I can't speak to those, but the included tours were good. Each day there were usually 2-3 options for tours and they had a gentle walking group, which was nice for my parents who sometimes wanted to take it easy. Traveling w/Children We traveled with four adults - my parents in their 60s and my sis/me who are 33 and 40. This cruise would NOT be good for children, in my opinion. As I mentioned above, most of the guests were 50+ and the tours/excursions are much more focused on history and things like wine-tasting. Although, Disney has partnered with AmaWaterways and I'm sure they'll create a much more kid-friendly option. I would hands down, 100%, go on a river cruise with AmaWaterways again, especially on the AmaSonata. I would go again next week if I could get the time off from work.:) Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
This was our first river cruise. It was a fantastic experience once we arrived at the ship (see AMA airline problems below). The ship is beautiful and well maintained. The crew was very friendly and provided great service. The dining ... Read More
This was our first river cruise. It was a fantastic experience once we arrived at the ship (see AMA airline problems below). The ship is beautiful and well maintained. The crew was very friendly and provided great service. The dining was usually very good except for first and least day when food/snacks were provided in the lounge--just okay. The local wine and beer selections with meals were very good. We cannot say enough good things about the cruise director Matyas from Hungary. The itinerary beginning in Budapest was excellent and well organized. The folks who lead the shore excursions were very knowledgeable, spoke excellent English and were the best we have ever used. Accolades to AMS for a great experience. FYI--the 5 rating for Value pertains only to the cruise itself (excluding air arrangements). HOWEVER--The included air arrangement was the WORST we have ever experienced and we do NOT recommend using AMA Air Dept. We made our reservations 8 months before sailing based on a recommendation from our travel agent. The price included airfare, but we did not receive details until Dec. 29. Immediately we recognized that a one hour and 5 min. layover at Charles de Gaulle was not enough time. We promptly called AMA but were told the transfer met minimum requirements. Any changes must be made through our travel agent and would involve $350pp plus additional charges for air ticket. Our agent tried three times to get a change to the itinerary but the costs were usually $650pp. Bottom line: Not enough time at CGA to change terminals and go through additional security. We actually had to jog to the gate---tough on a 73 yr old couple. We only got on board because the plane was delayed 10 minutes for baggage. Second air problem: Initial seat assignments were next to toilets on 3 planes, 2 long haul over the ocean. Although we tried to change seats 90+ days ahead we ended up paying another $540 for acceptable economy seats. Third air problem: We flew on three planes each direction when I could have arranged the trip with two. The additional cost for making my own arrangements was only $450pp more than what AMA charged on our package. AMA air would allow us to cancel the air but we would not receive a credit. CONCLUSSION--For the above reasons, we cannot recommend allowing AMA to make air arrangements. It is a shame that a wonderful sailing experienced can be tarnished by an unacceptable and unprofessional air department. Unless changes are made within the organization, that is the only reason we probably will not sail with AMA again. FYI--We have sent a similar report to the President of AMA. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We just Cruised the Melodies of the Danube cruise on the AmaSonata in April for our Honeymoon. This was my first cruise and first time in Europe. From the moment we met our AmaWaterways rep at the airport, our trip was fantastic. Once ... Read More
We just Cruised the Melodies of the Danube cruise on the AmaSonata in April for our Honeymoon. This was my first cruise and first time in Europe. From the moment we met our AmaWaterways rep at the airport, our trip was fantastic. Once we got to the ship the crew acted as if we were old friends. From the personal escort to our room and our luggage arriving only a few minutes later. Our Cruise Director, Matyas, was knowledgeable and funny and always available to offer any assistance. The rooms were small as expected on a ship this size, but after comparing some other lines, the mid grade rooms on AMA are larger than almost everything but a suite on other lines. Everything fell into place all week everything was well organized. With the small number of guests, there were no "cattle calls" getting on and off the ship as I have heard with the large ocean cruises. We enjoyed the balcony a few times but mostly sat on the sundeck if we were cruising so we saw the sites on both shores. The meals were fantastic. So many options at breakfast from the buffet or menu. Lunch was a salad bar and apps and then soup, entrée and desert from the menu. Dinner was always a 5 course meal catering to local sites. Goulash and Hungarian wines in Budapest, Weiner schnitzel and Austrian wines in Vienna and sausages and local beers in Germany. The excursions were varied so you had your choice of a hike, bus tour or bike ride at almost every stop. The guides were knowledgeable and usually very personable and funny. We took in the Mozart and Strauss concert in Vienna and the Folklore dinner in Prague. Both well worth the extra money. Everything else was included. The staff, especially Mariuz, Ivo, Alex, Arun, Janos and Matyas were all phenomenal. This cruise exceeded every expectation and we are already looking to plan our next cruise with AMA. Either the Douro or the Danube again from Budapest East towards Bucharest. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
This was our second cruise with AMA, the first was the Budapest to Prague xmas cruise (AMAbella). It was from April 29 to MayThe excellence of the cruise made us chose it again to do the lower Danube. There was little to complain about all ... Read More
This was our second cruise with AMA, the first was the Budapest to Prague xmas cruise (AMAbella). It was from April 29 to MayThe excellence of the cruise made us chose it again to do the lower Danube. There was little to complain about all was as advertised and the food was excellent particularly when you consider the size of the kitchen. The staff is professional and friendly, a special credo to Janos the waiter ... and also to the brilliant Maddy our cruise director who does not seem to sleep or eat. All tours where as advistised except at Rouse, where there was an added one or two. The line seems to be trying to cater to almost everyone, with high end bikes for the really active and "pink" tours for those that are well over middle age. Speed of tours for all was good but as aways not enough time for everthing. Guides where good to very good (I was a professional guide for 20 years so can comment). Cabins are good, we book the lower deck it is cheaper, who spends much time in their cabins. Would be great if there was just a bit more space for suitcases, we travel usually with one but those with two or more night find things a bit tight. Still good and the long suffering housekeepers do a great job. Vulkavar tour was abit depressing, sad that there is so much hate in the world but the learning experience was great and helped us understand some of the eastern European issues in the past. Other tours where all great and provide much informtion on a part of Europe not as many people visit. On board entertainment was fine, particularly the local folk dancers. Fitnness and beauty salon ... not used who needs them! you are are vacation, and the walking and biking you can do should be enough. There is also a walking/running track on the upper deck ... for addicts. AMA is billed as an "affulent" cruise ... my wife and I are not affluent ... getting to the boat on your own and having your travel agent book departures helps. You do not need to stay in expensive hotels would recommend Ibis or Mecure ... by Accor ... and of course take a fixed window cabin ... the lounge and upper deck are all you need and you should be off the ship a good deal ... All in all great and would recommend it. Some other tips: 1. always arrive in Budapest or other river ports a day or two early its worth it. Also a day or two after disembark ... Bucharest was great and we went and saw Brad and Peles Castles worth it. 2. Spring cruises are great, can be cool but not too bad and you avoid the crowds, also you will have good water levels, avoids busing. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
AmaSonata, Magnificent Europe itinerary, May 23 - June 6, 2016 fantastic cruise. Cruise Manage, Nikola, and the crew both in front and behind the scenes were wonderful. All tours were great and well planned. The concert in Vienna was ... Read More
AmaSonata, Magnificent Europe itinerary, May 23 - June 6, 2016 fantastic cruise. Cruise Manage, Nikola, and the crew both in front and behind the scenes were wonderful. All tours were great and well planned. The concert in Vienna was wonderful. The menu always had something for everyone and nothing was too much trouble. Bicycles were easy to use. Bicycles tours were a little long, enjoyed riding bike on our own. Perfect weather. Loved the great attention they paid to detail, the rose on the first night was a nice touch. The Chef's Table was a nice presentation but a little more variety in the menu would be appreciated, not everyone likes lamb. The housekeeping staff worked very hard to keep everything spick and span. A suggestion for AmaWaterways is to evaluate their security as two balcony staterooms were broken into on the last night in Amsterdam. A secure area around the ship would help. A sadness to and otherwise perfect cruise. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
AMA Waterways "Gems of SE Europe" was selected by my wife and me as a chance to observe the diverse cultures of the people who live along the Danube River, a major historical region of the world. We selected the AMA Serena Seven ... Read More
AMA Waterways "Gems of SE Europe" was selected by my wife and me as a chance to observe the diverse cultures of the people who live along the Danube River, a major historical region of the world. We selected the AMA Serena Seven Day Cruise because of the opportunity to do a pre tour in Vienna, and a post tour in Istanbul. From the minute we met AMA's Tour Director: Jelena Milinovic at the 5 Star Kempinski Hotel in Vienna, we knew that we had made the right choice. Jelena stayed with our fellow travelers the whole trip to our final destination the Istanbul Intercontinental Hotel, and her knowledge and professionalism provided us with wonderful advice throughout our journey. Her sparkling personality and her ability to provide us with superb Local Tour Guides in each Port of Call only added to our learning about the cultural diversity of the region. Of course, we can't say enough about the attentive crew on the AMA Serena. The chef's noteworthy cuisine was augmented by his splendid choice of the local wines of the region. Also, the nightly entertainment often included the music and dancing folklore of the region. We were fortunate enough to sit at the Captain's Table on one night, and at the Chef's Table on another occasion. This was the icing on the cake for our tour! After having done many Ocean cruises throughout the world, we switched to River boat travel for our past three tours, and this was our first AMA Waterways trip. We will definitely consider AMA in our future travel plans. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
This was our first river cruise. It was luxurious in all the right ways. Ama gave us features that we needed and used, without others (like climbing walls) that we haven't used on ocean cruises. We would love to take another cruise ... Read More
This was our first river cruise. It was luxurious in all the right ways. Ama gave us features that we needed and used, without others (like climbing walls) that we haven't used on ocean cruises. We would love to take another cruise with this line again. The staff were wonderful. We felt like AmaWaterways had selected highly trained people who got along well, which makes a difference in the cruise experience. There was a nice balance between high standards of service and the teasing and banter that went on. Also, they all seemed to be able to turn their hands to many jobs, which was impressive. Our cruise director, Balazs, was a gem. He kept us well informed with port talks and announcements of excursions and did some commentary. He seemed to be everywhere throughout the day. At one point in Bratislava I thought he must have been cloned, because he was keeping tabs on three excursion groups at the same time (making sure our guides were doing well). He also came through when my husband left his phone on the shuttle bus in Vienna - locating it and getting it back to us later, in Germany. Really great service. The food was great. The cuisine was inventive and all of the ingredients were high quality. We had heard that food service was limited to 3 meals a day on river cruises, but that's a joke. Sit down service in the restaurant only occurs 3 times a day, but there was some kind of food available from 6:30am to 11:30pm, and that was supplemented by additional celebrations of local specialties! The wine service was lavish and we enjoyed the selection of local wines. We loved that there was a specialty coffee machine always available (and it always worked, unlike others we've tried to use in hotels). The Chef's Table restaurant was lovely. The service was impeccable and the chef's performance in the open kitchen was impressive. Traveling on the rivers and canals was quite an experience with all of the locks and low bridges and high water. We were impressed with the variety of excursions that Ama offered at each stop, and the variety of fitness levels offered every time (from strenuous bike treks to gentle walkers who rode a tourist train while others walked). We had an excellent time. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
Fabulous cruise! We cruised from Budapest to Vilshofen. The ship was clean and very welcoming. We immediately felt at home and welcomed. The crew was friendly and engaging. Our Cruise Director was very organized and kept everything ... Read More
Fabulous cruise! We cruised from Budapest to Vilshofen. The ship was clean and very welcoming. We immediately felt at home and welcomed. The crew was friendly and engaging. Our Cruise Director was very organized and kept everything running on time and smooth. Our room was spotless and the service was great. There was adequate space for clothes and toiletries. The tours were awesome with very knowledgeable guides. The groups were kept small (15-20) so it was easy to converse and hear as each person had their own receiver with earphones. Transportation for the tours was always on time, clean and well cared for. The food was great. Our wait staff was attentive and the service was fast. Our On Board entertainment was very enjoyable. We disembarked in Vilshofen and we were provided transportation to Munich airport the next morning.. I had no complaints the whole week. I can't wait to do it again. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
My husband and I are in our mid to late fifties. We have been on several ocean cruises. We enjoy the aspect of unpacking once on cruises plus having all your meals arranged. After two successful cruises on a moderate priced line, we ... Read More
My husband and I are in our mid to late fifties. We have been on several ocean cruises. We enjoy the aspect of unpacking once on cruises plus having all your meals arranged. After two successful cruises on a moderate priced line, we wanted to try Amawaterways because we heard many good things about them, especially that their food was high quality. Even though Amawaterways was more than a few hundred dollars more than the other brand, we were pleased with our choice. Would I use the other moderate line again? Yes, because for us, the quality of the tours is most important and we didn't find any difference between the two lines. The food was better on Amawaterways, but food is not the most important thing to us, the food on the other line was average, and Amawaterways was above average. The only time the food on Amawaterways was exceptional was our one meal at the "Chef's Table". We loved the itinerary of the Budapest with Munich extension. Others on the sailing chose the Prague extension. You can't go wrong with either. For us, Munich was on our bucket list and having the ease of the transfer plus the high quality guides that Ama provides was the reason we chose to do the post cruise with Ama instead of DIY. I do think that the staff on the Amasonata were trained very well. The Cruise Manager, Viktoria was outstanding. She was very detailed oriented and I watched her noticing little details that could be improved on the ship and mentioning it to the person responsible in a very diplomatic way. I am a "big picture person" versus a "detailed oriented" person. Some folks might be impressed with the red rose given to each woman at the welcome party, or the gifted scarf at the end. For me, it doesn't matter. . . the rose, I gave it to them to put it in a group vase because what was I supposed to do with it? The scarf was a nice gesture but I really don't wear scarves. . . Our last two cruises we went Aquarium Class. We saved at least $1,000 by going this way. We were very pleased especially because the square footage was exactly the same as the French Balcony cabins on Avalon. This time, I decided to try a French Balcony cabin because I wanted to know if there was any big difference, enjoyment wise, or if the cabin was less noisy going through the locks. By the time I booked, there were no French Balcony cabins available, only dual balconies which is a french and an actual balcony combined. What the hay, we went for it. We were Cabin 216 mid ship. We were able to use our balcony several times in port because we got lucky. If you are not aware, because of the popularity of river cruising, the ships double dock and even triple dock while in port. This is termed "rafting". There were some occasions when we looked out our balcony, all we saw was another ship's balcony. (Read more about rafting on the CC River Cruise boards about this before deciding if you want to spend extra on the balcony) Bottom line, the balcony was a lovely extra, but I'm on the fence if it is worth the at least $1,000 extra in fare. The excursions of Amawaterways were excellent. There was always many different choices as to activity level. Amawaterways took extra special care to those in the gentle walkers group. I am not a gentle walker myself, but I can heartily recommend that you consider Ama if you need a little tlc. If you are an active person, Ama is also perfect for you. There was always a hike, which near the Danube involved walking up hundreds of steps to a castle lol, and a bike ride. The guides on the "regular" tours were very informative and interesting. The service was very good on the Amasonata. We met some new friends who have cruised on the Regent ocean cruise line, and they were a little disappointed with the service, just throwing that in as a reference point. Most of the staff was very friendly and work hard to make you happy. The only negative aspect of our trip was the selection by Ama of the post cruise extension hotel in Munich. The location of this hotel was a very poor choice and one would think that Ama with all of their detail oriented customer service would have better quality control. Not going into detail here, but I'm certain Ama knew about the changing neighborhood surrounding LeMeridien Hotel and should have been proactive in changing the hotel even if it meant that they would lose money. . . In summary, Amasonata is a beautiful ship with a friendly, hardworking staff. They work together to give you a wonderful vacation. Amawaterways might cost a little more than other lines, but the extra cost is worth it. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
This was our first, and definitely not the last. Been on the big ship cruises many times, and did not know if we would like this type of cruising. We now prefer it. The ship is immaculate, comfortable and has everything you need. The ... Read More
This was our first, and definitely not the last. Been on the big ship cruises many times, and did not know if we would like this type of cruising. We now prefer it. The ship is immaculate, comfortable and has everything you need. The crew was the best we have ever had, so friendly, humorous and helpful. Dining had so many variations, enough to eat, and so many choices. Quality was the best, so much better than the big ships. They are cooking to order since there are so few passengers. The shore excursions were all you could expect, kept us more than busy enough. Sometimes we just wanted some down time to relax. Which is your option, but we also wanted to take advantage of seeing all the sights. The cabins are small, as expected, but you spend so little time there, it does not matter. When you leave the ship you actually feel like your are leaving home. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
AMA was recommended to us for it's food and service. It more than lived up to my exceptions in every way. The food was memorable both for it's preparation and quality. In each country they served the food specialty from the ... Read More
AMA was recommended to us for it's food and service. It more than lived up to my exceptions in every way. The food was memorable both for it's preparation and quality. In each country they served the food specialty from the area plus many other items. Unlimited wine and beer were served free of charge at lunch and dinner. Our cabin was lovely with ample storage and sitting space. The TV with the apple was a great plus. AMA is know for it's split balconies. Most cabins have both a french balcony and an outside balcony. You could choose depending on your mood or the weather. The service was as good as in any three star European hotel. We liked the tours on land because you could chose your speed and ability from gentle walking to heavy hiking or biking. Every person used a Quietvoxes on land tours to clearly understand what the guide was telling us. I would go an AMA cruise again in a minute. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
We went from Heathrow, there was some confusion at Budapest airport however that was soon resolved and we had a posh taxi to the boat. Firstly the good news, the boat was very clean and the maid service exceptional. The staff were ... Read More
We went from Heathrow, there was some confusion at Budapest airport however that was soon resolved and we had a posh taxi to the boat. Firstly the good news, the boat was very clean and the maid service exceptional. The staff were excellent, a tribute to the enforced tipping system which adds perhaps £10 a day to your costs. Due I suspect to the cost, the average age was perhaps 70 and there were no children on our trip. The choice of guided and unguided excursions was very good although I was disappointed to miss out on a bike tour due to basic maintenance which should have been done. The cabins are small but acceptable, the equipment o/k but had a tendency to malfunction. The shower wasn’t designed for someone of my stature and half the buttons didn’t work but again, o/k. The TV broke on day 4 but we could still use the limited range of films. The food was o/k, there were a couple of good dishes and the majority were acceptable. The soups were poor with the exception of the fish soup which was excellent. There is small restaurant for fine dining at the rear of the boat which you are only allowed to use once. Again the fine dining was o/k, individual items were cooked very well but the combinations showed a confused pallet from the chef. I didn’t understand how one night only 6 people were in the fine dining restaurant, why not open it up if you are low on covers? Wine was free and generously provided at mealtime, probably £6 to £10 quality range. Would have been good if there was a wine list for the week since the wines changed almost daily and it took a long time to get the waiter to find the bottle from two days ago you liked instead of the bottle today you didn’t. I was surprised that the officers didn’t eat in the dining room when the guests ate, this might have given them a less aloof air. The tour manager Orloff was very good and frequently held together events and outings which would otherwise have been a disaster (see comments about entertainment). The entertainment was terrible I think the person who chose the various earnest acts must have been depressed at the time of choosing same. To be fair to the various “singers” the maintenance crew were incapable of repairing a hands free microphone for our entire voyage which made their (and the tour managers) job far more difficult than it need have been. Perhaps the best fist was made by Valerie May who had the sense to provide her own equipment. Finally, I know it sounds picky but if my wife has paid for a bath robe for 7 days, don’t take it away on day 6 because you haven’t enough robes to wash them in time for the next guests! In summary the group maintains it strives for excellence. It needs to gird it’s loins…… Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
My first cruise of any sort but my current worry is how on earth do I ever equal it in the future. I am interested in ships, so took notice of those we moored against and those we passed and Amasonata was unquestionably the smartest, most ... Read More
My first cruise of any sort but my current worry is how on earth do I ever equal it in the future. I am interested in ships, so took notice of those we moored against and those we passed and Amasonata was unquestionably the smartest, most advanced, best designed ship on the Danube. Well - perhaps Amaserena, which we passed, was nearly as good:) Ama had guides based at the airport when we arrived to welcome us (in English!) and get us onto the coach that took us to the ship. Embarkation was quick and easy and not really any different to checking-in at any good hotel. Disembarking was also well organised and again, a guide accompanied us to the airport. It is a shame that the flights themselves were not as luxurious. Our cabin was a mid-sized one which meant that it had a proper rectangular ensuite with no corners cut and adequate space around the bed. It also had an outside balcony which was nice to have but perhaps not essential. It was very comfortable. It was also the closest cabin to the reception, lounge and main restaurant making those facilities easy for us to use. Cabins at the back of the ship had quite a long walk before they could sit in the lounge for example. Dining was one of the highlights of the cruise. The food and service were impeccable at every meal. There was always a wide buffet selection. At our first lunch we helped ourselves to a good sized meal from the buffet and then discovered that that was only the starter, we had a soup course, main course and dessert still to come. So no lack of food. Ama chose a red and a white wine that they felt was appropriate to the area we were in and to the meal, though beer or a soft drink was available as well. The wines all tended to be dry wines, perhaps very dry. Breakfast was good, lunch very good and dinner was always excellent with some fantastic inventiveness. There were all sorts of entertainment, a pianist, talks on wine, dancers, singers and a string trio. The final night was an Octoberfest (in August). Not everything would suit everybody but it was all to a high standard and everybody should have been able to find much to like. Shore excursions were always of a high standard. The guides always spoke good english and knew their subject. To an extent they were asked to do the impossible. Selecting which highlights to show and to explain well when given only a couple of hours must be very difficult. Some guides were better than others at providing an overall pattern to their talk but I am confident Ama did everything they could to select the best guides available. I have left service to the last as that is what I think make Ama unbeatable. Every member of the staff, both crew and hotel staff did their absolute best to provide a good service in a quick, efficient and friendly manner. I cannot conceive of how a better level of service could be achieved. Ama get absolute full marks for service. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
The AmaWaterways "Magnificent Europe" river cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam in August 2016 was my first river cruise. For several years I had researched European river cruises with most of the better known, positively rated ... Read More
The AmaWaterways "Magnificent Europe" river cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam in August 2016 was my first river cruise. For several years I had researched European river cruises with most of the better known, positively rated cruise companies. I am a single traveler (single supplement - urrgh!) so getting the most value for my dollars was a prime consideration when making a choice. Based on the budget I had allowed myself, I was about to book a similar Viking cruise for spring of 2017 when I received a last minute opportunity for the AmaWaterways cruise at a special rate. It was like a dream come true! From the moment I was picked up at the airport in Budapest to the moment of departure at the airport in Amsterdam the focus of the entire staff of the AmaSonata was the comfort, pleasure, and safety of each passenger. The ship is one of the largest and most technically advanced cruise ships on the European rivers. The design elements throughout are those of a luxurious, sophisticated five star resort on land. My stateroom was a French balcony type with an amazing bathroom and more overall storage than most best quality hotel rooms. The complimentary InfoTainment system (TV, movies, and internet access) was excellent. Caveat: it does not operate during the time the ship is going through a lock. There are 68 locks on this trip. The 12 chefs and their staff provided consistent, very high quality food choices, including many dishes specific to the regions we traveled through. I belong to a culinary society and am a strong advocate of farm-to-table and fresh food cuisine so was very impressed with the overall food and beverage experience on this trip. The Chef's Table dining room was a small high end fine dining complimentary option by reservation which I attended three times during the cruise. Both dining rooms were always spotlessly clean, the wait staff were professional while very congenial, and there was definite attention to overall shipwide hygiene with hand sanitation dispensers throughout all the public spaces. There was a wide range of on-board and shore activities to choose from. Our cruise director was John Riley, who has been with Ama for many years. All 124 passengers on this trip gave him a standing ovation at the last evening goodbye reception for sending us home with a memory of an exceptional experience. There were four levels of shore tours - easy, regular, active for the walking tours, and biking tours using complimentary on-board bikes. Some days there might be three or four separate groups within the "regular" category as Ama likes to keep the groups smaller than many other cruise lines. Ama uses the newest, compact and lightweight Audiovox units for tours so you can hear your guide without having to crowd around that person. You can also use your own earbuds, which I did. There were ample blocks of free shore time after the organized tours while in port. There were three special day trip tours at very reasonable additional cost. I went on all three of those as they gave an opportunity to travel further into the countryside to special cities like Saltzburg and Rothenburg. The professional land tour guides in Europe are independent so are not contracted to any one cruise company. We learned that AmaWaterways is one of the companies land tour guides aspire to work with. On days when there were both morning and afternoon tours available, John R. would have as many as ten guides and their groups to work with. It was rare that it took more than 15 minutes from the time we all gathered, met our tour guide, received the OK to go from John R. and were on our way. During daytime cruising there were many spaces, both inside and on the three sundecks, to enjoy reading, visiting, card games, a dip in the swimming pool, sun bathing, exercising, walking the course on the upper sun deck, or just sitting watching the scenery go by. My stateroom was so pleasant that I spent several cruise time hours with the veranda door open in a chair with my feet up watching the scenery while editing my daily photos. Each evening from about 9 to 10:15 pm there was special entertainment that was specific to our locale. After that, our on-board pianist/singer provided music for dancing or just enjoyable listening and socializing. Several times during the cruise John R. gave presentations to prepare us for the following days tours. A special highlight was an after dinner walk John R. led while we were at port in Koblenz. It was a very warm Friday evening, many locals were out enjoying the nightlife of the last weekend of the August holiday month, and John shared his very personal fondness for this town he has come to know well over the years. There are so many more very positive impressions I could share with you. In a couple of weeks I will be giving a slide show presentation about this trip to the Travel Talk group I belong to. I'm trying to keep it from sounding like a travel agent's promo for AmaWaterways, but it is hard because they did such a terrific job of giving me the value for my dollars and so much more. There were quite a few of the 124 travelers on this trip who had done other river cruises and/or ocean cruises with other cruise companies, They rated AmaWaterways as their best experience and plan to travel with them in the future. ME TOO! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
AMA Waterways do a Great Job. The AMA Viola is a beautiful ship. Will sail with them again. Everything went great. Arrived at the ship early and our rooms were already ready. Staff was very friendly and helpful, will take care of all ... Read More
AMA Waterways do a Great Job. The AMA Viola is a beautiful ship. Will sail with them again. Everything went great. Arrived at the ship early and our rooms were already ready. Staff was very friendly and helpful, will take care of all your needs. Food was very good, note the Chefs table was a lot of fun. Stateroom was larger than most with nice bathroom. Small balcony was a big plus and very enjoyable. Public areas were very nice with comfortable furniture, good sound system. The Cruise Manager did a great job, anything you needed was not a problem. Ports of call were nice but the best thing were the local English speaking guides that provided. They made the towns come alive. We also went on a past cruise with AMA Waterways to Munich which was great that the Cruise Manager took care of all our needs even on the land portion of the trip. Lastly the airport transfers went very smoothly. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
First ever river cruise, so based on reviews we chose AMA. The ship was very nice and checkin was very easy. We were surprised at age of clientele quite geriatric, we are in mid 60's but quite active. The cruise had some challenges we ... Read More
First ever river cruise, so based on reviews we chose AMA. The ship was very nice and checkin was very easy. We were surprised at age of clientele quite geriatric, we are in mid 60's but quite active. The cruise had some challenges we were delayed through no fault of AMA because of an accident which put us about 3 days behind on a 14 day cruise, we caught up about day 12. So for the first number of days I felt like it was a bus tour, and we barely saw Vienna and had a very long bus trip to see Salzburg and had to return spending over 7 hrs on bus. I think they should have cancelled one of these and played catch up (may have been difficult because of number of locks)any way for a number of days we were being rushed through everything including meals. Oh and almost everyone got sick and they said nothing even having to call Drs on board to help people, they should have made announcement perhaps warning and asking people to be respectful of there rather than coughing in buses for numerous hrs. The food is quite good , wine not so much they must have a deal with an Austrian winery which is what they serve overall I would give them a 2 for their wine. Dress code forget it people wear worn out jeans and hats for dinner. The staff were well trained and excellent, all of them. In summary may take another cruise never for 14 days.Last but not least most excursions had very good guides but they were very quick. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We were so impressed with the quality of service, dining and cabin accommodations on this trip. We decided this was the best way for us to see the best of Europe so we chose Ama for their cuisine and overall service recommendation. We ... Read More
We were so impressed with the quality of service, dining and cabin accommodations on this trip. We decided this was the best way for us to see the best of Europe so we chose Ama for their cuisine and overall service recommendation. We were not disappointed. We started in Budapest, Hungary then sailed through Slovakia, Austria, Germany, and ended in the Netherlands with the final destination Amsterdam. What is so nice about river cruising is you unpack once and just enjoy when all your food, entertainment and hotel goes with you through Europe. We did have a pretty huge issue when we were on this journey. Another barge hit one of the locks and we had to stay longer than anticipated on the river. Then the European Union had a summit meeting in Bratislava and they closed the river for an additional 8 hours. All in all we were delayed 51 hours on our trip. The Ama captain, cruise director and entire staff were incredible in making this horrific delay palatable to us. The true value of a company is when unexpected issues happen and how they treat their customers. We were so happy to be on Ama with this unfortunate issue because they treated us with "world class service". They went over and above to bus us to our destinations and even giving us extra Euro's when we were unable to come back to the ship for lunch. I don't believe any other cruise line would have extended themselves to the level that Ama did. We had a trip of a lifetime even with the unfortunate situation. Our room was a French balcony and regular balcony room on the upper deck. It was so nice to have a lovely room with a bigger than average bathroom. We also liked having in room free wi-fi for e-mail and in room movies. The cuisine on the ship was excellent. I would compare it to the quality of the specialty restaurants on the nicer cruise ships. Everything was prepared to our liking with free flowing wine or beer at lunch and dinner. The nice part about river cruising is the entertainment is about 1 hr to 1 1/2 hours after dinner. It usually gave a local flare to the entertainment and it was quite varied from an acappella group, Hungarian folk dancers and even a rocking duo who sang contemporary songs. The bar stayed open for those individuals that wanted to continue to party after the rest of us went back to our rooms. The excursions were also included in the price of the cruise and they had very active bicycle tours, active walking or slower to regular walking tours. Each tour had a local tour guide that made the history come alive for us. Overall we loved our trip even with all the issues that had to be overcome and we hope to journey again very soon on another Ama waterways cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary aboard the AmaSonata and the whole cruise couldn't have been better! The room was small but well appointed. Breakfast and lunch buffets were excellent and at dinner there were many options ... Read More
We celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary aboard the AmaSonata and the whole cruise couldn't have been better! The room was small but well appointed. Breakfast and lunch buffets were excellent and at dinner there were many options off the menu. I had told them prior to the cruise that I had an allergy to cheese, and all the waiters were aware of this and they accommodated me. For our anniversary night, we ate at the elegant Chef's Table, a separate small restaurant apart from the main dining room. It was elegant and they feted us with a cake and song. The off-ship tours were very well arranged. There was something for all ability levels. Whenever we had the option, we took one of the guided bicycle tours offered. This was one of the reasons why we chose AmaWaterways over others. It was a fairly small group of bicyclists, no more than 20 persons. The entire staff went out of their way to make you feel welcome. We especially enjoyed our cruise director Raul. There was entertainment both on and off ship, usually very high quality, especially the classical music concert offered in the evening in Vienna. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We completed the Melodies of the Danube crusie: Budapest to Vilshofen, October 13 to October 20, 2016. This was our second cruise with Amawaterways. The first cruise, two years ago with the AmaLegro on the Seine, became the benchmark ... Read More
We completed the Melodies of the Danube crusie: Budapest to Vilshofen, October 13 to October 20, 2016. This was our second cruise with Amawaterways. The first cruise, two years ago with the AmaLegro on the Seine, became the benchmark against which all other vacations since have been judged and found lacking. We were worried we had built up our expectations too high and might be disappointed by our second river cruise with Amawaterways. We were delighted to find the Amaviola, her Captain and crew, not only met our expectations, but exceeded them. Our cabin and the entire ship was tastefully decorated. The cabin had ample storage space to allow us to store our clothing and other belongings for the journey and the bed allowed for a comfortable night’s sleep. This newer ship has included more electrical outlets and charging stations to accommodate the electronic devices most of us use today. The bathroom was also equipped with what I assume were tiny LED lights to softly illuminate the room in the night, to allow you to use it without the blinding glare of turning on the overhead light: a small, but thoughtful inclusion. Warm cosy robes and slippers are also provided, but for the colder months, to improve an already wonderful experience, we would welcome heated tiled floors in the bathroom for future upgrades to the accommodations. The housekeeping staff did an exceptional job of keeping our cabin and the ship spotlessly clean. The culinary staff ensured every morsel of food offered was delicious, with eye-pleasing presentations; it was next to impossible not to at least sample a bite of everything! The fresh local foods were well-complemented by very nice wine pairings. We would have also liked to have had the opportunity to sample some of wide variety of the locally brewed beers with our meals. The servers in the dining room and bar were warm, friendly and very professional and efficient in the performance of their duties, helping to keep us all relaxed, comfortable and very well-fed. Thank goodness for all the well-thought out excursions with knowledgeable, English-speaking local guides, to accommodate differing interests, activity and mobility levels, allowing for all to enjoy as much or little exercise and sightseeing as they may wish and in our case to burn off some of the calories accumulated to allow more guilt-free enjoyment of the next offerings. We very much enjoyed the opportunity to explore our embarkation city of Budapest, it was a delight, as were each of those we toured on our cruise. The on-board briefings regarding the areas through which we were passing were interesting and the entertainment enjoyable. Our favourites for this cruise were the Slovakian dancers and the opera duo. We prefer to be kept both mentally and physically active on our vacations and Amawaterways does not disappoint in this regard. The cosy, ship atmosphere encouraged more social interaction among the guests, allowing for friendships to develop. From the warm welcome aboard, including a rose from the Captain to the ladies, to the last farewell, we were pampered by the crew who went beyond our expectations to provide exceptional service and make us feel relaxed and at home. For most vacations, we are ready to leave and eager to get home to our own beds, not so with this holiday! We were sad to go and look forward to our next opportunity to enjoy the comforts and exceptional service provided by the accommodations and staff of AmaWaterways. Well done! Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Just a little about myself and the group we travelled with: my husband and I are in our 50's and have been cruising with Disney and Royal Caribbean fairly regularly since 2003. We're Diamond level with RCCL. Our travelling ... Read More
Just a little about myself and the group we travelled with: my husband and I are in our 50's and have been cruising with Disney and Royal Caribbean fairly regularly since 2003. We're Diamond level with RCCL. Our travelling companions were my sister and her husband (in their 60's ) and their friends--a married couple in the 70's. We travelled from Toronto to Amsterdam to visit family for 4 days before the cruise. Flew into Budapest 1 day before the cruise. In Budapest we stayed at the BEAUTIFUL Prestige Hotel (approx. $290 CA for 1 night). Great central location, but about a 10-15 minute taxi ride to the port. Port is a loose term--it was basically in the middle of a construction site. Very strange! But it was fast. We were greeted by the cruise manager, Dragon, and walked straight on the boat. We had a light lunch in the lounge and waited to be escorted to our cabins. Check-in was speedy (literally under a minute) and we were off! When we booked, we were given cabin #227. We had been moved to the very end of the hall for some unknown reason: 233. We were next to a couple of crew cabins and a stairway that could be busy with crew at various times of the day. My travel companions were all upgraded though! they were given bigger rooms with an outdoor balcony as well as the indoor French balcony. This did not sit well with me at all---as we had all booked at the same time and paid the same price. There was a lot of misinformation given out. When escorted to our room we were told we would be invited to the chef's table at some point during the week--just watch for a card in the room. This never happened, so we never went! Apparently you have to make a reservation yourself. Bar service was erratic and pricing seemed to be a the whim of the server. When we questioned it and asked for a refund, the bartender said 'what can I do?'. The tours were wonderful though and we were exhausted at the end of the week. Busy , busy , busy! Be a good walker because even the slower paced tours involved a lot of walking. Night time entertainment was sparse and not the best. We walked out of one show. Our cruise was a wine themed one and unbeknownst to us, a large group pretty much monopolized it. Be sure to ask if this is the case on your cruise and plan accordingly. Dining room food was adequate. Service again was spotty and often times rude. Getting a glass of wine on a wine cruise shouldn't be a chore, but it was. I'm not sure if we'll river cruise again, if so, we'll do more research and definitely NOT go with AMAWaterways. Re the cabin: Our cabin was freezing! no amount of complaints or fiddling with the thermostat could remedy the fact. There seemed to be a constant draft coming from around the door. The room was TINY, but clean and well appointed. Nice to travel on a new ship! Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
Of the 17 cruises my husband and I have taken from the Mediterranean, Alaska, Mexico, and on the Rhine river, this past one with AMAwaterways November 21 – 28, 2016 from Budapest to Nuremburg on the Danube river was, bar none, the best. ... Read More
Of the 17 cruises my husband and I have taken from the Mediterranean, Alaska, Mexico, and on the Rhine river, this past one with AMAwaterways November 21 – 28, 2016 from Budapest to Nuremburg on the Danube river was, bar none, the best. The company sent us detailed instructions in an organized pouch three weeks before sailing. The packet contained the answer to every question we had before leaving, all neatly detailed along with phone numbers for emergencies, which set my mind at ease since the initial flight to Budapest sounded like we were visiting another world. Everything went smoothly and we embarked the first evening with the ship transport from the airport. We found the ship to be beautifully decorated for Christmas, intimate, only 142 passengers, and the crew of 49 welcoming. This company caters to Americans and English was primarily the language spoken, and unlike other river cruise lines, the announcements were not made for 15 minutes in 9 languages. This was a big plus. The atmosphere on board was also not formal like some of them. The crew seemed to enjoy their jobs and most of them had obviously formed some close bonds with each other. All these factors combined to make a relaxed and fun voyage. I can’t say enough about our cruise director, Sebastien Leroy, who seemed to be everywhere at the same time. His attention to all details from the entertainment to the bus tours ensured a seamless good time. He was always most approachable. The rest of the crew was equally helpful. The food was delectable and palatable for American tastes. Wonderful pastries, delicious steaks, along with wines from the areas through which we sailed, all complimentary made the dining experience memorable. We are through with large ship sailing. We will return to AMA again for another cruise on another river next year. It was the best! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
This was such a wonderful Christmas/New Year. No food shopping, no fighting crowds on the high street - just a restful, relaxing, gentle cruise along the Danube, Main and Rhine rivers. The crew were all so welcoming, the food ... Read More
This was such a wonderful Christmas/New Year. No food shopping, no fighting crowds on the high street - just a restful, relaxing, gentle cruise along the Danube, Main and Rhine rivers. The crew were all so welcoming, the food delicious, the bar staff attentive and good wines and beers too. Excellent (mostly free) excursions - and graded so that anyone not so fit could still take an excursion and time was allowed for them to take their time, with seperate excursions for the fitter, faster passengers. There was on offer several optional (extra charge) excursions which included extras. Maps available at every stop with plenty of information about each of the stops. Beautifully clean river boat, well maintained. I think the visit to Malk Abbey was my favourite stop. Absolutely fantastic, and would have been even more photogenic on a clear, sunny summers day. My only complaint (?) - I had NOTHING to complain about! Read Less
31 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
We decided we wanted to go away to celebrate Christmas. My teenage daughter and I had done a Viking River cruise over the summer as part of our European trip. Viking was geared much more to the over 60 crowd and never, even if you book a ... Read More
We decided we wanted to go away to celebrate Christmas. My teenage daughter and I had done a Viking River cruise over the summer as part of our European trip. Viking was geared much more to the over 60 crowd and never, even if you book a suite, allows 3 people in a room. We are a family of 3 and Viking wanted us to book 2 rooms so 1 person would be alone. Not my idea of a family vacation. It would be different if we had 4 people but it was just another reason I'll never sail Viking again. So we looked elsewhere and chose to go on AMA Waterways aboard the AMA Stella. We booked a suite which had a sitting room with balcony, an adjoining room that was separated by a wall with a large TV that could be turned to face either room. The bedroom had a French balcony and one wall was all storage and closet space. The living room area has a couch that makes into a bed, which was quite comfortable according to my daughter. It also had 2 chairs, a coffee table and a built in desk where they had a computer for our use. The mini fridge was stocked with champagne, beer, and soda and juice which was replenished daily. The balcony had 2 chairs and a small table and one afternoon of sailing was warm enough to sit out there and enjoy it! The bathroom had a toilet that closed off with a pocket door so someone else could be using 1 of the 2 sinks, the shower or bathtub. Toiletry items were replenished daily as was the fruit bowl in the sitting room. We embarked in Budapest and after dinner cruised between Buda and Pest to see the beautiful lights of the buildings. We did a tour of Buda and Pest with a local guide and went to the Christmas market which had some very nice Hungarian made items for sale as well as different food stalls. The next day, the Stella usually stops in Bratslavia, Slovakia but since it was Christmas Day, everything was closed so that stop was skipped and we went on to Vienna. We went to another Christmas market in the afternoon. The ship stopped at all the other scheduled stops and at each one we went on the activity we had chosen for that day. AMA Waterways does not only cater to the over 60 crowd. They offer many options for activity. For the very active they have bike tours which ranged from 6 miles to over 20 miles depending on the port. They also offered hikes, usually to the castle or abbey that most people took the bus to. For the "regular" active person, walking tours were at a normal pace. For the less active, or those with mobility issues, they had a gentle group. On tours, the people in this group were brought closer to the attraction by tram or minivans. Much of Austria is now handicapped accessible due to a law requiring it. There were only a few stops that some people could not do because of many stairs or walks inaccessible by vehicles. Each evening after dinner they offered some kind of local entertainment. They had excellent musicians, dancers or you could opt to walk into town and walk around. Meals were scheduled daily, not always the same time to accommodate an excursion or entertainment. Breakfast and lunch were served in the dining room over a 2 hour period of time. Each day there was a buffet and also a small menu for a couple specials of that day. You could order eggs Benedict or whatever was on the menu that day, and go to the buffet for fruits, breads, cold cereal or yogurts. Lunch was served the same way. You could also choose to have a continental style breakfast or light lunch in the lounge. Dinner was served to you. Dinner always had 4-5 choices for entrees and 2 for soup, 3 for appetizer, 3-4 desserts. Then there were 5 dishes that were always available if nothing on the daily menu appealed to you. You could sit at any table you wanted with most tables seating 6 people. This made for a great way to meet many people. We ended up sitting in the same general area because we found a waiter who we really liked. He was very attentive and a jokester, we really enjoyed talking to him. Everyon was very friendly except for one man who served at the bar in the lounge. He seemed cranky every time we saw him. The other bartender, Silvijo was great. He also served the drinks at dinner and after a couple of days, automatically brought my daughter a coke and a small bit of wine for her to try. All the staff, Frederico was our cruise manager/director and was very informative. The cruise managers change with each cruise. The captain was a very young (29years old) and very friendly man who invited my daughter to the bridge when we were leaving a port. She has a boating license that is higher then one would get for a recreational boat so he showed her around the bridge and how it can collapse down if needed to get under a low bridge. Our caibin stewardess Mariya was very sweet and kept our cabin very clean. Our butler Dimitri aka Micko brought us coffee (and anything else we wanted) at a time determined the day before. He was so sweet as he put his fingers to his lips meaning quiet so as not to wake my daughter who was asleep as he carried in the tray. When my daughter and I did a Viking cruise in July, we did not receive the same attention to detail or the friendliness of all the staff like on AMA. Yes, there were a few people who were great and did a great job but beside 5 or so people, they just were not as good. And the cruise on the Stella was the last cruise for the season and the staff would be going home for 2.5 months. Yet despite this, their attention to the guests did not show it. Their attention was on their work, they were happy and friendly and I would never had known that it was the last cruise of the maiden season of the ship had I not been told. After being in service since last March, the ship was clean and still had a new look to it. Another great thing about the Stella is the sun deck pool. Yes, it was open the last week of December! My daughter and I went for a midnight swim one night. You just told someone at reception that you wanted to use the pool and a crew member would fold back the cover which was like a heavy duty solar cover used on home pools. During the warmer months, there is a bar set up and the pool has stools in it. There is also a large chess set, a walking track and a couple sitting areas on the sun deck. On the Stella, they have a second dining room that guests can make a reservation for one time while on the cruise. It's called the Chefs Table and seats about 30 people. The menu is set and they ask about any food allergies. Since I'm allergic to aspartame, when dessert came, one of the 3 items on my plate was different than that of my husband and daughters because the other contained aspartame. The dinner in this restaurant was small portions of many different things and was wonderful!!! This ship also has a small gym with 2 treadmills, 2 bikes and weights on the bottom deck and a spa where you could have your hair done or have a massage. I didn't have time to squeeze in a massage but a woman I spoke with had one when she opted out of a tour and said it was very good, better than expected. The price of a massage was less than having one at home. Because it was Christmas AMA did a special Austrian tradition of putting a shoe out for Father Christmas. If you had been bad, you would get a stick in your shoe and if good you received a gift. My husband did not want to participate so when he fell asleep, my daughter and I put one of his shoes out with ours. The next morning each shoe had a gift and the guests 18 or younger got a gift and a beautiful chocolate Santa. So having experienced 2 different cruise lines within 6 months, I have to say that AMA Waterways is a much better line than Viking. They do many little things that make you feel special. All the female passengers were each given a nice scarf in a box. It is a nice scarf with the company name only on the tag. The little things do make a difference. AMA carries bikes on ship to offer biking to its guests. They have you fill out what excursions you want to do over the week and at what level-active, regular or gentle. On Viking the included tours were a ride around on a bus for the most part, never into an exhibit that cost admission. On AMA you went to see a place and saw it, inside and out and they didn't charge extra for the admission. AMA Waterways Stella was a wonderful place to spend Christmas and the cruise all around was so great that we put down a deposit for our next cruise! A $200 deposit per person to be used in the next 2 years. Oh, where to go? Somewhere on AMA Waterways for sure! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
Fabulous cruise! We cruised from Budapest to Vilshofen on the Amaviola, from the crew, cruise manager, food & wine, to the shore excursions - everything was absolutely flawless! The cabin was roomy, great bed and nice linens, with good ... Read More
Fabulous cruise! We cruised from Budapest to Vilshofen on the Amaviola, from the crew, cruise manager, food & wine, to the shore excursions - everything was absolutely flawless! The cabin was roomy, great bed and nice linens, with good storage space; bathroom was generously sized and even had a line to hang laundry in the shower This new ship has included more electrical outlets and charging stations to accommodate the electronic devices most of us use today. The bathroom was also equipped with LED lights to softly illuminate the room in the night, to allow you to use it without the blinding glare of turning on the overhead light: a small, but thoughtful inclusion. Warm cosy robes and slippers are also provided. The housekeeping staff did an exceptional job of keeping our cabin and the ship spotlessly clean. The culinary staff ensured every morsel of food offered was delicious, with eye-pleasing presentations. The fresh local foods were well-complemented by very nice wine pairings. The servers in the dining room and bar were warm, friendly and very professional and efficient in the performance of their duties, helping to keep us all relaxed, comfortable and very well-fed. Thank goodness for all the well-th ought out excursions with knowledgeable, English-speaking local guides, to accommodate differing interests, activity and mobility levels, allowing for all to enjoy as much or little exercise and sightseeing. We very much enjoyed the opportunity to explore our embarkation city of Budapest, it was a delight, as were each of those we toured on our cruise. The on-board briefings regarding the areas through which we were passing were interesting and the entertainment enjoyable. The cosy, ship atmosphere encouraged more social interaction among the guests, allowing for friendships to develop. Great job AMAwaterways. Read Less
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