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Sail Date: March 2019
I had always been curious about river cruising, but had been reluctant to commit. However, this particular cruise up the Danube was too good to refuse, and I am so glad I did it. The initial draw was that the entertainment on board would ... Read More
I had always been curious about river cruising, but had been reluctant to commit. However, this particular cruise up the Danube was too good to refuse, and I am so glad I did it. The initial draw was that the entertainment on board would be the Alan Doyle Trio; my friends and I are big fans, and the chance to see 4 shows in one week and to interact with them on shore excursions and on the boat was once in a lifetime. Turns out that the vast majority of the passengers were of like mind: ready to have fun and connect with new people. From the first notes of the first show, we were all fast friends. And, even the passengers who had booked the trip independently quickly became fans and were really happy they had chosen this particular trip. Every element of this cruise was top notch. Embarkation was so easy, and the crew made me feel like I was coming home right from the beginning. Every need I had was met almost before I even asked. From housekeeping (wonderful Stephanie who cleaned and set up my room at least twice a day) to the bartender Misha who seemed to be always working (I don't know when she slept), and always with a smile on her face no matter what time of the day or night, to Roman the Wellness Director, who took the time to get to know me and my physical limitations and develop a program for me while on the boat. Our cruise manager was unbelievable. I think he must have had a "time turner", like Hermione Granger from Harry Potter, because he was literally everywhere all day, making sure shore excursions were going as planned, that everybody was safe and accounted for, and that we all had the information we needed to make our daily activity decisions. The ship was terrific. Plenty of room for finding moments of privacy, and great spaces for hanging with people. The thoughtful touch of having blankets available on deck for those cool days allowed us all to be outside as much as we wanted to. The fitness room had a treadmill that was non-functional for our cruise which was a disappointment to some of the passengers, but there were plenty of opportunities for vigorous training on the bike or rower, we well as on land if desired. The food was incredible; the dining room was lovely, and the servers were fantastic. There was no assigned seating, which allowed us to sit with a whole variety of different folks over the week. We made so many friends, and it was wonderful to share our day and our adventures with these new friends. The food ranged from multicourse meals with flexible options to a light breakfast in the lounge. You could have whatever you wanted, and mix and match from the menu or the buffet or the preparation station. And, if you didn't like that, you could order a burger or any number of routine options. The menu included local specialties at every country. I particularly liked the late night snack, for which I was always ready. The shore excursions were plentiful and varied; each day offered a terrific journey at any number of levels, from intensive biking to "gentle walkers" for those with mobility challenges. We primarily did the regular walking tours, and were impressed by the local tour guides on every one. I learned so much, and then had plenty of time for independent exploration. The entire week was low key and no-pressure. You could really do whatever you wanted on any given day. I am definitely planning to do a river cruise again, and will not travel with anyone other than AMA Waterways. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
This was our first River cruise. The Maitre D, Nicolette, on board the Prague to Budapest route was phenomenal. She bent over backwards to review menus daily with me, and my husband who is vegan. Every moment ran smoothly on the ship ... Read More
This was our first River cruise. The Maitre D, Nicolette, on board the Prague to Budapest route was phenomenal. She bent over backwards to review menus daily with me, and my husband who is vegan. Every moment ran smoothly on the ship including embarking/disembarking, tours, and meal schedules. The AMAcerto ship cabins are immaculate. Breakfast and lunch buffet choices are plentiful and fresh daily. Dinner entrees are artfully presented when you order from the menu. On-shore tours allow for all levels of physical ability. There were no glitches or disappointments except for a tour in Vienna in which the guide was not very well-informed about local history. We are experienced travelers who have hiked, driven, and gone by train throughout Europe. However, AMA waterways is perhaps the very best way to experience the Danube because included in the price are amazing tours of gothic churches, castles, Abbeys, medieval villages, and a Vienna concert as well. There is perhaps not enough time to explore a city on your own, hence you may want to stay for more days at the end of your trip in Budapest. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
This cruise exceeded all expectations. From the time we arrived, we were greeted with exceptional service from all of the friendly staff. We were amazed at how many of the staff addressed us by name within the first day of arrival. With ... Read More
This cruise exceeded all expectations. From the time we arrived, we were greeted with exceptional service from all of the friendly staff. We were amazed at how many of the staff addressed us by name within the first day of arrival. With so many guests, that was very flattering. Talida was a great cruise manager and kept us informed of happenings each day. The laundry service was fast and not too expensive. The food, OMG, what can we say to express how impressed we were. How they managed to serve everyone at a table at the same time with the right order was amazing. The beds in our cabin were so comfortable that the first night we slept right through breakfast the next morning - slept from 10PM to 10AM Luckily we didn't miss our Pecs Excursion. We really appreciated being able to choose the gentle walking tours and they even had a town train to take us around on one of the stops. The tour we enjoyed most was the Banitsa making one, with Pavel and Ramona's entertaining explanation of how to make it. I plan to try that recipe soon. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
room too small for 1 much less 2! hated carpet in cabin vs wood floors lots of complaints from other ppl. Crew not too friendly as was amadera crew who was at your beck and call. Certo looked very cold and uninviting. Lacked ambiance. ... Read More
room too small for 1 much less 2! hated carpet in cabin vs wood floors lots of complaints from other ppl. Crew not too friendly as was amadera crew who was at your beck and call. Certo looked very cold and uninviting. Lacked ambiance. Certo was too sterile! the pool had no privacy greenery just plexigliglass. The girl pouring wine was very pushy even ppl who didn't want more she insisted. don't try to reinvent the wheel. Serious down grade from beautiful Dera. What a disappointment from last year sailing with Dera. No balcony and those annoying were computer screens. Another complaint by others. We put towels to cover I that didn't work. At The recommendation of other guests we disconnected the computer. This computer thing mad me feel I was being watched all the time very bazaar. No i wouldn't go sailing again. The scheduling of excertions was tight. No time to get ready for dinner another complaint from others. Barbara Milloit sailing with Tim Rada. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
We chose this particular itinerary as a "Bucket List"/ retirement trip. We did a pre-cruise extension in Vienna and a post-cruise extension in Romania. Our cruise manager, Christian Abker, made sure every detail was taken care of ... Read More
We chose this particular itinerary as a "Bucket List"/ retirement trip. We did a pre-cruise extension in Vienna and a post-cruise extension in Romania. Our cruise manager, Christian Abker, made sure every detail was taken care of perfectly. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. The crew and staff were very professional, attentive and engaging. Our cabin was spacious, bright and very clean. The bathroom was also very clean and spacious. The food was generally excellent and our meal in the "The Chef's Table" was perfection! We met so many lovely fellow cruisers from around the USA and several other countries. There was a large group of hearing impaired people on this cruise and we thoroughly enjoyed getting to know many of them. We had several evenings of entertainment by local dancers/singers that added a wonderful authentic dimension to the trip. A good variety of on-shore excursions (although sometimes felt rushed). My favorite was the Bulgarian pastry and yogurt making excursion in a local family's home. We will definitely cruise with AmaWaterways again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
We had a perfect family trip with AMA Waterways on the AMA Certo. We traveled with my 3 teenage daughters ages 18,16 and 15. Two of the girls shared cabin 109, my oldest had cabin 111 to herself (both category D) and my husband and I ... Read More
We had a perfect family trip with AMA Waterways on the AMA Certo. We traveled with my 3 teenage daughters ages 18,16 and 15. Two of the girls shared cabin 109, my oldest had cabin 111 to herself (both category D) and my husband and I treated ourselves to a cabin with a French balcony 226, category C. The cabins are lovely, well decorated and with room to store all your necessities. The bathrooms are small but make efficient use of the space and have luxurious touches, like a rain shower and beautiful tile work. River cruising does attract an older clientele, however there was another family with younger children on our trip. I DO recommend this company and this trip for families. The ship had plenty of bikes, excursions for the more active crowd and a lovely pool. There was a small evening activity every night, but we only participated one or two nights as we were generally exhausted and fell asleep quickly. My family loved the dining experience. They treated us like royalty, always asked “where are the girls ?” if we arrived without them. The food choices were all excellent. Portions sizes were perfect for having a little bit of everything. We did not go hungry and my 15 year old said that she gained 4 pounds on board. Our trip was interrupted by an accident on the river (a barge got stuck in low water), which had river traffic backed up for miles. We only made it a little beyond Passau, Germany instead of our final destination of Nuremberg; so we had to take long bus rides to experience 2 days of excursions which wasn’t the best, but no fault of the AMA. The first stop was Bratislava, a beautiful town, where we hiked to the castle and then explored a local fair and locally made ice cream. Vienna was lovely, but we took the optional Schonbrunn Palace tour in the afternoon so we had to rush back to the ship and didn’t have a lot of time in Vienna. The girls loved Durnstein. We took the Apricots and Sweets tasking excursion which was lovely and then took a leisurely stroll back to the ship. Then my husband and I biked through the Wachau Valley while the girls sat in the sun on the boat. It was our favorite day. We also did the optional excursion to Salzburg. We thought Salzburg was beautiful but actually liked Regensburg (the next day’s excursion where we did another tastings tour) better. The tour of Nuremberg was an issue because of the river back up. To experience the tour you had to take a 3 hour bus ride (only because the boat never made it all the way to Nuremberg). My husband and 2 of my daughters went and enjoyed it, but mostly because some of the crew treated them to some entertainment after the tour. The crew was wonderful, the food was great. It’s an awesome way to see some parts of Europe. Plan on being flexible, the company has no control over weather or the river or other boat traffic. Yes take this trip or any other that AMA Waterays offers and BRING YOUR CHILDREN ! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
A friend chose this cruise based on the ports. I could not have been happier with the ship, tours, food, and service. Everything was well taken care of. The food never felt mass produced as it often does on a big ship. It felt like each ... Read More
A friend chose this cruise based on the ports. I could not have been happier with the ship, tours, food, and service. Everything was well taken care of. The food never felt mass produced as it often does on a big ship. It felt like each meal was made specially for me. Our waiters (Agus and Constantine) and bartender (Carmen) made us feel like we were their only guests. There were 6 in my group - they asked our names, remembered, & we were each greeted by name all week. They remembered food & drink preferences also of course making us feel cared for. Our cruise manager (Talida) made sure that all odds & ends were taken care of seemingly all across the ship & land with no seemingly no time when she might sleep! It worked wonderfully to stop at ports right on towns where we could just walk on & off the ship without worrying about buses etc.. Excursions were well planned & we had no wait time - it left when they said it would leave. No lining up, no waiting around to be called. It was all just right. I would definitely go again on a similar cruise & choose AmaWaterways. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
I have been travelling for over 25 years on ocean cruises, so I carefully selected AMA, it was the best experience I have ever had. The crew on this ship from the Captain down are the very best you could find 5 star every cruise member , ... Read More
I have been travelling for over 25 years on ocean cruises, so I carefully selected AMA, it was the best experience I have ever had. The crew on this ship from the Captain down are the very best you could find 5 star every cruise member , the food is fantastic, the service is perfect, the cabins are beautiful when every crew member makes you feel special to them, you have a first class experience. AMA uses locally sourced wines unlike some other river cruiselines, so it is a more memorable experience to savour the lical offerings.We were very fortuneate to be able to take part in a Bridge tour, conducted by Adrian, very interesting how the ship addresses the locks and us managed from the bridge.The cabin layouts are really good, we had a French Balcony and an outside balcony. You have happy hour before dinner and wine and beer with lunch and dinner and sparkling wine with breakfast, what more could you want ! Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
This was our first time on AmaWaterways, but our second river cruise. We did the Gems of Southeastern Europe which started in Budapest, Hungary, went through Croatia, Serbia, and Bulgaria, and ended in Bucharest, Romania. The ship was very ... Read More
This was our first time on AmaWaterways, but our second river cruise. We did the Gems of Southeastern Europe which started in Budapest, Hungary, went through Croatia, Serbia, and Bulgaria, and ended in Bucharest, Romania. The ship was very nice, very well maintained and clean, with plenty of spots in the lounge to sit and relax. Our cabin was just enough room and laid out very well. The food was fantastic, although not reflective of the local regions we were visiting (we had that experience on another cruise line, they served food local to where we were cruising to). But, they did serve local wines from Romania, Bulgaria, and Hungary. The service was excellent, top notch, and even the cruise director, hotel manager, and other prominent folks were often visible and completely approachable. Our excursions were also amazing. Everything was extremely organized, the tours were jam-packed with things to see and do (we were out all day, every day), and the local tour guides were all amazing. They were very friendly, informative, had great English speaking skills, and were very patient with us. The only thing I wish I had was more free time in each town. We barely had a chance to buy souvenirs, much less relax at a café or just stroll around on our own. But, I'm one who wants to see as much as possible of a city, so that matters more to me. The itinerary change was quite unexpected and gave us cause for concern before we left, but I want to say that Ama handled it in the best way possible. A week before our sailing, we were told that a bridge in Serbia was being repaired, blocking all ships from getting up the Danube from Serbia to Hungary. This meant that we could not actually sail out of Budapest. Within one week, Ama rearranged our itinerary to stay overnight in Budapest in a 5-star hotel (instead of getting on the ship), complete with a wonderful local buffet dinner in the hotel's restaurant and a private sailing around Budapest that night. The next day, we took a bus to Serbia--which I actually thought was awesome because we got to stop at a gas station and buy fun local food, and get our passports stamped in person by Hungarian and Serbian border controls! Then we were treated to a wonderful local meal in Novi Sad, Serbia, complete with a local band playing, and a short tour of town. Sure, it was most of the day on the bus, but it didn't feel like it. There was a guide with us who was very informative and talked about both Hungarian and Serbian lifestyles, cultures, and histories. We still got to take a short walking tour of Novi Sad, but we missed going to the fortress because we had to still drive to Belgrade that night, where our ship was docked. Driving through Belgrade at night was pretty cool. The rest of our itinerary shifted up one day as a result--we missed out on going to a couple of Hungarian towns before going to Serbia, and missed out on a little half-day excursion to a town in Croatia. BUT, for the last day of the cruise, we spent the day in Costanta, Romania, on the Black Sea--an excursion that Ama had never done before. We had a wonderful, long tour of the town, went to museums, saw the Roman mosaic boardwalk, went into the cathedral, and even put our hands in the Black Sea!! I felt really privileged to be able to do this, and was extremely appreciative of the Cruise Director literally whipping up this new stop and excursion within one week's time! After returning home, we also received a letter from Ama giving us nearly $2,000 in credit towards a future cruise as reimbursement for the messed-up itinerary. Woah! I was just happy with this new itinerary, and was delighted that I got to go to a seaside town in Romania. The cruise credit was just the icing on the cake and shows how well Ama treats their customers. We will certainly return to Ama to use our credit on a future cruise! Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Having never been on any cruise and not wanting to be herded along, we were cautious about selecting a river cruise. We were three couples traveling together and knew where we wanted to go after some research. We chose AmaWaterways because ... Read More
Having never been on any cruise and not wanting to be herded along, we were cautious about selecting a river cruise. We were three couples traveling together and knew where we wanted to go after some research. We chose AmaWaterways because it seemed to offer the most variety in tours. We were not disappointed. We booked almost a year ahead and included flights, transfers, and extra days in Prague. Everything was well planned from embarking to the flight home. The ship was well appointed and the cabins in a good location. All the staff was friendly, making me feel guilty for all the service. Meals were wonderful and the portions allowed you to eat everything but not feel overstuffed. The shore excursions were led by very knowledgeable tour guides at every place. We tried a hike, my husband a bicycle tour, in addition to the regular tours. The onboard entertainment was very good and the excursions fun. Our cruise manager Dragsn was professional and organized. It was a wonderful experience to visit Central Europe. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
This cruise, "Melodies of the Danube", was chosen by our travel agent. Upon entering the AmaCerto, we were so impressed by the elegance of the foyer and the lounge. The cabin was well-appointed with adequate space for clothing ... Read More
This cruise, "Melodies of the Danube", was chosen by our travel agent. Upon entering the AmaCerto, we were so impressed by the elegance of the foyer and the lounge. The cabin was well-appointed with adequate space for clothing storage. Even though this cabin was not a suite, we had two balconies. The bed was comfortable, the bathroom very adequate with a great shower, and the entire cabin was scrupulously maintained by the Amacerto housekeeping staff. The cruise manager, Nikola Grujin, was fantastic! Humorous and exceedingly helpful. Nikola was there for all of us in planning the trips to care of an injured passenger. Due to no fault of the Ship's crew, a passenger hurt her finger. All this is to say that Nikola accompanied the injured guest to Vienna hospital. Message to us: Ama Waterways staff will go the extra mile in the care of its passengers. Food & Drink: For all three meals, passengers can choose from the abundant buffet, or order from the menu. One of our friends ate vegetarian; a special elegant breakfast, lunch, and dinner was served to her. This was a wine-tasting cruise with Dr. Doug Garman, wine expert, that gave special lectures and wine tastings for all passengers. Touring & Entertainment: The guides were very well informed supplied by the local population. Choice of gentle to vigorous touring were offered. Opportunities for biking trips were for the younger folks. Since we are an elderly couple, we chose the more moderate excursions. Our favorite entertainment was a special concert of Mozart and Strauss at the beautiful Vienna Konzerthaus. We were entertained by Wiener Hofburg-Orchestra under the direction of Svetoslav Borisov; operatic solos and duets by soprano Ella Tyran and baritone, Michael Havlicek. Classical ballet pieces and Vienna folk dances were also included in the program. Every evening hours: beautiful music was provided by pianist, Gabor. A special onboard musical vocal duet of Vienna music was delightful. Even an Octoberfest beer celebration was provided by the local population. Disembarkation was professionally accomplished. All passengers were carefully delivered to the Munich airport. I cannot believe any other longship river cruise could offer a passenger more enjoyment. Don't miss a fabulous opportunity for a river cruise. Select Ama Waterways to be guaranteed fabulous experience. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
There was a change in itinerary which we only found out after we paid, checked in online, and received our cruise paperwork: instead of arriving in Mohacs in the morning, we arrived in the afternoon, so there was no opportunity to walk ... Read More
There was a change in itinerary which we only found out after we paid, checked in online, and received our cruise paperwork: instead of arriving in Mohacs in the morning, we arrived in the afternoon, so there was no opportunity to walk around Mohacs before boarding our tour bus. On the last day, we arrived at Rousse for our excursions into Bulgaria, instead of Guirgui, which according to the letter, made immigration easier. The excursion to Bucharest actually arrived back at Guirgui, instead of Rousse., after the ship had moved across the river. Pre-Cruise- Arrived two days prior. Stayed at the Hilton City Center which is conveniently located on the Pest side of the river. We purchased a 24 hour travel card at the BKK desk at the Airport. With the 24 hour travel pass you do not need to validate the pass, since it is valid from time of purchase. The BKK desk is in the arrivals area to the left immediately after exiting customs in either Terminal 2A or 2B. You can also buy other travel passes here for museum discounts, etc. From there we took the 200E bus which stopped right outside the doors to the left. This takes you to the Kőbánya-Kispest M3 train station and then took the M3 directly to the Nyugati Palyaudvar station. Hilton is up the escalator next to the mall entrance or you can walk outside, turn right and it is about a half block to their entrance on Vaci Ut (street). It was easy to get around from here on the M3 subway which went into downtown. Embarkation- -We still had an hour left on our 24 hour travel pass at 3pm so we used the aforementioned M3 from the Hilton and transferred to the 2 Tram at Jaazai Mari ter, and got off at the Zsil Utca stop. AmaCerto was docked at Mahart #2 and the ship was only about 30 yards away down the sidewalk close to the Erzsebet hid (Elizabeth bridge). We walked on and our bags were immediately taken to the room. We were in our room less than 5 minutes after walking on board. We were scheduled for a scenic Danube cruise around Budapest but due to the FINA swim meets scheduled later that week, we were unable to do this. Cruise Manager Florentin arranged a bus tour of Castle Hill in Buda instead. This worked great for us, because we had not made it to the Citadel or Liberty Statue. Room-In the room there is a Fridge, European power plugs (you will need an adapter if coming from UK or US), and there was a three-way splitter in the drawer under the TV. Also in the same drawer was a corkscrew. (You can bring wine on board as long as it is opened in the room). Bathrooms were typical size, although the shower was slightly larger than a typical Ocean Cruise cabin and had both overhead rain and hand held shower heads. Toiletries were a bar of soap, bottles of conditioner, shower gel, and shampoo, Vanity kit, and a shower cap. The toilet paper could be categorized as both less soft and less pliable than standard paper towels. Note- Keep your curtains closed when in port. Other ships pull in alongside to dock and you might be playing peekaboo with another cabin whose windows are lined up with yours the next morning. One towel animal on one night. On the TV, there was a good selection of movies, plus a bow cam, recorded versions of TLC, Discovery, plus live TV- CNN, Euro news, and several European sports channels. Two water bottles were provided each night for the next day, plus water was also available at the gangplank before leaving on excursions. Free Wi-Fi, but extremely undependable. One minute at 5mps, then cuts out entirely. This is regardless of where you are on the ship, room, public, deck, in port, or traveling down river. More typically slow (1mps). It’s good for checking emails or pulling up info on the next City, but not much else. Fellow Travelers- I would guess 90% of passengers were over 60 but with a good mix of nationalities. Many passengers were still spry, which is good, because after the first day there were no "active" walking tours. Every tour was the same with a number of “average walker” tours plus one “gentle walker” tour. On board activities- Not much- A few treadmills in the gym, and a small spa and beauty parlor. Native dancers entertained after dinner in Belgrade and Rousse. There is a very small pool on the top deck good for soaking that was used maybe twice during the Tipping was not automatic. Sign up on last day via Credit Card and use recommended guidelines or tip cash in envelopes. (or both depending on your preference) Itinerary- the Countries on the itinerary were not in the Schengen zone, so there were Customs formalities. Except for Serbia this occurred behind the scenes. Serbian Customs required each passenger to personally show their passport to the Customs officials at 10:30pm at night. This also caused the only delay as these same passports were taken away and not brought back by Customs until late the next morning, an hour after the official excursion start times. Food- Open seating, but after the first night passengers tended to gravitate towards the same tables and table-mates. We always sat somewhere different to meet new people so I am sure we upset a few table plans. All wait staff, as well as everyone on the ship, were personable and extremely friendly and helpful. Many of the waiters had distinct personalities, (“the jokester”, “the mother”, etc.) as opposed to the sometime robotic waiters on many ocean cruises, and it was easy to pick your favorite and sit in their area. Dress for dinner is “country club casual” which is to say slacks, knit shirts and button down oxford shirts, and the occasional sweater for men, and a wide range of preferences for the ladies. Breakfast and lunch wear matched the upcoming excursion or outside weather. Meals: Complimentary Champagne was available on the buffet for breakfast, and one type each of red or white wine was served for lunch and dinner as well as one beer (Bitburger on draft). There were also Coke products. Breakfast- typically 7am-9am: Bacon, Sausage, hash browns, plus a rotating entrée such as eggs Benedict, in addition to breads, cheese, sliced meats, and an omelet station for eggs any style. There is also an option of ordering a meal from your waiter: Minute steak; eggs; hash browns; baked beans; toast; or Waffles, eggs Benedict, or oatmeal. Wait Staff would also bring any items from the buffet to your table upon request. Very light breakfast was available from 6am-7am in the lounge consisting of bread, croissants, and donuts/pastries Lunch- I only had one lunch on board and I can’t remember exactly what was served- Salad, lunch meats, two soups, and a choice of three entrees on the hot bar plus a carving station. Every other day ice cream was also available and on the cruising day through the Iron Gates there was an “ice cream social” on the upper deck after lunch. Light lunch was also available in the lounge- This would be one of the lunch entrees plus salad and bread. Tea time 4pm-5pm- Wraps, finger sandwiches, pastries – ate snack at 1030pm- one snack items such as chicken fingers, short ribs, etc. Snacks were always available in the lounge- two types of cookies and a gluten free cookie option- Cookies and all the bread are baked on board. Dinner- Typically 7pm. Four courses that usually took about two hours. While dinner started at 7, late arrivals would be expedited through their service until they caught up with their table mates. Several appetizers, two types of soup, entree, and dessert. Sample Dinner menu: Appetizers- Fois Gras with Walnut Brioche, Fig Chutney, and a Port Wine confit OR Mixed green salad with grilled Asparagus, fresh Beets, Goat cheese, Candied Walnuts, with Raspberry Vinaigrette OR Pear cocktail with Grand Marnier Soups- French Onion with Cheese Crouton OR Foamed Cream of Potato with Salmon Main Courses- Grilled Filet of Sea Bass, with Sun Dried Tomatoes, Capers, Creamy Chardonnay foam, Sauteed spinach and Truffle flavored Mousseline potatoes OR Medallion of Lamb, lemon pepper crust and natural Jus, Broccoli, ratatouille and Potato Gratin OR Spinach-Boletus Quiche, Chives, sour cream, sauteed Tomato, and Vegetables Desserts- Molton Chocolate Baby Cake with Vanilla cream with Greed apple Sherbet OR Vanilla Ice Cream, with poached Pear, Raspberry Coulis and whipped Cream OR a selection of cheese and fresh fruits Service: Top notch. Everyone on the ship were personable, friendly, and were always helpful and ready to do whatever was necessary to assist passengers. Disembarkation- Bag tags were available based on post-cruise preference. Place your bag(s) outside your cabin the morning of departure, and they will be taken out to the dock for identification and loading prior to boarding your transportation. Cruise Manager Florentin was available for everyone to assist with any needs. This even included arranging a taxi or alternate transportation for those not taking an AmaWaterways extension. We used the AmaWaterways transfer to Bucharest but not the tour. This was a private car that drove us right to the Hotel. The post-cruise Hotel in Bucharest was the Athenee Hilton. We booked this separately but was the same Hotel was used by AmaWaterways for the post-cruise extension, so we saw Florentin each day in the Lobby. He was always available for anything we needed even though our part of the cruise was over. In my oh-so-humble opinion, this is the type of exceptional service that marks AmaWaterways far and above any other cruise line. Ports: Mohacs/ Pecs- Docked at Mohacs. We did the Pecs City Tour- Took a bus to Pecs – There we visited a Greek Orthodox church, a historical area near the church with Roman graves, a Synagogue, and then 30 minutes in Pecs on our own. The downtown area has a pedestrian street, but not much shopping. Vukovar in the morning/ Novi Sad in the afternoon- Docked in Vukovar long enough to let everyone off, then the ship left for Ilok, Croatia. Here we did the Yugoslav Civil war tour, with about 30 minutes to walk around Vukovar. We took the bus to Ilok to meet the ship and re-board. After lunch we docked in Novi Sad for a walking tour of the downtown pedestrian street. Saw the inside of a Greek Orthodox church, then free time in city. We felt we could have skipped the tour and just walked downtown. There is a a large number of outside cafes in this area along with the usual souvenir shops. Buses were available back to the ship or you could walk 15 minutes. In the evening we took a night-time tour of the Fortress via the underground tunnels. Belgrade- Docked at the port between Bronka bridge at the Fortress. The pedestrian shopping area is about a 15 minute walk up two large flights of steps. Did the Belgrade walking tour in the morning, and the Quburich Brandy tasting in the afternoon. Before the brandy tasting, we went to the TV tower, which was a good thing, because the Brandy was really strong and many did not even finish their first glass, although glasses were filled often . There were also some substantial snacks served consisting of Strudel, Salami's, and several other Serbian snacks. Iron gates- Cruised the Iron Gates all day with some nice sights. Perhaps I am a jaded traveler, but there are more scenic passages in Alaska, Norway, and New Zealand. Going through the two locks provided the most excitement. Vidin- Docked right at downtown which was maybe a five minute walk from the Ship. Several souvenir stores and many lively outdoor café/bars near the port. Really wanted more time in town. The chosen tour was the Belogradchik Fortress and Baba Vida fortress tour which arrived back at the ship at departure time. Luckily we toured the downtown walking area the night before. There wasn't much in town, but it is a very nice unspoiled city. It felt like iron curtain just fell. We left the tour when it arrived at Baba Vida and walked 15 minutes into town to use the 30 minutes we had left to do some quick souvenir shopping. This evening was also the Captain's Gala dinner. Rousse- Docked in a commercial port area . Here we did the Veliko Tarnova Fortress tour- This was my lone complaint on the Cruise. This is full day tour of Velinko Tarnova and the Fortress which is described as “..a visit to the ancient capital of Bulgaria, Veliko Turnavo. Here you will tour Tsarevets Hill, the old citadel of the city. You will see the old fortress walls, the Royal Palaces and the Patriarchal church, and the Baldwin’s Tower”, what we really did was tour two Greek Orthodox churches, with singers at the first church followed by hawking their CD’s. Then spent 30 minutes at a Rose oil retail store. We did get lunch of traditional Romanian dishes at a nice local restaurant. After this, we went to the Fortress but then were given only 10 minutes to look around or climb up to the Fortress before returning to the bus and going to the shopping district with 30 minutes for further shopping. In my view, the Fortress and town were the highlights, and more time should have been scheduled here. While the churches and tour of town were nice, the 30 minutes should have been scheduled for the Fortress, and only 10 minutes at the retail shop. Guirgiu- No time to see town as we arrived at 6:30pm and the town was 30 minute walk from ship, plus this evening it was raining. Bucharest- We used Mr Tripp for the post-cruise excursion. This was a 12 person Mini-Van with Hotel pickup. We drove to Peles (with a gas station/ bathroom break halfway. Then Brasov for a tour of downtown and one hour for lunch and time on our own, followed by a visit to Bran Castle. This was a 12 hour scheduled trip, but took 12:45. Timing is tight so every delay (such as waiting ten minutes for late arrivals or extra time for restroom breaks) should be added to the return time. A Taxi from the Athenee Hilton to the Airport was only 25 Lei. The Concierge called a taxi at 4am and the taxi was there in three minutes. It only took 25 minutes to get to the Airport. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2015
One of the things we liked the most about Ama is the way they cater to all activity levels. We prefer to be active, and they did a great job always having higher energy tour options from biking, hiking and walking tours. However, even if ... Read More
One of the things we liked the most about Ama is the way they cater to all activity levels. We prefer to be active, and they did a great job always having higher energy tour options from biking, hiking and walking tours. However, even if you prefer a slower pace, not a problem, there were excellent options. It certainly felt customized that way. Our cruise was the Gems of Southeast Europe (Budapest to Giurgiu), so it was different than other river cruise trips we've been on. Obviously you're not going to have the same level of sights, beauty and charming villages like you will elsewhere. But, if you are interested in this part of the world, the history and its current place in the world, you'll find it quite fascinating. Overall, the food was good, at times great, other times just good. They did a nice job incorporating some of the local cuisine depending upon where we were sailing. Shortcomings? In comparing to some other river cruises (and ocean) we've done, it would have been nice to have one more entree choice and one more appetizer. There were some meals where the choices were a bit limited. One meat, one fish, one veggie for mains. Also, desserts were not that indulgent. Maybe a good thing? But, there was a lot of ice cream. Hey, I love ice cream, but it seemed like it was the go to in almost half the meals. Some variation would have been welcome. The wifi is not that great. That is possible due to our location on the river but it was non-existent quite a bit, or horribly slow. I actually used a Glocal router and had better luck, but that was on my dime. Most of the staff were great. There might have been a couple of exceptions, but will say there was plenty of friendly, smiling, helpful faces. One thing to keep in mind. This was different than our other experiences. Ama does try to get you to interact with your fellow passengers. There are basically no 2 top, and very, very few 4 top tables at meals. You will likely be sitting with others. Not usually my choice but have to say, there were great people on our trip and we had plenty of nice conversations. Just know that going in. We would definitely sail Ama again. The number of excursions and choices of activity levels really won us over. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2014
We had made many ocean cruises before this river cruise. We were amazed with all of this cruise. Hospitality, comfort, food, tours; everything was beyond expectations! Every cruise member were always going out of their way to help, to ... Read More
We had made many ocean cruises before this river cruise. We were amazed with all of this cruise. Hospitality, comfort, food, tours; everything was beyond expectations! Every cruise member were always going out of their way to help, to cheer, to make our experience the best one possible. The fact that we are about 168 passengers on board makes it a very intimate atmosphere. Our room wich was a few feet above water level had 2 sliding patio doors wich we could open wide; the feeling was awsome! The itinerary was great; remember, you're on a river. You're always close to great scenerys without the motion of the ocean. Always nice and calm. I could go on and on! You just can't go wrong with this kind of cruise.We will be back and tip of the hat to AMA for offering such a great product! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
This was my first river cruise and I honestly don't feel it could have been better. We were treated like royalty from the moment we boarded. John, the cruise manager, was so well organized that we never had a doubt about where to go ... Read More
This was my first river cruise and I honestly don't feel it could have been better. We were treated like royalty from the moment we boarded. John, the cruise manager, was so well organized that we never had a doubt about where to go or what was available to us. the local guides were great and the on-board entertainment just right. In addition, the food was amazing, especially in their very fine restaurant which you can book once during the trip. I also enjoyed the free-flowing local wine and beer and found a few I hope to get here in the states. The only suggestion I would have is to try to make a reservation at least a year in advance so you can get a bigger room. The ones on the first floor are very small. I didn't really care about that because I was only there to sleep and change clothes. All in all, this was a great trip (Melodies of the Danube). Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2014
The AMA Certo is a beautiful new ship in the AMA fleet. It is bright and well maintained. We had a category BB cabin on the Cello Deck. At 210 sq. ft., the cabin was compact; the bathroom was even more so. Our cabin had both a French ... Read More
The AMA Certo is a beautiful new ship in the AMA fleet. It is bright and well maintained. We had a category BB cabin on the Cello Deck. At 210 sq. ft., the cabin was compact; the bathroom was even more so. Our cabin had both a French balcony and an outside balcony. The use of the outside balcony was very limited when we were docked because there were so many other riverboats and they tied up alongside each other. It was not uncommon to have to walk across one or two other boats to get to shore. This meant that our balcony was only 6” from another balcony or boat so it was often of no use in port. But very little time was spent in the cabin so this was not bothersome. The dining room is nicely laid out with a double row of booths down the middle and tables on the outsides. There are two smaller separate areas with a large table in each which were used by two of the groups on our trip. It is very noisy during mealtimes due to the low ceiling and high number of people. The food was uniformly good. Breakfast was a bountiful buffet. Lunch was buffet with some menu choices and table service. Dinner was off a menu with multiple choices. Any time you did not care for a dish, the waiter would offer to replace it with something else. Beer, wine and soft drinks were unlimited at lunch and dinner. You literally had to put your hand over your glass or it would be regularly refilled. The sundeck is a plus. There were several parts of the cruise when it was essential to be up there. The departure evening included a tour up the Danube to the beautifully lighted Parliament building. Get a blanket early from the storage boxes. There were not enough to go around that cool evening. The day touring the iron Gorge was sunny and warm. There were plenty of seats and most were shaded. The staff spoke excellent English and everyone was cheerful and ready to assist. Our cruise director, Nicola, was probably the best one we have had on any cruise anywhere. He delivered his daily briefings with a lot of comic genius. We were most impressed that he accompanied the pre-cruise tours to Vienna and Budapest as well as the post-cruise tour to Istanbul instead of passing us off to someone else. This was a winning point in our minds. We did the pre-cruise part on our own. We flew into Vienna, stayed at a hotel a half block from the Opera and easily saw all of the main sights without needing a guide. We took a train to Budapest and checked into the gorgeous Sofitel hotel where the AMA pre-cruise tour also stayed. This location is right next to the Chain Bridge, on a tram line, near a metro, included an incredible breakfast buffet and our room was upgraded to a view of the river. From here, we could walk or use the public transportation to see everything. Nearly every guide in each port spoke English well and filled us in on the history of the town/country as well as often giving personal insights into local life. AMA offers a ‘gentle walkers’ tour plan where those who might wish to walk slower but see a little less are given their own group guide. Pecs was our first port. The morning walking tour included a church and some underground Roman ruins. It ended in a city square where we had time to explore a bit more or shop. During lunch we cruised to Mohacs. This was the first chance to take a bicycle tour. The ship carries 20 well-maintained 7-speed bikes suitable for both men and women. The tour went about 5 miles down the flat riverside levee path to a small town where we toured the Stock Museum and then biked back. It was a great way to get out in the country and take an easy, refreshing ride. If you have ridden a bike within the last several years, this is for you. The rest of the port stops were equally well done as the first. We had very nice buses and informative guides. Many of the other countries we visited were Communist ruled up until recently and the poorly built apartment blocks, incredible snarls of exterior wires, and stressed economy were evident. We heard many stories about the hardships of Communist rule and visited several sites with heartbreaking stories. My personal favorite excursion was a visit to a Bulgarian home where we learned to make banitsa. The lady was very welcoming and opened her home completely. The lunch in Bucharest was also unique. The restaurant endeavored to recreate a dining experience in the golden years of the city. Waiters in long black aprons delivered soup served in individual large pewter tureens. The décor was like a movie set. We were serenaded by a violin player and then an opera singer. My husband and I elected to take the Istanbul extension. We were very surprised at how modern the city suburbs are … modern malls and architecturally stunning buildings. The center of this city of 16 million has buildings mixing a broad span of history and there is also evidence of abandoned buildings from their fairly recent earthquake. There were both morning and afternoon tours which covered everything on our bucket list. We felt that we had enough time at each site such as the Topkapi Palace and mosques and weren't rushed. Our guides also led those who wanted help through the Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar while the rest of us could wander alone. The hotel was the Istanbul Intercontinental which was in a great location for strolling and eating. Overall, I would rate this AMA Waterways trip highly. We visited countries that we would not have traveled through independently and saw off-the-beaten path areas which all had interesting stories.   Read Less
Sail Date: July 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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 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: November 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
3 Helpful Votes
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: October 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: 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: November 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: 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: May 2012
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
AmaCerto Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.8
Dining 4.0 4.5
Entertainment 4.0 4.0
Public Rooms 5.0 4.8
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 1.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 5.0 4.6
Enrichment 4.0 4.5
Service 5.0 4.8
Value For Money 5.0 4.4
Rates 4.0 3.6

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