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Cruise Ratings
Sail Date: August 2013
This was our first river cruise. What a great surprise. Cabins are well appointed but smaller than Ocean Cruises. You don't spend that much time in the cabin so the size is not that important. The Cleaning girls were fantastic and ... Read More
This was our first river cruise. What a great surprise. Cabins are well appointed but smaller than Ocean Cruises. You don't spend that much time in the cabin so the size is not that important. The Cleaning girls were fantastic and their towel art was a great delight The two cities of Buda and Pest were very different but the architecture and people were fantastic. We were in Budapest when they were celebrating St. Stephens day. Many stores were closed but the city was crowed with tourists having a great time. We were held for departure until a fantastic fireworks display was completed. Captain and Tour Director were very knowledgeable and made sure that we were on the proper excursion. The food was excellent. With only 148 passengers on board, we were able to meet almost everyone on board. The stops along the way were very educational and interesting. I am not a great walker, but they made sure I saw almost everything that my wife saw, except for the stores. Every port had great attractions. We wish we could have spent more time in Vienna. Prague must be seen. AMA gets a five star rating from us. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2013
The August AMA Waterways Danube Discovery cruise aboard AmaLyra was underwhelming even though AMA Waterways is supposed to provide a higher end experience than its competition. The AmaLyra was built in 2009 & therefore does not have ... Read More
The August AMA Waterways Danube Discovery cruise aboard AmaLyra was underwhelming even though AMA Waterways is supposed to provide a higher end experience than its competition. The AmaLyra was built in 2009 & therefore does not have all the "bells & whistles” of more modern ships (e.g. it has French balconies which allow passengers to open a sliding door to the outside but not a true balcony which permits passengers to actually sit outside on a balcony). It carries fewer passengers (ca. 143) than most (ca. 160-190) of its competition. Cabins: Although there was plenty of closet & drawer space, mid priced cabin floor space felt somewhat cramped. The bathroom was remarkably spacious with a modern fully enclosed shower. Linens were high end. The bed was uncomfortably hard even with two duvets used for cushioning. There was good climate control & soundproofing. The TV, which provided entertainment & information, was small, ornery & navigation was not user friendly. The free internet/Wi-Fi in one’s room, & throughout the ship, was, to be kind, not state of the art. Capturing & maintaining a usable signal was frustratingly slow and not as reliable as it should have been even while docked in a reasonable large port city where one would have expected a better signal. And, at speeds of 9 mph the ship doesn’t cover huge swaths of geography that might account for such problems. River cruise ships often do not have their own berth in port. In nearly every port, 2-3 ships from the same cruise line tied up to one another. When nested in this manner, one had to walk across one or more ships in order to get to your ship. Depending upon where your ship is docked in the nest (outside or inside), cabins of different ships are across and within a few feet of one another privacy concerns requiring closed curtains and therefore no view and limited natural light. Public Space: When relaxing on deck was undesirable (too dark or weather issues), there was little interior quiet space. Other than a multi-purpose lounge (bar, entertainment, dance space &/or lecture hall), the one interior space that could have been used for reading was also used for games and socializing as well as adjoining a tiny fitness area with an extremely noisy fitness machine. Too often one’s cabin was the only place for quiet space. At those times, a true balcony was missed. Dining: Everyone was required to eat at the same time. Seating was comfortable and tables were well spaced. One did not have the feeling of being crowded as friends have described on other river cruise lines. Menu choices were much more limited than on ocean cruising. Food was generally mediocre with occasional flashes of "good.” We found at least one of the meal time wine offerings was good. Bar prices were on the high side. After some just adequate service, we discovered, & stayed with a waiter, who was excellent. Although tips were pooled, passengers were advised that it was acceptable to tip additionally. Waiters (and cabin attendants) understood what was required & behaved appropriately. With one or two exceptions, the entertainment brought onboard was forgettable. Unfortunately, the one man keyboard/vocalist who was supposed to provide in house music for dancing and general entertainment was musically challenged in addition to having some language issues. Ports: The slow pace of river cruising (about 9 mph) means that not much distance is covered in a 24 hour period. The ports are relatively close together and notwithstanding significant differences among them, one has a greater sense of homogeneity (architecture, food, general culture) compared to ocean cruising where ports are generally much farther apart exposing one to much greater diversity. Tours: Free bus or walking tours gave an overview of each port. The bus tours were mostly drive-by’s. Tour guides were knowledgable with lots of esoteric commentary & forgettable detail. Optional tours were limited and marginally interesting.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2013
We took a Danube river cruise on AmaWaterways ship AmaLyra in early June. We arrived in Budapest on the day the Danube crested during the worst floods in 500 years. Nothing was moving on the river, and on the day of departure the AmaLyra ... Read More
We took a Danube river cruise on AmaWaterways ship AmaLyra in early June. We arrived in Budapest on the day the Danube crested during the worst floods in 500 years. Nothing was moving on the river, and on the day of departure the AmaLyra was marooned several hundred miles away on the wrong side of the Rhine-Danube canal. Our extraordinary cruise manager and the company made herculean efforts to keep us informed of alternative arrangements; we went to Bratislava by bus and were accommodated in a very comfortable Sheraton, so the Bratislava tour went off as scheduled. Then another bus to Vienna, and on to Ybbs, where we picked up the company's newest ship, the AmaPrima. Three glorious days on the AmaPrima took us to Wesenhufer, where we were again bused to Passau, then Regensburg, where we got on the AmaLyra at last for the last three days to Nuremburg. The company thought of everything; when we were unable to eat lunch on board (because there was no ship!) every passenger was given a substantial cash allowance for lunch. And the additional packing-and-unpacking chores were handled cheerfully by the crews of both ships. Staterooms were spotless, the food first class on both ships; and every crew mamber went out of his/her way to make the cruise a great experience for the passengers. On top of everything else, AmaWaterways gave every passenger a substantial credit - good towards any cruise through 2016 - for the 2 days that were missed on shipboard. Altogether a first class experience! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
This was our first River Cruise and it will not be the last with AMA. From start to finish it exceeded our expectations. This review really has to be done in two parts, the ship and then the ports of call. The ship and crew is easy, it ... Read More
This was our first River Cruise and it will not be the last with AMA. From start to finish it exceeded our expectations. This review really has to be done in two parts, the ship and then the ports of call. The ship and crew is easy, it was outstanding. Everything and everyone was top notch. The staff could not do enough for you. The food, from the morning breakfast buffet to the dinner was delightful. Our Cruise Directer, Sebastian, was everywhere,doing anything he could to make things better. At times we thought he had to have a twin, he was doing so much. On board the one man band and singer entertained each evening, and local performers were brought on board to share the regional music and dance with us. The ship is well maintained, clean and warm. Each cabin has it own TV and wifi center. When the system failed a technician was flown in to correct it. We began our trip with an optional start in Vienna for two days.We also took the extension at the end to Istanbul. Both were wonderful. We think this route would be preferable to the reverse. The excitement of Istanbul was a wonderful ending to the trip. The other ports of call were not ones that you would normally think of going to. That being said the local guides were of such good quality they made them all interesting and worthwhile. We were always in small groups, with individual ear sets to hear the guide. The ship had about 140 guest and a crew of 42 ... which made it easy to meet and mingle with almost everyone. This is truly an all inclusive trip. You are not nickeled and dim-ed to death. From the simple thing of always having bottles of FREE water available to surprising the women with a rose at the first dinner, or paying the small fee for toilets on a tour and making a donation for our visit to a Mosque. Tipping was additional for the crew and tour guides. We ended our tour in Istanbul and were housed at The Ritz-Carlton. A little service they provided was almost expected after the attention provided by AMA. When we called for a 2 am wake up call the operator offered us free complimentary coffee at 2:10 am. What more could you want. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
My husband & I had a wonderful time on this cruise! We're burned out on ocean cruising - too crowded, too cheesy, that feeling that they're trying to make money off of you at every turn. The Amalyra was wonderful. ... Read More
My husband & I had a wonderful time on this cruise! We're burned out on ocean cruising - too crowded, too cheesy, that feeling that they're trying to make money off of you at every turn. The Amalyra was wonderful. Small beautiful ship (only about 150 passengers). All the staff were friendly, professional, and gracious. Food was excellent. Wine was better than expected - some was really good. Ports were beautiful, and tours were excellent. I'd never gone through locks before, and found them fascinating. Our cruise was from Budapest to Nuremberg. The ship had about 20 bikes on board that you could use, so after our tour of Vienna, we took a couple & rode through the city - highly recommend that - it's very bicycle-friendly with good bike paths. We also went on a group bike ride from Durnstein to Melk (Austria) - about 3 hours. Not too difficult (except 1 hill!). Gorgeous scenery. Days were pretty full with tours, etc. - something for everyone - more active & less active. Took a couple extra days in Budapest before the cruise started - great city! And stayed an extra day in Nuremberg. Our fellow passengers were from all over the globe, and mostly very nice. Age group was mainly 40-50-ish, but younger & older, too. No children. People we met at all the stops were nice, too. Tour guides were friendly & knowledgeable. This was a comfortable, classy cruise, without all the hoopla. If you want rock-climbing walls, bowling alleys, & rowdy partiers, this is not for you. If you want an interesting, relaxing, and active trip - this is it. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2011
The Amazing Amalyra We just returned from a most memorable trip on the Danube with additional days in Budapest and Prague and all I can say is WOW! I don't want to discuss the ports which you can read about anywhere but focus on ... Read More
The Amazing Amalyra We just returned from a most memorable trip on the Danube with additional days in Budapest and Prague and all I can say is WOW! I don't want to discuss the ports which you can read about anywhere but focus on the features that made Ama special to us. We picked Ama because their itinerary tied in best with our nephew's wedding in Prague. The entire process of booking, flights and transfers couldn't have gone more smoothly. We have done at least 18 ocean cruises and never had the type of treatment we received with Ama. We were met at the airport and transferred to the Sofitel at the Chain Bridge in Budapest where we met our cruise director, Lilo Lehmann. The second time she saw us, she knew our names and always greeted us with a smile. The hotel was well located and very comfortable. The breakfast was quite elaborate with every imaginable thing you could want except for a good cup of coffee. Sixty of us took part in the entire trip and Lilo was there every step of the way. She made sure that our luggage was put away and with every more it traveled with us. On embarkation day we met the other 40 passengers for our week long cruise. There were a total of 106 passengers out of a capacity of 144. We were greeted by the Captain with a glass of sparkling wine and escorted to our cabins where our luggage was awaiting. On first impression, the cabin seemed small but it was very well appointed. There were plenty of electric outlets which is unusual for a ship. The current was 220v but most of our gear was dual current so all we needed were adapters. The desk would lend them if necessary. Despite the size, we had no difficulty putting everything away and the suitcases easily fit under the high beds. What impressed me was the bathroom and what was a good sized shower with it's triangular layout. And the shower-head was fabulous. The only criticism I had was that the mattresses were a bit hard for me. We then set out to explore the ship. We went to the Sun Deck where lounge chairs and tables with chairs were plentiful. A small hot tube was located behind the wheelhouse. There was minimal shade available. This area was popular when traveling through locks, 26 between Budapest and Prague mostly at night, and was the scene of a few parties. One deck down was the location of the main lounge which was the center of activity with a bar and plentiful seating. This is where the shows would take place. A piano player entertained most nights. We had a very nice show by Aphrodite, a group of 4 girls who were very talented. Another show was with La Strada, a string group, also very talented. A cabaret singer also performed one night. These shows were short but filled out the evening. The Reception Desk was outside the lounge and was the site of the excursion organizing and other business matters. Half a deck up was Lili's little desk which she staffed frequently. Next door was the shop which was rather well equipped for such a small vessel. The rear of this deck contained the small Aft Lounge and tiny fitness center. Deck 2 contained the most important area of all, the dining room. All meals were at relatively fixes times and seating was as you desired. Maybe with the sailing not being full, we never had any difficulties finding a table of any size. Overall, the ship was very nicely decorated. What impressed me was the cleanliness of the ship. I saw our stewardess on her hands and knees scrubbing our bathroom floor on more than one occasion. It was nice knowing that we would return to a clean and tidy cabin. Excursions were broken into 3 groups with active, regular and easy. Active was never a strain. Our local guides were great and very informative. Some could have been stand-up comedians especially in the former Soviet block where there were often jabs made of their former occupiers. We would be walking around and, all of a sudden, Lilo would pop up to make sure everything was going well. As to the issue with the quality of the food, we enjoyed every meal. Breakfast was the usual with hot and cold items in usual buffet style as well as hot items from the kitchen ordered from the menu. Lunch was ordered from the menu with a salad bar as well. The burgers were awful as everyone has stated. Dinner included a meat, fish or vegetarian choice as well as always available steak, chicken or salmon. My wife had the chicken and salmon which were surprisingly very good. I had fish which was fresh and good. Presentation was always very well done. What I thoroughly enjoyed was the cheese tray with all 3 meals. I chose cheese or fruit cocktail for dessert most nights although our dining mates enjoyed the desserts. Wines were free-flowing and generally very good. They would fill our glasses at the end of dinner so we could enjoy them in the lounge. At the end of the cruise, Lilo made sure EVERYONE had their luggage going to the right destination and that people were transferred where they were supposed to be going. Taxis were ordered, buses were loaded and off to Prague we went. The bus trip was long and we welcomed the stop at Karolvy Vary. We had a little tour and then went for lunch. We left the tour a little early before the crowds attacked the restaurants. Then off to our final destination. The chosen Old Town Hilton was well located but a disappointment. The rooms were dirty and very dated. Carpets in the room were stained and we had lots of cobwebs. Conrad would roll over in his grave if he saw it. But it is a logistical problem finding hotels for these large groups and there were plenty of groups staying with us. I don't fault Ama but do pass the blame Hilton. All in all, I am very impressed with Ama and especially with our good friend Lilo. When we returned home, it was nice to find a personal postcard from Lilo in our mailbox. I would not hesitate to sail Ama again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2011
This started out just wonderfully with being met at the airport in Budapest, taken to the Hotel Sofitel, where we were greeted by the lovely and charming Pili, our cruise director. She has a way of getting along with everyone, and I know ... Read More
This started out just wonderfully with being met at the airport in Budapest, taken to the Hotel Sofitel, where we were greeted by the lovely and charming Pili, our cruise director. She has a way of getting along with everyone, and I know she had some challenges on this trip. We had a lovely suite because there was not another room available when we arrived. The hotel is in a great location on the river at the beautiful Chain Bridge. Breakfast at the hotel was a buffet with everything one could want, except--the coffee left a lot to be desired. When the afternoon to board the Amalyra came, we were taken across the river to the boat and welcomed aboard and shown our rooms. We were quite happy with the size, especially the bathroom, for such a small ship. After we boarded we had the usual lifeboat drill, and Pili gave a talk on procedures on the boat and introduced the captain, hotel manager, and restaurant manager. As we left Budapest that night, the captain took the boat down the river a bit and turned around to head north. What breathtaking sights and photo-ops we all had. We had all breakfasts and lunches on the boat in the lounge area, because we learned the first night that the dining room was a helter-skelter rushed and loud affair--more later on this. All of the stops were most interesting, and we had terrific guides. They set up walking groups for active, medium and slow. The active suited us, and was not rushed--we just didn't take as long at each place so we could have time to revisit those we were really interested in. The active groups started out small, but as more people learned that they were hearing more than they needed, they joined the active group. By the end of the trip, the active group was really too large. We ould have used another day in Vienna. We took the optional side trip to Salzburg, and were so glad we did. On the way we visited the little town of Monsdee--quite charming with an ultra baroque cathedral. We had one day of just cruising the river. This was fun and relaxing, with everyone upstairs and listening to Pili give the history of the places we went by. Whenever we met another river cruise boat everyone waved in a happy shared experience mood. When we got to Nuremburg, we had our interesting tour, and it was the only town we visited that we didn't think was impressively clean. The next morning we boarded buses for the long (about 5 hours) trip to Prague--but it was a beautiful trip, with a stop in the resort spa of Karlovy Vary. We had lunch and beer there--our first experience with how much the Czechs love beer--good stuff. The Olde Town Hilton was our hotel. It was in a very good location with lots of nearby restaurants, and was within walking distance to the castle, the Charles Bridge, and all the good things to see in Prague. Now as to the Dreaded Dinners: First, the boat was at full capacity. Secondly everyone eats at the same time. This means a busy dining room. It is small with a low ceiling and tables are close together. There was a group of about thirty traveling together who were extremely and I mean extremely noisy. Wine is complimentary at dinner so as the meal progressed, their noise level progressed--upward. We learned quickly to sit at the back away from where they congregated for dinner. this put us by the kitchen doors which were constantly banging open and shut with the manager RUNNING--not walking--in and out of there. It just plain was not relaxing at all. The food was ok at best, and sometimes it took a long time even for the menu to arrive. I think a more spread out dining situation--timewise--would help this situation. Why can't they set dining seating from 6:30 until 8? I asked someone this question, and was told that the crew would have to work too much. We did meet some travelers from another AMA boat in PRAGUE. They told us that their dining was wonderful...so I just don't know what to think. Was it the manager not being able to handle things, or was it the noise and demands of the passengers? Read Less
Sail Date: April 2011
This was our first river cruise. It is unlike ocean cruising. The maximum passenger capacity on AmaLyra is 148. It is easy to get to know a number of the other guests. AMA Waterways has every detail covered, even getting a dentist for my ... Read More
This was our first river cruise. It is unlike ocean cruising. The maximum passenger capacity on AmaLyra is 148. It is easy to get to know a number of the other guests. AMA Waterways has every detail covered, even getting a dentist for my wife's emergency treatment on a holiday. The food was excellent as was the generous offerings of complimentary wine during dinner. All of the employees on the AmaLyra were professional and courteous and did everything to make our trip a pleasant one. The AmaLyra was built about 2009. The room had ample space. The bathroom was also roomy enough. The Internet connection was hit and miss but a nice amenity when it had reception, which was often enough. There was a TV with a nice selection of English speaking stations to choose from. This room was immaculately clean when we arrived and cleaned exceptionally well each day. Laundry service was top notch and reasonable. Items were returned in less than 24 hours. If you are considering a river cruise, I would highly recommend AMA Waterways. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2009
From the moment we got on the Amalyra, we knew we had made the right choice. The boat was amazing, the food was absolutely excellent and the staff was the best ever. The price of your ticket includes almost all land tours and they are ... Read More
From the moment we got on the Amalyra, we knew we had made the right choice. The boat was amazing, the food was absolutely excellent and the staff was the best ever. The price of your ticket includes almost all land tours and they are top notch. The quiet boxes you wore to listen to your tour guides were a real bonus in all the towns & villages we visited. All of the wine & beer served at dinner was also included in your fare. The wines were always local to where you were sailing and they were great. The locals came on board to provide entertainment and sometimes it was a lecture on beer with tastings, or a lecture on wine with tastings. We were never bored, in fact the days weren't long enough. The cabin was smaller than a regular cruise ship but the shower was larger. Beds & bedding are first class. They provide slippers, robes and there is an umbrella in the closet to use if it should rain. There are sliders but no balconies as the boat must fit through the locks. Free internet in your own stateroom is such a bonus. The captain gives each lady a long stemmed rose on welcoming cocktail party and there is a bud vase in each room to hold the flower. Your room is kept stocked with 6 bottles of water, daily. All complimentary. Beer & wine with dinner is all complimentary too, and they just keep pouring. Having free internet service in your own rooms was such a bonus too. Being able to keep in touch with home, at no cost, was a bonus. We took advantage of extra time in Budapest before the cruise and we went on to Paris at the end for 3 days. The tours provided in these cities were excellent too. A tour guide is with you the whole time so there is someone to help you when things don't go quite right. We are saving to take another AMA Waterways cruise, can't wait to go again. Read Less
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