Best For: Moderately active travelers eager to take advantage of biking and hiking options **Not For: **Cruisers seeking an abundance of onboard programming and entertainment Bottom Line: AmaSiena displays casual elegance, with an emphasis on friendly, personalized service.
AmaWaterways is a family-owned operation, and it shows. It’s not unusual to encounter employees who have worked for the company for a decade or more. And co-founders Kristin Karst and Rudi Schreiner are frequent presences on their 25 river ships.
Both owners were onboard in August 2021 for christening festivities (delayed a year or so, thanks to COVID) of AmaSiena, which is sailing the Rhine River through year’s end. It’s a sister ship to AmaLea, AmaKristina, AmaMora, and the newest, AmaLucia, which is sailing, but won’t be officially christened until 2022.
AmaWaterways has always sought to distinguish itself with its active-excursion options. The ships carry a fleet of bikes that can be checked out for individual use or on guided tours. Shore excursions (included in the cruise fare) also include hikes and walking tours. Like other AmaWaterways vessels, AmaSiena caters to a North American clientele. Its low-key elegance features public spaces decked out in vibrant reds and oranges. Exuberant floral patterns swirl on the carpets. Tweedy accents lend a classic touch.
Public areas are intimate but spacious. The main Lounge is dominated by a horseshoe-shaped bar at the rear, and behind that on either side are two additional gathering spots: a “library” (which curiously, lacks books, but does sport two wall-encased fireplaces) and, on the opposite side, a coffee/tea station with several bistro tables.
Tweaks in the design of both AmaSiena and AmaLucia created an additional glass-enclosed table seating area at one end of the Lounge. A bistro lunch is served there, and it’s a popular spot for cardplayers and laptop users.
Note: Though there is a wheelchair accessible suite, the ship’s elevator doesn’t reach the upper deck. Access to the pool, track and outdoor seating areas is via a short flight of outdoor stairs.
AmaWaterways requires all passengers to show proof of vaccination before embarkation. Guests receiving Pfizer, Modern and AstraZeneca are considered fully vaccinated 14 days after receiving the second dose; those receiving the single-dose Johnson & Johnson must wait 28 days before sailing. The line accepts mixed dosages of the vaccines.
Passengers must also submit a general health screening form before sailing.
As of summer 2021, the ship’s capacity is capped at 75 percent in an effort to maintain social distancing.
Early boarding on embarkation day is no longer permitted, due to deep-cleaning procedures.
Masks are required onboard, except while eating and drinking.
Cruisers are assigned tables in the dining room for the duration of the cruise. (Normally, there’s an open-seating arrangement.)
There’s no dancing allowed (though guests are free to “swing” to tunes while seated in the Lounge’s swivel chairs).
Self-service beverage stations (coffee and tea) and buffets are no longer operating, but staffers are standing by to assist.
Periodic temperature checks are conducted (typically before entering the dining room).
Fitness classes, when held indoors due to bad weather, are limited to six participants.
Gym users must make an appointment, due to limited capacity.
The ship has individual air conditioning and heating units in cabins and public areas, which limits cross circulation.
Off the Ship
Requirements vary according to country and can change suddenly, so remain flexible and stay informed.
Germany requires visitors to upload vaccine certificates to an app.
France requires getting a “health pass” to enter restaurants and attractions. But we were able to dine at an outdoor eatery by simply showing photos of our CDC vaccination cards.
Passengers returning to the U.S. must show they’ve taken an Antigen test, taken within three days of their departing flights. Antigen tests are widely available at pharmacies and at many airports. U.S.-bound travelers can get the more reliable PCR test (60 euros) on board the ship.
Main dining room and Chef’s Table specialty restaurant
All-day tapas and afternoon tea in the Lounge
Wine, beer and soft drinks at lunch and dinner, plus an evening Sip & Sail cocktail hour
Late-night snacks in the Lounge
24-hour coffee/tea station
Use of bicycles and helmets in port
Several daily fitness classes
Small pool with swim-up bar
Fitness center and walking track
Hair salon services
Alcoholic beverages other than beer and wine and meals, and drinks during cocktail hour
Laundry service (except in suites)
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