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Sail Date: May 2018
Taste of Bordeaux – AMA Waterways AMA Dolce – May 3-10, 2018 We had an opportunity to take our second European river cruise aboard AMA Waterways Taste of Bordeaux itinerary onboard AMA Dolce. This is a roundtrip sailing ... Read More
Taste of Bordeaux – AMA Waterways AMA Dolce – May 3-10, 2018 We had an opportunity to take our second European river cruise aboard AMA Waterways Taste of Bordeaux itinerary onboard AMA Dolce. This is a roundtrip sailing from Bordeaux, France through the Bordeaux wine region. Differing from the many other 7 day river or ocean cruises we have been on, this one was a Thursday to Thursday itinerary. Arriving in Bordeaux we took a local taxi to the riverside embarkation in Bodeaux on the Garonne River. The Garonne leads leads to the Gironde Estuary, and is subject to tidal rise and fall, and is for centuries has enabled ocean going vessels to load the wines of Bordeaux for shipping around the world. We spent the first night in Bordeaux, and familiarized ourselves with the AMA Dolce. Its capacity is 146 passengers, and we had a few vacant cabins. It consists of 3 passenger decks, and the topside deck with seating, a track, a small hot tub, and the captain’s piloting station. Decks 2 and 3 contain cabins with French balconies, the lounge, and the dining area. Deck 1 contains cabins at the waterline, with small windows just above water level, but the cabins are similarly sized to those with French balconies. At the rear of deck 3 is the 28 seat Chef’s Table where guests can request seating daily for dinner, at no additional charge. There is one elevator between decks 2 and 3 for those with limited mobility. Evening entertainment is limited to a DJ, or a few local musicians brought aboard for the evening while in port. There was also a wellness representative that daily led optional exercise, yoga or and some slide presentations in the lounge. Each evening before dinner, which is open seating between 7-9pm, the cruise director holds a 15 minute briefing of the coming day’s excursions and schedule. Breakfast is buffet style, including made to order eggs as well as scrambled eggs, meats, fruit and juices, and a wide variety of pastry. Lunches include both salad and buffet items, as well as optional entrees from a menu, ice cream or sorbet, and a cheese assortment. Dinners are menu driven, with appetizers, salads, soups, entrées and desserts. Entrees typically included a meat and a fish selection. Local wines and beer are available at no cost at lunch and dinner. We did enjoy the Chef’s Table one evening for dinner. It included an exceptional menu of appetizers, salad and soup, an entrée plate with four mini entrée items, and dessert. Special wines were served. Our days typically included an excursions of sightseeing in the mornings and a visit to a chateau with wine tasting in the afternoons. Buses took us to the sites, but there was some walking during the excursions and chateau visits. Day 2 included a guided walk through Cadillac in the morning, and after lunch we visited Roquetaillade Castle, occupied for 700 years by the same family. This was followed by a visit to a Chateau Guiraud for Sauternes wine tasting. On day 3 we sailed to Pauillac in the morning, and boarded buses for a drive through the Medoc region where cabernet sauvignon grapevines stretched as far as we could see, in most directions, and included such famed Grand Cru Class chateaus as Chateau Lafite Rothchild and Chateau Mouton Rothchild. We visited Chateau Gruaud Larose for a tour of the chateau and the wine cellar before wine tasting. On day 4 we sailed outbound to Blaye for a tour of the 17th century Blaye Citadel, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After lunch we visited Bourg,with a Carraige Museum, underground passageways in oil tanks from WWII, and ended with a wine festival complete with local musician, and dancing and wine tasting. Generally at any of the wine tastings they included some local bread, cheeses, and sausages to accompany the wine. On day 5 we sailed down the Dordogne River to Libourne, the heart of the St Emilion and Fronsac region, the Bordeaux area’s most elite wine regions. We bused into the historic St Emilion town, with picturesque architecture, ancient monuments and a monolithic church carved out of one piece of limestone rock, and then went under the church to discover its catacomb and caves. After some time to walk and enjoy the town and it many wineshops and restaurants, we bused to Chateau de Ferrand for winetasting of GrandCru Classe wines. On both days 4 and 5 there were also optional bike tours of the area. On day 6 we had the opportunity to walk into Libourne in the morning and enjoy an open air market in the Bastide town in the morning including samples of sausages, cheeses, and local chocolate. In the afternoon we boarded buses for the short trip to Fronsac for a tour of the grounds and historic Chateau La Dauphine and sample Fronsac regional wine. On day 7 we returned to Bordeaux and spent the morning on a walking tour of the center of the city, with its historic cathedral, city hall, and high end shops, and then were bused to the Bordeaux Wine Museum. The uniquely shaped 8 story building included interactive exhibits on wine smells, food pairing, and wine growing, and ended with wine tasting on the 8th floor with a panoramic view of the city. In the afternoon of this last day, after lunch we were free to enjoy the city on our own. After dinner, the vessel got underway for an hour from 9:30-10:30pm to view the lit-up city from the river…a post card moment! Shipboard gratuities were about as expected on a cruise, but we also tipped the daily guides 2 Euros and the bus drivers 1 Euro each tour. I had ordered about 300 Euros from my bank in the US before leaving, and used all by 5 Euros on the taxis and the shipboard gratuities. There was not much need for currency during the days. We left the Ama Dolce at 9am on the 8th day by taxi for the return to the Bordeaux airport and the trip home. As we are wine fans, I am very glad we had this opportunity to learn more about the wide variety of Bordeaux wines, as well as visit historic areas. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
AmaCruising in Style! We just returned from the 8-day Tulip Time cruise with AmaWaterways. We began with a 2-night pre-cruise stay in Amsterdam at the Intercontinental Hotel...but that’s another whole review in itself. Let me just ... Read More
AmaCruising in Style! We just returned from the 8-day Tulip Time cruise with AmaWaterways. We began with a 2-night pre-cruise stay in Amsterdam at the Intercontinental Hotel...but that’s another whole review in itself. Let me just say it was delightful. The Cruise Director.... Our Cruise Director, Edward, actually was on hand to greet us when we arrived for our pre-Cruise stay in Amsterdam. He immediately made us feel like someone was there waiting for us to arrive and would be there to help in any way he could. He knew the city and gave us several things to do while we waited for our room to open. He even gave suggestions for nearby restaurants. On the AmaPrima, our ship, Edward continued to be available and able to handle all questions and or concerns such as: Should I buy bulbs while I’m here?, Where is a good place to get chocolate in Ghent? And what can you tell me about the AMA trip to Africa. I was amazed that while we were on excursions in the cities, he managed to check in with each group and see if anyone needed anything. He also encouraged immediate feedback about our excursions which makes me think that AmaWaterways works to continually improve the services they provide. The Ship Staff... Professional, friendly and courteous, aptly describes everyone from the Hotel Manager to the Waiters to the Housekeeping Staff. Rooms were spotless and service came while you were out at a meal or off-ship. I especially like being able to meet our housekeeper, Nadia, in person and talk with her. When I needed ice one morning, she saw me in the hall and immediately offered to get it for me. The waiters in the dining room made each meal a delight and were attentive to each person at the table. Everyone seemed genuinely interested in making sure you had everything you needed and were enjoying yourself. Staterooms, Food, Services & Excursions... Rooms were a great size with nice appointments. Thick, fluffy towels were a great size and included washcloths (not always the case in Europe). There was ample storage and hangers for clothes. Our rather large suitcases did not fit under the bed but did fit in the closet with room to hang clothes. Amenities included a room safe, hair dryer, toiletries (nice scent), computer to hear announcements, watch movies, or TV, listen to music and check on the weather and WiFi which had a few snags but was operating 95% of the time. We enjoyed the nightly Sip & Sail which featured a cocktail of the day and peanuts or pretzels to munch on, as well as a full bar. Drinks bought after dinner, were put on your bill. Nightly programs was top notch and included a variety of entertainers. I did not have one bad meal on the AmaPrima. There was always a variety of choices at each meal and often hard to make a decision. We were impressed with the Chef’s Dinner located in a small dining room at the rear of the ship. An elegant presentation and delicious meal made this a highlight for my husband and I. AmaWaterways provides excursions at no extra cost. There were 2 per day and each one tailored to the activity level if the participants. You could choose to be busy each day or not but every trip we took was very enjoyable and well worth the time. The Keukenhof Gardens trip was my favorite. And in conclusion... This was our first trip with AmaWaterways and we had a wonderful time in the Netherlands and Holland. I feel strongly that we will sail with them again and would recommend them to family and friends. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
For 60 years my wife wanted to see the Tulips in Holland. The trip was amazing. The Kukenhoff Gardens are superb and possibly the best in the world. Our wonderful AMA experience began at the airport, with greeters to meet us and ... Read More
For 60 years my wife wanted to see the Tulips in Holland. The trip was amazing. The Kukenhoff Gardens are superb and possibly the best in the world. Our wonderful AMA experience began at the airport, with greeters to meet us and transfer both baggage and us to the ship. When we went on board the staff took over. The Cruise Director Edward Sengel was spectacular. He arranged everything, in spite of the difficult schedule because of the weather. He was extremely highly educated, his knowledge not only of the Netherlands and Belgium was vast, but his patienceand creativity in dealing with everything was wonderful The Hotel Manager Patrice Degron was also special. He did the little things to add the extra touch, like going out and buying at least twelve different varieties of cheese one day. The staff was also special. The difference between and AMA cruise and other cruises we took is the special things they add to make the cruise special: The Chef's table at the back of the ship for extra special dinner, the spa, the Wellness host and the varieties of tours were great. My wife enjoyed the biking tours9BIKES WERE ON BOARD) Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2018
Having never been on a river cruise, we relied on our travel agent's judgment to select both a company and an itinerary. She chose AmaWaterways "Melodies of the Danube" and we are glad she did. The company is a first class ... Read More
Having never been on a river cruise, we relied on our travel agent's judgment to select both a company and an itinerary. She chose AmaWaterways "Melodies of the Danube" and we are glad she did. The company is a first class organization. The ship is newer, clean, beautifully appointed and has all the bells and whistles to make a 7 day cruise just perfect. The staff were always professional, polite, caring and interested in making every detail to our satisfaction. The common areas were comfortable. We noticed people enjoying the pool. Our favorite spot was under the tent on the upper deck where we spent hours enjoying the ever changing shore line. Food and cruising go hand and and the chef did not disappoint. While food was served throughout the day, it was never about quantity as is the case on most ships, it was quality that ruled here. Excellent fresh salads, an ever changing menu and the nightly chef's recommendations made every meal special. There were multiple dining options for each meal. Daily we were offered a light breakfast for the early and late risers and a full breakfast with omelet station. Lunch was always different. The dinners were top notch with offerings from salmon to beef. As to dressing for meals - most people dressed a bit nicer in the evening, however, not one man wore a jacket to dinner, favoring instead collar shirts or sweaters. Women wore slacks and tops and minimal jewelry. People looked nice, but certainly not dressed up. The Cruise Manager, Mariana, was in complete control of the options for shore excursions and special activities. She was excellent at her job! She held daily briefings to inform everyone of upcoming opportunities and was as flexible as possible when people wanted to make last minute changes to hikes and tours. Did I mention the ship has a small fleet of bicycles available right onboard?! This was our first river cruise. It won't be our last. And, for sure our next cruise with again be with AmaWaterways. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
We chose Ama Waterways for our second European river cruise because of an excellent experience on a previous Rhine River cruise. We were not disappointed. Everything with Ama is first-class - staterooms, ship facilities, excursions, ... Read More
We chose Ama Waterways for our second European river cruise because of an excellent experience on a previous Rhine River cruise. We were not disappointed. Everything with Ama is first-class - staterooms, ship facilities, excursions, dining logistics...but most of all the PEOPLE. Am a employs a team of professionals dedicated to ensuring your complete satisfaction with every facet of your cruise. Boarding in Passau was efficient and our stateroom was ready for us as promised. We were greeted with a complimentary bottle of champagne to celebrate our anniversary. At the welcome reception we were introduced to key members of the staff who each promised a memorable cruise experience. Meals onboard were prepared using fresh, local ingredients. The menu was selected to match the cuisine of the country or region being visited. Wine with meals was also locally selected and was always complimentary. The desserts were masterpieces! The daily excursions were varied and informative. Excursions were always offered based on the ability level of the guests ("Active Walkers", "Normal Pacing" and "Gentle Walkers"). Bicycle tours were available as well, several of which were pleasantly challenging. Local guides were always knowledgable, friendly and accommodating. Logistically, Ama does it right. Disembarkation was expertly coordinated to match the varied schedules of 135+ guests. In our case, a cab was waiting at the appointed time to take us to our hotel in Budapest and our luggage was delivered from our stateroom directly to the cab. Other guests were provided with airport transfers as needed with timing coordinated to match flight times. Our Cruise Manager, Reka Piros, was the star of an excellent, professional staff. Reka always seemed to be there when needed, providing help, advice, or just a smile to let guests know they were valued and appreciated. We asked her help in choosing restaurants for our post-cruise stay in Budapest and she gladly provided excellent recommendations. Consider yourself very fortunate if you find yourself on one of Reka's cruises! Overall, this cruise rates 5+ stars. We are already planning our 3rd Ama cruise! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
The ship was beautiful with a fabulous sun deck. There was a pool which was great for relaxing after a day of sightseeing. The food and wine selections were outstanding especially at the Chef's Table Restaurant - a small specialty ... Read More
The ship was beautiful with a fabulous sun deck. There was a pool which was great for relaxing after a day of sightseeing. The food and wine selections were outstanding especially at the Chef's Table Restaurant - a small specialty restaurant available to passengers at no additional cost - it offered a multi-course dinner and wine parings. There was a wide variety of tours and activities in each port. We visited Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary, our favorite was Budapest. We could select walking tours (regular or slow paced), bike tours, hiking tours, or independent activities in which you would have maps and suggestions and could go off on your own. A few of the options included food/beer/wine tasting experiences. The best part of the trip was the wonderful staff. They could not have been more helpful, friendly and truly accommodating. Looking forward to our next trip with Ama Waterways. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
We just finished a cruise on Ama Dolce in the Bordeaux region and we could not have been happier. We have been on one other River Cruise boat and although it was very nice Ama made us feel more like family and the food was far superior. ... Read More
We just finished a cruise on Ama Dolce in the Bordeaux region and we could not have been happier. We have been on one other River Cruise boat and although it was very nice Ama made us feel more like family and the food was far superior. Although it would have been nice to have rooms with balcony's ( the slider opened up but the room did not extend into a balcony) there was sufficient room nonetheless. Our cabin was cleaned to perfection every day by Andreaa and she was always very friendly and helpful. Our Cruise Manager, Natalia, went out of her way to make sure we were happy and if we needed anything she was right on top of it. She really took the time to get to know us and we enjoyed her company. The Housekeeping Manager, Dierk, was always there to greet us and chat as were many of the other crew. The food was absolutely outstanding and the service in the dining room and lounge was top notch. We particularly liked the excursions, which was a lot of biking during the day into the vineyard areas and through small villages. We also visited several wineries which were all quite nice. The people that were hired to conduct our tours were well versed and enjoyable and our safety, especially when we were biking was always looked after. I would highly recommend this cruise line to anyone and to top of their hospitality upon our return home there was a hand written post card from the crew thanking us for sailing with them. I'm not sure who get's that fun duty to send out over 100 thank you notes after every sailing but that special touch meant a lot to us. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
It was recommended by our travel company. So glad we went on AMA. The entire staff was amazing and the cruise director Peter was the best. I know he was stressed at times but he handled it all. I know he had 5 days off after we left ... Read More
It was recommended by our travel company. So glad we went on AMA. The entire staff was amazing and the cruise director Peter was the best. I know he was stressed at times but he handled it all. I know he had 5 days off after we left Amsterdam so he could go see his family in Austria. Hope he had a great and relaxing time . They say it rains about 225 days a year there but we had no rain. All the cities we visited were great. Love the old architecture. It was allot of walking but worth it. We went to see the tulips and boy did we ever. Keukenhof gardens the last day was absolutely beautiful. The cruise director had everything set up just so. We enjoyed all of the options that we were given. We had not picked the activities before arriving on the ship but that was no problem. We were given a sheet to make our choices and each day they gave us the option of a regular walk or a slower walk. My husband had a pacemaker placed a few weeks before the trip and the slower walks helped allot. The Tulip cruise was just amazing Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2018
The crew was excellent in every way. They couldn’t have been nicer or more friendly. The ship was clean and kept beautifully the entire trip. We saw crew cleaning every inch along the way. The “sip and sail” ... Read More
The crew was excellent in every way. They couldn’t have been nicer or more friendly. The ship was clean and kept beautifully the entire trip. We saw crew cleaning every inch along the way. The “sip and sail” activity every evening encouraged passengers to meet and get to know each other in a welcoming environment. We had a large group from St Louis and enjoyed meeting other passengers with varied and entertaining backgrounds. Every activity was well planned and all details handled so all we had to do was enjoy the fun. Guides were excellent and knowledgeable. All tickets along the way were covered. We couldn’t be happier. Our favorite moments were the Mozart Strauss concert in Vienna, the bike ride in Durnnstein, seeing “The KISS” at the Belvedere museum in Vienna, our excursions to Salzburg and Cesky Krumlov, and hike to the Passau castle. My sons are half Bohemian so I am happy to bring them news of the Czech Republic and Slovakia, a sister country. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
We took our first river cruise on the AmaDolce Bordeaux cruise. I should have checked the amount of cruising because there was very little scenic cruising on this route. To me, this river cruise is just assisted living on a ship. Your ... Read More
We took our first river cruise on the AmaDolce Bordeaux cruise. I should have checked the amount of cruising because there was very little scenic cruising on this route. To me, this river cruise is just assisted living on a ship. Your meals are prepared for you at specific times and you go on excursions on large buses. We're not quite at that age, yet. If you like river cruises, then I would recommend not upgrading unless you have a daily scenic cruise. Otherwise, you're paying for balconies and doors to use while you're sitting at the dock, sometimes with other ships attached to your ship. Not really worth the extra money. Plus, and this applies to all Amawaterways ships, DO NOT get a room on the same level with the Chef's Restaurant. Rowdy and inebriated folks will come down the hallway at all hours and will wake you up if you choose to retire after 10PM. We need to age 10 more years until river cruising would be worthwhile. We should have just gotten a hotel in Bordeaux; taken some private chateau tours and then sat at a wine bar every day to try all the different wines. Then, go to a wine shop, order and ship. A local Bordeaux river cruise would have been better. Read Less
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