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Sail Date: July 2018
I was expecting a 5 star luxury river cruise similar to a Seaborne ocean cruise. How wrong was I. River cruising is similar to bus touring. There is very little time to do your own thing as you have to leave the ship to join a coach ... Read More
I was expecting a 5 star luxury river cruise similar to a Seaborne ocean cruise. How wrong was I. River cruising is similar to bus touring. There is very little time to do your own thing as you have to leave the ship to join a coach which takes you to whichever town you are going to. You do a quick tour, maybe 1.5 hours and then back on the coach to the ship. Dining is very crowded. There is only 1 restaurant and everyone goes at the same time. There is no outdoor barbecue area and so every night you are in the dining room at 7pm. There is a “Chef’s Restaurant “ which caters for about 20 guests but although it is really promoted as being fantastic, it is good, at best. There is no alcohol in your mini bar and no champagne on arrival. It is very basic. The rooms are very nice and the staff ensure they are cleaned well. The Tour Director dies the job of at least 2 people - I have never seen anyone with so much responsibility or so much to do. She really needed an assistant. My husband and I are currently aboard AMABELLA and yes, we are enjoying our holiday but we thought it would be much better. Originally, we were on AMAVERDI and have just had to swap ships. During the first 5 days virtually every passenger was sick with a gastric/vomiting bug. We were not surprised as the dining is very cramped. With 151 passengers helping themselves to a buffet with no covering, what do you expect? I think the ship designers need to undertake a course on Food Safety so they understand how bacteria is spread. One passenger vomited on the dining room floor at Namedy Castle. It was a serious problem. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
We got a two-for-one deal which made the price of the trip better value. The ship, which is not one of the latest models despite being Constellation class, was decorated in rather dull shades of brown and beige. It had a serious design ... Read More
We got a two-for-one deal which made the price of the trip better value. The ship, which is not one of the latest models despite being Constellation class, was decorated in rather dull shades of brown and beige. It had a serious design flaw in the restaurant, where there were two sides, separated by banquette seating. This meant difficulty in moving around for waiters and passengers and a bottleneck and very little room at the buffet. Banquette seating really doesn't suit the demographic because it is not easy to get in and out. Bread and pastries were at the other end of the room so if you wanted toast with breakfast it meant queueing twice and either cold toast or cold food ( it was never very hot in the first place). Service at lunch, where main courses were largely waiter ordered, was very slow. Sometimes we were not asked if we wanted to order and the wine frequently did not arrive until after we had finished our starters. The cheese selection was poor and despite a promise from the hotel manager to go out and source new varieties, this never happened. We were not told that the two sides of the restaurant served different food on most evenings until 2 days before the end of the cruise (we missed the briefing on the first night where this was explained due to flight delays and no other ship has ever had this arrangement). Staff were helpful and friendly - there were just too few of them, especially wine waiters in the restaurant. The bar manager was fantastic and a couple of the restaurant staff really went the extra mile. Food wasn't exceptional. Beef consommé featured nearly every day in some form. They almost always served rice with fish, although fries or wedges could be requested. Breakfast was always the same - only one "chef's special" item varied each day and this was sometimes something which was available to order anyway. The bacon was rarely crispy and there was always a big queue in the small space by the egg station. Pastries were varied but could have been crisper and flakier. Bread was good. There was usually a good variety and the little bread balls which came with meals were excellent. Wine was average. We had far superior wine with Scenic. Trips were largely good. The tasting tour of Budapest market was interesting, although the guide spent too long wittering on about local specialities. Schönbrunn was stunning but like an oven inside on a very warm day. We didn't bother with some trips ( e.g. the dinner at Namedy castle because people who went on a previous cruise were not impressed. Opinions varied this time too. Nor did we go on the trip to the windmills in Amsterdam as it was wet and windy. We had been to a similar place and only booked it because we'd done all the other trips before, having been to Amsterdam on at least 5 previous trips. Speaking to other passengers who went gave us the impression that we didn't miss much.) The train trip to Salzburg aboard the Majestic Imperator was great - shame about the pouring rain! In Salzburg, after a rather lengthy bus tour round sites used in THAT film, we waited for ages in a downpour at toilets which were insufficient for the number of people. Then by the time we had walked round with the guide and had lunch there wasn't sufficient time to see much of the old town, which was a pity, because even in the rain, Salzburg is beautiful.The bus trip should be optional and people who are not interested in the film sites should be given the chance to be dropped off to have more time in the town. The ship moored a long way out of Würzburg - so far that we wondered if we were actually going to stop there! It would have been a taxi ride into the town if we had chosen to go in after the Rothenburg trip but we had been to Würzburg several times, fortunately. Rothenburg is a very beautiful place but there wasn't enough time to walk round the town and the walls. It should have been a day trip. We loved the little fairytale towns of Dürnstein and Miltenberg, which we had not visited before. In Dürnstein the recommended walking route mentions steps. They should point out that there are LOTS of steps (I lost count and my husband had to turn back and catch the little tourist train at extra cost.) Actually the route is a much easier walk the other way round because you can walk up a road which is much easier and then come down the steps. Steps also meant that my husband couldn't do the gondola ride at Rüdesheim - again we only found out just how many steps there were on the day before the trip and I didn't want to go on my own. We had already been to the Siegfried museum a couple of times so we decided to walk round by ourselves, not realising that most places didn't open until shortly before we sailed and the ship was berthed a long walk from the town - quite why that was, with lots of empty spaces, I don't know. Cost-cutting, probably. There was quite a bit of evidence of this since our trip with APT last year. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
Never done river cruise before. Can only compare to ocean cruise . Was first class . The staff could not have done any more for anyone at any time . Mixed ages and fitness level. They accommodated everyone. Hedleigh our tour director ... Read More
Never done river cruise before. Can only compare to ocean cruise . Was first class . The staff could not have done any more for anyone at any time . Mixed ages and fitness level. They accommodated everyone. Hedleigh our tour director was outstanding. His cool ,calm and very easy manner meant everyone was informed well and catered for at every level . Port excursions. Great choices or choice your own . Dining first class . Drinks abundant and great service . Ship was clean tidy and well maintained . People got cold / flu but I am not sure what more the crew could have done to prevent. People just don’t do the right thing. Use the handwash Use the tongs at meals etc. stay in cabin if sick - some have disregard for all this . Could not have been more done. Only thing I would add is. If they ask for dress code ie long pants for men and women at night Stick to it . Thongs and shorts and t shirts without collars are not night attire . Dress that little bit better Aussie men. You let the side down ! Read Less
SamATG, Marketing @ APT Travel Group has responded
Hi Flicky, Thanks so much for the fantastic feedback! We're glad you enjoyed yourself and Hedleigh was able to make your trip memorable. We will pass on your feedback to the crew. We're also delighted you found the ships facilities to your standards. Kind Regards, Sam
Sail Date: May 2018
We are on this cruise now, half way through in fact. While so many things are excellent, there are aspects of our experience that are not so good. The ship’s clientele are mostly Australians and to say they are a lively bunch is an ... Read More
We are on this cruise now, half way through in fact. While so many things are excellent, there are aspects of our experience that are not so good. The ship’s clientele are mostly Australians and to say they are a lively bunch is an understatement. The ship can get extremely noisy at mealtimes, something we are not used to on other cruises we’ve been on. Our cabin is very good. Quite spacious and well equipped. It is also very clean and well maintained by the cabin stewardess. The bathroom is one of the best we’ve ever had on a ship, lovely and light and with a wonderful shower. The only thing missing is tea\coffee making facilities. In our cabin we have butler service but have not used this facility as it’s never been explained to us what it entails. Maybe we should ask? We have used the laundry service as we are allowed one bag of free laundry, wash and ironed per week, an excellent service. Another great thing on the ship is the free WiFi which is fast and always available. Now for the bad. The food. The breakfast is Ok but the choice of cereals is very poor. The muesli is very low grade, mostly oats and tastes of nothing. No fruit and fibre cereal, only AllBran and sweetened cereals. The fruits on offer are good, especially the fresh orange segments. Bananas are not always available, getting one is proving very difficult, nor the unsweetened plain yogurt, only sweetened. I only eat cereal and fruit for breakfast so was very disappointed with the choices. I decided to buy some real muesli at one of our port stops and thankfully I bought teabags onboard and get these topped up with boiling water in the lounge! Lunch is either salad choices, always the same with slight variations, pretty boring. There is always plenty of meat on offer but as a non meat eater this is not good for me. Dinner is the worst meal of the day. Choices are usually one meat, one fish and one vegetarian. The meat dishes seem to be the favourites with most passengers and are usually ok according to my fellow diners. The fish dishes are fine, not particularly exciting or tasty, just average. The vegetarian meals on the other hand are dreadful. Really bad. Spinach crepes were thick doughy pastry, tough and tasteless with a teaspoon of thin cheese sauce, we left them.The vegetable lasagne was equally bad, dry tough pasta layers, cubed carrots, peas and potato I think(?) no cheese sauce, just dry layers, all sat on a smear of tomato sauce, it really was appalling. With most meals hardly any vegetables are served. Even the meat eaters are complaining about this. I asked for more vegetables and this was addressed but now I get a bowl of watery broccoli and cauliflower with each meal. This is served with such a flourish I feel as if I should be grateful and not complain any more. Oh dear, I think this is the only Cruise I might actually lose weight......(not a bad thing really!!!) Another thing we are not happy about is the noise from the sundeck which is above us. The thumping of heavy feet from about 5.30-6am is really annoying. Tip. Don’t book a cabin under the sundeck! Generally the Cruise is good with friendly helpful staff and good choice of tours. We just wish the food was up to standard as this would improve our holiday so much. One other thing we don’t like is the over familiarity with the restaurant staff. This may be down to the Australian passengers encouraging them, but some of us don’t need to have all the jokes and hi fives when we enter the restaurant. A little decorum and quiet would be appreciated. Read Less
SamATG, Marketing @ APT Travel Group has responded
Hi Cappycas, thanks for taking the time to share your experience with us so far. We’re delighted you are enjoying our ships facilities. In regards to our Butler Service, they are there to offer you a personalised in-suite service. From ensuring your garments are pressed ready for any occasion, providing tea and coffee service, taking care of your onshore arrangements, shoe shining, packing and unpacking and much more. You are more than welcome to speak to reception for more information about your Butler Service. It is unfortunate to hear you haven’t enjoyed the food on board so far, we appreciate your feedback as it allows us to continually improve both our journeys and our service. We will pass your feedback onto our team. We hope you enjoy the rest of your cruise. If you would like to get in touch to discuss your feedback further, then please contact our Customer Relations team at customer.relations@aptouring.com.au and use the reference number #2 so our team can identify you with this review. Kind Regards, Sam
Sail Date: May 2018
This cruise exceeded our expectations. Staff courteous and friendly yet we all had lots of fun and laughs with them. Food 5 Star and service 5 Star. From 5 course dinners to dancing to ABBA all on board enjoyed their cruise. Due to to ... Read More
This cruise exceeded our expectations. Staff courteous and friendly yet we all had lots of fun and laughs with them. Food 5 Star and service 5 Star. From 5 course dinners to dancing to ABBA all on board enjoyed their cruise. Due to to the organisational skills of our Cruise Director Daniela there was no waiting times in our off board experiences and all enjoyed her daily updates and her fantastic sense of humour. Our ports of call were interesting and varied cruising passing through beautifully amazing scenery. We were a group of 8 who enjoyed the company of everyone on board. A special mention to our Captain Janos, Charles, George, Cristian, George , Ivan, Danang and Daniela who is just amazing and works tirelessly to ensure a great trip for all. The staff on the Amareina are the reason why this cruise a lifetime memory. And a big thank you to all. Read Less
SamATG, Marketing @ APT Travel Group has responded
Hi Judith, Thanks for taking the time to share your experience with us! I have forwarded your comments onto our Europe Team who were responsible for planning your amazing trip and will be delighted to hear the staff made your trip one to remember. We hope to welcome you aboard again soon. Kind Regards, Sam
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Should have been a holiday of a lifetime, sadly it hasn't been (and I can't get off yet). I accompanied an elderly aunt :), even though she's lovely and very active, the bulk of the passengers despite being very nice people are simply ... Read More
Should have been a holiday of a lifetime, sadly it hasn't been (and I can't get off yet). I accompanied an elderly aunt :), even though she's lovely and very active, the bulk of the passengers despite being very nice people are simply not. I'm 60 and wanted a river cruise experience but didn't realise even paying a top end price doesn't buy you a better experience. The Amabella I'm told is 10 yrs old. I feel like a captive on a very boring cruise (there are some younger people, even a young honeymoon couple but they are with each other or travelling with a group of friends. Lots are unhappy but they plan to complain at the end of the cruise in the feedback form (not helpful really as that will go nowhere). Emese (cruise director) makes no bones about it that I should have understood that it is mainly "Older people" the cruise is orientated to, which was not my understanding before agreeing to come on this much more expensive than other river cruise ships. Our shared cabin was "UPGRADED" hate to see what we'd have stayed in otherwise as this is tight but at least has a small outside balcony that can be used when the weather permits. Don't get excited about having a butler...we never saw him just other staff when something had to be fixed or you requested something to the cabin. Air was not a problem in the cabin apart from the airconditioning we also can open a large window or go onto the little balcony. When travelling at night especially, the cabin groans and there are many noises, sometimes bumps during the nights. A newer ship may be more buffered from these but this cabin #317 doesn't handle it well (light sleepers may need a tablet or to drink more). The cruise highlights off the ship both featured classical entertainment which were really exceptional. One evening was held in a privately owned castle, the other in a private palace which were both places we'd probably not have gotten to otherwise but to be fair other cruise ships may have similar I didn't look into it. Onboard entertainment otherswise was a very lacklustre experience, with the exception of the night of a visiting UK performer (APT brought in a couple of performers I only heard one as the other was country music but this lady was excellent) sh performed a mixed caberet style show (had an exceptional voice) and injected a much needed change to the usual offerings. Three - four evenings during our cruise was not enough to make the difference though. Some of the staff were terrific especially good was Plamen (barman upstairs, who knew each passengers name - without badges and what they liked to drink). The day we travelled to Salzburg was terrific the train was a special charter, which enjoyed the decor of bygone days - each carriage a little different to the others. Representing the culture well was some operatic/caberet type entertainment on the return journey along with refreshments each way. Accomodation in Amsterdam at the Marriott hotel prior to our cruise was very good. If you need a firm pillow however bring your own (I wish you luck getting one otherwise) they don't understand the need. Onboard they had to reach out to another ship to find me one firm pillow as their ship only caters to people who like hard beds and very soft large square pillows. We were told our laundry was included (and it was only one bag per cabin per week) the drinks were free except if you unwittingly ask for a top shelf item as I did one night . I asked for a Cointreau and had to pay 5.50 euro for it, depite others drinking very heavily and not paying for cocktails etc. seems unfair really (drinks are either free or they are not). The food on the first day or so seemed very nice. After the first couple of days it all seems same, same not very spicy they cater for people with very bland taste, vegetables are mostly just for garnish as they're so hard they fly off your plate when you try to eat them. Overall it's like a small RSL club on the water to me and the staff couldn't care less as I've already paid.....LET ME OFF! Read Less
SamATG, Marketing @ APT Travel Group has responded
Hi There, Thank you for your review. Bringing you the best River Cruising experience is really important to us so we take your feedback seriously. We’re sorry you didn’t have the River Cruising experience you had hoped and we appreciate your feedback as it allows us to continually improve both our journeys and our service. We are however, delighted to hear you enjoyed your shore excursions including your journey on the Majestic Imperator. We would appreciate the opportunity to discuss your concerns further with you. If you would like to get in touch, then please contact our Customer Relations team at customer.relations@aptouring.com.au and use the reference number #1 so our team can identify you with this review. Kind Regards, Sam
Sail Date: May 2018
My husband and I travelled on the AmaBella on the Amsterdam/Budapest route on the 11 May. With respect, I vehemently disagree with some earlier comments (but I acknowledge that everyone’s entitled to their opinions). This was the ... Read More
My husband and I travelled on the AmaBella on the Amsterdam/Budapest route on the 11 May. With respect, I vehemently disagree with some earlier comments (but I acknowledge that everyone’s entitled to their opinions). This was the first river cruise for us and won’t be the last. We felt this cruise was seamless with absolutely nothing to complain about. Our Tour Director, Emese, was competent, affable and accommodating. I don’t think she ever slept. She was always at the whim of the passengers organising their on shore tours with the utmost efficiency, and appeasing those passengers who consistently whinge; this woman was the ultimate professional. All tours were very well co-ordinated with great guides, full of enthusiasm and wit. Entertainment was organised on most nights which we found enjoyable. We even got the opportunity to dance on most occasions. The food was always tasty and well presented, in particular the Chef’s Table, in which each passenger had the opportunity to attend on two occasions, for a 5-course dinner in a gorgeous room at the aft of the ship. I am gluten intolerant and all my needs were attended to and catered for. There was a “Gluten Free Corner” set up in the dining room as well as the lounge upstairs, and all restaurant and bar staff were acquainted with all the needs of those passengers with dietary requirements. Hand sanitising was enforced at all times before and after dinner and on the return of onshore excursions. The restaurant was divided into two areas. My husband and myself sat on the so called NOISY side, whereas others elected to dine on the “quiet” side. We loved the jokes, the antics, the high 5’s etc from the happy waiters. We are Aussies and we loved every minute of this camaraderie between the crew and passengers and hence, applaud APT for allowing this. Most of our Australian cohorts on board couldn’t get over how happy the crew were; their enthusiasm was infectious. Cabin details are outlined below. Some reviews mentioned noise emanating from the upper deck and while sailing through the lochs during the night, we never heard a sound or felt any impact......maybe we were just lucky. We were entitled to Butler Service but we didn’t need it as we used to go to the lounge for tea/coffe which was available 24/7. Although he did bring us hor d’oeuvres (gluten free of course) each afternoon. The one bag of free laundry per week was a bonus. Most of the passengers were Australian, a few New Zealanders and a hand full of British. We became friendly with an English couple who had the time of their lives; they couldn’t get over how much fun the Australians were. The three Gold Signature Experiences are not to be missed, namely, the visit to Namedy Castle in Andernach, Germany, a private concert at the Lichtenstein Palace, Vienna and a ride on the Majestic Imperator train from Passau to Salzburg for the day and then onto Linz, to join up with the ship. The age of the passengers varied, mostly 55-75, but I should mention there were some super fit people in this age group who did the 34km bike ride from Melk to Durnstein and two other excursions that required the use of bicycles. In relation to the onshore tours, there was a fast paced group (red group). My husband and I always joined the regular group (green, yellow or blue) as we are photo-taking junkies with cameras. Lots of passengers were using their IPhone and IPad cameras. Those that had mobility issues were catered for and well looked after (pink group). We also had a young couple on their honeymoon who appeared to be having fun with us oldies. In conclusion, I would happily go on another river cruise just to take in the magnificent sights I missed. We were kept busy (by choice) the whole time, we never missed a tour, we never stopped but we loved it. If you go with an open mind, go with the flow, and embrace anything and everything that is on offer, you will have a ball, just like my husband and I did. Congratulations APT, you never disappoint. Read Less
SamATG, Marketing @ APT Travel Group has responded
Hi Allidudz, Thanks for taking the time to share your experience with us! We're glad you enjoyed yourself and all staff were able to make your trip memorable. We will pass on your feedback to the crew. We're also delighted to hear you loved your on shore experiences! We hope to welcome you aboard again soon. Kind Regards, Sam
Sail Date: May 2018
I found this river cruise fantastic, I cannot understand one of the reviews on this cruise, there was absolutely nothing to complain about. Food wonderful, staff so helpful, the people on the cruise very friendly, the tour director Emese ... Read More
I found this river cruise fantastic, I cannot understand one of the reviews on this cruise, there was absolutely nothing to complain about. Food wonderful, staff so helpful, the people on the cruise very friendly, the tour director Emese (spelling) could not do enough for everybody. I have a mobility problem and she went out of her way to make sure I was comfortable, travelling with Australians was fun, friendly and enjoyable. Cabin beautiful, tours fantastic no complaints from start to finish. The dining room staff were second to none, helpful,friendly and could not do enough for you. The Reception desk helpful, staff in the lounge wonderful, people who cleaned the cabins courteous and very friendly and cabins always so nice and clean. The food to die for, fresh and lovely every day. The tours that Emese organized were brilliant all and all a wonderful holiday, a trip of a lifetime. Read Less
SamATG, Marketing @ APT Travel Group has responded
Hi Phoebe, Thank you for taking the time to post such heartfelt feedback! We will pass your congratulations on to the staff. We hope to have an opportunity to welcome you aboard again soon. Kind Regards, Sam
Sail Date: March 2018
Just returned from the Mekong River Cruise including the AMA Land package and enjoyed every bit of it. The ship is a lovely intimate experience, 108 were on board, the majority 50+ seasoned cruisers, various fitness levels, and everyone ... Read More
Just returned from the Mekong River Cruise including the AMA Land package and enjoyed every bit of it. The ship is a lovely intimate experience, 108 were on board, the majority 50+ seasoned cruisers, various fitness levels, and everyone appeared to have a great time. The cabins are very spacious, plenty of storage space, large bathroom for cruising, and enjoyed the small deck to sit out on and watch the countryside go by some days. The shore excursions were optional, and with at least 2 offered every day we did pass on a couple, but sunrise at Angkor Wat and the Buddhist blessing should not be missed. Food on the ship was plentiful, lunch buffets were sometimes a little limited in options, we hit a couple dinner choices that didn't really hit the mark, but a strong 4 for the food and all that they do to try and make you happy. What we most have to commend them for is the Service. The Ship crew all went out of their way to make you welcome and meet your every need, the AMA tour manager (Long) and the Guides we had (Dara/Tek/Jack) shared such a joy for their countries and sharing the history with us that you wanted to spend more time with them. This is not a trip I would take with children as there are no real "activities' for them, but for the 50+ wanting to see these beautiful countries and their heartwarming people, I definitely would recommend this trip. Each day showed a new landscape and a new adventure! Read Less
SamATG, Marketing @ APT Travel Group has responded
Hi CamperCali, thank you for taking the time to post such wonderful feedback. We totally agree that the sunrise at Angkor Wat and the Buddhist Blessing are experiences which should not be missed. Sorry to hear about some of the food options not quite hitting the mark on board the ship, we will pass this feedback on to our team. Bringing you the best experience is extremely important to us, so we’re also delighted to hear the crew were able to make your trip memorable. Thank you for travelling with us and we hope to have an opportunity to welcome you aboard again soon. Kind Regards, Sam from the APT team
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
We have only experienced ocean cruises previously so river cruising was all new to us. We decided to combine this with a cruise to places we had not seen previously as well and we were not disappointed (although there are vast differences ... Read More
We have only experienced ocean cruises previously so river cruising was all new to us. We decided to combine this with a cruise to places we had not seen previously as well and we were not disappointed (although there are vast differences between river and ocean cruising). The organisation was perfect - we were collected at the airport, driven to the ship and made welcome, even though we were early. We had the option of staying in the lounge until we could officially board or explore the city (map and brief explanation provided). At cruise end, we were transported back to the airport. The time taken to embark and disembark was minimal and well conducted, even to the stage of personally being introduced to our cabin attendant. River ships seem to be consistent in size, due to the width of the locks, the available height under bridges and the legislated length. All meals were served in the dining area with a speciality restaurant (Chef's table) and small snacks always as an alternative in the lounge. The quality of the meals was excellent although there is always one person who thinks the meals on some other ship were better (and this was on day 1) so I put this down to a case of someone trying to prove they have been on other ships/cruises. With the meals, there is always some consistency of items but the main courses change daily as do the soups and starters. There is also a consistent standard always available main course for both lunch and dinner. One could not go hungry as there was heaps to eat. River cruising does not offer the opportunity of stage shows nor does it allow for large groups of artists. Because of this, the nightly entertainment is usually one to four people performing for a single show - the quality improved as the cruise went on, the final performers being of very good quality. The resident pianist was average but certainly tried to include everyone. Service was personable and always of an excellent level - could not fault anyone of the staff. Met the captain in the wheelhouse and he explained the workings to us all - a very personable man who took the time to be pleasant whenever he met with anyone. Cruise director did a very good job as did most guides on the excursions. The shore excursions were mostly good, the concert at the palace in Vienna being exceptional. Laundry was prompt and efficient. My only criticism is that on occasions the excursion guides and the cruise director do not have English as a first language and, as a result, some of their presentations tend to be monotonous. Some of the guides also tried to provide too much information. Read Less
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