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  5. AmaBella (APT) Cruise Reviews
Sail Date: September 2018
The trip was fantastic and the organisation by ATP beyond the call of duty. Everything was taken care of. We had to swap ships from Ama Bella to Ama Verde between Passau and Nuremberg because the water level in the Danube. As the 2 ... Read More
The trip was fantastic and the organisation by ATP beyond the call of duty. Everything was taken care of. We had to swap ships from Ama Bella to Ama Verde between Passau and Nuremberg because the water level in the Danube. As the 2 ships are identical we got the same cabins and the organisation to achieve this was fantastic. They even had a staff member with 50 cent coins at the turnstile to the toilets to let us use the toilets free of charge during the transfer. We had a balcony cabin on deck 2 which was spacious with lots of storage under the beds and in wardrobes. The only problem was on the Ama verde, where the bathroom had a funny sewage smell. They put down lots of cleaner but it was still noticeable. Food was generally good with ample portions and seconds for those with big appetites. As drinks were included with the meals we expected cheap wines but that was not the case. Prosecco flowed freely and the local wines were generally very good. Excursions were very interesting and well organised. A concert in Vienna in the Palais Liechtenstein and Dinner and concert hosted by a german Princess in her castle were the highlights. The cruise director was excellent and took care of any problems as they arose. All the staff were helpful and except for a couple of the waiters in the restaurant who became a bit over-familiar I could not fault them. As it was an APT cruise many of the passengers were Australian who on the whole are much more fun and interesting than some of the brits on board. I would certainly recommend this company and will book with them for my next river cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
This was a dream holiday where every possible thing was covered. From the first moment to the last, we saw some wonderful places and the local guides shared so much of the history and legends of each place visited. The staff on board were ... Read More
This was a dream holiday where every possible thing was covered. From the first moment to the last, we saw some wonderful places and the local guides shared so much of the history and legends of each place visited. The staff on board were all lovely - our tour director Gudrum was charming and such an efficient operator to make everything run so smoothly; the reception staff always happy to help; the restaurant staff were unbelievable and the food excellent in both taste and presentation; cabin was kept beautifully. There was a great choice of activities each day to suit different intrrests. Change of ship partway through cruise due to low river water levels was handled seamlessly with no negative impact on guests. The entertainment on board was great and we also met some lovely people during our time on board. Well done APT - certainly would recommend to anyone looking for a relaxing, carefree, luxury holiday!!!!! Thank you. Read Less
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 first ... 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
2 Helpful Votes
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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
This has been on our bucket list for some time. It was very enjoyable with a good mix of relaxation and activity. Some of the APT specials are not to be missed - the Grand Imperatore train (albeit some of the air con failed on a very hot ... Read More
This has been on our bucket list for some time. It was very enjoyable with a good mix of relaxation and activity. Some of the APT specials are not to be missed - the Grand Imperatore train (albeit some of the air con failed on a very hot day) and the Vienna Concert in the Lichtenstein Palace. Food was always excellent with many choices and the staff very willing to keep you pleased with a smile. Entertainment was limited to the space available, but overall enjoyable. Our room was in the lowest level and well maintained, comfortable and with no noise issues. Given it was nearly the cheapest cabin there was nothing to complain about. There was sometimes a smell, which we worked out was only while in major ports, so probably unavoidable. Wasn't an issue on any night we slept on the boat. Cruise operator could make it plain that low bridges will mean top deck is unavailable for 5-6 days while on the Rhine/Danube canal. I know this is mentioned but perhaps made a little clearer. The dining experiences at the special tables in the stern were a highlight, for both food and service. Apart from these small issues (to us at least) you could not fault the whole experience. This is our third APT/TravelMarvel trip and we plan another. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
I am a first time poster and I owe a great deal of gratitude to those who have posted before me. We, two well travelled couples, joined the APT cruise on the AmaBella after a stint in Madrid, Cordoba and Barcelona. We travelled with ... Read More
I am a first time poster and I owe a great deal of gratitude to those who have posted before me. We, two well travelled couples, joined the APT cruise on the AmaBella after a stint in Madrid, Cordoba and Barcelona. We travelled with good friends,which contributed greatly to our enjoyment. We left Australia on 17th of October and after our stay in Spain made our own way to the AmaBella on the 31st of October. Names tags provided by APT meant we soon learnt fellow travellers names. From the time we joined the AmaBella to the last day when we left the AmaPrima we were cosseted and cared for. Both ladies had minor mobility issues and were worried initially about having booked the “aquarium” cabins but it turned out not to be a problem. We were two among several with knee and mobility problems.. Several times two of us went on the gentle walkers excursions and found it was just a bit too fast and once or twice perhaps it was a bit too slow but no matter, we were able to change our mobility status on the tours daily as and when needed. Our fabulous waiters Aleksander and Yani often admonished us for carrying our own plates from the buffet and made sure to intercept us and carry our plates back to our table. We were happy with our cabins and even although one couple could not fit suitcases under the bed (Very Large suitcases) it was easy to stand the suitcases in the corner for the duration of the trip and they were not in the way. Excursions,tipping, all meals and alcohol were included in the cost of the APT cruise. Wine flowed freely and inclusive alcohol was available from the time you embarked on the boat until we left it. Whilst not big drinkers it was nice not to have your hand in your pocket or be nickel and dimed throughout the trip. The only money spent by us during the two weeks were for an odd souvenir or coffee or beer whilst in towns and then only to try different flavoured beers. Several times we went on the same excursions as our friends but with different tour guides and it was entertaining to impart additional information re the tour to each other when we met, and often we chose different tours to each other and learnt about the alternative when next we met. On our return from our excursions the staff welcomed us back to the boat each time with cups of hot flavoured teas and local treats. Breakfast was buffet, My husband had the made to order omelettes each day and we all enjoyed the daily specials,fruit smoothies and pastries. Lunch also a had a buffet starter component with main course and soup courses ordered from our waiter. Different flavoured ice creams (3) each day and a selection of cheese completed leisurely lunches. Dinner was served by the waiters. Wine flowed freely. Going through the locks never paled, and Kristen's descriptions of the European Union, Wachau Valley and the Castles were informative and interesting. Our sightseeing on the top deck was enhanced by little titbits, cookies, onion tarts etc and interesting alcoholic drinks. Blankets were provided by the solicitous staff for those who feel the cold and I can't think of a more enjoyable way to spend an afternoon than sailing through the Wachau Valley sitting on a comfortable chair on AmaBella's top deck with a shawl around my shoulders drinking white wine spritzers and eating onion tart whilst listening to Kristen's commentary. Having watched the water level conversations on cruise critic forums over the previous few months, thank you Notamermaid and co,we were aware that perhaps we may have to be bused for part of the trip as water levels were ridiculously low that summer/autumn. Our Kristen kept us informed of the possibility of a ship change and although at one time we were advised we would be able to stay on the AmaBella for the entire journey, it was not to be and we had a ship change for the final night in Budapest .Those who were going home from Budapest were grateful not to be trying to adjust travel arrangements,it also meant we were able to enjoy the Budapest evening golden buildings sail past, albeit on the Amaprima. I have read all the time about making lemonade out of lemons and thought we were lucky to be sailing on two ships. I have to express a preference for the AmaBella over the AmaPrima. To my mind it is by far more waiter friendly. Our waiter on the AmaBella had a space to organise himself well away from the diners, not so on the AmaPrima, the small table area for the waiter is right next to the window and right behind the passengers back, not ideal to my way of thinking. The Buffet area on the AmaBella is better laid out,the food varied slightly between ships, but if you had been on the AmaPrima and changed to the AmaBella perhaps you would have different preferences. We were extremely lucky with the weather, it only drizzled once or twice and the temperatures were almost balmy at times. Of course that meant low water but the ship change went smoothly and apart from a few passengers who did not know how to make lemonade from lemons the four hour bus trip and the brief stop at the petrol station did not detract from the trip. Our crew and Cruise director Kristen were fabulous, our Captain Arjen worked tirelessly to get the AmaBella as far as we did. All in all we had a once in a lifetime experience, one my husband has said just can't be improved upon, so I guess we will have to look for another APT trip, perhaps to Antarctica? Several people were sick on our trip, must have bought the bug on board as the use of hand sanitisers were enforced when re embarking the ship and there were sanitisers in the entrance way to the main lounge and dining room, It is hard to watch those who pick up food in the buffet area with their hands but staff we always ready to catch those people out and whisk away those trays contaminated. Several times i watched staff gently admonish culprits. We learnt of the Paris attack on disembarkation morning and the Russian fighter plane was shot out of the sky on the morning we left Istanbul, we live in frightening times, we wish all of our fellow travellers safe journeys. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
This holiday started in Berlin and concluded in Amsterdam. My wife and I joined the AmaBella in Budapest after 7 days in Berlin and Prague (bus trip with APT as part of the 21 day tour). We had a cabin on Deck 3 which was a good size ... Read More
This holiday started in Berlin and concluded in Amsterdam. My wife and I joined the AmaBella in Budapest after 7 days in Berlin and Prague (bus trip with APT as part of the 21 day tour). We had a cabin on Deck 3 which was a good size and included a double bed, 2 chairs in the inside balcony + 2 chairs and small table on outside balcony. Bathroom was a little narrow but the shower and facilities were excellent. Cupboard space excellent. Laundry service was excellent. Food faultless for a river cruise catering for 161 people. Crew were always happy, helpful and experienced in meeting our every need. Cruise Director was very competent and helpful, organising things with care and precision and keeping us well informed. We really benefited from her experience. Shore excursions were interesting, especially the APT exclusives, Vienna Concert, Linz to Salsburg APT Train Journey and the visit to Namedy Castle on Day 18. Boarding and disembarkation were well orgainised and handled with care. This was our third European river cruise, the previous two were on Avalon Cruises. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2014
APT have a good reputation plus we had been to Alaska with APT, Egypt and Turkey, they always had us in the best hotels when travelling on land and very close to the city hum, therefore we did not lose time travelling into the hub which ... Read More
APT have a good reputation plus we had been to Alaska with APT, Egypt and Turkey, they always had us in the best hotels when travelling on land and very close to the city hum, therefore we did not lose time travelling into the hub which other companies do. They also allowed plenty of time for walk abouts whereas other companies just drove by areas and points of interest we wanted to stop at. Sure we payed a bit more but well worth it. The on board experience was great, very impressed with the food and variations to choose from. The free drinks, alcohol, was top shelf and late into the night. We had local entertainers which was great. I would take the same cruise again but something different, probably the French Rivers. Plenty to choose from in regards to the land excursions, we had four choices at each stop, how good is that. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2013
We have recently returned from a 15 day cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam on the Amabella. It was an APT (Australian Pacific Touring) cruise and was absolutely everything and more than we expected. Although the cabin was quite small, it ... Read More
We have recently returned from a 15 day cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam on the Amabella. It was an APT (Australian Pacific Touring) cruise and was absolutely everything and more than we expected. Although the cabin was quite small, it was well fitted out and spotless. As we did not spend a lot of time in the cabin so it was quite sufficient. The bed was rather hard and the computer was very very slow and impossible at times to send emails. But it was very quiet and nice and bright, and nice to relax in and watch the world go by. The bathroom was quite roomy and once again spotless and checked every day. It was a nice touch to have a chocolate left for us on our pillow each evening whilst we were at dinner. We were very satisfied with our cabin overall. The food was fantastic and plenty of it, the nightly entertainment was very good and all the staff were very friendly. Our on shore tours were well organized and our guides very friendly and easy to understand. Our tour director was so professional and friendly and very helpful that it made the cruise so much more enjoyable. Because everything was included, tours, meals, drinks tips etc, it made managing your money much easier as all you needed was spending money. We really could not fault this cruise in any way, and we would most certainly travel again with APT. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2010
After quite a bit of research, I concluded that Amawaterways/APT provided the best in European river cruising - beautiful boats, excellent reputation for customer service, great on board dining, interesting ports of call and very good ... Read More
After quite a bit of research, I concluded that Amawaterways/APT provided the best in European river cruising - beautiful boats, excellent reputation for customer service, great on board dining, interesting ports of call and very good included and optional tours. These cruises are advertised in Australia and New Zealand by APT which is a significant part owner of AmaWaterways. AmaWaterways is the brand known in the USA and Europe. So, last Christmas we set off for Europe looking forward to the much anticipated Europe Christmas time cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam. We were not disappointed - we were delighted with the whole thing! I'll start with customer service, because THE defining customer service we experienced with Amawaterways really showed us the wisdom of our decision to travel with them. As you may know, Europe experienced an extremely cold winter last year and the Main-Danube Canal froze over around December 25th. Whilst another company with a boat preceding us by one day tried - and failed - to get through the Canal, damaging the boat, our Captain was not going to try that approach. Obviously there had been much talk in the background during the previous 24 hours about "plan B", so on December 26th we and 11 others going on to Amsterdam were briefed by the Captain and the Cruise Director about what was to happen on the following day. In short, the company had taken the decision to transport us by coach around the Main Danube Canal, stopping at Nuremberg as per the itinerary, to join their newest and most luxurious boat, MS Amabella, at Bamberg and continue to Amsterdam. You're probably thinking, "Well yes, a bit of a hassle for them, but makes sense". But when I tell you that Amabella was in dry dock, several hours away from the Rhine river, and by "dry dock" meaning totally stripped down - no curtains, furniture, glass ware, crockery, linen ... the list goes on, you perhaps begin to see the extraordinary work they went to in around 24 hours to "get the show back on the road" as they say. By contrast some of the other tour operators sent people to Munich for 10 days (fabulous when you thought you were going up the Rhine!) others had to make the return journey back to Budapest in one of the returning boats. Rudi Schreiner, the Amawaterways President, who had been in Egypt when the possibility of not getting through the Main-Danube Canal arose, returned to Germany and helped plan the detailed logistics of who was going where and stayed with us on the Amabella until Amsterdam. The logistics must have been a nightmare, as it wasn't a simple case of everyone getting on in Budapest and going to Amsterdam. No, they had different tour groups joining and leaving the boat at several points along the way so it was, no doubt, a great moment for lots of spreadsheets! The boats: Amalyra - We started out from Budapest on Amalyra. Built in 2009 it is a lovely boat and the staff excellent. Very friendly and helpful. It had a comforting "homey" feel. Our Captain Henk was very funny and very visible always. I don't mean his figure, rather he definitely lead by example. Rooms on this boat have French balconies and the most amazingly appointed bathrooms with 3 different types of shower, so you could choose "rain", side-pointing massage or hand shower, depending on how you were feeling. We thought they were great once we got the hang of the different control buttons, but they are a challenge for some people. Amabella - Amabella, launched in 2010, is a larger boat (in length not width) and represents another leap in the standard of accommodation (not that there was anything wrong with Amalyra). So we had a larger room with double balconies, a French balcony and an outside one, both furnished with two chairs and a small table. The furnishings and appointments are stylish and comfortable. We were a bit thrown by the seeming chaotic atmosphere the first night, not knowing at that point what had transpired to get the boat "ship shape" as it were. Also, we did not realise until the next day, that the entire crew of MA Amadolce (which had left Budapest one day ahead of us and of course could not get through the Canal either) had grabbed a few clothes and were bussed to meet the Amabella only a few hours before we got on board. From the following day, all returned to the normal air of tranquillity. On board dining: The breakfasts, served in the main restaurant, are very good - lots of choice in everything, including for those who prefer a continental breakfast or those who want a full, cooked meal. In addition there was a range of bakery items and all day tea and coffee served in the lounge, for those who took a late breakfast. Lighter option lunches plus morning and afternoon teas were also available in the lounge. Dinner has a very good "restaurant" feel, with 4 or 5 choices in each of the four courses, and wines (included) from the area visited each day. A nice touch. The there are special snacks as well - foods typical of the area you are passing through, such as "Fruhschoppen". This is a German breakfast containing all imaginable kinds of sausages - bratwurst, weiswurst etc - along with the correct epicurean accompaniments, including a delicious potato salad. I opted for a weiswurst with potato, and the very helpful chef told me how to eat the weiswurst. There were also special dinners for Christmas Eve and Christmas night and for New Year's Eve in Cologne, where the team of chefs and wait staff did a great job of decorating and preparing a wonderful dinner for us. People decked themselves out in appropriate finery for the occasion and the atmosphere was on of festive happiness. After dinner ... well, of course there was a New Year's Eve buffet served in the lounge, just in case your clothes were still too loose!! Ports of call and tours: I should mention that most of the sailing occurs overnight so you arrive in each port for the day, except where there is scenic cruising for the day, such as in the Rhine Gorge. So your chance to get out and about is maximised - but it's up to you what you want to do. Of course there are daily excursions which you can take at no extra cost, in the form of walking tours, around the various towns. We did a couple of these, but largely explored by ourselves. With information available on the internet, you can find out what you are curious about in advance and structure your own time anyway. There are optional tours too, which involve an extra cost, but I found the one I did to a concert in Vienna totally worthwhile and good value. All tours include a local and knowledgeable guide. Ports and scenic cruising: Budapest Hungary; Bratislava, Slovakia; Vienna, Austria, Melk, Washau, Durnstein, and Linz, Austria; Passau and Salzburg, Regensburg, Nuremberg, Bamberg and Wurzburg, cruising from Wertheim, Miltenberg, through the Rhine Gorge to Koblenz, Cologne, Germany; and Amsterdam, Holland. Scenery from boat: Whether you're in the lounge, on deck or beside your own private balcony, the scenery is absolutely stunning for the entire trip. We enjoyed the white winter, fairytale look of the Christmas time cruise, and obviously the other seasons too offer wonderful views. Locks: The number of locks is quite staggering - 34 on the Main River and 17 on the Danube. The navigable stretch of the Main River from Bamberg to Mainz is 384km or 240 miles. The Danube is navigable some 2415km or 1767 miles and crosses 10 countries from Germany to the Black Sea. APT provides some very handy statistics regarding rivers and the number of locks on each. An interesting thing which we don't automatically think of when talking about water is the that you go uphill (upstream) and downhill (downstream) when cruising these rivers. Cool Traveller Read Less
AmaBella (APT) Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 5.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 3.0 0.0
Family 1.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 3.0 0.0
Service 5.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0

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