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  5. AmaBella (APT) Cruise Reviews
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2010
We travelled on this boat last year and were bitterly disappointed and had a number of problems. They used completely false advertising, they state that there are 3 restaurants when in truth there is only one. There are 2 side by side ... Read More
We travelled on this boat last year and were bitterly disappointed and had a number of problems. They used completely false advertising, they state that there are 3 restaurants when in truth there is only one. There are 2 side by side but they are serving the same food but under different titles for example one restaurant had chicken breast stuffed with mozzarella the other had chicken breast stuffed with buffalo cheese! The third restaurant fits no more than a dozen people and you basically have to book as soon as you step onto the boat but no one informs you of this. Having sailed on other cruises where the food and service was wonderful, APT was very disappointing on both counts. While we were on board there were numerous complaints and both the staff on board and back in Australia could not have cared less and were very rude. They advertised that on a number of occassions you will eat on the top deck with great views. Not once did this happen and when we complained along with others they did nothing to correct it. We paid extra for the privilege of having a balcony however they dont state in their advertising that half the time when you pull into dock, you're literally pressed up against another ship which has full view of your accomodation and you're forced to pull your curtains. Their descriptions of the tours were completely false. The tours were run to the convenience of the staff not the travellers and we were stuck in hot coaches going nowhere for the majority of the time. Finally, when spending this amount of money you expect first class food, service, accomodation and tours. A tour to the opera which was an added expense was bitterly disappointing and all the passengers from this cruise were stuck behind huge barriers and were unable to see anything. 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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2011
Brand new ship, Amaverde, and it lived up the the descriptions put out by APT. First night tried to get a glass of red wine. Bar attendant could not find a cork screw. Fifteen minutes later when up to get my wine. Same bar attendant ... Read More
Brand new ship, Amaverde, and it lived up the the descriptions put out by APT. First night tried to get a glass of red wine. Bar attendant could not find a cork screw. Fifteen minutes later when up to get my wine. Same bar attendant looked at me with a vacant stare wondering what I was talking about. Still no corkscrew. Bar menus on every table. Its a shame they did not have half of what was on them and some items, brandy for one, none at all.Some of the crew had a work ethic of doing everything as slow as possible or not at all. I think APT should review their training of crew as this ship had a few who needed more.Service at meals very slow as only four crew serving meals to 159 passengers. Long wait for meals at times. Food service area needs a redesign. People lined up at breakfast waiting to get eggs cooked by the chef blocked everyone else from trying to get other things from hot boxes or benches.Guides at all stops very good but felt rushed at times when we had free time. Had to get back to the ship. Meals were very good but would have liked more variety at lunch. For the money you pay to go on the Concerto class ships NO VALUE FOR MONEY. Go Aria class for better value and hopefully a better crew.Beautiful public lounge area but all windows covered by gauze curtains. When questioned personnel at reception did not have a clue that we would want to look outside to see the magnificent views as we sailed along the rivers. Every time we opened them they were closed the next day. Why curtains at all?? 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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2014
We have travelled from Budapest to Amsterdam in September 2014. Prior to this we had a 12 day coach through the Balkans also with APT. The whole trip was wonderful. The ship was very comfortable, enough space and very clean. The staff ... Read More
We have travelled from Budapest to Amsterdam in September 2014. Prior to this we had a 12 day coach through the Balkans also with APT. The whole trip was wonderful. The ship was very comfortable, enough space and very clean. The staff on the ship was outstanding, they knew all our names on day one (including favourite drinks). The whole trip was great but the highlight was the food and the excursions (the choices). The food was from all the areas we were passing through, every region's delicacies, cakes, wine. I can not find the words to describe how good it was. Felt absolutely spoiled. My partner has never been to Europe before and he is now hooked, wanting to go for another cruise. All the excursions were great, the tour guides were full of interesting information and sometimes very funny. The only hiccup on the trip was, everyone on the ship was coughing by day two. Towards the end there was a doctor called and he was just giving people antibiotics, charging 150 euros. Yes, the insurance will cover this, but did not feel right. I had an issue with my ear, doctor did not help, sent me to a clinic nearby (where they could not help either) and still charged me. Thankfully, next day the tour manager arranged an appointment with a doctor in Amsterdam. They were great and very helpful. So this did not ruin my trip, just did not see much of Amsterdam. All in all, I highly recommend the river cruise. The coach tour was also fantastic. 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
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
We received details of a half price offer on this cruise from an agent but decided to book direct with APT. We booked it about 5 months out which is unusual for us as we normally wait till nearer the departure date for a better price. This ... Read More
We received details of a half price offer on this cruise from an agent but decided to book direct with APT. We booked it about 5 months out which is unusual for us as we normally wait till nearer the departure date for a better price. This seemed like a good deal however so we booked up. We had a previous holiday with APT to China and had a welcome home voucher worth £100 each but it wasn't valid on this special offer. We also had to pay the full amount on booking but that was OK. Around 3weeks out we received an email containing our flight e ticket, taxi transfer voucher and itinerary. I emailed APT to see if they would be sending us a paper copy but apparently they wouldn't for this special offer. They also decided that no promotional merchandise would be supplied for this trip either. All a bit mean for a £200+ per night trip. We met the APT rep at Budapest airport and were quickly on our way to the ship. Cabins are available from 15.00 but a fair selection of sandwiches soup and cakes are available in the lounge before then. The bar was also open for drinks! We paid extra for a double balcony cabin one deck up and were glad we did as it is slightly larger. The cabins are a bit on the small side compared to ocean cruise ships we have used before. Even with this larger cabin there is a shower and no bath and the wardrobe and bathroom doors all clash. The cabins and common areas are all kept very clean and well maintained although I did find a book under our bed and we ran out of toilet roll one day. There is always plenty of water left in the cabin and coffee and tea (good selection) are available all day from a machine in the lounge but the coffee wasn't the best. It was good in the restaurant for breakfast . Drinks are included from the bar but not all. There is a menu which details which drinks you have to pay for which includes most cocktails. Wine flows freely with lunch and dinner but the only choice is red rose or white. The mini bar only has water. There is a reasonable choice at all meals but one day everything was pork based which wasn't good for my wife who can't eat pork. The chairs in the main dining room are very close together and the waiters struggle to serve those sitting near the window. The main restaurant was supposed to be divided for dinner giving an Italian option on one side but that didn't happen on this cruise. The Chef’s table taster menu restaurant was good but the booking system was a bit haphazard. The head waiter came round on the first afternoon with a clipboard and took the bookings but not all passengers were on board. At lunch and dinner you are requested to be seated within 20 mins of the restaurant opening so it is effectively a fixed meal time. Breakfast is a buffet (with an egg station) as is most of lunch. Soups and main courses are served. The fresh fruit available for breakfast was disappointing as most of it was obviously tinned fruit. Dinner is full service. We felt that dinner took a long time as most nights it was around 2.5 hours. We had to leave our first dinner almost as soon as we finished desert as the ship set sail for an after dark cruise through the city lights of Budapest and we almost missed them. The kitchen seems to be the problem as the waiter made a point of coming to tell us several times that the food is on its way. Portion sizes are not large and the vegetables tended to come up to 5 minutes after the meat was served. Some of the excursions waste a lot of time especially the Melk Abbey trip. There was complete confusion between the guides who came with us from the ship to the Abbey and the guides who took us round the Abbey. The tour of Durnstein was good but the wine tasting at the end was a complete waste of time as it included a long lecture on wine and minute samples. Likewise the three hours spent on the coach to and from Regensburg wasn't really worth the effort. The radio receivers supplied in your cabin do make the excursions better as you can always hear the guide. The wifi worked well in all the common areas and in our cabin and there was a free electronic safe in the cabin. This ship being the oldest in the fleet could do with a few of the modifications we saw on Amareina which was tied up alongside us in Passau. Wind breaks along the sundeck, reclining chairs and a screen for the pool and swim up bar. The lounge gets very busy and noisy with entertainment and no other quiet space is available except your cabin. There were several complaints (including ours) about noise and vibration from the engines overnight. Some couples paid to upgrade to move forward on the ship. Earplugs are essential as if the engine doesn’t wake you the transit through the locks will. There is lots of hot water and the shower is good but the bathroom feels cramped. All the staff were friendly and did a good job. Security is not to the same standard as on ocean cruise ships. The card supplied on check in is only used to open your cabin door. When you leave the ship you collect a cardboard card with your cabin number and you hand it back when you return. The main purpose of this is to check who is back on board. If you forget to hand it in they make announcements asking you to bring your card to reception. You don't have your photo taken and checked as you leave and enter. The final night parading of the crew goes on forever and I think is just as embarrassing for the crew as it is for the passengers. We heard that the average age of the passengers on this cruise was 64 (which of course should be confidential) but I think that the average was slued by several younger people who worked for travel agencies including APT. There was one lady of 94 who spent a lot of time in the lounge and was doing a wonderful job of sewing bags of lavender for her charity work We did enjoy our week but I think we will stick to mid size ocean ships. P.s. APT please note I am not wasting my holiday filling in a large questionnaire most of which is to gain marketing information. 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
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
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Ship shabby and tired albeit staff excellent. Entertainment on board low class. Overall cabins noisy. When perusing details prior were never advised deck would be unavailable for substantial period of cruise due to locks. Majority of trip ... Read More
Ship shabby and tired albeit staff excellent. Entertainment on board low class. Overall cabins noisy. When perusing details prior were never advised deck would be unavailable for substantial period of cruise due to locks. Majority of trip had bad smell in corridors and cabins. Value for money rate 4/5 out of 10. Majestic train trip uncomfortable due to heat and not explained re food and refreshments. Some of excursions too long trying to kill time. Pillows in cabin need to be reviewed. Carpets each level need to be replaced and perhaps colour coded. Air conditioning in cabins need to be addressed. Also in dining areas airconditioning not acceptable. Staff loyal and helpful. Advertising of trip different to actuality. 5 to 6 days were very average scenery. I may not recommend this trip to family or friends due to the price and as stated before this has been disappointing. Will rethink any APT tours very closely in future. 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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Highs - Excursions - The daily excursions were great. Well organised with great guides. - Royal Collection - Three highlight tours - Namedy Castle, Majestic Imperator Train to Salzburg and a night of classical music in ... Read More
Highs - Excursions - The daily excursions were great. Well organised with great guides. - Royal Collection - Three highlight tours - Namedy Castle, Majestic Imperator Train to Salzburg and a night of classical music in Vienna. All superb. - Service - The service of the staff in the dining rooms, reception and our rooms were wonderful. All very friendly and helpful. Just ok - The food was plentiful but certainly not to the standard we expected. Selection of beers and wines was surprisingly limited. There were only two beers and they ran out of the one I liked early in the cruise. Despite stopping at a port each day and being told each night they would get the beer tomorrow, it took nearly a week before they got additional stock. Lows - Service - bar staff - it became obvious it was the last cruise of the year and they were tired. At times you felt you were a bother to them. - Entertainment - It was a real mixed bag but average overall - Dining - It looks like their are two different restaurants but in reality they are the same and offer the same food. We were a couple and as you couldn't reserve a table found it difficult at times finding a seat with out upsetting people. There were many larger groups who wanted to sit in the same seats every day, breakfast lunch and dinner. You certainly got the message if you sat in someones seat. - Public Areas - too small for a full cruise. People had to sit on arms of chairs at times. I have little doubt the majority of people on the cruise loved it. I think it depends on age and expectations. We felt that whilst enjoyable there were too many let downs to call it Luxury also considering the price. And please APT don't have you cruise directors tell all and sundry that tips are looked after by APT and if we felt we got good service to could tip. We paid for the staffs tips in our price. It certainly created and expectation to further tip the staff. I'm happy to tip good service but only once. 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
4 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 ... 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
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
1 Helpful Vote
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
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: September 2018
We had to change from the AmaVerde to the AmaBella on this APT cruise half way through our cruise because of low water on the Danube. This involved a four hour coach journey. This transfer was only revealed to us two days beforehand even ... Read More
We had to change from the AmaVerde to the AmaBella on this APT cruise half way through our cruise because of low water on the Danube. This involved a four hour coach journey. This transfer was only revealed to us two days beforehand even though the company knew about it months ago; apparently they have had to do this transfer since June 2018. Rather deceitful in my opinion not to tell us from the start. The two ships are virtually identical, but it's the crews that make the difference. On the Amaverde they were all very pleasant, accessible and helpful from the Captain down. It was very different on the Amabella. We found that quite a few of the waiters were cheeky, rude and ignorant. One in particular thought he was a comedian but he was nothing more than an irritating clown. For the thousands of pounds you pay for this cruise the least you expect is to be treated with respect. The reception staff were rather sullen and not very helpful, the head barman was rather lackadaisical, the senior staff were notable for their absence; we hardly ever saw them. The cruise itself was very pleasant, with plenty to do and very good shore excursions. It was helped along by our fellow pasengers, the majority of whom were Australian. All were very friendly but it has to be admitted that some were rather loud although they were the exception. The dining room was very noisy. The Cruise Director was not very impressive, often giving wrong information, and at other times being less than communicative when asked questions. Food was sometimes good, sometimes less so. Presentation was over the top with considerable time obviously having been spent on making it look good. But often there was very little food on the plate so there was plenty of space left for decoration. Vegetables were thin on the ground; half a fleuret of brocolli, a quarter of a carrot for example. Cutlery must have been in short supply too; there were no soup spoons, just dessert spoons. We found the waiter who took charge of the Chef's Table events to be rude, loud and awkward, not the sort of atmosphere for what was supposedly a special event. Cooked breakfast fare was invariably luke warm at best, with no hot plates for your food, only cold. And getting tea or coffee from a waiter was sometimes like looking for an invisible man. Overall a mixed bag. We would not go on AmaBella again, whereas we would go on AmaVerde. Read Less
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
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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