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41 AmaWaterways AmaViola Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise to spend a hassle-free week as a family, unpacking our bags once and experiencing 4 countries plus a taste of the Christmas markets. We also visited Prague and Munich on our own. We embarked in Budapest on Dec 29, ... Read More
We chose this cruise to spend a hassle-free week as a family, unpacking our bags once and experiencing 4 countries plus a taste of the Christmas markets. We also visited Prague and Munich on our own. We embarked in Budapest on Dec 29, disembarked in Vilshofen Jan 5. We have been on 2 ocean cruises (Caribbean and Alaska) and have 3 teenagers, so I was worried that river cruises have a reputation for catering to an older crowd and they would be bored. But there were several families on board with teenagers and young adults, maybe because of the time of year during school break? And if your kids love history, castles, and just know what to expect, it's a great experience. The boat is small - a dining room, a lounge, a VERY small workout room, and then small pool and track on the top deck. So no kids' club, no teen room, etc. But there is no time spent on the boat really because the destinations are so close. And since there are no interior rooms, everyone gets an amazing view from their room. Embarkation and Disembarkation were so easy compared to ocean cruises. The staff took the time to know everyone by sight. They were very diligent in making sure we checked in and out, so no one was left behind. The boat is able to dock usually just steps away from the central tourist locations, I think only 1-2 days where we needed to take a bus. The shore excursion teams did a wonderful job of breaking us into small groups and traveling different routes through our destinations so if felt very personal. They were all very knowledgeable and I loved the Quietvox speakers so the guides didn't have to shout and you could wander a little bit away and still hear the tour. Food was AMAZING!!! Lots of variety each night, and buffet style eating most of the day - again, very helpful with teenagers. Ours are not picky eaters at all, but there is always a very traditional American option at each meal if you are more choosy. There were several excursions and tours that felt special - I am always skeptical of anything that markets itself as an "exclusive" tour or similar, but these did pretty well. A Mozart concert, castle tour, Melk Abbey tour with no photos allowed - what? you mean you just have to EXPERIENCE a place?? So 20th century! Also an unexpected, amazing experience was docking in Vienna on New Year's Eve and being able to watch the fireworks over the city. It was like a dream. If you are going for the Christmas markets, you should go before Christmas. We knew this from our travel agent, so not a surprise. We were in Prague starting Dec 24 so got some flavor, Budapest still had some stalls Dec 29-30, Vienna and Munich still had hot wine stalls and some trinkets after New Year's. It's enough to get the flavor. Ditto for shopping in general - there were alot of holidays and Sundays when we traveled, so less chance to buy souvenirs. We had a wonderful time and would love to take a river cruise again someday! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose this cruise to experience the European Christmas markets. I love the charm and magic of Christmas decorations and the stores and restaurant displays did not disappoint. Pre-Cruise: We arrived in Prague for two days prior to ... Read More
We chose this cruise to experience the European Christmas markets. I love the charm and magic of Christmas decorations and the stores and restaurant displays did not disappoint. Pre-Cruise: We arrived in Prague for two days prior to embarkation to allow us to adjust to the time change/travel fatigue. We stayed at the same hotel as others doing the full three day pre-cruise Prague package. This was helpful for the bus ride to Nuremberg, the port of embarkation. Upon check-in at the hotel I was directed to the table where the cruise director, Kata, greeted us. We did our own thing in Prague and enjoyed our time there. Shore Excursions: The scheduled excursions always include professional tour guides arranged by Amawaterways and all were all very knowledgeable. Each stateroom has two "receivers" for you to hear the tour guides speak on the tours. These receivers were of better quality than those I have used on other European tours. If your itinerary has you visiting Christmas markets on a weekend - be ready for large crowds. We chose several food/drink focused excursion options not associated with Christmas markets and were very pleased. One afternoon I took the gingerbread cookie decorating class. The cookies were baked by the staff and we were provided icing to decorate. One day we opted to stay on the ship while it changed ports, rather than taking a bus ride to a castle. It was a very relaxing and enjoyable afternoon. Those who opted for the castle tour were also pleased with their selection. We found we enjoyed the smaller cities and markets the most, with Regensberg our favorite. We had snow flurries one day in Melk - which added to the charm and Christmas spirit. Food: The first night's dinner was excellent. Unfortunately, the other meals were not as special. I attribute this to trying to feed 150-160 people at the same time. If you are not interested in the main courses being offered, there is always a beef, chicken and vegetarian option to choose from. You will never go hungry. Entertainment: We are not big on on-board entertainment, but found the violin players to be really enjoyable. We had the option of adding a Chechen-themed dinner and dancing entertainment in Prague but chose not to based on personal preference and prior experiences. Currency: We had three currencies to deal with on the cruise. Prior to the trip we went to a local currency exchange and got Korunas, Euros and Forints in amounts we thought we would spend in those locations. We did have some money left over to exchange upon our return, but found it very convenient to have local currencies at hand. Packing: The on-board laundry service which was around $15 Euros for five shirts, five pairs of underwear, a couple pairs of socks and two pairs of jeans. Next time we will pack less and do laundry more. Security: The Christmas markets in large cities always had a police presence in and around the market. The more crowded the market, the more likely for theft. No one we knew had anything stolen, but one couple felt their backpack being unzipped in Budapest and were able to turn and stop the thief. Also, be aware of bike lanes and don't wander into them. We had a great time and really enjoyed ourselves. I would recommend this cruise and the cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose the 3 day Prague on land before the cruise. The cruise manager is on site to help with everything. Our manager, Natalija, was excellent. She was there to answer any questions. The only thing I was a bit disappointed with for the ... Read More
We chose the 3 day Prague on land before the cruise. The cruise manager is on site to help with everything. Our manager, Natalija, was excellent. She was there to answer any questions. The only thing I was a bit disappointed with for the Prague portion was that I was not able to find out until about 3 weeks prior to the cruise about what was exactly planned by Ama in Prague. I would of liked the information sooner. I called them 3 times to try to get an itinerary with details. The AmaViola was very nice. I have no complaints about the condition or cleanliness of the ship. The food was excellent. Just a tip...they do offer tapas in the lounge at off hours. I did not find this out until the next to last day. I would of used the service for the night I didn't feel like going to the dining room. The excursions were all nice. My husband was one of two people that opted for the bike ride tours and they enjoyed the rides. I really liked Cesky Krumlov. It was such a unique place to visit. The service was excellent throughout the cruise. Everyone I had contact with was very professional and helpful. I would recommend this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I should start this review out with a word regarding my rating. It would have to be OUTSTANDING for me to give a 5, so in most cases my "4" should be considered very good. Now to our trip: " Melodies of the ... Read More
I should start this review out with a word regarding my rating. It would have to be OUTSTANDING for me to give a 5, so in most cases my "4" should be considered very good. Now to our trip: " Melodies of the Danube" (Wine themed cruise) Our cruise itinerary was slightly modified from the standard since it included 2 tours not generally available on the regular " Melodies of the Danube" cruise. Our Itinerary: Budapest VIENNA plus Viennese Heuriger Tavern Evening KREMS plus evening at Schloss Gobelsburg Wine Tasting WEISSENKIRCHEN GREIN plus Exclusive Clem Castle Visit with Private Wine Reception LINZ PASSAU VILSHOFEN Our embarcation was at Mahart-Garam1 which at first seemed odd and a bit inconvenient since this pier is located up river in north Budapest and really doesn't provide very good views and isn't really near many of the hotels or sites. However, once on board it became clear why this pier was selected. Earlier in the year an accident during an "illumination cruise" resulted in all such cruises to be suspended for safety.( this cruise provided beautiful views of the lighted parliament, bridges and other government buildings). AMAWATERWAYS found that after our embarkation that our ship needed to be moved to the usual International pier (directly across from the Parliament building) and this move "needed" to be made in the evening to allow everyone to board. The result was a fantastic view of lighted Budapest at at night (clever). The tour stops were all interesting and provided multiple levels of tour depending on your ability. I injured my knee before the cruise and keeping up with the tours was a concern. The "level 1" tours were just right and maybe even a bit slow paced at times ( this did allow for easy setup of pictures along the tour though). For the most part the tours covered the same routes just at a slower pace with the exception of areas with many steps, where the slower tour would deviate. Being this was a "special wine themed" version of the cruise our it included wine activities on board and extra stops as noted in our itinerary. Most of the days tours started at 9:30am which made the morning a bit less hectic however,(here's a negative). The first 2 added excursions took place AFTER dinner starting at (8:00PM or 8:30PM) so with the bus rides and event we didn't get back to the ship until about 11:00. The next days tours started at 9:00 (half hour earlier than most) which resulted in not much sleep and barely time for breakfast. I think a bit better planning by AMA can correct this issue. This wan't our first river cruise , but it was our first with AMA , and overall everything was "VERY GOOD" and we hope to take another cruise with AMAWATERWAYS in the future. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Exceptional service, excellent food, high class all the way! Embarking and disembarking is so different on this river cruise than we have experienced on ocean cruising... no line ups, very relaxed process, so smooth. The buffet breakfast ... Read More
Exceptional service, excellent food, high class all the way! Embarking and disembarking is so different on this river cruise than we have experienced on ocean cruising... no line ups, very relaxed process, so smooth. The buffet breakfast was very good... all the options one would want including made to order omelettes and for the bread lover - a huge array of choices. Each meal featured a couple of options... a little less than we are used to on ocean cruises, but certainly satisfying. At one of the meals, I experienced the best pork I think I’ve ever eaten! The service was pretty top notch and the wine choices were very good! We found the shore excursions were excellent - local guides with a lot of knowledge. Having the bicycle option was an added bonus. The exercise room was well equipped with top of the line equipment. Our cruise manager, Kriss Stallabrass, was excellent! Very organized, knowledgeable and fun! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This is something my husband and myself have talked about doing for sometime but have always felt it was a little expensive , however, having had a recent bereavement in the family and deciding life is too short we booked our trip just a ... Read More
This is something my husband and myself have talked about doing for sometime but have always felt it was a little expensive , however, having had a recent bereavement in the family and deciding life is too short we booked our trip just a few weeks before sailing . We have no regrets , the trip was wonderful . We were made to feel at ease as soon as we boarded , the ship was gorgeous and the staff so welcoming , nothing was too much trouble . Our Cruise Manager ( Rachel) superb x but all the crew have to be complimented . Everything was so well organised , the catering and various options for dining were superb . We have met some lovely people on board , the Rhine is stunning and we were blessed with beautiful weather . As for value for money that is provided on this cruise , you certainly get a lot for your money and believe me that’s something coming from. Yorkshire girl !! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was our first river cruise but will definitely not be our last. The AMA cruise line is 1st class from the beginning to the end. The crew is so very well trained, the food is delicious and the ship is beautiful. The chef and ... Read More
This was our first river cruise but will definitely not be our last. The AMA cruise line is 1st class from the beginning to the end. The crew is so very well trained, the food is delicious and the ship is beautiful. The chef and kitchen crew never disappointed us. The food was delicious and beautifully presented. We ate at the chefs table one night, one word, DELICIOUS. The lounge was big and comfortable. The ship was spotless, someone was always cleaning something. The rooms always had fresh towels, the bed was comfortable and the bedding was clean. The rooms were nicely appointed with WiFi, computer and tv. We had the BEST crew. From the minute we said hello to the hugs and tears when we left, they felt like family. Bojan was our cruise director and Victoria was our cruise manager and they were always happy to help. THE BEST CRUISE LINE!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
I dreamt of taking this trip for years and finally made it starting in Amsterdam, Netherlands; going through the Rhine River in Germany and the Main River and Canal; then to the Danube River to Austria, Bulgaria and Hungary. The AMA ... Read More
I dreamt of taking this trip for years and finally made it starting in Amsterdam, Netherlands; going through the Rhine River in Germany and the Main River and Canal; then to the Danube River to Austria, Bulgaria and Hungary. The AMA Waterway ships seemed to have more staterooms with balconies than other lines. My ship, the AMA Viola, was constantly being cleaned, banisters being wiped down, windows cleaned and everything sparkling clean. I traveled alone, however, since there was no assigned dining seating I was able to meet people from all over the USA, Canada and England, talk with them and exchange e-mail address. The ship traveled at a slow speed because of the water level while we passed various castles, towns, churches. A lot of the shoreline was forested, but about 3 trees in you could see a walking, biking lane or street. The ship stopped at cities in each of the countries where we could get a view of the history and shops. Guides were very knowledgeable. After the individual tour, there was always time for personal exploring or shopping. One nice part about the excursions was that we each had a Quiet Voxe. Each day we would pair it with the guide and while she talked we could hear her up to two blocks away. If we stopped to take a picture, it was easy to catch up and we could hear without having to stand right in front of her. Each group had their own color and a guide holding a colored paddle. Each day our Cruise Director, Rachael Couto would update our itinerary with pictures and funny antidotes. When we were gathered in the lounge, there was guitar music and disco music at night. Several times, special groups or individual would entertain. Of course sitting on the top deck while cruising was always an option. There was a mixture of time to take in shore excursions, meals (in the main dining room, lounge, or chef's table), visiting with new friends, listening to music, lots of laughing and dancing, enjoying the view on the top deck or a quick nap in the cabin. All the crew members greeted you. My room steward always had the room made up while I was at breakfast. The other room steward on the floor always had a warm 'good morning' and a comment that I was the first one down for breakfast or I was late and was 3rd one down. If a seaman should pass you on the steps, he would always say good morning/afternoon.. If you had a question, there was always someone to help. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We chose Amawaterways after reading some very positive critics about food and excursions on their ships. On Amaviola, food was fair but not exceptional compare to other cruise lines but "La table du chef", once by cruise, ... Read More
We chose Amawaterways after reading some very positive critics about food and excursions on their ships. On Amaviola, food was fair but not exceptional compare to other cruise lines but "La table du chef", once by cruise, deserve congratulations. For excursions , it's true that choices were varied for every kind of people, young and older ones even with bike rides offered. What bother us the most on this cruise was general atmosphere with a lot of american's families getting together with grand ma et grand pa and not attending at all at cultural shows presented on the ship ....8-10 persons on a cruise of 150 persons for listing a french signer at Strasbourg, every body was on sun deck instead....it was pitiful! The night after, ship canceled show supposed to be presented !!! A separated club of 45-50 cyclists was on this cruise and may be this separated group changed atmosphere on the ship ! I don't know ! Also, service was average in room, bar and restaurant nothing too bad but nothing too good also. At bar, we were running to get drinks at tables, we were obliged to go the the bar counter .At front desk, smile wasn't included also.! On the upper deck or sun deck with a little pool very attractive and useful, under 35C weather, no service at all during all week with one exception to offered us once German coffee! We cruised twice before on Avalon's ships ( Danube and Seine rivers) and the personal was more joyful, friendly, service was better and food as good as on this Amawaterways cruise, member of Chaîne des Rôtisseurs For the river and cities to visit , it was amazing and we recommend this cruise with what companies you like but not necessary with AMA. For arrival and departure at ship and airports ....wow...exceptional personalized service and for that AMA deserves congratulations. We know that AMA can't be responsable of participation of their clients on a cruise but for those who want more joyful cruises, look before at what kind of people ships companies try to attract. May be we were only back lucky and AMA can offer more friendly cruises . Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
This was a bucket trip to celebrate a significant birthday. We had never cruised before--opting instead of sailing adventures. What a delight to be able to leisurely experience the sights and the history of a trip that started in Prague ... Read More
This was a bucket trip to celebrate a significant birthday. We had never cruised before--opting instead of sailing adventures. What a delight to be able to leisurely experience the sights and the history of a trip that started in Prague with a pre-cruise and then down the Danube to Budapest. Maddy Caldaruse was a superb cruise director, filled with facts as well as fun. Her patience and pleasure was evident. The tour guides on the different options we took were so filled with information and enthusiasm. we also walked out kegs off--meaning that despite such fabulous food and drink, we didn't gain a pound. Now that's a trip. From our cabin steward to the dear reception attendant, from the wait staff to the crew, Ama delivered as promised. The food offered options to fit any palate. I particularly found the breakfasts to set the healthy stage for the rest of the day! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We asked our travel agent for a Danube cruise. She suggested AMA Waterways vs Viking. saying that since Viking started ocean cruising they have moved some of their best people away from the river boats and AMA Waterways gives better ... Read More
We asked our travel agent for a Danube cruise. She suggested AMA Waterways vs Viking. saying that since Viking started ocean cruising they have moved some of their best people away from the river boats and AMA Waterways gives better service. We had previously taken a Viking Ocean cruise of the Western Med and were very pleased. We flew from Jacksonville, FL to Atlanta and then to Amsterdam using Delta Priority status and found that we did indeed have more seat room. Regardless that 8 hour flight was tiresome. Arriving in Budapest we were met by an AMA driver who brought us to the Sofitel Chain Bridge Hotel where we had a lovely room and perfect service. We walked around the area and ate that evening at the Four Seasons Hotel which is located nearby in a gorgeous old castle. The next day we transferred to the AMAViola, a beautiful ship with the most hospitable staff and a comfortable room with a balcony. Later that day we had a guided tour of Budapest. Evening cruise for Budapest lights From then on each day was at a different city where there were morning guided tours with 3 choices: Active-which meant hiking or biking, Regular- generally a bus to the center of the historic district and then a guided walking tour or Gentle- usually a bus tour with less walking. Afternoons often had second included tours or optional events such as a classical concert in Vienna. Every cities was wonderful, filled with history and beautiful architecture. The guides were marvelous, they actually are schooled as guides for a minimum of 2 years. The regular walking tours were not strenuous but we easily fulfilled our daily 10,000 steps per day. Almost everyone we met understood English as most of these Eastern European countries require English education as early as 3rd grade. Although almost all tourist places accepted Euros you got change in the local currency. Be sure to carry sufficient Euros to tip the guides and drivers. All meals were on the ship and couldn't have been better. There were many meal choices, open seating, and tended to always include local and regional dishes. After the cruise we extended two Prague where the AMA tour manager accompanied us and was constantly available to lead us to both organized tours and free time activities from the Hilton Downtown hotel in the heart of the city. Suggestion: Dining at both The Portfolio restaurant and the White Horse restaurant were great experiences. Both had seating underground in old (like fro 1200AD) basements decorated in absolutely the finest taste. Food Was excellent, perhaps the best I ever had. Unfortunately, the water level in the Danube was very low. The AMAviola had a small draft but the other river ships, including Viking weren’t able to sail and had to tie up and bus their passengers. These folks were pretty upset. Weather was very hot, high 80s to low 90’s. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
This was our first cruise of any kind, and it exceeded our expectations. The ship was clean and well-organized, with helpful and pleasant staff. Monika, our cruise manager, was very knowledgeable and professional, and I think her skills ... Read More
This was our first cruise of any kind, and it exceeded our expectations. The ship was clean and well-organized, with helpful and pleasant staff. Monika, our cruise manager, was very knowledgeable and professional, and I think her skills played a big role in how much we enjoyed the cruise. Shore excursions were well-organized, and nearly all of the tour guides were very knowledgeable and competent. It worked well to group us by activity level (or walking speed) for the shore excursions, and in general the group size was manageable for a each activity. The weather was very hot during the entire cruise, and the guides did a good job of finding shade and adapting the pace of the tour for the weather conditions. I thought the "Taste of Bratislava" activity was especially good. (Of course, on a cruise you can only get an introduction to each location, because there isn't time for a more in-depth visit.) We were fortunate about the size of the ship - the water level on the Danube was very low, but the AmaViola was able to sail all the way from Vilshofen to Budapest. (After our cruise, we talked to people who were on other, larger ships that could not complete their cruises and had to be bused back and forth.) Our cabin was comfortable, and there was adequate space for two people and our belongings. The bathroom made good use of the available space. Temperature controls in the cabin worked fine once we got used to the system. Food on the AmaViola was consistently very good, and we enjoyed the regional wines that were served with meals. The breakfast buffet featured an enormous variety of items, and the evening meals had a nice range of options. The only meal that wasn't top-notch was the barbecue picnic on the sun deck - and that was mostly due to the very hot weather. Monika and the ship's crew kept us well-informed about activities, procedures and safety instructions. We would definitely recommend AmaWaterways cruises. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Superb dining - lots of choice, some of the best meals I've had in any restaurant, including the best local wines. Three places to dine - lounge for casual, quick meals, the restaurant for full service and the Chef's table for ... Read More
Superb dining - lots of choice, some of the best meals I've had in any restaurant, including the best local wines. Three places to dine - lounge for casual, quick meals, the restaurant for full service and the Chef's table for more intimate dining. Drinks are free at lunch and dinner, and quite reasonable other times. Climate on board is friendly and relaxed. Every guest is made to feel so special. Real pampering with such thoughtful touches (cool Spritzers and towels upon return from a hot day trip/small gifts like roses and scsrves/ice cream up top by the pool!) The staff are very professional, yet so friendly. They seem to really enjoy working on the ship. The climate on board is so wonderful. Make the end of the voyage so hard. I could have definitely spent another week. We had so much fun and amazing experiences together. Great - local and special - onboard entertainment. Not run of the mill at all. Just the right size ship. Small enough that you get to know many of the other guests if you like, but big enough that you have different conversation partners each day. Tours were also smaller, so they seemed more special and personalized. Well worth the expense. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
My wife and I along with another couple took this cruise from July 27th thru August 5th 2018. We had an excellent time. The ship was very , our cabin adequate in size with a French balcony and the service excellent. From the Cruise ... Read More
My wife and I along with another couple took this cruise from July 27th thru August 5th 2018. We had an excellent time. The ship was very , our cabin adequate in size with a French balcony and the service excellent. From the Cruise Director to the Housekeeper we were proved with great service. We were welcomed to our cabin with a bottle of wine and chocolates. The food was plentiful with a buffet for both breakfast and lunch and at least a 4 course dinner to choose from every night. Wine and beer with lunch and dinner was complimentary and poured freely. We had a great waitress named Nicci that took very good care of us. The entertainment on board was enjoyable from the Hungarian musicians and dancers to the trio playing classical music and very in tune with where we were on the cruise. The guides provided for the shore excursions were all very knowledgeable and we learned so much about the history of each area visited. Even with all that was going on we still had time to relax on the top deck and see the beautiful countryside as we cruised the river. We added on the extension into Munich and were glad we did. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
The entire crew was excellent -- efficient, helpful, and attentive to all needs. The Captain's Table tasting dinner was also excellent and beautifully presented. The food in general was great. But the overall plan of the trip and its ... Read More
The entire crew was excellent -- efficient, helpful, and attentive to all needs. The Captain's Table tasting dinner was also excellent and beautifully presented. The food in general was great. But the overall plan of the trip and its cost was the issue. In each city, we had a local guide, and they varied wildly in quality from excellent to worthless. The trip was short and expensive for the time it covered, esp. when airfare was not included, and so I always felt rushed at most of the stops and without a good feel for the people and places. This was very much a trip that felt like "If this is Tuesday, this must be Vienna." I would recommend the Budapest to Prague trip to friends as the cities and countryside are beautiful and full of history. But I used AMA for reasons involving travel companions; I've been much more satisfied with two Grand Circle cruises I've gone on and will always use them from now on. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Our cruise on AMAWaterways AMAViola was such a wonderful experience. We looked at many river cruises and finally selected this one because of the timing of our vacation and excellent ports. We flew from Philadelphia to Munich and spent 3 ... Read More
Our cruise on AMAWaterways AMAViola was such a wonderful experience. We looked at many river cruises and finally selected this one because of the timing of our vacation and excellent ports. We flew from Philadelphia to Munich and spent 3 nights there before taking a train to Vilshofen. The embarkation went smoothly and as we arrived early we were able to leave our luggage on ship to explore the town and have lunch. Everything from our arrival to disembarkation was nothing less than excellent and professionally handled. The ship was lovely as well as the cabin. Most of the crew and staff knew us by name as well as our likes and dislikes in a very short time. We were able to meet many wonderful people both fellow travelers and staff. This is one of the advantages of a smaller ship with less passengers. The cruise director, David was amazingly helpful and guided the activities, making the cruise much more enjoyable. Our ports and shore excursions were excellent! Vilshofen, Passau, Weisenkurchen, Wachu Valley, Linz, Austria, Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest. All shore excursions were guided by local tour guides speaking English. All were excellent guides and very knowledgeable about the area. Dining on the ship was quite a unique experience. The food was wonderful, nice variety with great service at every meal. There was always a good variety of choices. This was my first cruise of any kind in my 63 years and I don't think I would ever choose a large ocean cruise. The intimacy of the smaller group was so enjoyable. If we choose to go on another cruise in the near future it will be with AMA Waterways. I can't imagine another cruise line being able to top the experience we had. Thanks to all the staff who made our cruise so special. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We have been on a bunch of Ocean Cruises but this was Our First River Cruise and I always wanted to travel the Danube - so we did. We travelled with another couple and while cruising we met a bunch of new friends. We ended up being a group ... Read More
We have been on a bunch of Ocean Cruises but this was Our First River Cruise and I always wanted to travel the Danube - so we did. We travelled with another couple and while cruising we met a bunch of new friends. We ended up being a group of 9 hanging around together for dinner and cocktails, catching up on our day of tours. We started with a few days at The Hilton Old Town in Prague arranged by AMA Waterways which included a get together and a couple of tours with our Fantastic host David Rosell. On Embarkation day, Ama Waterways took us to our ship in Vilshofen Germany. Everything worked out great, very smooth transfer. AMA thinks of everything. David Rosell was our Cruise Manager and if you ever have him on your cruise consider yourself very lucky. David was absolutely fabulous - with Everyone!! He took the time to talk and laugh with each person, help you with whatever you needed and entertain you with his stories. The crew of the AMA Viola is amazing. They all work so very hard, very helpful, polite, pleasant and they can't do enough for us to make our cruise special. The engineers who hook up and un-hook our ship at each port work so extremely hard. It was great just watching them. I cannot say enough about this crew - FABULOUS! Dining on The AMA Viola is fantastic. If you have a special dietary need, just let them know. They will remember you and therefore will take care of your needs for the duration. They even knew which day we were going to dine at The Chef's Table restaurant and told me in advance that they had everything set up. WOW! AMAZING!! The meals were great. Lots to choose from. Presentation was amazing at the buffets, A la Carte Dining and The Chef's Table. Your beverages at lunch and dinner (yes, you can have free champagne at breakfast) are included as well as happy hour each day before dinner. The wait staff remembers what you like to drink so they are well prepared. There is nightly entertainment (and also during Happy Hour) on board. This takes place in the lounge which is where the onboard entertainment is and yes, it holds everyone - they have set it up quite well. Some nightly entertainment is better than others. Ports and Shore Excursions keep you very busy... everyday. Each port is very well set up for all excursions with lots to choose from. Everyone has their own listening device so you can hear the very knowledgeable guides. Yes, there is a lot of walking but remember, you are in Europe to explore and enjoy and that is exactly what we did. When Docking at some of the busier ports, you definitely dock beside / with other cruise ships. It makes it very interesting. Not only do you walk thru the other ships lobbies (where you can be snoopy) but you can also see what the other ships / cruise lines look like. I have to say that the Top Deck of AMA Viola was far superior than any other river boat we saw. No other ship had a pool, some did have a hot tub but it wasn't rare to see a 'boring sundeck' with just a few chairs - no cushions on these other ships. AMA is a very relaxed and casual way of cruising the rivers. If you want to get dressed up then you can but if you want to just be 'smart casual' - no jeans then that works also. Gentlemen, bring a jacket if you want but you don't need one. Not even at The Chef's Table Restaurant. Another great thing..... there are no photographers running around trying to take your picture for $$$$ so don't forget to bring your own smart phone or camera. One of my favorite things was cruising during the morning and watching the beautiful scenery go by. I wish we had more of that. I absolutely LOVE AMA Waterways and will definitely travel with them again. AMA is now my first and only choice for River Cruising. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
This was a perfect way to visit 4 countries and 8 cities along the Danube - Beautiful cities - Beautiful ship - Great Service We had never done a cruise of any type - and based on research selected AmaWaterways - we are very glad ... Read More
This was a perfect way to visit 4 countries and 8 cities along the Danube - Beautiful cities - Beautiful ship - Great Service We had never done a cruise of any type - and based on research selected AmaWaterways - we are very glad we did - We traveled with an adult daughter with physical limitations and every part of the trip, the ship and the excursions were suited for her ... The "Easy or Relaxed" excursions - the elevator on the ship and the super attentive AMA Employees made this trip so easy for all of us. The ship is outstanding and the service from all of the employees could not have been better. Every part of the ship was spotless and stayed that way throughout our trip - The "lounge area and upper deck of the ship nicely decorated and always clean - and great places to relax or meet up with people. - The staff worked so hard and could not have been more attentive. The food was outstanding throughout the cruise - The menu changed daily depending on the region and country we were traveling but there was always several options for people not wanting to try the regional food - and the presentation of the food - Breakfast, lunch & dinner looked like food out of a magazine - and was served with a smile - If you wanted something prepared or cooked differently - they made it happen - The selection of wine and cocktails was great throughout the trip - The dining room was beautiful - and the layout and design made you feel like your were in a very nice restaurant and not a dining room of a ship... We really can not think of one thing that was not outstanding !! We are already talking about our next trip on AMA and have recommended to friends... Thank you AMA Waterways and the crew and staff of the AMAViola !! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Single Canadian traveller; AMA partnered with Canadian Automobile Association travel services to remove single supplement cost of $2500 on most cruises, plus offered numerous credits as well. Huge incentive for me. Two year old ship was ... Read More
Single Canadian traveller; AMA partnered with Canadian Automobile Association travel services to remove single supplement cost of $2500 on most cruises, plus offered numerous credits as well. Huge incentive for me. Two year old ship was spotless inside and out; excellent customer service; good quality amenities in room, bottle of wine and chocolates plus beautiful limited edition shawl. Very very organized at each port, excellent guides plus numerous shore excursions. Provided with a colour print out nightly on the history of the next port stop plus very detailed itinerary. Dining room 5 star calibre, food was exquisitely presented at dinner. Excellent breakfast and lunch buffets; regional wine and food at every stop plus a daily cocktail hour. I only wish spa services like a manicure/pedicure would have been nice. I will definitely recommend this company and I hope to travel with them again. Never felt alone, was taken care of at each step, even at arrival in Prague and disembarkation in Budapest, an AMA staff was with me the whole time. Truly wonderful experience overall. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
My husband and I have done about 5 other cruises but never before have we experienced a river cruise. I selected AMA after reading reviews on Cruise Critic. Every step of the way was carefully choreographed.We were met in Munich as soon ... Read More
My husband and I have done about 5 other cruises but never before have we experienced a river cruise. I selected AMA after reading reviews on Cruise Critic. Every step of the way was carefully choreographed.We were met in Munich as soon as we excited the airport. We were chauffeured to the ship and when we arrived embarkation was a matter of minutes. So different from a huge cruise ship. There were 150 passengers and most were friendly. AMA's cruise director, Camille, did all she could to make everyone feel welcome. She inspired a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. She was efficient, announcing various events and very good at getting people to participate. The food was wonderful, often in keeping with the area we were entering. The chef's table was not to be missed. The ship itself was very elegant lacking the glitz of cruise ships. Everything is included; all excursions, food, wine and beer and signature cocktails every evening. There were no photo shoots, no dress up nights, no barely talented entertainment. The atmosphere was relaxed and comfortable. It was not at all difficult to be by yourself. . In other words, there were enough areas that crowding was never an issue. The only downside with a river boat is that it is not unlikely to have a ship tied along side so use of the balcony is difficult. Other than that, everything was fantastic even the size of the bathroom! There were many choices in excursions and the pace of them. There were bikes available. A river boat can get right up to the town so if you are docked there overnight you can come and go easily. The entertainment varied with the port. We had nights of incredibly talented musicians. I would book another soon. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Very port intensive with a great selection of ship excursions and the ability to go it on your own. Service was great and Camille Dernis, our Cruise Director, was the best ever. Were overnight in many ports so had the option to enjoy the ... Read More
Very port intensive with a great selection of ship excursions and the ability to go it on your own. Service was great and Camille Dernis, our Cruise Director, was the best ever. Were overnight in many ports so had the option to enjoy the ship’s dining room or find a restaurant in town to get more of a local flavor. Everything with AMA was fabulous. The boat was very comfortable with a large lounge room, a nice dining room, and a huge outside upper deck with plenty of lounges and chairs as well as a small pool with a swim up bar. Staff was friendly and helpful. Food and drink was plentiful throughout the cruise. The rooms had huge glass windows and you could lie in bed and watch the passing landscape. Local wines and food were offered throughout the trip. Our week went to quickly but we have a lifetime of memories cruising from Vilshofen to Budapest. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We chose Ama Waterways for our second European river cruise because of an excellent experience on a previous Rhine River cruise. We were not disappointed. Everything with Ama is first-class - staterooms, ship facilities, excursions, ... Read More
We chose Ama Waterways for our second European river cruise because of an excellent experience on a previous Rhine River cruise. We were not disappointed. Everything with Ama is first-class - staterooms, ship facilities, excursions, dining logistics...but most of all the PEOPLE. Am a employs a team of professionals dedicated to ensuring your complete satisfaction with every facet of your cruise. Boarding in Passau was efficient and our stateroom was ready for us as promised. We were greeted with a complimentary bottle of champagne to celebrate our anniversary. At the welcome reception we were introduced to key members of the staff who each promised a memorable cruise experience. Meals onboard were prepared using fresh, local ingredients. The menu was selected to match the cuisine of the country or region being visited. Wine with meals was also locally selected and was always complimentary. The desserts were masterpieces! The daily excursions were varied and informative. Excursions were always offered based on the ability level of the guests ("Active Walkers", "Normal Pacing" and "Gentle Walkers"). Bicycle tours were available as well, several of which were pleasantly challenging. Local guides were always knowledgable, friendly and accommodating. Logistically, Ama does it right. Disembarkation was expertly coordinated to match the varied schedules of 135+ guests. In our case, a cab was waiting at the appointed time to take us to our hotel in Budapest and our luggage was delivered from our stateroom directly to the cab. Other guests were provided with airport transfers as needed with timing coordinated to match flight times. Our Cruise Manager, Reka Piros, was the star of an excellent, professional staff. Reka always seemed to be there when needed, providing help, advice, or just a smile to let guests know they were valued and appreciated. We asked her help in choosing restaurants for our post-cruise stay in Budapest and she gladly provided excellent recommendations. Consider yourself very fortunate if you find yourself on one of Reka's cruises! Overall, this cruise rates 5+ stars. We are already planning our 3rd Ama cruise! Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
The crew was excellent in every way. They couldn’t have been nicer or more friendly. The ship was clean and kept beautifully the entire trip. We saw crew cleaning every inch along the way. The “sip and sail” activity every ... Read More
The crew was excellent in every way. They couldn’t have been nicer or more friendly. The ship was clean and kept beautifully the entire trip. We saw crew cleaning every inch along the way. The “sip and sail” activity every evening encouraged passengers to meet and get to know each other in a welcoming environment. We had a large group from St Louis and enjoyed meeting other passengers with varied and entertaining backgrounds. Every activity was well planned and all details handled so all we had to do was enjoy the fun. Guides were excellent and knowledgeable. All tickets along the way were covered. We couldn’t be happier. Our favorite moments were the Mozart Strauss concert in Vienna, the bike ride in Durnnstein, seeing “The KISS” at the Belvedere museum in Vienna, our excursions to Salzburg and Cesky Krumlov, and hike to the Passau castle. My sons are half Bohemian so I am happy to bring them news of the Czech Republic and Slovakia, a sister country. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
I will summarize and then expand more for families who want more details. We have visited Europe with our children a few times, but have been predominantly in the west. We wanted to experience Eastern Europe and this cruise had several ... Read More
I will summarize and then expand more for families who want more details. We have visited Europe with our children a few times, but have been predominantly in the west. We wanted to experience Eastern Europe and this cruise had several stops in major cities along the Danube that we wanted to begin to explore. We traveled with our children, ages 11 and 12. This was our second cruise with AmaWaterways (first was in Vietnam/Cambodia 1.5 years ago). Our first experience was excellent and so we decided to try this itinerary. Short and sweet, it was fantastic and met our expectations. The crew and the service is exceptional, the food was great and they provide a sufficient number of excursion options. We would not hesitate to do another Ama cruise with our children - they were treated wonderfully, there were bikes that fit even our smaller child, the adventures allowed plenty of active time. However, do know that the vast majority of the travelers are older so if your children are looking for companions that will be less likely (unless you do the Disney version of this cruise on this same ship with basically the same itinerary, which we did not). Also for families, we stayed in two of the connecting rooms (another reason we specifically chose this itinerary) and it was PERFECT for our family of four. More details: Generel info: our children are pretty adventurous eaters, and they loved sampling the local cuisines. However if your children are not, there is the "always available" menu that includes chicken, steak, potato wedges and French fries. My son often got a side of potato wedges as "dessert" instead of the dessert on the menu and they were always happy to accommodate any request. Try to stay up for the evening entertainment - it is really great quality and local. Our children enjoy live music/theatre/dance/etc, but even if yours do not these shows are about an hour and are generally quite entertaining so that kids get a nice exposure to amazing music and culture in smaller doses. We do not pack particularly light, especially as it is spring and the weather varied from the 30's to the 60's F. Ama takes care of getting your luggage on board and to your room as soon as you get dropped off at the ship. There is not a lot of storage room in the cabin, but it was absolutely adequate. The adjoining rooms were fantastic for our family. There is a sliding door between the rooms that allowed the kids to watch a movie here and there without us hearing it and of course gave the adults a bit of alone time while still having the safety of the kids immediately next door. We did not feel crowded at all, and the only issue was where to store the larger suitcases (no under bed storage), but we managed. Embarkation was smooth in Vilshofen. It was Good Friday, so they did not have the traditional Oktoberfest celebration that evening but made up for that on two other occasions on the trip. Each time there was a celebration like Oktoberfest that included alcohol, they always had non-alcoholic beverages for the children. The traditional music and dance was quite fun. Passau - we did the castle hike. The views were wonderful. If you do even city park hiking with your children they will be able to handle this hike. Although we think Ama does a good job describing the difficulty of the excursions ahead of time, they don't do a super job of regulating who goes on the hikes. For example, there was an older gentleman with a walker who went on this hike with us. That can really slow down a group like us who typically choose the most active excursion. Early in the week we had this problem with less mobile guests signing up for the active excursions, but that tapered off during the week so that by the end of the trip it ended up mostly being our family of four and maybe one or two other people, so it worked out in the end. (In fact in Budapest our family of four had the tour guide all to ourselves! A personal tour of Budapest - more later) Linz/Salzburg - We were there Easter Sunday. Linz was a bit cold but we still did the morning bike ride. It was so quiet and peaceful yet active - a nice way to see this city. It was really an easy bike ride with few to know hilly sections at all. Mostly riding through the squares. The guide stopped several times to show us different sites. There were multiple size bikes and helmets and the crew assisted each passenger in fitting the bikes. On our cruise of about 140 passengers approximately 15-20 went on that first ride. There is a guide in the front and one in the back to ensure the group stays together and that the traffic is managed. Our children are good cyclists (not competitive by any means) and they had no difficulty keeping up, in fact they mostly led the pack. Traffic was minimal and we felt very safe, especially with the guides assistance at street crossings. We took the Salzburg half day walking tour. I personally would, in retrospect, just take the bus there and walk around this very manageable small city myself with the family. Some of that was due to a few minor issues: 1. the weather was cold and drizzly, so would rather pop in and out of coffee shops when we wanted, 2. there were two smokers in our group and they would not hesitate to light up through the tour, even in the middle of the pack of about 25 people and 3. the city was manageable if you read a little ahead of time or have a walking tour itinerary. It was crowded the day we visited, but again, it is early in the season so we felt lucky. Weissenkirchen/Durnstein - Morning was sailing and our kids enjoyed some down time in the cabin watching a movie. When we arrived, we did the castle hike. There were only 5 of us on this tour so it was very personal and we could see quite a bit and keep a good pace. Again, this is really not difficult for the kids as long as your children are moderately active. Again the views were magnificent and we felt that we got a bit of exercise in. At the end of the tour the guide stops to buy you an apricot liquor to sample and she will have an alternative for the kids (apricot juice). Our kids really liked this hike. The weather was beautiful this day, so that helped of course. Vienna - it was billed as a walking tour and we chose the active option. In reality you ride around on a bus for much of the tour so that you can see the major sites of the city and then you walk around the main square and church area. Then you have a bit of free time before we went back to the ship for our afternoon bike ride. We had hoped to walk more of the sites, but in retrospect we decided that this was a good introduction to the city and that we will come back to visit on our own some day. It is a big and beautiful city and probably deserves more than a day. In the afternoon we did the bike ride - there were a few more hills here and there, but very manageable. The day was perfect for a ride and we loved this route. It was essentially traffic free around a city island/park. Again, 2 great guides that led and brought up the rear of the group. A few stops mixed in with nice ride stretches to point out sites. We felt, again in retrospect, that this was a wonderful way to be active. There was no real way for us to see all that we wanted in Vienna, so it was a good introduction to the city followed by a nice active excursion. PLEASE try to go to the evening concert. It was approximately 2 hours long with an intermission. It really is a nice mix of classical music that most people will recognize (our kids had heard most of the selections before even though they didn't know the names of the pieces) and there was quite a bit of toe-tapping. For several pieces they had ballet performers or opera singers. Again, even if your children do not think opera will be their "thing", these are just 2-3 short performances and the performers are wonderfully engaging. The male performer, in particular, was a wonderful actor and my 11 year old son was so engaged and laughed (appropriately) at his performance. One piece of advice - for us the concert hall was quite warm - wear layers that you can adjust. Brataslava - we did this town on our own. After the Salzburg experience we did just a little research and figured out how to walk this very manageable small city ourselves. We were so pleased. We hiked up to the castle, visited a few churches, walked the historic streets, sat in sidewalk cafes to have a glass of wine/ice cream cone, and just enjoyed being at our own pace this day. The pleasant weather always helps, but this was a really enjoyable family day for us. Budapest - by this point in the trip most of the older passengers, and most of the middle-aged as well, took the bus tour. In fact our family of four were the only ones to sign up for the "strenuous" tour - also called the castle hike I believe. It was PERFECT! We walked the city with our guide from 9:30-1:30 and felt we saw so much. It was not all that strenuous. We missed the City Market that the bus tour saw, but we will spend 2 extra days in Budapest at the end of the cruise so feel that we will have time to see many more things. The tour guide told great stories and we really enjoyed this tour. After our introduction to the city we enjoyed the local dance and music that was brought on to the ship. Again, these are relatively short for the kids but a great introduction to the culture and quite entertaining. Highly recommend. We will disembark today, and they have a very organized system. All rooms need to be vacated by 9am, so after a leisurely breakfast we set our luggage in the hall and waited in the lounge until our cab picked us up at 11am for a noon hotel check-in in Budapest. There are pastries and coffee/tea/water/hot chocolate to enjoy in the lounge while we waited and the lobby bathroom is easily available and clean. Overall, most of these river cruises are geared toward the older traveler, but they still accommodate our family almost perfectly. Again, the only minor problems we had were the pacing of some of the tours (billed as "active" but sometimes people who we would not consider "active" attending), that some of the other passengers are obnoxious - smokers on the tours, extremely loud guests who talked the entire way through the cruise manager's talks, the couple who allowed their son to play loud shooting video games in the dining room - but these people are found on every cruise or tour everywhere and it was fairly easy to avoid them most of the time. We are definitely going to plan on another Ama cruise with the family in the next two years and will continue to choose itineraries that are a little less accessible to us - maybe Africa next! Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We just returned from our cruise on the Danube from Budapest to Prague. I cannot say enough wonderful things about our time aboard the AmaViola! From the moment we boarded the ship, we knew we were in for a wonderful experience. From ... Read More
We just returned from our cruise on the Danube from Budapest to Prague. I cannot say enough wonderful things about our time aboard the AmaViola! From the moment we boarded the ship, we knew we were in for a wonderful experience. From our cruise manager John, to the staff (special thanks to Bobby & Marina who helped make our dining experiences even more wonderful), the trip was a meticulously organized and lovely way to see the sights of the cities and towns along the Danube. Our stateroom was lovely and had more than adequate storage for our clothes, etc. The food was beautifully prepared and delicious - be prepared to have to go on a diet when you return!!! A lovely variety of excursions is offered so you can be as active or leisurely as you want. Although this was our first time on Ama Waterways, it will definitely not be our last. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
AmaViola Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.8
Dining 5.0 4.8
Entertainment 3.5 4.5
Public Rooms 4.0 4.9
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.4
Family 4.5 4.4
Shore Excursion 4.5 4.8
Enrichment 4.0 4.7
Service 5.0 4.9
Value For Money 4.0 4.7

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