This was our first River Cruise. We chose AmaWaterways and the Enchanted Rhine because of the Itinerary that included the Pre-Land Extension in Zurich and Lucerne, Switzerland. We chose the AmaKristina because it is a new ship. I will ... Read More
This was our first River Cruise. We chose AmaWaterways and the Enchanted Rhine because of the Itinerary that included the Pre-Land Extension in Zurich and Lucerne, Switzerland. We chose the AmaKristina because it is a new ship. I will focus more on the Land extension because I have not seen much focus on that on other reviews. We traveled to Zurich on our own after sightseeing in Munich. Our tour began at the Hotel Stiegenberger in Zurich. We came prepared but still dismayed that the hotel was not air-conditioned and the temps were already in the low 80's F. The room was sweltering even with a fan. It is a very nice and scenic hotel otherwise. However, the city view room was overlooking a crowded courtyard of buildings. The cruise director covered all aspects of the tour times as well as transportation and optional excursions. We were happy that the excursion to Rhein Falls and Stein en Rhein was available. It was an additional charge of about $80 per person. The tour guide, Judith was wonderful and she was with us for Zurich, Rhein Falls and Lucerne. We enjoyed a very informative and scenic bus trip to Vitznau followed by a beautiful boat trip across Lake Lucerne to the city. Our hotel in Lucerne was at the elegant Hotel Schweizerhof. I already knew from research that I wanted to go to Mt. Pilatus so we opted out of the AMA excursion to Mt. Stanserhorn. Mt. Pilatus was truly awe-inspiring and we really enjoyed our free time at Lucerne. Sadly, it was time to go. We traveled by bus to Basel.
After completing a city tour and lunch on our own, we were delivered to the ship. Our check went smoothly. We were in Room 231 Cello Deck. I was disappointed that there was dirt on my bed before I even touched it. There was also a hair (not mine) on the pillow. For the money, I guess I thought the cleanliness would be impeccable. The bathroom is small and it contained an annoying metal trashcan that would tip over when you used the footstep to open it. The paper was not always replenished either. While new, the actual toilet seat cover felt loose and banged against the tile when you sat down. We felt the movement of the ship and it would feel like it shuddered when it went through other ship's wakes. I would definitely move to the higher (Violin) deck and near the front for the next trip. We also noticed a creaking noise coming from the ship around the midship area. Apparently, we were not the only ones that observed it because we saw a passenger speaking to the Ship Engineer about it one day. The WIFI was not operational for the first day. It also tended to be out when we were docked. We enjoyed the guided tours to which included Riquewihr and Strasbourg, France, Rudesheim, Heidleberg, Koblenz, Cologne and Amsterdam. I wish we could have had more time at Cologne. There was a lot to see there and I felt it warranted a full stop there instead of one afternoon. The guides were all good except for mine in Riquewihr. Johannes was not too informative and he did not even discuss the city gate and moat. I only know this because my mother took the Gentle walker tour and their guide covered it. I went on the Active Walker tour of Strasbourg. It was very informative and I believe we did cover about 6 miles. However, I wish we could have stayed at the Orangerie longer and/or visited Empress Josephine's Palace. It would be good if that were included on an actual tour.
Friends that I talked to enjoyed the bike ride excursions. I chose a hike to Ehrenfels Castle and it was terrific uphill hike through the vineyards. The tour information listed it as 6 miles. It was only 3 miles. My favorite part of cruising was actually cruising. The deck chairs and seating were very comfortable. The boat was usually moving at night or during meal times so we did not get to enjoy the cruising as much as we would like. The cruise through the Rhine Gorge was incredible and my favorite part of the actual cruise. We were blessed with good weather and it was actually cool enough to need blankets. The cruise director provided excellent commentary on the scenic castles and towns that we passed. There was an added bonus when they brought up Rudesheimer coffee for us. The food on board was indeed wonderful and plentiful. The selection was vast. The Omelet Station attendant, Dejana, was wonderful and remembered how I liked my omelet after one visit. Do book your reservations for the Chef’s Table as soon as you arrive on the boat. It is a wonderful 5 course sampling meal full of imaginative and memorable dishes. We wanted to go again!
There were a couple of things that marred the dining experience. The time between meal courses was exceedingly long. It did not matter which server station you chose. Dinner took at least two hours. Our table would finish a course and then it would take a long time for the next course to arrive. Meanwhile other tables that arrived after ours would be on to the next course. The other issue was with the wine and beverage stewards. They would not come by the table to offer any refills at times. Some mornings I got my excellent Cappuccino from the 24 hour Coffee bar and took it with me to breakfast just to make sure I received coffee. I do know everyone worked very hard. It seems like they need more crew to handle the meals but then where would you put them? Their memory is excellent. One morning the steward asked me if he had offended my mother because she did not touch her dessert the previous night. I assured him that was not the case. She was too full to eat anymore. The receptionist remembered our cabin number even before I did. Cruise culture is new to me but each meal involved a great deal of socializing. You could indicate to your waiter if you wished to either join someone else, have someone join you or dine alone. We met plenty of friendly people. There were mostly Canadians and Americans on the cruise. A few couples from the U.K. The Well to do’s kept to themselves. We heard the evening entertainment was very enjoyable but since it did not start until 9:30 p.m. thus we went on the prepare for bed. We got up at 6:30 each morning so we could get to breakfast at 7:30 a.m. before the rush. The sightseeing excursions usually loaded up about 8:45 a.m. We received some free time in every city and that was appreciated. I never even saw the fitness room or used the spa. Who had time? A few people used the walking track. Some friends enjoyed the pool but I did not bring a swimsuit so I missed out. The lounge was very tastefully furnished and comfortable. Our voyage with AmaWaterways has given us cherished memories that will last a lifetime. Read Less