1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. AmaWaterways
  4. AmaDolce Review
  5. AmaDolce Cruise Reviews
Sail Date: July 2019
This was our third cruise with Ama. As always, service was outstanding, food was delicious, and the daily excursions were interesting and very informative. We visited several wineries and learned a lot about viticulture. AmaDolce is a ... Read More
This was our third cruise with Ama. As always, service was outstanding, food was delicious, and the daily excursions were interesting and very informative. We visited several wineries and learned a lot about viticulture. AmaDolce is a lovely ship with room for 138 passengers. Ship is well appointed, very comfortable and impeccably clean. Staff extremely helpful. Ama has added a free drink happy hour which is much appreciated. They serve a light lunch in the lounge if one does not want to lunch in the formal dining room. There also is a light breakfast in the lounge for early risers. There also are mid afternoon refreshments for tea time. Ama offers bike excursions in addition to walking excursions. Bikes and helmets are provided. There also is a Gentle Walkers option for those who prefer less activity. Our cruise manager was Natalija, and she was fantastic. Our local guides were knowledgeable and personable. We also did both the pre and post cruise extensions, and are very happy we did so. We learned a lot about the Basque countryside and history. Evening entertainment was excellent, and ncluded Peter on the piano, as well as guest artists doing Motown, older rock and classical music on different nights. We also had an Illumination cruise in Bordeaux, which was beautiful. We happened on Ama five years ago, when a better known river cruise line was all booked for the time we wanted to cruise. A friend who is a travel agent suggested we might like Ama. We booked with Ama and absolutely loved our cruise. We've done 3 river cruises with Ama, and hope to do another in 2020. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
REVIEW:      I am back from my May 23rd, AmaDolce Taste of Bordeaux.    Lets just say I'm glad I sailed on AmaStella and AmaPrima previously.  If this was my first Ama sailing I would never have sailed her again.    The ... Read More
REVIEW:      I am back from my May 23rd, AmaDolce Taste of Bordeaux.    Lets just say I'm glad I sailed on AmaStella and AmaPrima previously.  If this was my first Ama sailing I would never have sailed her again.    The bad:  The food offerings were far different from my previous experience.  There were two main entrees in the evening to chose from, one fish and then one meat.  Then had the always available burger, chicken breast or steak.  I can honestly say that neither the steak or meat options was ever tasty.   I recall their meat dishes melting in your mouth.  This wasn't the case.  The service was terrible.   They would bring french fries, disappear and when you finally get their attention to bring ketchup it would take 15 minutes and usually a second request.    Same with the drink service during dinner.  One night we sat and there was no butter (normally there were three types), one was missing and again, after asking we had to ask again after 15 minutes it was brought.     Two nights prior to disembarkation, we decided to sit in a different section and did receive good service, so shame on us for not changing servers sooner.  (although service should be the same throughout).    Keep in mind this ship that normally sails with 146 only had 115 passengers on board.   There were many empty cabins.   Being in wine country we expected to have more tastings and such on the excursions.   It just seemed a lot of time was spent trying to kill time.   Overall, in a day we may have actually visited one winery a day and received three small tastings.     The good:     Love the new Wellness coach on board who held fitness stretches, yoga, to high intensity classes each day.    Love the Sip and Sail cocktail hour each night.  Their complimentary wine offerings are very tasty.  My own tips:   If you need a hotel prior/after the cruise in Bordeaux, I highly recommend Hotel Vatel.  It is part of the international hospitality school and the service is excellent, the room large for a European hotel and it was very reasonable ($150).  You can walk to the river cruise from there.   They actually saw us walking towards the ship and a staff ran up to take our bags.  We did our own pre-cruise in Tours & Amboise.  It was very easy.  From Paris CDG we took the high speed rail and in 1 1/2 hours you are in Tours (St. Pierre des Corps station) we stayed in an airbnb nearby.  Took a train for $1.30 to tours one day and Amboise another on our own, recommend the Le Petite trolley in both towns to give you an overview then return to the areas your like.    One day we did a full day excursion to three Chateaux out of Tours.   We got back on the high speed rail and continued onto Bordeaux.   Very easy as that is the same train whether we would have taken if directly CDG-Bordeaux.     Our travel agent knew we would stay one night in Bordeaux before embarking.  He advised us to pick up our Cit du Vin tickets the day we board and arranged that and recommended booking lunch in their rooftop restaurant Le7.  We dropped our bags off at around 10 am with Ama who gave us our tickets (for all passengers this Cit du Vin excursion is done (for our cruise) the last day after arriving back in Bordeaux).   Cit du Vin is an interactive museum (personally my daughter nor I cared for it) and many passengers we spoke with the last day did not either, but it is hyped up to be great.   You will be left on your own and an audiovox to do it at your own pace.   You can spend an hour to half a day if you want.    We did enjoy the glass of wine up top (part of your ticket) and then we proceeded to have lunch at Le7 (i booked this months in advance on my travel agents recommendation.      We really did enjoy doing this.    My daughter did do the city tour of Bordeaux with the excursion but when the rest continue to Cit du Vin she returned to the boat.  I had taken a bicycle from the ship and did my own thing.    Probably my favorite day as it was always the best weather day we had.     Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
My husband and I went to France for my 50th birthday. We spent a week prior to the AMA cruise in Paris, Reims and Bordeaux. Boarded the boat in Bordeaux and spent an amazing week with the crew and guests of the AMADolce. If you want to ... Read More
My husband and I went to France for my 50th birthday. We spent a week prior to the AMA cruise in Paris, Reims and Bordeaux. Boarded the boat in Bordeaux and spent an amazing week with the crew and guests of the AMADolce. If you want to relax or be active, AMA accommodates. We road bikes in several ports with a guide along with wine tasting. On the last day we went on our own riding excursion with other guests and had a wonderful day exploring on our own. We like flexibility and AMA did not disappoint. The only thing you need to be sure you are on time for is dinner. If you arrive too late, you may miss some of the available appetizers. Food was delicious! My husband set up golf in a few of the ports and I participated in the available AMA excursions. Most of which I loved. There was one bus excursion with wine tasting that was good, but the bus ride was too long. We drove around and just looked out the window at sites. After wine tasting, we were all tired, so it was tough. All in all, the boat was great! Easy to get around and facilities were really accommodating. Would suggest doing the Chef's Dinner one night. It is an overall tasting menu paired with wine. There is a fitness instructor on board and workouts were really good. We would definitely recommend the AMADolce Bordeaux cruise to anyone! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Wanted to get an overview of French wines and this was an exceptional choice. We’ve done Viking and wanted to try AMA. Have to say this was good choice. They’re close in format but AMA offers a bit more in terms of activities. ... Read More
Wanted to get an overview of French wines and this was an exceptional choice. We’ve done Viking and wanted to try AMA. Have to say this was good choice. They’re close in format but AMA offers a bit more in terms of activities. Also most everything is included in AMA Where Viking had a bit more ala carte choices. The crew were just the best. John our cruise director was on top of everything and very warm. The wait crew were equally skilled and we loved getting to know Artur! Every crew person we engaged with gave us superior service. The tours were great with the tour guides exceptional in all areas. Top notch!Great ship clean and well appointed. My only ask would have been for more time in St Emillion and maybe for AMA to offer wine shipping back to states so we could have consolidated wine purchases vs having to shop back from each Château. A ten for me! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
i called ama 3x to book a back to back cruise w/ Normandy and Bordeau. at no time was i told this was a wine themed cruise nor that it was also a cooking cruise. Joann who has a show on PBS invited 40 0f her customers so instead of ... Read More
i called ama 3x to book a back to back cruise w/ Normandy and Bordeau. at no time was i told this was a wine themed cruise nor that it was also a cooking cruise. Joann who has a show on PBS invited 40 0f her customers so instead of enrichment lectures we had cooking demos. boring. i was on the wrong cruise. i usually cruise w/ uniworld, therefore, i am used to exceptional service, but since i had just come from Amalyra (see my review) where i was pleasantly surprised w/ outstanding service and 5 star dining. i had clear expectations of amawaterways. The ship's public rooms and my cabin were identical. the coffee machine set up in the bar served great coffee on both ships. postcards were provided, stamped and mailed, free. if u buy your own postcard they charge for a stamp, but still mail. my grandchildren luv getting postcards. even better they arrived. Uniworld and Viking mail postcards, but they do not always arrive. i was warmed by the 2 postcards i received when i got home (one from ea. ship) thanking me for cruising w/ them. I also appreciate the stretch and yoga classes. on ocean cruises yoga is extra. i am baffled by the inconsistencies in service between Amalyra and Amadolce. My room stewardess from Amalyra was outstanding, therefore, the poor service provided by my steward on this cruise was glaring. he didn't clean my room while i was at breakfast so i would have to go to the bar to wait while he finished. he constantly forgot to replenish my bottled water and toiletries. i kept going to the front desk to meet my needs. when i asked him to dispose of my dying rose, he refused saying he would remove it tomorrow. i threw it out. Dining was a nightmare. I am diabetic and need an evening snack. on Lyra i received a plate (sans melon at my request) of pineapple, blueberries, bananas, apples, orange slices, kiwi. on Dolce the chef provided only pineapple. i am at a loss ... breakfast on both ships was fruit abundant. On Lyra, at dinner, they let me order double veggies or i could choose fish from one entree and vegtables from another. on Dolce i requested they hold the risotto and i was told by the water i had to have the meal set out on the menu. i left the risotto which was ok as long as i took what was printed on the menu. no extra veggies let alone combining meals. i had to order 2 entrees and combine myself i recycle religiously and wasting food appalls me. so i ate the menu item. I do not understand the rigid, inflexible kitchen and wait staff. most of the shore excursions ended in wine tasting. I sought out Dragan, the cruise coordinator (yes, that is his real name) who steered me towards a guide who, like myself, had a degree in art history. Dragan had charisma and exceptional customer relation skills. He also led the post-cruise into the Loire valley. Wheniwhmpered that iwas anold lady and not used to 40 degree celsius weather, he shortened the walking tour. he also arranged for a trolley to take usto the next chateau. my gratitude knows no bounds. the tour of the chateaus in the Loire Valley made the cruise all worthwhile for me. The cruise itself sucked. the postcruise was outstanding. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We chose AmaDolce because we, along with another couple, enjoy wine, the date worked for us and AmaWaterways had great reviews. Although we have taken several ocean cruises, this was our first river cruise. We absolutely loved it. ... Read More
We chose AmaDolce because we, along with another couple, enjoy wine, the date worked for us and AmaWaterways had great reviews. Although we have taken several ocean cruises, this was our first river cruise. We absolutely loved it. We flew into Paris a few days prior to our departure from Bordeaux, and explored on our own - we had a blast! The morning of our cruise we took the train to Bordeaux, and coincidentally met our cruise director at the train station - he was taking the AmaDolce pre-cruise group to Bordeaux. We took a short cab ride from the train station to our ship. We rolled our luggage and didn't make it to the ship before the crew was there to take our luggage - straight to our room. When we walked onboard, they asked our name, checked us off a list, and that was the end of check-in! There were about 100 guests onboard. At the reception desk we asked to signup for the Chef's Table; as my husband was explaining to the receptionist that I have a gluten allergy, the maitre'd walked up to us and told me not to worry - he would oversee all of my meals, advise the waitstaff, and just to enjoy our stay. So easy, no hassle - and that was experience throughout the entire cruise. The cabins were a little smaller than on an ocean cruiser, but it worked for us. Our room had a French balcony - a full size sliding glass door/window. There was a railing and no balcony, but the door/window slid open and we had two upholstered chairs to sit in and take in the fresh air. It sounds odd, but it was really perfect bc we had the privacy/ac of our room but the wonderful fresh air and view. We loved it! The food was really good. Unlike the ocean cruisers, there was really no need for specialty dining. And, it was extremely fresh bc it was loaded daily from the port we were in. Breakfast and lunch included menu options as well as a buffet. The crew worked hard at keeping the buffet clean and appetizing in appearance. Fresh fruit & delicious cheeses were always available for each meal. Breakfast also included a made-to-order egg station along with the buffet. Lunch always ended with an ice cream station - a waiter serving various flavors of fresh ice cream, toppings, and whipped cream. There was a cocktail hour every evening before dinner, which included appetizers, an open bar and signature drink. The cruise director talked for about 10 minutes about the next day's activities, and we were free to socialize with other guests until dinner. For dinner, there was the daily Chef's Recommendation, along with a few daily options; they also had about 5-6 choices that were always on the menu. It was always fresh, very tasty and creative. For us, the nightly dinners were better than the Chef's Table we attended - we had fun because it was a small group with a beautiful view from the room, but the food wasn't any more special than the nightly dinners. Maybe our expectations were too high? The wines were local and good; we are not wine experts, and it was fine for us. For anyone with a selective wine palette, they probably would not be impressed. We had great excursions (with some bike riding tour options) to vineyards, castles, chateaus, & cathedrals in Bordeaux, Cadillac, Pauilllac, Blaye, Bourg, & Libourne. There were several wine tastings which we really enjoyed. All of our tour guides were very knowledgeable and entertaining. Too much to go into it here, so you'll need to read about it on Amawaterways' website. But, definitely an A+ for all of the tours. The housekeeping crew were awesome. Our rooms were always keep clean and quickly refreshed. Whenever we returned to our room, it was freshened - after breakfast, lunch, excursions, etc. - it didn't matter. But, they were extremely respectful of our privacy and would leave if we walked up to our room. They were very responsive to any request, worked quickly and with a great attitude. I know there was a talented musician in the lounge, and a singing trio one night for entertainment in the lounge, but we didn't go. We preferred to leave the ship and tour the town we were in. It was great to walk around after eating such a big meal at night, LOL! I loved that about the river cruise - we just swiped our card so that they would know we were off the ship, and swiped in when we returned. We extended our vacation with the three day land post cruise in Loire Valley, which we really enjoyed. Once again, our cruise director and local guide were great and very instrumental in making this post cruise worthwhile. We had breakfast in the hotel, and we were on our own to eat for lunch and dinner. On the last night we stayed in the Pullman Hotel in CDG airport. The rooms were really nice & the food in the hotel was very good. Our tour director had our flight info and, after we checked in, walked the group over to showed us where to go. We literally walked to the airport in the morning which was about 50 yards away. It was a short tram ride to our terminal. It could not have been easier! And, the unbelievable part was that we didn't hear a plane the entire time we were in the hotel. The whole cruise experience was wonderful, relaxing, entertaining, and educational! We walked so much that we didn't gain weight, and that's a true accomplishment since we ate so much! LOL! Speaking of weight, there was a Wellness Director on board, conducting exercises every day. We will definitely do it again! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Taste of Bordeaux – AMA Waterways AMA Dolce – May 3-10, 2018 We had an opportunity to take our second European river cruise aboard AMA Waterways Taste of Bordeaux itinerary onboard AMA Dolce. This is a roundtrip sailing from ... Read More
Taste of Bordeaux – AMA Waterways AMA Dolce – May 3-10, 2018 We had an opportunity to take our second European river cruise aboard AMA Waterways Taste of Bordeaux itinerary onboard AMA Dolce. This is a roundtrip sailing from Bordeaux, France through the Bordeaux wine region. Differing from the many other 7 day river or ocean cruises we have been on, this one was a Thursday to Thursday itinerary. Arriving in Bordeaux we took a local taxi to the riverside embarkation in Bodeaux on the Garonne River. The Garonne leads leads to the Gironde Estuary, and is subject to tidal rise and fall, and is for centuries has enabled ocean going vessels to load the wines of Bordeaux for shipping around the world. We spent the first night in Bordeaux, and familiarized ourselves with the AMA Dolce. Its capacity is 146 passengers, and we had a few vacant cabins. It consists of 3 passenger decks, and the topside deck with seating, a track, a small hot tub, and the captain’s piloting station. Decks 2 and 3 contain cabins with French balconies, the lounge, and the dining area. Deck 1 contains cabins at the waterline, with small windows just above water level, but the cabins are similarly sized to those with French balconies. At the rear of deck 3 is the 28 seat Chef’s Table where guests can request seating daily for dinner, at no additional charge. There is one elevator between decks 2 and 3 for those with limited mobility. Evening entertainment is limited to a DJ, or a few local musicians brought aboard for the evening while in port. There was also a wellness representative that daily led optional exercise, yoga or and some slide presentations in the lounge. Each evening before dinner, which is open seating between 7-9pm, the cruise director holds a 15 minute briefing of the coming day’s excursions and schedule. Breakfast is buffet style, including made to order eggs as well as scrambled eggs, meats, fruit and juices, and a wide variety of pastry. Lunches include both salad and buffet items, as well as optional entrees from a menu, ice cream or sorbet, and a cheese assortment. Dinners are menu driven, with appetizers, salads, soups, entrées and desserts. Entrees typically included a meat and a fish selection. Local wines and beer are available at no cost at lunch and dinner. We did enjoy the Chef’s Table one evening for dinner. It included an exceptional menu of appetizers, salad and soup, an entrée plate with four mini entrée items, and dessert. Special wines were served. Our days typically included an excursions of sightseeing in the mornings and a visit to a chateau with wine tasting in the afternoons. Buses took us to the sites, but there was some walking during the excursions and chateau visits. Day 2 included a guided walk through Cadillac in the morning, and after lunch we visited Roquetaillade Castle, occupied for 700 years by the same family. This was followed by a visit to a Chateau Guiraud for Sauternes wine tasting. On day 3 we sailed to Pauillac in the morning, and boarded buses for a drive through the Medoc region where cabernet sauvignon grapevines stretched as far as we could see, in most directions, and included such famed Grand Cru Class chateaus as Chateau Lafite Rothchild and Chateau Mouton Rothchild. We visited Chateau Gruaud Larose for a tour of the chateau and the wine cellar before wine tasting. On day 4 we sailed outbound to Blaye for a tour of the 17th century Blaye Citadel, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After lunch we visited Bourg,with a Carraige Museum, underground passageways in oil tanks from WWII, and ended with a wine festival complete with local musician, and dancing and wine tasting. Generally at any of the wine tastings they included some local bread, cheeses, and sausages to accompany the wine. On day 5 we sailed down the Dordogne River to Libourne, the heart of the St Emilion and Fronsac region, the Bordeaux area’s most elite wine regions. We bused into the historic St Emilion town, with picturesque architecture, ancient monuments and a monolithic church carved out of one piece of limestone rock, and then went under the church to discover its catacomb and caves. After some time to walk and enjoy the town and it many wineshops and restaurants, we bused to Chateau de Ferrand for winetasting of GrandCru Classe wines. On both days 4 and 5 there were also optional bike tours of the area. On day 6 we had the opportunity to walk into Libourne in the morning and enjoy an open air market in the Bastide town in the morning including samples of sausages, cheeses, and local chocolate. In the afternoon we boarded buses for the short trip to Fronsac for a tour of the grounds and historic Chateau La Dauphine and sample Fronsac regional wine. On day 7 we returned to Bordeaux and spent the morning on a walking tour of the center of the city, with its historic cathedral, city hall, and high end shops, and then were bused to the Bordeaux Wine Museum. The uniquely shaped 8 story building included interactive exhibits on wine smells, food pairing, and wine growing, and ended with wine tasting on the 8th floor with a panoramic view of the city. In the afternoon of this last day, after lunch we were free to enjoy the city on our own. After dinner, the vessel got underway for an hour from 9:30-10:30pm to view the lit-up city from the river…a post card moment! Shipboard gratuities were about as expected on a cruise, but we also tipped the daily guides 2 Euros and the bus drivers 1 Euro each tour. I had ordered about 300 Euros from my bank in the US before leaving, and used all by 5 Euros on the taxis and the shipboard gratuities. There was not much need for currency during the days. We left the Ama Dolce at 9am on the 8th day by taxi for the return to the Bordeaux airport and the trip home. As we are wine fans, I am very glad we had this opportunity to learn more about the wide variety of Bordeaux wines, as well as visit historic areas. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2018
We just finished a cruise on Ama Dolce in the Bordeaux region and we could not have been happier. We have been on one other River Cruise boat and although it was very nice Ama made us feel more like family and the food was far superior. ... Read More
We just finished a cruise on Ama Dolce in the Bordeaux region and we could not have been happier. We have been on one other River Cruise boat and although it was very nice Ama made us feel more like family and the food was far superior. Although it would have been nice to have rooms with balcony's ( the slider opened up but the room did not extend into a balcony) there was sufficient room nonetheless. Our cabin was cleaned to perfection every day by Andreaa and she was always very friendly and helpful. Our Cruise Manager, Natalia, went out of her way to make sure we were happy and if we needed anything she was right on top of it. She really took the time to get to know us and we enjoyed her company. The Housekeeping Manager, Dierk, was always there to greet us and chat as were many of the other crew. The food was absolutely outstanding and the service in the dining room and lounge was top notch. We particularly liked the excursions, which was a lot of biking during the day into the vineyard areas and through small villages. We also visited several wineries which were all quite nice. The people that were hired to conduct our tours were well versed and enjoyable and our safety, especially when we were biking was always looked after. I would highly recommend this cruise line to anyone and to top of their hospitality upon our return home there was a hand written post card from the crew thanking us for sailing with them. I'm not sure who get's that fun duty to send out over 100 thank you notes after every sailing but that special touch meant a lot to us. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We took our first river cruise on the AmaDolce Bordeaux cruise. I should have checked the amount of cruising because there was very little scenic cruising on this route. To me, this river cruise is just assisted living on a ship. Your ... Read More
We took our first river cruise on the AmaDolce Bordeaux cruise. I should have checked the amount of cruising because there was very little scenic cruising on this route. To me, this river cruise is just assisted living on a ship. Your meals are prepared for you at specific times and you go on excursions on large buses. We're not quite at that age, yet. If you like river cruises, then I would recommend not upgrading unless you have a daily scenic cruise. Otherwise, you're paying for balconies and doors to use while you're sitting at the dock, sometimes with other ships attached to your ship. Not really worth the extra money. Plus, and this applies to all Amawaterways ships, DO NOT get a room on the same level with the Chef's Restaurant. Rowdy and inebriated folks will come down the hallway at all hours and will wake you up if you choose to retire after 10PM. We need to age 10 more years until river cruising would be worthwhile. We should have just gotten a hotel in Bordeaux; taken some private chateau tours and then sat at a wine bar every day to try all the different wines. Then, go to a wine shop, order and ship. A local Bordeaux river cruise would have been better. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We were on a wine cruise. The ship is lovely, the staff fabulous. We enjoyed the cities and tours we took of wineries and sites. The cruise director Chris was very good. I generally enjoyed the food but after a few days the food started ... Read More
We were on a wine cruise. The ship is lovely, the staff fabulous. We enjoyed the cities and tours we took of wineries and sites. The cruise director Chris was very good. I generally enjoyed the food but after a few days the food started to taste the same. My last meal of a white fish and risotto was not very good at all. My biggest issue, food handling. I was surprised upon arrival on the ship to find platters of food available without staff present and passengers served themselves. They had many food stations similar to this at breakfast and lunch and I was really uncomfortable with this. Many people do not wash their hands and with everyone touching the utensils many times this can only lead to disaster, which it did for me. I had a terrible gastrointestinal illness as several other passengers did. I am careful to wash my hands many times but on a ship, illness is sometimes unavoidable. I am not an experienced cruiser except for a one time Mediterranean cruise on a smaller ship. On that particular cruise line, I recall that they did not have food available sitting out for self serve. Also, unfortunately, our cabin was on the side of the ship that was parked next to another ship for 24 hours. We did not have a view or sunlight for that amount of time. So bottom line, a very nice ship and staff but I would not travel with them again unless they improve some of the food handling procedures and find out if blocking out my rooms view by another ship would be avoidable. I realize that is no guarantee but it would be an improvement I am sure. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
This was our first ever cruise (river or sea). So for those who live in the cruise lifestyle, we may not be the best review for you. While we have never been very attracted to the cruise lifestyle, we have always been interested ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise (river or sea). So for those who live in the cruise lifestyle, we may not be the best review for you. While we have never been very attracted to the cruise lifestyle, we have always been interested in trying a river cruise in France. We are also wine enthusiasts and collectors with a special love for French red wines. So when we heard that AMAways was having a special wine cruise in the Bordeaux region, we thought that this would be a good opportunity to try a cruise and to get the lay of the Bordeaux region for a drive trip we are planning next year. Expectation: Our expectation was that we would be on a one-week cruise through the Bordeaux region, a cruise solely focused on French wines, having wine tastings everyday on board, going on wine tours everyday in a different port, enjoying specialized wine-focused dinners every night, and sharing the wine cruise experience with passengers/fellow wine enthusiasts from all over the world. The reality was that we did have a nice time, but we were on a one-week cruise through the Bordeaux wine region, on a boat full of Americans, was provided three 40-minute wine lectures and one wine pairing dinner over the week, and only a small percentage of the tours offered over the week were actually focused on wine (because you are in wine country, a tour of a small town or chateau does not constitute it as a wine tour). It may be the standard for the wine cruises, as we are not experienced in river cruises, but it did leave us wanting more. Overall, we had a great time. But given the expectations, we are not sure we would go again unless there were changes to how a wine cruise was conducted. Boat: The AmaDolce is a very nice boat. It is a good size river boat and has all the amenities. The lounge was very large and the dining facility was also very nice. Because most of the ship's movement was done late night, we really did not experience the top deck area. Our one disappointment with the boat is that it spent 90% of the time in ports and we did not spend more time underway, enjoying the sights of the river from the boat. That is what we had thought we would be doing on a cruise. Food: For us, one of the best experiences of this cruise was the food. Chef Dumitrascu and his kitchen cooked up three fantastic meals each day. If you did not want a full meal, they had light breakfasts and lunches in the lounge as well. Breakfasts were very well managed in the dining rom. They had buffet style with self-serving sections, to include the standard eggs, bacon, and such, a breakfast pastries section, a bagels and lox section, and various juices. There was an omelet chef every morning taking orders and there were menu items you could order through your food server if you want. The eggs benedict were my favorite breakfast item. Lunch was also very good. It was a menu lunch and also had some goodies out in buffet style available. They had a salad bar as well. It was very functional. The dinners were amazing. It was also a menu dinner and each night it had great selections that made it difficult to choose. The table service was very impressive. The tables in the dining room were set up as tables of 2, 4, and a few that were tables of 6 or bigger. The menu options each night always had a fish and a beef selection. While the theme of the cruise was wines of Bordeaux, the meals onboard were not. They were French, but they did not appear to be regional dishes of where we were visiting each day. That would have been nice. But I am not complaining about the quality of the food at all. This was by far the highlight of our cruise. We did not expect the quality of food and service at each meal on a cruise. The wine that was served with the meals was good. While the selection was good, they were somewhat limited and were not really representative of the regions we were visiting each day of this wine cruise. That would have made it more interesting. I would have also loved it if they could have had each dinner be wine-paired-themed. While we had just one wine-paired dinner on the fourth night of the cruise, which was very good, it would have been in theme of the cruise to have one every night, even if it was not a full-blown pairing dinner. I think it would have been fun and with the scope of the cruise. I do want to mention a special dining experience they provide in a dining room located in the back of the boat. It is called The Chef’s Table, and you need to make reservations. The dining room seats around 24 people. The fixed multi-course menu does not change during the cruise so everyone gets to sample the same meal. It is a six course meal and both the food and the service was excellent. It was a nice experience that I would recommend to everyone. Port Visits and tours: While we were not really interested in the castle and chateau tours offered on this cruise, there were very few options with respect to choosing specific wine tours at each port visit. Cadillac – We loved the little town of Cadillac but we had no time to visit, explore, or taste the wines. The morning tours took us swiftly through the town and then back to the boat. Then after lunch we were taken 30 minutes out of Cadillac by bus to see a castle in Mazeres, France and then to vineyard in Sauterns for a tour and a wine tasting of the sweet wine. We had the first of three wine lectures in the lounge that afternoon, which was a French wine introduction lecture. We were scheduled to spend the night in Cadillac so we had planned to go out that night and enjoy the local wines and scenery. However, the schedule had changed, due to tidal issues, and we relocated the boat back to Bordeaux that late afternoon. It was a shame as Cadillac was one of the most interesting towns we had visited on this cruise. Pauillac – The town was not really as historic looking as Cadillac, and we opted out of the morning walking tour of the town. We instead walked around on our own and visited shops and bought some wine. The afternoon tour started with a bus ride around the top winemaking vineyards and chateaus of the area. We then stopped at a Grand Cru Classe estate which we toured their cellars and had a Medoc wine tasting. I really liked this tour and was what I thought we would be doing every day. It was a great wine, and I bought a few bottles. Blaye – We spent four hours in Blaye before the boat moved on to Bourg. In the morning, we did a bike tour of Blaye. It was not really wine-related and mostly focused on the Citidel of the town. Before we headed back to the boat, I talked to one of the local bike tour guides into taking me to a local wine shop that specializes in their regional wines for a tasting. We ended up bringing most of the bike tour folks with us when they found out. I bought a few bottles there as well. We had lunch onboard as the boat made its way to Bourg. During the transit we had our second wine lecture, the Wines of Bordeaux. Bourg - We skipped the walking tour of Bourg and ventured out on our own. I found a wonderful wine cellar that had some great wines that I ended up buying. We ended up on top of the hill looking over the town, and attended a special wine festival that was organized especially for the passengers of the boat. It was very nice, had great entertainment, and wonderful wine from vintners who were hosting the event. I bought a few bottles of their wines as well. Libourne.- The town was nice. We skipped the morning walking tour and strolled the streets, exploring and doing some shopping. We took the afternoon tour bus into Saint-Emillion but did not go with the group on their walking tour. Instead we walked around and explored the beautiful town on our own. We did some wine shopping and enjoyed this very beautiful town. One of my favorite visits on the cruise. That evening we had our third and final wine lecture on champagne. We spent the night in Libourne and the next morning we skipped the tour and went into the town of Libourne to explore. After lunch, we were scheduled to go on the Fronsac Wine Tasting tour, one of the tours I was actually looking forward to. Unfortunately, they put us on the wrong bus and we ended up visiting another chateau. I am not sure if the mistake was the staff’s for giving us the wrong boarding card, or we were not paying attention. But it happens. Bordeaux – Our final day was in Bordeaux, where we did a bus and walking tour of the city. Afterword’s, they took us to the wine museum, Cite du Vin. It was very nice and there is a lot to see at that place. We left and had lunch in town before we headed back to the boat. Staff: The staff and the cruise director were all great. The Captain was a bit young, standoff-ish, and not very sociable when engaged in conversation. Because we spent a majority of time in ports, and the distance between ports were not far, he seemed to have plenty of time to be sociable with the passengers if he wanted to. The hotel manager (Raluca) and her staff were fantastic. They really do a great job and I felt as if I was in a five-start hotel with the treatment. Octavian, the maître d’, and his staff was totally attentive to everyone and made each meal a wonderful experience. We looked forward to our meals every day. I had already mentioned the chef, Bogdan, and his staff. They were artists in the meals, presentations, and taste. Our cruise manager, Camille, was great. She was very informative and very busy daily herding the cats between their tours. She did a great job. Also a special recognition to Roberto, Octavian's right hand man. he is a man of many talents, many languages, and always puts a smile on our face when we engage with him. Passengers: If you were expecting to cruise on this boat in France with fellow cruise guests from other nations, be prepared. With the exception of about three couples, the rest were all Americans, over half who were not even on the cruise for the wine and a small group were members of American wine clubs. What we did not know at the time of our purchase of the cruise, and was later explained to us onboard, AMAways focuses these type of cruises on Americans who love the cruise lifestyle and on American wine clubs. The wine clubs, we were told, come aboard these European cruises and provide daily wine lectures on American wines (yes American wines) by American winemakers who are pitching their wine clubs to the passengers. However, we were very lucky in our cruise, as the American wine club organizer who brought his group onboard our cruise had actually hired a wine educator from Paris to ride the ship and provide a series of lectures on French wines only. In addition, the cruise line made some arrangements with some of the winemakers to offer tours during the cruise. Had these not been the case, we do not think we would have stayed on the cruise. In addition, while this cruise was a special wine cruise offered by the cruise line, a large number of the passengers we talked to onboard were not interested in wines (some did not drink wine) and were only on the cruise because they like cruises. Some of the quotes from these passengers included: - "I don't drink wine" - "I don't drink and my husbands just drinks beer" - "I like California wines better" - "Didn't know this was a wine cruise. We wanted to catch the last cruise of the season" - "We signed up through our agent and did not know this was a wine cruise" - "Too many wine tours on this cruise, I just want to go shopping" - "I only drink Rose" Overall, doing a river cruise in Bordeaux was a very nice introduction for us in the world of cruises. While it left us wanting in many of the areas of expectations we had on the cruise, we can understand why many enjoy this lifestyle. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
My wife and I and another couple wanted to explore the Bordeaux region of France and also try out a river cruise. None of the four of us knew Bordeaux, AMA, or river cruising. The entire experience was delightful! First, the ... Read More
My wife and I and another couple wanted to explore the Bordeaux region of France and also try out a river cruise. None of the four of us knew Bordeaux, AMA, or river cruising. The entire experience was delightful! First, the AMADolce is a wonderful ship. It was absolutely immaculate. Everywhere. From the moment our taxi pulled up to the embarkation area, the staff were immediately available to help with our luggage and escort us on board. Every single staff member we met throughout the week could not have been nicer or more professional. They were kind, fun, and anticipated every need. They immediately created a sense of family, warmth and care. The public spaces on the Dolce are beautifully decorated and comfortable. They were spacious. The amount of windows all over the ship contributed to a very open feeling. The dining room was always beautifully appointed with white linens and beautiful tableware. We were in Cabin 204, a category B room. When I was investigating the cruise and realized the cabin sizes were only 170 SQF, I was concerned that the room would be cramped and uncomfortable. While I can't say the room was spacious it was efficient. Beds were great, nice amount of space for hanging or laying out our clothes. The bathroom was very nice. Shower had various jacuzzi spray options. Water pressure was excellent. It was great having the double french windows in the Category B cabin. The opened up the space in the room a great deal. I wouldn't take another river cruise without having double sliding doors/windows like this. The cabin was serviced twice daily. I can see why there is a premium for cabins on the higher decks simply because when you are docked you can see out and over a little better. Cabin 204 was toward the front of the ship and I would opt for cabins toward the front, rather than the rear, when we go again. Dining on board was excellent. Wide selections for breakfast and lunch. Dinner choices each evening were varied with a chef's selection but also some great standard menu items. I would give the food quality a 4 out of 5 in the main dining room. Certainly very good and nothing to complain about but achieving 5 star food quality when serving so many guests would be difficult. We had dinner one evening in the Chef's table restaurant which accommodates about 16 people. It was excellent and I would rate that particular dining experience as a 5. The cruise itinerary itself was perfect. Enough time in ports to enjoy the very enjoyable shore excursions and also have free time as needed. And, enough time on the river itself to enjoy the cruising experience. What we all enjoyed so much was the intimacy with the water and one's surroundings that occurs on a river cruise. Unlike an ocean cruise where the water can be 12 decks below you, on a river cruise everything is right in front you at all times. It makes watching the world go by a very enjoyable experience as things change moment by moment. Our cruise manager, Elia, was absolutely outstanding. If there were any problems behind the scenes, one would never know. Elia had everything operating efficiently and she handled all our individual requests with grace and a smile. Captain Dany was a delight as were the rest of the crew. We can now see why so many of the new friends that we made on board had sailed with AMA previously. The experience was top notch in every way. Thanks, AMA, for a great time and a very memorable vacation. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
My wife and I planned a vacation to France for our 35th anniversary. We wanted to spend a week in Paris and a week in the French countryside, but we didn't want to take a bus tour where we would be checking into and out of hotels ... Read More
My wife and I planned a vacation to France for our 35th anniversary. We wanted to spend a week in Paris and a week in the French countryside, but we didn't want to take a bus tour where we would be checking into and out of hotels every day. Our solution was a river cruise, where our "hotel" could travel with us. After reviewing a number of river cruises in France, we decided on the Ama Waterways Taste of Bordeaux, and we were very happy with our choice. This was our first river cruise, and we found the intimacy of the AmaDolce a refreshing change from large ocean cruises. The food was wonderful, among some of the best meals we've had our lives. The service was impeccable. We grew quite fond of our ebullient Bulgarian waiter Nicolai. The excursions were very good and, unlike ocean cruise excursions, almost all of them were included in the cruise price. True to the title of the cruise, we visited a number of wineries and sampled some good wines in the Sauternes, Pauillac, and St. Emilion regions. The guides and winery hosts were all very knowledgeable and helpful. There were also excursions to local chateaux and other historical sites, including Roquetaillade Castle, the Citadel at Blaye, the Château de Vayres and the Château de Montaigne. A high point for us was a weekend craft fair in the Blaye Citadel, where we got to talk to some very nice artists. We were also happy to spend some time in the city of Bordeaux. Despite its size, the AmaDolce had both laundry service and a hair salon, both of which were surprisingly reasonable. Since we needed to get back to Paris for our return flight, we decided to add the Loire Valley post-cruise extension, and we were happy with that tour as well. The chateaux we visited -- Chenonceau, Amboise, Chambord, and Blos -- were fantastic. It was a special treat to see Clos Luce, the last home of Leonardo Da Vinci, and his grave in the St. Hubert Chapel at Amboise. Our Sorbonne-trained guide Claude was excellent -- he gave us both the historical background and the juicy details of the French Renaissance kings. The cruise director Elia accompanied us on the extension and took good care of us. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We were invited by our good friends and experienced travelers to join them on a river cruise in France. We had never been on a cruise before so it sounded intriguing, especially with a couple that knew France as well as they did. We ... Read More
We were invited by our good friends and experienced travelers to join them on a river cruise in France. We had never been on a cruise before so it sounded intriguing, especially with a couple that knew France as well as they did. We couldn’t pass up the opportunity. From the minute we stepped on board, we knew this was to be a special week. Immediately, the crew grabbed our luggage from the driver, and from that moment on, we were waited on hand and foot. While we haven’t cruised before, we’ve stayed in many fine hotels and I can say without reservation, this was the kindest, most thoughtful, happy staff and crew we’ve ever experienced. We knew immediately that this was a tightly run ship. The decor was first class. The ship was immaculate. And our room on the second deck was perfect. It’s amazing how we thought the room was going to feel small, and yet it was perfectly laid out in every way. We had traveled before coming to the cruise so had two big suitcases that slid under the bed with ease. The Mac computer mounted on the wall doubled as an onboard computer, as well as an entertainment center, the perfect size for the cabin. The two chairs were so comfortable and could face in to the room or out to the water, in front of nicely oversize sliding glass doors. I can’t tell you the delight we had when we were slipping through the water quietly, reading and watching the world go by. Indescribable! The bathroom was also super efficient and the shower was small but big enough, and amazing with multiple shower heads. We wanted to go home and remodel ours after it! And yet most of our time was out of the room. Everything about the public areas of the ship was inviting and relaxing. We loved spending time in the beautifully appointed lounge, surrounded by huge windows on both sides and a glass atrium type area in the front. The crew would always have a big smile and a hello when we passed. We spent some amazing relaxing time there talking with new friends or just reading and going through photos of our excursions. And the excursions were amazing! So well thought out, so efficient, never crowded feeling, never felt like we were being herded as I have heard about on cruises. It was just like going out with some friends. Four beautiful, comfortable tour buses would pull up at the end of the dock and we would enjoy absolutely the most knowledgable and professional tour guides we’ve ever experienced. Loved every one of them! The food was excellent throughout the trip! Breakfast was a delight, with lots of choices, lunches were surprisingly extravagant, and dinners were more like a really fine restaurant than what we expected for a larger number of people seated all at once. We have nothing but good to say about the food and the service. We loved our servers! We took photos with them and shared them with our friends. We hugged at the end of the week! Elia was our cruise manager. She is the picture of professionalism, knowledge of the cruise topics, and frankly, patience. We saw how she managed all of us, doing everything in her power to make sure every need was met and every request handled, even those that were not so reasonable. We were very impressed. We are now officially big fans of river cruising and especially AMA Waterways. I don’t know that we would risk not getting the same treatment on another cruise line knowing what we now know. And with all the repeat AMA cruisers we ran into, we know we are not the only ones thinking that way. Thank you to Captain Danny, Elia and the entire crew of AmaDolce. You gave us the experience of a lifetime. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
We had taken another cruise with Ama on the Ama Prima and found the service to be excellent so we chose another destination--the Bordeaux. The meals were wonderful-- every evening there was something special. The Chef's table was a ... Read More
We had taken another cruise with Ama on the Ama Prima and found the service to be excellent so we chose another destination--the Bordeaux. The meals were wonderful-- every evening there was something special. The Chef's table was a very special meal and well presented. It was easy to meet other people by sharing the table at dinner. We met some lovely folks. Our cruise director, Dragan, took very good care of us---when we were flying home out of Paris he even walked the group to the station so we were sure where to go--that relieved stress for many of us. We took a variety of onshore trips to wineries and the wine museum, tours of towns in the area and visited the markets. We learned much about wines but also about the history of the area. All in all it was another good river cruise and we shall no doubt pick another destination and go again! Thank you Ama Waterways for making our cruise awesome! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
From turning up on our first day to leaving in the taxi for the airport, the staff and fellow travelers made our trip a fantastic experience. Captain Danny and his team worked tirelessly to ensure that we had a 5star trip all day, every ... Read More
From turning up on our first day to leaving in the taxi for the airport, the staff and fellow travelers made our trip a fantastic experience. Captain Danny and his team worked tirelessly to ensure that we had a 5star trip all day, every day. The food and wines were outstanding as was Mike, our resident musician. Nikolai ensured that our dining experience was excellent an Kristian, Angel and Vasil ensured that everyone had a full glass of our preference. The daily excursions were extremely well organised with excellent tour guides providing a fantastic insight into the wine region. The only issue we had was that whilst all drinks in the restaurant were free, the drinks in the lounge were charged. This meant that you spent more time in the restaurant at night rather than go upstairs to the lounge where you paid for drinks. Ama Waterways should look at an all inclusive rate for the trip. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2017
Every riverboat trip starts with the Cruise Director; and we had the best one in the world!! Annie Lebailly's radiant caring and knowledgeable personality made this trip memorable. The food aboard this ship was delicious. The ... Read More
Every riverboat trip starts with the Cruise Director; and we had the best one in the world!! Annie Lebailly's radiant caring and knowledgeable personality made this trip memorable. The food aboard this ship was delicious. The cabin was very comfortable and clean, with modern amenities. The crew was friendly and helpful. The itinerary was fabulous...immersed in french history. We loved all that we learned and the great wines we tasted. The post trip to the Loire and the chateaux was the icing on the cake. You should not miss this trip! It should be on top of your list. The piano player on board was truly a great talent, he could sing and play any of the best artists French, American and other. Even Annie, the cruise director entertained us with her beautiful voice, singing classical French songs...that was a fabulous evening. We danced some of the nights to pop songs, which was very enjoyable. Don't miss the special Captain's Table restaurant, it was memorable. Be sure to make reservations at the start of your trip. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
The AMA WATERWAY Cruise was stunning. First, the ship is immaculate & clean with a terrific crew. They are all well trained in their specific areas. The front desk is the hub of action. The bar is on the other side & the dining ... Read More
The AMA WATERWAY Cruise was stunning. First, the ship is immaculate & clean with a terrific crew. They are all well trained in their specific areas. The front desk is the hub of action. The bar is on the other side & the dining below. The dining room has huge windows for watching. Every meal was orchestrated by the Maitre 'D & Executive Chef & Staff. very professional 5 Star gourmet meals. Eggs Benedict everyday, Seafood buffet, ice Cream bar, 50 item salad bar, Shrimp & steak. Each meal delivered great Bordeaux wines with 9 0z pours in excellent stemware. In the evening there was excellent piano music OR a DJ to dance or a 3 piece symphony. All well well received by the guests which numbered only 85. Walking on the top deck was fantastic under the Bordeaux skies. The daily trips were included - with many wine tasting or castles to choose from. Our cruise director was Elia & she was amazing. She coordinated & organized us all to perfection. I highly recommend this ship and this route. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
We'd never taken a river cruise as we normally travel independently, however, I knew we'd need help navigating our way through Bordeaux to learn more about wine. We were so impressed by our cruise director Elia, as well as the ... Read More
We'd never taken a river cruise as we normally travel independently, however, I knew we'd need help navigating our way through Bordeaux to learn more about wine. We were so impressed by our cruise director Elia, as well as the entire staff. The tour guides were very knowledgeable and professional. Virginie is truly a charmer!! Unfortunately, our experience was tainted by a large group of rowdy friends who dominated the ship and activities. Their main objective seemed to be drinking to the point of oblivion. I never expected that from a river cruise!! The staff handled it well, although I think the waiters lost patience towards the end as these guests asked for extra free glasses of wine to take back after dinner in attempts to not have to pay for it at the bar. Talk about reinforcing the "ugly American" reputation... The food was excellent, our room comfortable and spotless, and the morning views on the rivers were spectacular. Bordeaux is an exciting town and easily accessible from Paris by train. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Our group of two couples sandwiched a 7-night river cruise in and out of Bordeaux between a stay in Normandy and Dordogne. The AMA cruise on the AmaDolce fit our timetable because we wanted to end up in Paris for our 30th wedding ... Read More
Our group of two couples sandwiched a 7-night river cruise in and out of Bordeaux between a stay in Normandy and Dordogne. The AMA cruise on the AmaDolce fit our timetable because we wanted to end up in Paris for our 30th wedding anniversary before flying home. The wine themed cruise got off to a slow start because the first stop at Cadillac was canceled due to unexplained water level issues, so we had an extra half-day in Bordeaux with no planned events. That's where a major benefit of this cruise came into play -- bicycles. I borrowed one of the 15 sturdy bikes and made my loop around the city's new and old bridges on the bike path, veering into the medieval area and finding a local market and several antique shops. My other biking high on the trip was an organized excursion ride from Blaye to Bourg while the ship cruised. It helped that the weather was so inviting, but it's easy to feel exhilarated when biking through vineyards, seeing the imposing chateaux on the hillsides, and feeling the cool breeze whistle by on the downhill stretches. The cruise focused on excursions and that was the strong suit of the voyage. Given the wine theme, many excursions involved winery visits that were informative and well executed. The coaches were clean and well maintained and the guides were uniformly educational and personable, willing to offer up suggestions to meet personal interests. On some days, though, it seemed the excursions didn't completely fill the time allotted, which was then filled with criss-crossing the countryside and repetitive explanations. The overall itinerary didn't cover much territory, so there were limited times that the boat was actually moving to allow patrons the opportunity to watch the beautiful scenery go by. River cruises involve a number of compromises because of the limited space. The lounge is the only indoor common area to gather, outside meals, so it's difficult at times to find a get away from it all unless the weather allows upper deck sitting. Local entertainment brought on board twice was good, particularly a violin/guitar trio. The on-board entertainer used a keyboard that produced a sound somewhere between a harpsichord and piano, backed up with recorded tracks. Music is very much a personal taste, and our group would have preferred a regular pianist with a good voice and large repertoire. Meals were good and sometimes individually very good, although the selections were limited and missed opportunities to tie into the wine theme. A very informative visit to a Sauternes winery in the afternoon would have been even more meaningful if dinner had matched a Sauternes wine in some creative way with a menu option that night. No Sauternes wines the whole week. The cool weather made the daily cream soups a welcome item, but the basic recipe stayed the same each day with a new vegetable substituted. Meat options were offered each day along with a different fish in a beurre blanc sauce (again more variety would have been appreciated), but where were the shellfish? A single seafood buffet the first day and literally one scallop offered as part of the Chef Table alternative dining site's tasting menu. Venders sold oysters, shrimp and scallops in the markets we visited during the day. A baker worked all night to produce a wonderful variety, including my favorite, a small sesame seed roll. Desserts were good but not innovative, although the ship elevated ice cream to an art form with its on-ship made offerings. Overall, we enjoyed the food in the main dining area, especially given the challenges of feeding a large number of people in a short amount of time and producing that food in a limited space. The alternate Chef's Table venue of four tables with a view out the back of the ship provided a good alternative for more innovative cuisine in an intimate space. Each patron had the opportunity of visiting one time for the set menu that remained constant for the week. The crew highlighted birthdays and anniversaries at dinner by dimming the lights with the crew forming a conga line and dancing through the dining area before resting a cake with sparklers on the table in front of the honorees. One night we had three of these in a row that interrupted meal service. Again, a matter of taste, but we preferred the more personal recognition of our anniversary by our cabin hostess who placed on our bed swans made out of folded towels whose necks formed a heart with rose petals scattered about. Service was all over the board. Our cruise director was just the right combination of enthusiasm, knowledge, encourager and task master. The largely eastern-European service crew members varied significantly in their capabilities, knowledge, and service mentality. Our cabin attendant made sure our room was spotlessly clean with an always cheerful attitude, despite her long hours. It didn't take long to find a waiter who fit the right match of personableness and competence. Two of the waitresses, though, had an annoying schtick of responding with an emphatic "NO" to an initial request for a menu selection. After the initial shock, you were supposed to realize this was part of a comic routine in which the waitress would go back and forth before finally relenting with a smile and saying "of course". It was annoying the first time and really annoying the fourth or fifth time throughout the week. Because this routine involved more than one server, it made us wonder whether this was part of the training that just missed its mark in trying to connect with patrons through humor. There was a distinct division of labor between those serving food and those serving wine. The wine stewards either lacked the knowledge or language capability to explain and describe the very nice selection of wines offered each day. A major flaw on a wine-themed cruise. One night the menu offered a rare vegetarian item that included figs and roquefort cheese. My wife asked what wine the steward would recommend. He thought for a minute before proudly announcing, "Red is for meat, and white is for fish." Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We chose this cruise and company based on recommendations of friends and the iitinerary of the trip. The trip and experience were marvelous and i would highly reccommend it . The ship holds a maximum of 146 passengers, but only 104 ... Read More
We chose this cruise and company based on recommendations of friends and the iitinerary of the trip. The trip and experience were marvelous and i would highly reccommend it . The ship holds a maximum of 146 passengers, but only 104 passengersd were aboard for this cruise.The cabins, while small when compared to most ocean liners, were larger than many river cruises; quite adequate and well decorated. The beds were very comfortable and the cabin staff attentive to the nth degree, especially Georgiana. The bathrooms were quite roomy and well supplied with toiletries and the all important hair dryer for my wife. The in-cabin entertainment system was good, although to be honest we did not use it a great deal other than to watch some news, but they did have a large assortment of films and music available,. Wi-fi is gratis and to my surprise worked very well; much better than on larger ships. Food and dining were quite good overall. Breakfast was buffet style, but with a young lady making terrific omlets and eggs to order as well as the usual breakfast items and some less than usual items for most Americans.. Breads and pastries were excellent and required a bit of self control in order not to overdo it. The highlight for foodies was the special Chef's dinner to which all guests are entitled to attend. The menu is fixed for all seven nights and only 24 people are accommodated at a time. The items are all cooked in one location and served to each table as the food is ready. The service was superb and most of the items very good. The cod could have used a bit more seasoning.Wine, a nice selection of different reds and whites from the Bordeaux region as well as beer, are complimentary at all meals. Most entrees at the dinners were quite good, but the stand outs for me were the filet mignon and the prime rib.Each night there was always a Chef's Choice menu as well as several other items from which to choose.. If none of the menu choices for that day were appealing, one could always order a steak, salmon or chicken. One of the best ideas the line has instituted is to have a light lunch served buffet style in the lounge rather than the main dining room. Selections are limited, compared to the main dining room, but by no means lacking in many good choices. Salads and soups were always available as well as frog's legs and escargot at one of the lunches. Surprisingly I do not think they offered onion soup st any time. We did have some delicious deserts and the chocolate crepes were outstanding. The entertainment was limited as one would expect on a very small ship, but they did have a pianist who was quite good and brought aboard several entertainers; Frankly, I found this line offered better entertainment than most river cruises. The highlight of the cruise was an incredible staff-Kriss the cruise manager was unbelievable even getting up to see us off the boat at 4:15 am and providing us with a packed lunch. The front desk staffed by Ivan and Yasmina, during the day and a night attendant whose name I can't recall, were most helpful at all times and made us feel welcome and important addressing our every request with a smile. The bar staff and all of the waiters and waitresses were attentive, warm and friendly. The tours were excellent and our regular tour guide, Elisabeth, was beyond belief. She even managed to find us a local person on Bordeaux to take three of us on a special tour of the local synagogue. For the biking enthusiasts, they have quite a few bicycles and helmets and a bike tour led by Chris almost every day. We loved virtually all of the ports and excursions, but the highlight for us was St. Emilion. Not only a great wine producing regions with world famous wineries, but a delightful and charming village retaining much from the Middle Ages , including the catacombs and underground churches. I have no doubt we would go again and surely will consider another cruise with Ama Waterways Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
This is our second AMAWaterWays cruise and we were again rewarded with a thoroughly enjoyable river cruise. The Amadolce cabin was spotless and in excellent condition as were the public areas. The crew with Captain Danny and Cruise ... Read More
This is our second AMAWaterWays cruise and we were again rewarded with a thoroughly enjoyable river cruise. The Amadolce cabin was spotless and in excellent condition as were the public areas. The crew with Captain Danny and Cruise Director Helene was one of the best we've experienced in over 30 years of ocean and river cruising. They were friendly, attentive, responsive and prompt. The tours were great and well paced and gave an insightful education on French wines. The food and wine selection onboard was very competitive with some of the best local restaurants in the Bordeaux region. The wait staff was fun, friendly, responsive and made us feel that the Amadolce was our river home for the week. Housekeeping was impeccable and Georgina, our stewardess, was a delight with her engaging personality and warm greeting in addition to the care she gave our cabin. My wife had a post-operation medical problem toward the end of our cruise and the staff was on top of the medical situation instantly, brought a doctor on board and helped us get treatment that she needed. The Purser, Captain and Cruise Director all demonstrated concern, empathy and acted to help ease my wife's issues. We were very grateful. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2016
Chose to sail with AmaWaterways as they are one of the few cruise lines that sail in France's Bordeaux region. This was my first river cruise and every expectation was exceeded tenfold. This itinerary is fantastic as it is ... Read More
Chose to sail with AmaWaterways as they are one of the few cruise lines that sail in France's Bordeaux region. This was my first river cruise and every expectation was exceeded tenfold. This itinerary is fantastic as it is round-trip Bordeaux. The port stops have been thoughtfully executed to allow for the perfect balance between planned sightseeing (often several choices of sightseeing in each port) and free time to enjoy the luxuries of the beautiful AmaDolce. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that this is the first year that Ama has been sailing on the Dordogne and Garrone rivers, everything went flawlessly! From the five-star onboard dinners to the choice of excursions including walking, gentle walking, bike tours and "limited edition" tours, I felt like the sightseeing I experienced was well-rounded and the local guides so incredibly knowledgeable. I also sailed on what Ama calls a wine-themed cruise. Really this cruise because of its stops and year-round offered excursions can be called a wine-lovers cruise, but I really loved the added benefit of a wine host onboard who compared the old vine wine that we tasted at several winery visits along with the onboard wine selections to new vine wine, in this case the California wines of St. Francis Winery. The service was phenomenal, I will say that there was not one request that was not met and the crew does a fantastic job at making sure that everything onboard feels like a home away from home. I also love that on a river cruise, everyone get to know everyone, and Ama facilitates plenty of opportunities, both on board and off, for guests to mix and mingle. I would highly recommend this river cruise line to anyone considering visiting the Bordeaux region of France. From what I've read they are extremely consistent in their delivery of fantastic itineraries all across Europe. I will say that I am not a river cruise advocate, I can't wait to sail with them again, this time I'm hoping on the Danube River. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2016
Fabulous Wine Cruise. Wine tasting and wine lectures from US winery and grower. Many chateaus and castles for tasting. On board wine selections were the best ever. As usual the food, the service, the accommodations were the best. ... Read More
Fabulous Wine Cruise. Wine tasting and wine lectures from US winery and grower. Many chateaus and castles for tasting. On board wine selections were the best ever. As usual the food, the service, the accommodations were the best. The excursions were great and the guides very informative.The crew went out to please all the guests. Our cruise manager, Kriss, was exceptional providing us with loving care all the days of this cruise. The Air France crew strike of 7/28/16 affected our return flight itinerary back to the US. AMA was notified too since we booked our flights with them. They started working on a solution for alternate flights. The Basel office and our cruise manager provided the new flights so we did not have to worry about anything. All our transfers were covered by AMA. We were met at the airports by AMA representatives and directed to the correct gates and also assisted in clearing up a booking problem with one connection on Delta. We were also transferred from an earlier AMA cruise by private car and brought to AMA representatives waiting for us at the train station in Paris for our meeting the AMADolce in Bordeaux. Our cruise manager was on the train with us. What great service! Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We knew going into things that this was a difficult itinerary because of the tides on the river. We found the ship to be clean and comfortable, and the staff were very good. Service most times was excellent, but there were constant issues ... Read More
We knew going into things that this was a difficult itinerary because of the tides on the river. We found the ship to be clean and comfortable, and the staff were very good. Service most times was excellent, but there were constant issues with service in the dining room. Several nights were seated by the staff, and the rest of the time it was seat yourself. It was very confusing. We often didn't get the meal ordered, or part of it didn't show up at all. Bar service was excellent. We did enjoy the Chef's tasting, and did this twice during the trip. The excursions were the big problem we had with this cruise. We had several excursions that had real issues. One day only two out of four buses showed up in Bordeaux for an afternoon excursion. The other two buses went to PAUILLAC by mistake. We had mass confusion on the dock while the staff tried to figure out what to do. Groups were moved from one bus to another and back again, while guides were trying to explain what the issue was. At no point did anyone from the ship board our bus to explain what the situation was. Finally approximately 15 people were not able to board a bus, and after 45 minutes with the staff trying to figure things out, the two buses left, and those 15 people waited another hour in the dock for another bus to arrive. In order to straighten the problem out, the two buses from PAUILLAC met us the Chateau Margaux At that point we had some people leave our bus, and we headed to our wine tasting. After about 45 minutes of time at the winery, we went back to the Chateau Margaux, (which was closed), so that people could take pictures, We then back tracked again on our way to Pauillac. We covered the same road 3 times. We then continued on to a bus tour of viewing famous chateaus from the road, and spent a further two hours on the bus. We spent 5 hours on a tour that included 45 minutes of time at a winery. The day before our visit to the market at Bazas, we arrived just as the market was closing. Again there was confusion with some guides telling people we had 15 minutes before meeting the bus, and others saying 45 minutes. There is a lot of work to be done on communication with this itinerary. We also had a day where the guide received word that ship was going to be late arriving in Libourne, so again we drove around in circles rather than going to where to ship would be arriving, and letting us decide what we wanted to do. There was a lovely little bar by the river where we would have loved to have relaxed and have a drink while waiting for the ship to dock, but instead we were driving around Libourne, feeling again like we were trapped on a bus. The wineries we visited were all excellent, and we enjoyed the wines we tasted. We also enjoyed the visit to Chateau Roquetaillade. Some excursions were good, but the ones with issues had big issues. I hope they manage to work through some of the excursion issues, as it wasn't a bad a cruise, just some really bad excursions. Read Less
AmaDolce Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.5
Dining 4.5 4.5
Entertainment 3.5 4.0
Public Rooms 4.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.7
Family 2.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.3
Enrichment 3.0 4.0
Service 5.0 4.7
Value For Money 4.0 4.3

Find an AmaDolce Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise