Just back from an AMA Waterways river cruise from Paris to Prague. In summary, it was a great cruise and AMA certainly took care of its passengers. The cruise itself is seven nights from Luxembourg to Nuremburg and then we added on extensions in Paris at the beginning and Prague at the end. Overall I would give the 14 days a 4+ Rating.
We are Elite plus Captain Club members with Celebrity but this would be our first river cruise and we were somewhat apprehensive on what to expect. Talk about first impressions, we made our flight arrangements through AMA so transfers were included. We arrived in Paris at 6:30 a.m. and when we cleared customs there was our private driver picking us up to escort us to our hotel, the Pullman Montparnsse...and to top it off he drove us in a 2014 Jaguar...beautiful car...so far, oh so good. Check-in at the hotel was a breeze and even at 7:15 a.m. we were able to get right into our room....not everyone was so lucky as they had to wait until 3-4 pm to check-in. Big room pretty good location near a metro stop and restaurants. One complaint from people -- the shower was located in a very high step in tub...difficult to get in and out of. It was great to visit Paris again and after the city tour arranged by AMA we stayed downtown to walk on our own.
Next big event was a high speed train (not a bus) to Luxembourg to pick up our river boat but first we boarded a bus in Luxembourg, did a city tour and stopped by the American Cemetery where General George Patton is buried and other soldiers from the Battle of the Bulge. We have been to Normandy before and this was just as impressive. Come to find out there was a lady on our trip (accompanied buy her daughter) whose first husband died in the Battle of the Bulge and was buried here. She met with the cemetery superintendent who escorted her to the gravesite where she placed flowers on the grave.....very moving. Grounds are immaculate.
We then boarded the ship and there are only 139 of us. The one big thing about a river cruise vs. ocean cruise is with so few people, you practically get to know them all. Of the 139 who cruised, close to 100 were at the pre-cruise function in Paris and 110 ended up in Prague. Mostly Americans but others from Japan, Malaysia, Canada, and Brazil. Ages 40's to 90's with majority between 65-75. Food very good along with excellent service. Chef's table offered at no cost and everyone is afforded at least one opportunity to eat there...Entrees were lamb chops or wild salmon along with other tidbits pre and post main course.
The wines offered (as well as beer) at NO CHARGE during lunch or dinner were German whites, French Cabernets or a French Bordeaux which easily would have cost $80-100 on a cruise ship...wines were outstanding. Cocktails (pre dinner) typically cost $7-8....two nights were on the captain. You would not leave hungry on one of these cruises.
Staterooms were very nicely adorned and set up like a very nice hotel room....not opposite side sofas that converted to beds at night. Bathrooms were small but hot water plentiful, room cleanup always there, including nightly turndown. All crew members were very polite and helpful. English is the language of all AMA Waterways Ships. Internet and TV are offered in each cabin.
Evening entertainment....(here's where we were really skeptical), but here is what was offered, a resident piano player is on board, classical group one night, a Mama Mia dance group another night, trip to a local coffee house or a local museum another. These were actually fun nights and offered something for everyone. Our group was very lively so we enjoyed the Mama Mia dance group and then the piano player filled in playing polkas and other dance songs on the off nights. Much much better than expected.
City tours.....Tour guides: You you have to understand Europeans have a very historical insight/perspective into every city and monument and sometimes it can become overwhelming for most Americans. If you did not want the city bus tour one thing that AMA offers is a bike tour using 10-speed easy shifting bikes. Now these tours have 2 guides, one in front and one in back, and the easiest was 26km or about 17 miles taking 4-5 hours.
Prague...Outstanding first class hotel Intercontinental only a five minute walk to city square. Breakfast provided at the hotel but lunch and dinner were on your own but the food was very reasonable in cost and very good. Had some rain and cold weather in Prague which did put a damper on the city activities. Attended an evening dance/local custom show in Prague...very good.
Leaving for home, AMA had escorts greeting some people off from the hotel as early as 330 a.m. and then someone at the airport making sure you got to the right check-in terminal. Your hotel departure was based on your scheduled air flight home, so you were NOT all required to get up at hauled to the airport in one big bus .
AMA was a first class act!!