A Rhine River cruise has long been on our wish list. My husband and I have ocean cruised 10 times, but after hearing about friends' river cruise experiences, decided to take the plunge on the Enchanting Rhine cruise. We loved the entire experience--from our Cruise Manager's pre-cruise welcome in Zurich, to our final port of Amsterdam. The benefits of river cruising are many.
Our Cruise Manager, David R., was terrific, and we have a hard time picturing anyone else in this role. David obviously enjoys his work, and is the perfect combination of professionalism, humor, and approachability. We credit him with easing us seamlessly into a new style of travel. We hope our travel paths cross again!
We enjoyed the pre-cruise stays in Zurich and Lucerne, including the optional tours to the Rhine Falls and Stein-am-Rhein (Zurich), and Mt. Stanserhorn (Lucerne). We thoroughly enjoyed both. My only suggestion for pre-cruise improvement would be to expand the included Zurich city tour to include areas beyond those within walking distance of the hotel (explored on our own on the first day). Lucerne is absolutely charming, and our stay at the Schweizerhof was a special treat. If you haven't traveled to Lucerne, do!
For us, it is hard to compare river cruising with ocean cruising--they offer very different things. With only 150 passengers onboard the AmaKristina (58 of those among the pre-cruise guests) a sense of community quickly develops. We really enjoyed hanging out in the lounge while sailing--chatting with fellow passengers and helping ourselves to treats and the fancy self-serve coffee machine. We were very pleased to see the entire crew recognized during the Captain's Farewell. Staff in all positions were approachable and went out of their ways to acknowledge us. Zsolt took excellent care of our cabin. We made good use of the exterior balcony. Dejana kept the wine flowing (even if we preferred a wine that was on offer on a previous evening). The food was excellent (especially the desserts), although my husband found some portions to be a bit smaller than he would have liked. At times the dining staff seemed a bit stressed, but our needs were always met.
We loved the variety of shore excursions, which appears to be an AmaWaterways strength. Cologne was probably our least favorite stop--would rather have had time to explore Koblenz. RIquewihr, Strasbourg, and Heidelberg were our favorites, and Marlies (native of Heidelberg) our favorite tour guide. Basel was a lovely town, and a nice surprise. Our shore excursions, lounge time, and leisurely dinners filled our days, so we did not miss the activities available on larger ships.
All in all, we had a marvelous time, felt very spoiled and appreciated as guests, and have already committed to a future cruise with AmaWaterways--possibly with some of our new friends!
Cabin was nicely decorated. The bed was just barely too low to allow for a suitcase to be stored beneath, but the handy sliding drawer under one side of the bed was very useful. Nice bathroom--no wasted space! We used the exterior balcony a great deal, but did not open the French balcony--too awkward with the chairs in front. We used the space for storage. Loved having the USB/charging plug by the bed. VERY comfortable bed--we slept like lambs. Nice toiletries. Zsolt was wonderful!
On embarkation day, we transferred by bus from Lucerne, and were given a city tour prior to boarding. Lovely town. Good mix of guided and free time.View All undefined undefined Reviews
Had been to Strasbourg before, but saw much more of the old city on this tour. Skipped the cathedral tour to expand our free time for pastries and lattes, and a little shopping.View All 79 Le Petite France Reviews
Excellent local tour guide, Marlies--very informative and entertaining! Lovely, lovely town. Appreciated the opportunity to view the town from the castle ruins. Found great cafe near the bridge, and lovely local art near the central square.View All 180 Heidelberg Castle Reviews
In-depth tour of the cathedral, but went a bit long and squeezed our free time. Least favorite of our stops.View All 184 Cologne Cathedral Reviews
Combined city and canal tour--very good! Free time for cafe. Enjoyed local artists near main square.View All 311 Canal Tour Reviews