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Our Amex travel agent suggested AMA Waterways as the very best onboard service she had experienced among several major river cruise lines, and we went with her recommendation. She was not off base at all. The onboard experience on AMA is second to none. All staff and crew were attentive, extremely helpful, and clearly focused on making our onboard experience special. The Tour Manager, Peter Whitehead, was the star of the show. Peter amazed me with his ability to recall details of his passengers and their itineraries, and to ensure that everything onboard was wonderful. Even when telling the passengers at daily briefings things we might not have wanted to hear, Peter was great--tactful, funny, but very direct and clear. Food onboard was very good, especially the once a voyage tasting dinner at the Chef's Table restaurant which was a very special evening open to all passengers once during the cruise. The dining experience in the main dining room was also very good, with a variety of offerings every meal, attentive and friendly service, and complimentary unlimited beer/wine at lunch and dinner. While alcohol was extra outside of those times, every day had a happy hour with free cocktails available. Overall, this was a superb onboard experience. Where the trip fell apart was on land where AMA appears constrained to use local guides of varying levels of skill at managing large groups of people, varying fluency in English, and varying levels of knowledge/interest/sensitivity to the needs of the group members they were guiding. On two occasions guides lost group members (fortunately, Peter Whitehead recovered everyone!), once in Prague where a group of 25 people was simply too large for one guide to manage while navigating the immense crowds on the Charles Bridge and Old Town, even with the QuietVoice headsets we were issued on almost every tour. On only one of the tours in Austria and Germany did the guide address the historical elephant in the room--Nazi Germany and Hitler. This was in Linz where it was probably pretty hard to avoid Hitler as he was born just outside the city and was welcomed into Austria there by cheering crowds in the main square after Germany annexed Austria just prior to WW II. Not sure what AMA can do about the guide issue, but if there is anything they can do (perhaps only hiring local guides who are fluent in English, skilled at managing large groups and knowledgeable, or when a large group format is necessary in a city like Prague, having two guides for each group--one to lead, one to collect stragglers!). The good news about tours was that physically every level of strength was covered. Those who were not able to walk fast were offered Gentle tours, which those hardy hikers among the passengers were led on strenuous hikes up castle promontories, etc.! Bikes and bike tours were also available at some ports. My partner and I felt that some of the stops on this voyage were superfluous. If you've been to Europe and ventured outside of the big cities, you've seen quaint medieval towns. They are all pretty much alike. This tour, however, stopped at three of them. We would have preferred more time in Vienna, where we only had really one day, Linz and Salzberg each only one day to just barely scratch the surface of fabulous histories and attractions! Overall, however, we had a very nice time and would highly recommend AMA Waterways.

AMA is 5-Star Plus on Board, 3-Star on Land!

AmaSerena Cruise Review by FredRo

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2018
  • Destination: Europe
  • Cabin Type: Outside stateroom with fixed window
Our Amex travel agent suggested AMA Waterways as the very best onboard service she had experienced among several major river cruise lines, and we went with her recommendation. She was not off base at all. The onboard experience on AMA is second to none. All staff and crew were attentive, extremely helpful, and clearly focused on making our onboard experience special. The Tour Manager, Peter Whitehead, was the star of the show. Peter amazed me with his ability to recall details of his passengers and their itineraries, and to ensure that everything onboard was wonderful. Even when telling the passengers at daily briefings things we might not have wanted to hear, Peter was great--tactful, funny, but very direct and clear.

Food onboard was very good, especially the once a voyage tasting dinner at the Chef's Table restaurant which was a very special evening open to all passengers once during the cruise. The dining experience in the main dining room was also very good, with a variety of offerings every meal, attentive and friendly service, and complimentary unlimited beer/wine at lunch and dinner. While alcohol was extra outside of those times, every day had a happy hour with free cocktails available. Overall, this was a superb onboard experience.

Where the trip fell apart was on land where AMA appears constrained to use local guides of varying levels of skill at managing large groups of people, varying fluency in English, and varying levels of knowledge/interest/sensitivity to the needs of the group members they were guiding. On two occasions guides lost group members (fortunately, Peter Whitehead recovered everyone!), once in Prague where a group of 25 people was simply too large for one guide to manage while navigating the immense crowds on the Charles Bridge and Old Town, even with the QuietVoice headsets we were issued on almost every tour. On only one of the tours in Austria and Germany did the guide address the historical elephant in the room--Nazi Germany and Hitler. This was in Linz where it was probably pretty hard to avoid Hitler as he was born just outside the city and was welcomed into Austria there by cheering crowds in the main square after Germany annexed Austria just prior to WW II. Not sure what AMA can do about the guide issue, but if there is anything they can do (perhaps only hiring local guides who are fluent in English, skilled at managing large groups and knowledgeable, or when a large group format is necessary in a city like Prague, having two guides for each group--one to lead, one to collect stragglers!).

The good news about tours was that physically every level of strength was covered. Those who were not able to walk fast were offered Gentle tours, which those hardy hikers among the passengers were led on strenuous hikes up castle promontories, etc.! Bikes and bike tours were also available at some ports.

My partner and I felt that some of the stops on this voyage were superfluous. If you've been to Europe and ventured outside of the big cities, you've seen quaint medieval towns. They are all pretty much alike. This tour, however, stopped at three of them. We would have preferred more time in Vienna, where we only had really one day, Linz and Salzberg each only one day to just barely scratch the surface of fabulous histories and attractions!

Overall, however, we had a very nice time and would highly recommend AMA Waterways.
FredRo’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Outside stateroom with fixed window
Cabin D 328
Having been on the Queen Mary 2 I can say that the AMA cabin was approximately the same size, but the bathroom, always a space issue, was much better thought out than those on the QM2.
Piano Deck Outside Cabins