AmaWaterways cruise schedule and ports met our desires and the total cost was slightly less than major competitors. Our mid-October cruise was from Basel, Switzerland, north to Amsterdam in the Netherlands. We were given copious information in advance of the cruise (text, photos, and maps) about the ports and available tours so we could study and plan our days and photo shoots. We had a little time before embarkation to explore Basel and that city was quite interesting. Ama offered at least 2 complimentary tours in each port as well as a bicycle tour in some ports. We could sign up for regular paced walking tours or leisurely (more time to take photos). The tour guides were knowledgeable and looked out for us so that we would not get separated from the group in crowded areas. And a headset enabled us to still hear the tour guide when we were looking at the sights (as long as we were within about 50 feet of the guide). Our cabin was clean, quiet, comfortable, and cozy. The Rhine was extremely low (no rain for 4 months) and the ship (AmaStella) could not go farther north than Strassbourg but Ama had a solution and transferred us to another Ama ship (AmaKristina) that was heading south from Amsterdam but could go no farther than Dusseldorf -- a real logistical challenge for the ship crews to swap all the passengers and their luggage but handled extremely well. Once on the AmaKristina we finished our cruise, debarking in Amsterdam. Since the river was too shallow for the ship to go though the "Rhine Gorge" area (with all its castles), Ama arranged for passengers on both ships to go on a tour boat along that stretch of the Rhine, with complimentary wine and beer.
Both the ships we were on (AmaStella and AmaKristina) were first rate in terms of crew helpfulness (all spoke good English), cabin comfort, and dining (the beef was particularly tender and delicious on both ships -- every meal was a delight and the waiter was happy to increase or decrease the portion size. While we did not take advantage of the evening entertainment (tired from walking), the exercise room or the beauty salon, we did enjoy the daily "happy hour" with complimentary drinks from the bar each evening before dinner. Weather (mid October) was too cool to take advantage of the pool and swim-up bar. Despite the river level being low and forcing some trip changes (beyond Ama's control) we had a marvelous time and are starting to plan our next AmaWaterways cruise. A fantastic company that we feel provided exceptional value for our money. Marcia Ehrhardt, the cruise director, was patient, took the low water schedule change and other challenges in stride, and kept us very well informed.
Bed was comfortable and the cabin was quiet. Had a 110V outlet that was a nice touch. Cable TV and internet were available but scenery was more interesting. Both cabins were kept in top shape by our stewards (Arif on the AmaKristina). The double balcony (part inside, part outside) was an excellent feature and enabled us to get fresh air at will without missing sights along the river. Another good feature was the dim blue light that could be turned on in the bathroom so that when one of us got up during the night we didn't have to turn on a bright light and wake up the other. Every night the schedule and tour info for the next day was put under our cabin door and a short daily English-language newspaper was available to keep us abreast of world news.
Excellent tour of the old part of the city. Quaint buildings.
Cologne Cathedral was one of the highlights of the cruise. Magnificent. We could easily have spent a full day in it.