As experienced ocean cruisers we had been curious about river cruising for sometime. Since this year was our 35th wedding anniversary that seemed to be a good excuse and we decided to take the plunge. We did pre and post cruise on our own-our fabulous travel agent set some great things up for us. We sailed from Basel to Amsterdam to enjoy the Christmas markets and the Rhine gorge. We were blessed in that, after a period of prolonged drought in Europe it Rained and rained and rained and the Rhine rose. Our cruise was the first northbound cruise in 12 weeks with out busing or ship swaps.
Embarkation was so easy-an AMA baggage handler took our bags from the taxi and we saw them again at the room. Check in took a couple of minutes-no line-and we were good to go. Explored the ship, got the lay of things and then checked out our room. We had opted for a fixed window room since I didn't think that having a balcony in Germany in the winter was a huge need. It was a good choice but a lesson learned-the fixed window rooms lie below the water line and you can be subject to some noise in locks and when passing other ships on the river. Next time I will get a French Balcony room. The room was small but efficiently designed and once were unpacked and had the luggage stowed away it worked just fine for us.
The food was fabulous at every meal. Between the wonderful food in the markets and the wonderful food on board it is a very good thing we opted for active tours with lots of walking! I loved the regional wines poured in unlimited quantities at dinner. It gave one a great opportunity to learn about different wines from that area. The Chefs Table is a do not miss experience as well.
We enjoyed all of the tours we went on as well. There were even a couple of things that I had thought we would skip that we wound up doing at the last minute that turned out to be fabulous. Evening entertainment especially the classical music group on the last night was wonderful. Our one, no so much complaint because we understood it, but disappointment is that we would have like longer to spend in some of the places we visited. Cruising the Rhine gorge was part of the reason we choose this cruise and it did not disappoint.
Huge kudos to AMA and our marvelous Cruise Director Sonja for handling a difficult and scary situation with aplomb. On Tuesday December 11th we had docked at Strasbourg around 8 in the evening. Shortly after that a shooting occurred in the main Christmas Market that left 3 dead and 13 wounded. While we enjoyed our Christmas tree decorating Sonja and the LA office were making decisions on how to handle the situation. We woke up on the 12th docked across the river in Kehl. Sonja apologized for our missing Strasbourg but due to the traffic and activity of the French anti terror police it had been determined that we should not go there-so we went instead to Baden-Baden which was wonderful. I was sorry to miss the Strasbourg catherdral but not sorry to miss dealing with the French police.
Service was outstanding-Patricia in the dining room, Marina our cabin steward, the bar staff and of course Sonja and her staff delivered an amazing experience, right down to Sonja arranging a taxi to our privately booked hotel in Amsterdam.
Overall a first class experience far and above what we have had on any ocean cruise line. We will be cruising with AMA again in the future.
The room was small but efficiently designed and well appointed. Once we got our luggage stowed we had plenty of room for the two of us. The bathroom was a bit small but workable. Our one lesson learned is that in the future we will choose a french balcony room to avoid being below the water line. Cabins be low the water line can be a bit noisy in locks and when meeting other ships on the river.
There was a shooting in Strasbourg-this was a substitute excursion and was wonderful!
we arrived on our own here prior to embarkation-had a fabulous time
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