My wife, 12 y/o granddaughter and I had a trip of a lifetime on the AmaLyra last month.
The planning and execution by AmaLyra staff throughout the cruise experience was exemplary. Their transfer services were well worth the money. During our arrival at CDG Paris we were met by AmaLyra reps and driver and proceeded easily to our transportation. Vehicle we rode in was very comfortable. Arrival at our hotel Paris Renaissance Parc du Trocadero was just right. Rooms were ready and while waiting to register we were greeted by Ama's sensational cruise manager Christian (more on him shortly).
When we learned about our hotel change (Intercontinental to Renaissance) we were disappointed but we were highly satisfied with our experience at the Renaissance (Marriott property). Super location, rooms were well appointed, good breakfast and nice garden area for afternoon coffee/tea.
We enjoyed the tours of Paris and the guides selected were quite impressive. I have visited Paris over 50 times on business but never took the time to learn about all the rich historical aspects of the city. Our tour guide/hostess was fabulous. She led us through Notre Dame (just 4 days before the fire) and our Paris at Night guide Annie, could not have been more gracious, funny and charming during our evening visit to Monmartre. She accepted our invitation to dinner and we enjoyed a wonderful discourse about the culture of France, things the French people value, life in general, etc. etc.
Upon completing the two days in Paris, arrival on AmaLyra was perfect. Cabins were clean, orientation swift and all the passengers seemed to enjoy the wonderful welcome to AmaLyra's welcome aboard buffet of light snacks, drink and dessert. During the Captain's welcome reception I realized a river cruise was going to be much more intimate than your standard ocean cruise. The ship's officers were introduced which seemed to delight the passengers. The Hotel/Restaurant manager Violetta stole the show. She has an effervescent personality and was highly visible throughout the cruise. My wife particularly enjoyed the white wine (Sauvignon Blanc) served during the welcome reception and Violetta made sure it was available to my wife at lunch and dinner for the rest of the cruise (same goes for the Merlot offered at the welcome reception).
The remainder of staff was excellent and we offer high kudos to several staff members. First goes to Wellness Director, Vladimir. He has enormous credibility by virtue of his study of anatomy in university. Having trained numerous world class athletes and being a former professional basketball player himself, Vladimir kept our attention as he demonstrated how to do particular core strengthening and stretching exercises but also added the why they are done a certain way and the benefit of following his technique. Since many of the early morning classes weren't highly attended it felt like a personal training session for the 4-5 regulars. Outstanding!
Our head waiter Ioan, who was assisted by bar waitress Alexandra, made our meal times so special. Both were extremely accommodating in honoring our requests. Their people skills are exceptional and I was so impressed with how they handled insensitive remarks and unusual requests. Our granddaughter thoroughly enjoyed her interactions with Ioan. He really made her feel special which delighted my wife and me. Having been in the people business for almost 40 years, I especially appreciated the high level of professionalism in which they served the AmaLyra passengers. We sat in their section for every single meal - - that's how much we enjoyed our week with them. We were very sad to say goodbye to Ioan and Alexandra. Our dining experience really could not have been better.
Our cabin attendant George was excellent as well and we loved his dry Romanian sense of humor. He worked very hard during our week and our cabins looked like Day 1 newly made - - every single day - - which wasn't easy considering some of the messes the girls made in their cabin - - LOL.
I don't remember the name of the head chef but he and his staff did an excellent job with menu selection and overall food prep. We gravitated to the chef's recommendations each night and were especially impressed with the high standard of roasted/rotisserie meat preparation at dinner. Some of the entree offerings at lunchtime were wonderful surprises. I loved the champagne and oyster reception hosted by the captain on our 6th day prior to lunch and then the delicious steamed mussels finished in a garlic cream sauce served at lunch. Unbelievable how good that dish was!
Lastly the cruise director, Christian, offered a level of enthusiasm and professionalism that would be hard to match at any cruise line (Ocean or River). He was exceptional. He never took anything for granted. His briefings on board about shore excursions were highly useful; his attention to detail to ensure nothing was overlooked (by staff or passengers) was world class. One of my favorite expressions throughout my sales leadership career was, "People don't care how much you know - - until they know how much you care". Every passenger on the AmaLyra knew Christian cared deeply about each of us having a special experience. This was best highlighted by Christian's extraordinary behind the scenes actions to ensure that one of the AmaLyra passengers injured during a biking tour, was well cared for in a Rouen hospital while the ship continued to sail. He also made sure the injured passenger's wife was updated on a regular basis and ensured she was well cared for while her husband was in hospital. If the owners of AmaLyra could have seen Christian in action, they would have been so proud. Just amazing, and inspiring.
It was a wonderful, unforgettable memory we made with our granddaughter. We look forward to sailing with Ama again.
Very efficient use of space. AC worked great. AAA+ shower.
Unforgettable. Memorial cemetery, German fortifications, Omaha Beach and Museum. Arromanches was amazing. Kudos to Brits for building and deploying that temporary harbor. War might have been lost without it.View All 75 D-Day Beaches Reviews