Review of AmaWaters AmaMora Rhine Cruise Southern Pattern: Amsterdam, Cologne, Rhinegau, Rhudesheim, Ludwigshaven, Strasbourg, Basel, July, 2022. We are writing this with a view towards comparing our experience on AmaWaterWays vs Viking River Cruises, noting that things may be different now on Viking River Cruises. I have a distinct preference for docking in small cities where you can walk off the ship and “be there” in an interesting European city. This is the case with Amsterdam, Cologne, Rhudesheim, and Basel which are all docked in downtown spots where you can get off and explore on your own, or you can deviate from the included tours and “do your own thing”. This is not the case in Ludwigshaven and Strasbourg where the port is very industrial and requires a bus or a cab ride to get to a downtown location. Note that on AmaWaterways all tours are included in the price and 99% of the passengers go on the tour, so you get to know most passengers. There is always a choice of tours (short or long) and fast, medium or slow paced. They also have bike tours almost every day which also have athletic or gentle speeds. Viking did not carry bikes and most tours are optional at an additional expense. Beautiful buses and very experience tour guides are used, plan to tip them in local currency. One flaw on AmaMora is that the speaker system on the sundeck is malfunctioning, combined with the heavy accent of the speaker most guests could not understand the narration and listened to Rick Steves on their mobile phones instead. A pre-recorded, clear narration would have been better. Weather: expect a variety of weather from chilly and rainy to hot and clear. There is some very nice logo cruisewear at reasonable prices in the gift shop, most guests bought at least one piece to supplement their wardrobe. Pool: AmaMora has a small heated pool on the sundeck along with some games, it is great fun to splash about as your ship sails gallantly into the sunset. The pool is too small and shallow for laps. Wear your terry robe from your closet to the pool. Bar service is available. Dining I prefer the Viking Cruise system of having buffets for breakfast and lunch and a plated dinner/dessert. On AmaMora breakfast and lunch are served by waiters with a choice of three apps, entrees and desserts which seemed to cause unnecessary delays and confusion on the two earlier meals when you just want to eat and go on your tour. My husband thought the food quality on the Viking was better, I thought they are both great. Dining room location on the second floor of the Viking is better as you get to have awesome views while dining. On AmaMora, you are dining and looking out at water level. Note special meals: fill out your food requests each morning, do not attempt to grill your waiter at every meal for every ingredient, which is confusing and wastes everyone’s time. They are perfectly happy to give you a print out at breakfast of every meal of the day and you can select your appetizer, soup, entrée and dessert accordingly. They make certain you are served that particular meal. Each cabin is invited to Chef’s Table, the fancy restaurant for one meal so request seating with your onboard friends. No extra charge for the upgraded restaurant. Drinks: There are free specialty cocktails served nightly on the AmaMora. Disembarkation: everyone’s least favorite topic is handled very efficiently. You receive color coded bag tags and strict times to put out your bags to coincide with your departure to the airport, or to a hotel or to a post trip extension; you identify your bags before you depart. This lessens the crush of people disembarking at once, it is very civilized. On Viking you have to put out your bags the night before. Tipping: bring local currency to individually tip your fave servers and cabin stewards personally. You can also tip your cruise director and the whole crew via your credit card. Tips given this way go into a pool for the staff to share.
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Lots of places to tuck away belongs, good closets with lots of hangers. Pro tip: Bring along a hanging cosmetics bag to maximize bathroom storage, I pack in "pods" so I just had to lift out my pre packed clothes by category and stack them. Suitcases fit under the beds. We put out "service requested signs" daily and are cabin was clean when we returned from breakfast. There is also turn down service. Surprisingly we rec'd two gifts in our cabins plus nightly chocolate.
What a great town! You can walk everywhere and/or take public transportation or free ferries all over the place. You can even reach other cities via there super efficient tram system. It is great fun to take the free ferry across the harbor to the Lookout Building which has a swing that swings out over Amsterdam. The ferry is easy to walk to from the ship. Almost everyone in Amsterdam speaks perfect English. The city feels extremely safe and welcoming. Plan to walk along the canal system and enjoy all the city has to offer. It seems like a daily, friendly wonderful party is happening along the canals and in the canals as the people boat along.
Note really a touristy city, but a small quaint old town called The Labryinth can be explored. Many museums can be be explored by they may be closed on Monday and Tuesday. We stayed at the Art Hotel Basel which was awesome and not too expensive. You can walk everywhere in Basel or take the trams around. You can walk along or swim in the Rhine in the Johann district where the cruises dock. I did object to all the graffiti in Basel which gives the city a grimy look.
Lots to do here. Consider taking the gondolas across the Rhine to the rhine park. Very cheap and a wonderful thrill. You can also walk around old town and sample local cuisine. Of course, the cathedral is a must.
Its perfection, just what you imagined when you think of a European city along the Rhine. We took the Gondola up the mountain and walked down through the vineyards. We went out exploring after dinner when the sun was setting bathing the city in glorious golden sunset colors.
You have to reach in from the port city of Mannheim. You cannot walk from the ship. I found the downtown very crowded but we did manage to find a pretty park along a river where we hung out and enjoyed the breezes. Tons, and tons of restaurants and french bakeries to choice from (as if you had not just had a big breakfast on the cruise ship.)