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5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2014
My husband asked me to arrange this cruise to celebrate our 46th anniversary. We were sure we wanted to cruise the Danube River; so the biggest decision was itinerary and date. I knew I didn't want to go later than September or ... Read More
My husband asked me to arrange this cruise to celebrate our 46th anniversary. We were sure we wanted to cruise the Danube River; so the biggest decision was itinerary and date. I knew I didn't want to go later than September or earlier than April. We arrived in Prague April 29. We took advantage of the 3 day pre-cruise package in Prague, staying at the Intercontinental Hotel, which we enjoyed...great breakfast buffet each morning. We were met by AmaWaterways at the airport in Prague at 9:30 in the morning and taken to the hotel where we met Rachel Coutos-Gomez, our Cruise Manager. Our room was ready for us. For the next almost 2 weeks, Rachel worked tirelessly! I don't know when she slept. She was always on the ball, arranging the city tours, buses, guides, optional tours, etc. And, her suitcase must be huge, because she changed clothes several times most days...and had an outfit to compliment each port, it seemed. She even arranged a special tour of the Doheny Street Synagogue in Budapest, at the request of fellow passengers. And, at the end of the cruise in Budapest, she escorted each passenger off of the ship...even those who left the ship at 3 a.m. She is a gem to AmaWaterways!! Hotel Manager Victoria was also wonderfully helpful and cheerful at all times, as was Maitre 'd Cipi. Captain Andreas had a great crew. He may be short in stature, but he knows how to run a “tight” ship...especially going through those narrow locks! Hats off to him! I thoroughly enjoyed Rachel's talk on the workings of the river lock system...very informative. The ship, itself, was wonderfully decorated. Our cabin had a French balcony, which allowed us to check out the river scenery when we were in the cabin. The cabin had plenty of storage area. We didn't feel cramped. Fahro, our cabin steward, was great! He was very pleasant and he kept our room straightened up, replenishing bottles of water each day. One evening, he had kissing swan towels on our bed, celebrating our anniversary. And, the dining room staff brought out a special dessert for us at dinner. The lounge had plenty of seating. It was nice to sit in there in the afternoon and read or watch the river scenery. After 3 days in Prague and a bus trip to Nuremberg, we began a wonderful cruise down to Budapest. The scenery was exquisite; and, even though it was a little windy and cool out on the deck, most days the sun was shining and the weather was beautiful! Some of my photos look like postcards! We thought all of the city tours did a good job of introducing us to the best that each city had to offer. We mostly had great tour guides in Nuremberg, Regensburg, Passau, Vienna, and Budapest. When we go back on another cruise, we'll know what to concentrate on...or what to see that we didn't get to see on this trip. In Regensburg, we had Henry (Helmut) Winkler....an older version of the Fonz! We only wish that we'd had a little more free time in most cities. It seemed like we were always in a hurry to make it back to the ship. We're not big shoppers; but we would have liked to have done a little more exploring...and eating! Speaking of eating...we thought the food onboard AmaLyra was very good and the waitstaff attentive and pleasant. Breakfast buffet was great! There were plenty of breakfast meats and fruits. We could special order eggs; or have a made-to-order omelet. It seemed there was a special each morning, whether it was grilled mushrooms, baked tomatoes, French toast, etc. The bread and pastry table was so wonderfully tempting. And, in addition to a selection of juices, a bottle of champagne was available to make mimosas! At every meal, there was also a selection of cheeses. For lunch, we could order from the menu...soups, sandwiches, entrees or partake of the buffet. There were plenty of salads and salad makings, meats, and cheeses. Then, there was usually a pasta dish of the day. There was either a cream based or broth based soup at lunch and dinner. Both were delicious; but, personally, I enjoyed the broth soups better. For dinner in the dining room, there was an option of 2 appetizers, 2 soups, 3 entrees, and 2 desserts. If none of the entrees suited you, we could order staples of salmon, steak, or chicken. One of the entree options was always vegetarian. At one meal, the 6 of us at the table made our entree selections and then asked to have the vegetarian entree served for the table to taste! Wine and beer were complimentary at lunch and dinner. On a couple of evenings, entertainment was brought onboard. While it was nice; we didn't think it was anything really outstanding. We did enjoy the piano player each afternoon and dancing in the evening. My husband took advantage of the 3 guided bicycle tours, which he enjoyed. We love river cruising. This is our second river cruise and we're ready to book another one. We like the intimacy. It's so much more easy to meet fellow cruisers. We made some wonderful friends, with whom we will keep in contact. We will definitely book with AmaWaterways again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2014
AMA Waterways Danube cruise was exceptional in every way. My husband and I and 10 other couples recently sailed the Romantic Danube itinerary from Vilshofen to Budapest. In every way the cruise exceeded our expectations. The staff was ... Read More
AMA Waterways Danube cruise was exceptional in every way. My husband and I and 10 other couples recently sailed the Romantic Danube itinerary from Vilshofen to Budapest. In every way the cruise exceeded our expectations. The staff was wonderful, there to assist, but not obtrusive....attentive to needs, but not smothering, very friendly, welcoming, and ready to accommodate. We all had Category A staterooms on the top deck...the rooms were very nicely arranged (but small, as expected) with huge windows and comfortable beds. The dining area was large and well arranged, the food was very good, and the staff here took care to meet everyone's needs. Breakfast and lunch were expansive buffets, dinner was by menu, with several choices. Wine and beer was complimentary at lunch and dinner. The shore excursions were included in the price and were handled well with the passengers being divided into smaller groups, mostly based on activity level. For the most part, the offered shore excursions were tours of the ports. There were a few optional tours offered...these, too, were handled efficiently and were wonderful. This was our first ever cruise and we highly recommend the river cruise experience, especially with AMA. It all was quite perfect. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2013
After reading all of the glowing reviews of the AMA Waterways European river cruises, we made reservations for the Legendary Danube cruise from Prague to Budapest on the AMA Lyra. We reserved a modestly priced cabin with a French balcony ... Read More
After reading all of the glowing reviews of the AMA Waterways European river cruises, we made reservations for the Legendary Danube cruise from Prague to Budapest on the AMA Lyra. We reserved a modestly priced cabin with a French balcony on the upper (Violin) deck. With a three day pre-cruise extension in Prague, the cost, not including airfare was close to $9000. We had great expectations and were so disappointed. In Prague, we stayed at the Intercontinental, an older hotel that has been nicely updated. The included breakfast there was excellent. We had a city tour on the first day, and it was fair, at best. The tour guide was difficult to understand due to her accent. We were rushed from site to site, a pattern that persisted through the trip. The following day we took the optional tour of Terezen. The bus ride was tiring, but the tour was excellent. The following day, we left by bus for our embarkation from Nuremberg. On the way we stopped for lunch and a brief tour of Karlovy Vary. The guide on our bus had such a pronounced accent that we understood very little of what he said. Our embarkation was smooth and the cabin, although small, as others have noted, was acceptable and adequate for our purposes. The housekeepers were friendly and did a excellent job of keeping it clean. We were promised bath robes; After numerous phone calls, they finally arrived 36 hours later. There were not enough electrical receptacles in the cabin, and the ones there were under the bedside tables, making access to them challenging. At the reception dinner, our disappointments escalated. Everyone was instructed to arrive simultaneously, so there was a delay finding seating. We met the waiter, who like most of the dining room staff was somewhere between surly and unhelpful. Requests were either denied or ignored. Smiles were nowhere to be seen. We finally found a pleasant, helpful water serving a corner table, so we managed to sit at his table throughout the remainder of the cruise. The staff in the lounge were similarly inadequate. We were never offered the opportunity to purchase a beverage. To get a drink, one had to walk to the bar and put in an order. We were never offered any beverage service on the sun deck. The bartender could be nasty. One day we returned from a late bus tour in the late afternoon. The afternoon tea was scheduled to open at 4 PM. Since we had missed lunch, we were anxious to have something to eat. The buffet was partially set up, and sandwiches were accessible. As I tried to take one, the staff person told me that food could not be touched until 4 o'clock. We were disappointed by much of the food. Breakfasts were adequate, although slow moving lines were common at the buffet and the omelet station. They did have lox and bagels, which I enjoyed. Lunches were poor. There was a salad bar with the usual slow moving lines. When I arrived at the food, several items had been consumed and were never refilled. The waiter rook orders for soups and entrees. Soups were excellent, the best of the food we had on the boat. Entrees were mediocre, at both lunch and dinner. Each meal included an offered fish dish. For seven days, it appeared that we were served the time fish with a different description, trout, bass, etc., all identical. Beef was similar. We were daily offered a different beef entree that seemed to always be the same dry tough cut of meat. Chicken dishes were similarly disappointing. The salad bar was often closed before we had finished our meals. We had daily bus tours on this "all inclusive" cruise. They seemed to consist of interminable bus rides with tour guides who were fair to good. We rapidly tired of rushing to get on a bus, riding to a site, having a brief tour, and then rushing back to the bus. The promised slow walker and strong walker tours never materialized, so with everyone walking at differing rates, the group was stretched out and the faster walkers had to wait for the slower ones. Even the fellow passengers on our tour were a problem. Many were form a large group, and as another reviewer has noted, many were brusque and unfriendly. The worst problem was our cruise director. She had an excuse as to why any request could not be fulfilled. She was constantly making announcements over the PA system, often in the early morning and late evening, announcing things that had already been clearly outlined in out daily hand-outs. Our impression was that she was always trying to impress us with how hard she was working and how important she was for our cruise.We cringed every time we heard her voice. Unfortunately, any question to the ladies at the reception desk were simply referred to the cruise director. Disembarkation presented another issue. We were offered a cab to our hotel in Budapest, where we pent another five days.What we received was a car service, which was very nice. We only later found that the fare was triple that of a taxi! We are experienced cruisers, but our disappointment (I keep using that word) with this cruise really turned us off toward river cruising. There were so many issues that I have not mentioned, but between brusque crew, poor food, and a terrible cruise director, AMA Waterways has lost our respect. Read Less
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