Complimentary shore excursions are offered in each port to explore the destination on land. In some ports there is only one option, such as a canal sightseeing cruise in Amsterdam, but most ports have two to four options, including an active one.
In Rudesheim, for example, passengers can choose from a guided vineyard hike, bike tour, wine tasting or a ride in the gondola (cable car) providing aerial views of the region. Bike tours, from 14 to 21 miles, take three to four hours along mostly flat paths but have some small hills, bridges and streets to cross. Hikes are often uphill and challenging. Walking tours are divided into gentle, regular and active groups.
At two ports, a coach trip is required to reach the destination, which may not even be in the same country. For example, in Breisach, it's a 45-minute drive to Riquewihr (France) or Freiburg (Germany). In the big city ports, AmaWaterways offers additional experiences that cost extra, such as a classical music concert in Vienna. Passengers can also do their own thing by walking into the riverside villages or catching the line's free shuttle buses. There is usually some free time after the organized shore excursions for cruisers who want to wander around, do some shopping or stay ashore for lunch.
Excursions can be booked before sailing but changes may be made onboard after hearing the options explained at the predinner port talks. Quietvox headsets are provided for passengers to easily listen to local guides. Umbrellas, walking sticks and folding cane seats can also be borrowed for use ashore.
Daytime and Evening Entertainment
Little time is spent onboard AmaMora during the day, as most passengers are exploring the destination on shore excursions. The ship has a small library off the lounge with some board games, a few books and a selection of news printouts from several countries. Crossword puzzles are available in the lobby. In-cabin movies are also available on-demand for no extra charge.
In the evening, the lounge has a resident musician or guest entertainers performing classical or country music. Special events may include a music quiz, film trivia, a disco night and a soul night.
Presented by the cruise director, the onboard program is limited to port talks about the upcoming destinations, commentary along the Rhine Gorge and a lecture about "France–Germany: A Difficult Partnership." Enrichment is more likely to come from local guides on shore excursions. When AmaMora is hosting a wine cruise, experts are recruited to lead specialty classes and tastings.
There is only one main lounge, which is used for quiet relaxation during the day and socializing at night, It starts filling up before dinner at the Sip & Sail happy hour, when house wine, beer and spirits are complimentary. After dinner, a smaller number of passengers adjourn to the bar for trivia or live music.
Lounge & Bar (Violin Deck): As the largest public space on the ship, the lounge hosts the predinner port talks, captain's welcome and farewell drinks, light meals, afternoon tea and nightly entertainment. The decor is colorful, brightened up by floral carpets, flowers, vibrantly patterned furniture and large windows wrapping the room. Long couches, love seats and armchairs are arranged into small and large groups, with coffee tables and higher tables to eat at. Peanuts, pretzels, cookies and gluten-free snacks are always available, along with a menu of more substantial bar snacks that can be ordered from the waiters or bartender. The full-service bar features wine, beer, spirits, cocktails and soft drinks for a fee (except during the complimentary happy hour). The lounge opens to an alfresco covered area with seating at the front of the ship.
Pool Bar (Sun Deck): AmaMora's pool has a bar set up with bottles of liquor and swim-up barstools submerged underwater; however, we never saw any bartenders serving drinks, even when passengers were in the pool.
The Sun Deck is a lovely spot to relax on a sunny day. Plentiful seating includes different types of chairs, reclining loungers and long sofas with comfy cushions, tables, umbrellas and canopies for shade. The heated pool has a swim-up bar and four barstools; it's not big enough to do laps but it's bigger than a plunge pool. There is also a giant chess set and a walking/jogging track (eight laps to a mile; closed between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m.). Fitness classes are held on the Sun Deck if the weather is pleasant. Smoking is permitted downwind in the aft area.
The reception desk, in the main lobby, is where passengers can ask questions, set up onboard accounts, book spa and salon appointments, get shore excursion color cards and swipe their room key when leaving and returning to the ship. Opposite and up a flight of stairs are the desks for the hotel manager and cruise manager, who can assist with booking shore excursions. An onboard shop sells jewelry, souvenirs, toiletries and AmaWaterways-branded clothing. A glass elevator runs between the passenger decks, restaurant and Sun Deck
With its dedicated programing, AmaWaterways has more commitment to wellness than most river cruise lines; wellness is a passion of line co-owner Kristin Karst. While the facilities are limited on AmaMora, a dedicated wellness coach, a massage therapist and a hairdresser are onboard.
On the Piano Deck is a small room for relaxing (not remedial) massages for a reasonable fee of 60 euros (about $70) for 60 minutes or 30 minutes for 30 euros (about $30). We found the therapist's pressure to be too light but this may suit other people. Be warned: There is no curtain on the small window near the ceiling, and although it is too high for passersby to look in, if the ship is docked where the pier has a walkway higher than the ship, you will want to take care when undressing and getting up after the massage.
AmaMora also has a small salon that offers hair washing, cutting and styling services. Book early because the spa and salon have limited appointments, especially outside shore excursion hours when most cruisers are aboard the ship.
AmaMora has a cabin-sized fitness room on the Piano Deck. It has two treadmills, two stationary bikes, light weights, yoga mats and exercise balls, as well as water and towels. For a better workout in a group, AmaMora has a wide range of exercise classes run by a wellness coach with fitness qualifications. Active options include stretching and core strengthening sessions, circuit training, resistance band classes, line dancing and yoga (including Champagne yoga on the Sun Deck on a sunny day, where participants can drink wine).
In almost every port, it is possible to borrow the ship's bicycles for a nonguided ride along the riverside or join a guided cycling tour or hiking tours. The wellness coach may also lead jogging, brisk walking and digestive walks after some meals. Pace is adjusted to the people in each group, but you will definitely get a good workout if that is your goal.
AmaMora is one of the few family-friendly river ships featuring interconnecting cabins and triple-occupancy cabins with a foldout sofa bed for a child. However, the ship has no other youth facilities or child-minding services. Kids under the age of 4 years old are not permitted and children 4–7 years old are not recommended. Under-18s must share a cabin with an adult and be supervised at all times, including on tours.
Teenagers and older children who are interested in European history and culture might enjoy the shore excursions but will need to entertain themselves onboard. The ship is equipped with board games in the library, giant chess and a small pool on the sun deck, and of course, free Wi-Fi.
A handful of AmaMora sailings are specifically aimed at families, as part of AmaWaterways' partnership with Adventures by Disney. These fun theme cruises incorporate Disney-related activities into the itinerary, attracting younger kids and their parents.