- 162-passenger ship debuted in May 2010
- Fare includes wine with dinner, Internet use and tours
- Spacious cabins for a river cruise line
Many riverboats offer cabins with modified "French" balconies (floor-to-ceiling windows that open from side to side but don't allow passengers to step out), and a few others offer real verandahs you can sit on, but AmaBella goes further. Ranging from 210 to 235 square feet, A and B categories offer living areas with French balconies and, off the bedrooms, two-seater verandahs. Roughly half of all cabins onboard have the dual scenario. In these cabins, the living areas feature easy chairs and desk/vanity combinations.
The marble shower-only bathrooms are unusually spacious for a river ship and have funky windows that look out into the cabin. Fortunately the windows have privacy switches that transform them into opaque, frosted glass. A window at the end of the balcony shines extra light into the living area.
One tip: Cabins on Deck 2 are more centrally located, while those on Deck 3 might have slightly better views in port when the ship butts up against other vessels or docks.
AmaBella has two suites onboard. Measuring 350 square feet, each of these is essentially one large room with a spacious seating area, a larger-than-usual balcony (about 2 to 3 feet deeper than the others) with room for ottomans. They boast the only onboard bathrooms with tubs.
A handful of more traditional cabins, at 170 square feet, have French verandahs. And, on the lowest level, the Piano Deck, 160-square-foot cabins have high windows. These rooms small desks, adequate closet space and easy chairs.
All cabins include comfortable beds that convert from twins to queen-size. There are minibars stocked with complimentary bottled water, and generous amounts of closet space and under-the-bed storage, especially in higher-end staterooms. The bathrooms have both rain showerheads and regular showerheads. (Hot water was plentiful, though the water pressure was a bit on the weak side.)
Each cabin features a flat-screen television with somewhat skimpy programming, including a handful of movie picks and news channels beamed in via satellite. There's also in-cabin Internet access; most passengers we met brought their own devices. A nice touch: Each cabin is outfitted with European- and American-style plugs and comes with a pair of umbrellas. Amenities include robes, slippers and individual-sized bath products like soap, lotion, shampoo and conditioner.
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