We recently completed our first river cruise and wanted to share some of our thoughts with you. We have cruised extensively on multiple cruise lines but only on ocean voyages and only had this experience for comparison. We quickly found out – there is no comparison!
The size of the boat, the number of passengers and crew and the bodies of water are all much smaller than anything we had done previously. Our boat was the AmaLegro and she was built for approximately 142 passengers with a crew of 42. She has three decks with a lounge on deck 2, dining on deck 1 and a sun deck on 3. The pace and setting of a river cruise is more relaxed and intimate than ocean cruising. The slower pace is great for resting up to explore the areas you will visit each day of your cruise. Multiple excursions are available in each port city with varying activity levels from gentle to active along with bike tours.
Upon departure, we sailed up the Seine River to the Eiffel Tower and were treated to a front row viewing of the dancing lights of the Eiffel Tower. Our viewing spot was at the Grenelle Bridge where a replica of the Statue of Liberty stands!
The escorted tours are in English and the headsets (when required) are of good quality. The buses (when required) were clean, the bikes are provided and maintained by AmaWaterways for the more adventurous traveller and the guides were generally knowledgable, friendly and from the area. We had an historian give a presentation on D-Day the day before we visited the landing beaches to provide background for what we were about to visit. There was also live entertainment in the afternoon and evenings from a crew member as well as musicians brought in on select nights. The boat is equipped with a small fitness center, hot tub and had massage and hair care available.
The dining on board the boat was always fresh, varied and flexible. Dietary concerns were handled with care and you never felt singled out. Breakfast and lunch were more buffet oriented but they always had items available from the kitchen if you didn’t find what you liked on the buffet. Dinner was always from a menu with multiple selections for appetizers, soup, entrees and dessert. They also had a selections of “always available” items for those occasions when you could not find something you liked on the menu. The quality of the meals was enhanced by the selection of red and white wine to pair with the selected menu along with soda, water or beer for the non wine lovers. There was also a reservation only restaurant at the back of the boat on deck 3 called the Chef’s Table where they serve a tasting menu. You get the opportunity to sample multiple appetizers, soups, entrees and desserts along with wine while enjoying the view from the large windows at the rear of the boat. The tasting menu is adventurous and fun and is not an additional charge. We also enjoyed sampling the local fare while visiting the ports of call!
An important feature of the river cruise is the all inclusive nature of the cruise fare. Your cruise fare covers all your excursions, all the wine and beer served at lunch and dinner and all your meals (breakfast, lunch, dinners and snacks) while on board. Alcohol ordered outside of meal times will be charged to your stateroom account as will massages, hair care and laundry services. There is a cruise manager on the boat to handle every aspect of your river cruise from arrival to departure. Staterooms are cozy and comfortable and the boat is luxurious. The dining room team, stateroom attendants, reception hosts and officers were all efficient, courteous and truly interested in your comfort and safety.
AmaWaterways is an excellent river cruise company, offering a great variety of itineraries all over Europe as well as Asia and Africa. AmaWaterways also partners with Adventures By Disney for a family focused river cruise experience on the Danube River! We were very impressed with our first river cruise experience and you will be too!