I have had the good fortune to (so far) sail onboard two of AmaWaterways’ newer twin balcony ships with another, the AmaStella slated for 2018. Initially, I decided to try Ama because of the twin balcony cabins but I have since learned, that there are many other reasons to give them a try. They are top rated by travel and cruise experts such as Berlitz, Cruise Critic, Travel Weekly and many others. In our experience they have a consistently outstanding crew, with everyone from the Captain and Cruise Director to the dining staff and cabin stewards, always providing professional and friendly service. Another area where they shine is onboard dining. Ama is a member of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, a prestigious culinary society that is by invitation only, it shows in the quality of the onboard dining. I am still missing their eggs benedict for breakfast! One other great thing I should mention, is that the Ama ships have a shallow draft and sleek profile. This may not seem so great, but it allows them to continue sailing much longer than some of the other river cruise lines, when there are issues with river water levels. That can be a very big deal if you want to lessen the chance of your dream river cruise becoming a bus trip.
The overall feel of the ships is clean and elegant, both I have sailed have been very well kept, they sparkled like new inside and out.
When you step aboard, you enter on deck three, otherwise known as the Violin deck. Upon entering you will be in the airy and bright reception lobby, that in addition to the reception desk, boasts an elevator to take you down to the two decks below. The elevator is flanked by a spiral staircase for you to use if you would prefer to burn some of your overindulgences off.
Continuing our tour we will walk towards the front of the ship and to the starboard side of the reception desk. We pass between the gift shop and the beverage center, which includes a few cafe tables to sit and enjoy your coffee or tea.
From here we see the bar on our left and the main lounge ahead of us, this is where you will spend a lot of your time onboard. The lounge has a buffet area in the center of the room, where snacks and beverages are provided throughout the day, it is also the staging area for continental breakfast items for the early risers as well as more substantial offerings around lunch and dinner. Comfortable groups of sofas and chairs are positioned around the perimeter of the lounge as well as along the front. There are floor to ceiling windows along both sides and looking out over an outdoor dining area and the bow of the ship.
We now head back along the port side of the ship toward the stern which brings us by the bar and the library before returning us to the reception lobby. From there we take the stairs to the Violin deck cabins (they are offset from the public areas of the deck.)
*Library photo courtesy of AmaWaterways
Once we make our way up to the Violin deck cabin area we find ourselves at the Cruise Director and Hotel Manager’s desks. On our two cruises the Cruise Director was the awesome Rachel!
From here we continue heading towards the rear of the ship passing through the hallway of the deck three cabin area. There are five cabin types on this deck, including our AA twin balcony cabin 305. You will first pass the one AA+ twin balcony and three suites, followed by the AA twin balconies and then the BA twin balconies, with the Category C French balconies at the end of the hallway.
AA Cabin 305
For information and photos on the other AmaSonata cabins (AmaPrima would be the same save colors)
From here we proceed to the aft of the ship on deck three, where the Chef’s Table restaurant is located. You may have dinner here one night of the cruise and it is complimentary. I do recommend on itineraries including Budapest, to choose your night there, the views are spectacular!
Leaving the Chef’s Table, just forward of it’s entrance, you will see the entrances to the Gym on one side and the massage room/hair salon on the other.
*Salon Photo courtesy of AmaWaterways
From here we will take the aft staircase down to deck two, the Cello deck. The section of deck two aft of the elevator and main staircase is only made up of cabins, starting with Category C French balconies farthest aft, followed by BB twin balconies, category AB twin balconies and finally finishing with a few more BB’s at the farthest position forward. I am including a photo of our BB cabin from the AmaPrima, you can see the link above for photos of the other cabin types.
So we find ourselves now back at the elevator and main staircase,on the deck two cabin area landing. From here we take the stairs down to the deck two forward area, where the main restaurant is located, breakfast, lunch and dinner are served here daily, have I mentioned their eggs benedict??
If we leave and return to the elevator and stairs we can either go down to level one, the Piano deck, here we will only find a cabin corridor, this corridor is first occupied by Category D fixed window cabins, with Category E fixed window cabins farther aft. Instead, we will go up to deck three reception lobby, from here we can step outside through large sliding glass doors on either side of the ship. Here we will find stairs leading to the Sun deck, which is the large outdoor deck on the top of the ship. The sun deck is home to a decently sized, heated outdoor pool with swim up bar. There are also comfortable seating areas, a walking track, large outdoor chess game and the wheelhouse. I imagine this will be a great place to hang out in the warmer months, like my July 2018 cruise! So far I have only sailed the Christmas market itineraries, which are just magical but brrrrrrrrrrr……….
*Pool photo courtesy of AmaWaterways
Cruising on one of the AmaWaterways’ twin balcony ships is a great way to see Europe. I cannot wait for my next cruise, right now it seems so far away! Oh, and did I mention how much I love their eggs benedict? Stay tuned and I will do a writeup on AmaWaterways’ dining.