Want to learn more about the most luxurious river cruise operator around? AmaWaterways provide a high standard of luxury and service across all their itineraries and services and GoCruise Franchisee and river expert, Helen Worthington, provides a first-hand insight into her own knowledge and experiences with this exquisite river cruise firm.
AMA Waterways is a river cruise line owned by two families based in the USA, but with Fred Olsen Travel acting as their point of sale in the UK. Both families are actively involved in new ship design as well as overseeing the maintenance of the high standards that AMA is famous for. It is not uncommon to find Rudi Shreiner or Kristin Karst having a drink at the bar on board one of their ships or travelling the UK to personally give presentations.
AMA Waterways ships earned the highest ratings, taking the top eleven slots in the new rankings found in the ‘Berlitz River Cruising in Europe Guide’ (1st Edition). AmaPrima was not only the number one ship of the 280 inspected, but was also the Cruise Critic Editor’s Pick for Best River Cruise Ship in 2013. Other cruise line awards include Travel Age West Wave Award 2014 for best on board dining and best staterooms.
AMA Waterways aim to provide their guests with the best possible travel experience. ‘Ama’ (‘love’ in Latin) is the bedrock of everything the cruise line aspires to; from the thoughtful design of the ships and care taken over itineraries; to the attention to detail offered and exquisite menus featured on board. AMA Waterways is the only river cruise line ever to be inducted into the Confrerie la Chaine des Rotisseurs - the international gastronomic society dedicated to fine cuisine, where membership is by invitation only!
AMA Waterways currently operate 14 ships in mainland Europe. The oldest, AmaDagio, was built in 2006. The ships carry no more than 164 guests (other river cruise lines carry up to 190 guests) in cabins starting at 170 sq ft (above the standard size for the industry). Four ships feature cabins with both French and full balcony combinations, the rest with French balconies and suites vary in size (ship to ship) from 255-300 sq ft. Local wines and beers are included with meals in the cruise price as are shore excursions.
This also includes Limited Edition Tours, offering guests the opportunity to immerse themselves in the destination. These are available in addition to standard tours and include making authentic Hungarian goulash in Budapest or tasting sacher torte and sparkling wine in Vienna. Shore excursions are offered, mindful of guests’ desired pace – gentle walker, active walker and late starter! For the more energetic there is complimentary use of ships bikes and guided bike tour options. On board there are alternative dining venues on some ships, as well as a fitness room (small gym), heated whirl pools or small swimming pool and the services of a masseur and hairdresser. Internet access and wifi is provided in all staterooms.
AMA Waterways offer 22 itineraries on ten rivers around the globe: the Rhine, Moselle, Danube, Main, Rhone and Seine in mainland Europe; in addition to the Douro (Portugal), the Mekong (Cambodia) , Ayeyerwady in Myanmar (Burma) and the Chobe (South Africa). AMA offers maximum flexibility in allowing guests to extend their stay either pre or post cruise or both. For instance, their Discover Africa itinerary on the Chobe already includes three nights in Cape Town, four nights cruising and two nights at Victoria Falls.
Cruise itineraries typically start with Tulip Time and run from March each year; ending with festive Christmas Market cruises as well as a range of itineraries over the Christmas period on the Danube and Rhine. Far Eastern itineraries are year round and South African travel is between March and November (2015). AMA also offer themed cruises - with wine cruises featuring strongly; but there are also Jewish Heritage cruises, jazz cruises, beer cruises and art cruises in addition to a Knitting cruise for New Year (2015) and a champagne cruise sailing in April 2015.
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