Amsterdam to Basel with AmaWaterways - Part 1
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AmaWaterways go the extra mile!
Love is all around when you step on an
AmaWaterways river cruise. From
the warm welcome by the staff that go the 'extra mile', nothing is too much
trouble. The staff quickly remember your name and what you like to drink from
your breakfast to your night cap. This floating luxury hotel has beautiful
state rooms, the restaurant is first-class and the lounges comfortable and
decorated to a high standard.
Picking a river cruise is difficult, lots
of choices, lots of prices, it can be a 'minefield', there are so many ships to
choose from. My suggestion is to pick the one that goes to the places you want
to see and check the small print to see what is included - don't be put off by
the price. River cruises can seem expensive but if you work out what is
included, it is very good value. This was our first trip with AmaWaterways, and
it won't be our last.
Transfers/TransportThe information and flight tickets all came well within time before our departure and the seamless transfers worked very well. AmaWaterways have representatives meeting you at the airport and a bus to transport you to the ship. The cruise started from Amsterdam on a cool, wet day, but the reception on board was welcoming, warm and friendly and our cabin was ready for us, but if you arrive a little earlier the reception will look after your luggage and take you to the lounge where drinks and snacks are provided. Nothing is too much trouble for the Cruise Director who at the end of the trip organised a short walking tour plus a light lunch on board the ship before we were transferred back to the airport as our flight was late afternoon - excellent service.
Walking to our stateroom was like going
through a first class hotel from the beautiful reception along a tastefully
decorated corridor. Our stateroom was situated on the middle deck and one of
AmaWaterways’ designs are the exclusive twin balcony cabins. This comprises a
French balcony which is an 'enclosed' balcony but next to it is a traditional
outside balcony with a table and two chairs.
The new ships that AmaWaterways will be
launching soon have connecting staterooms that will be suitable for friends and
family. The whole ambiance of the stateroom was of luxury and others on the
ship are just as well appointed. From the suite staterooms with the bath and
extra ‘his and hers’ sinks to the cabins on the bottom deck with smaller
windows and a corner shower. Prices do decide which staterooms you pick, but I
must say I was very impressed with all the AmaWaterways offerings from the
lowest price to the highest.
AmaWaterways do not have single cabins,
they have double occupancy cabins that are available with no solo supplement on
selected cabin grades. The stateroom furnishings included a flat screen
TV/computer, safe, bathrobes, air conditioning that you can control yourself, lots of wardrobes and drawer space plus the en-suite with luxury toiletries
provided and the walk-in shower is ideal for any disabled or limited mobility
traveller. The free high speed internet could be accessed throughout the ship
plus a good selection of music, TV channels and up to date movies in your
The lounges on AmaWaterways ships are
comfortable and luxurious. The lounge is the hub of the ship where people
gather for light snacks or just a drink, a place to sit and watch the beautiful
scenery go by through the panoramic windows or having a conversation with
fellow passengers who would soon become friends. If you prefer to have a late
breakfast or light lunch the lounge area has tasty treats to fill the gap until
your evening meal. In the evening, this area is used for entertainment and
dancing. The entertainment is mixed from pop to classical, and the fun and
laughter that our Cruise Director Cesario brought to the evening was special for
all the guests. The ship was mainly American tourists but people from Mexico,
Hong Kong, Canada and Great Britain joined the party. There is a charge for the
bar in the lounge for all drinks but the tea and coffee machine is free and is
open for 24 hours. In the late evening snacks are brought out from the kitchen
for the hungry 'night owls'!
Health and Fitness
All the AmaWaterways ships have a
small gym on board plus a swimming pool/jacuzzi to help you work off the
excesses! There is also a walking track around the top deck which is rather
good after a large lunch, and you also get amazing views as you walk the length
of the ship. On the top deck are lots of tables and chairs for sunny days but
on cold days they double up as seats with blankets to wrap around you as you
drink the local coffee and brandy or wonderful gluhwein in the winter months.
For the super-fit, bike riding is becoming popular and when the ship docks,
complimentary bicycles are set out on the shore by the staff. Helmets are
provided plus a competent local guide to show you the beauties of the area. AmaWaterways have also
joined forces with the adventure company called Backroads, and this is
appearing on the Ama ship itineraries and will feature custom titanium bikes,
support vans and flexible itineraries with a range of cycling routes ideal for
For those who enjoy being pampered, a
well-designed Hair and Beauty salon can be found aboard all the ships, and if
you want a good massage after your fitness regime this is the place for
Restaurant - food glorious food
AmaWaterways was founded in 2002 by Rudi
Schreiner, Kristin Karst and Jimmy Murphy who are all passionate about the
quality and excellence of their ships. Food and wine are a large part of an
excellent holiday and AmaWaterways do not disappoint.
Imagine a top-class hotel with excellent
food and wine from the local area, well this is it. AmaWaterways is the only river cruise line to
be personally invited to join the prestigious brotherhood ‘La Chaine des
Rottiseurs’. Membership is by invitations only and is only given to those
demonstrating an exceptionally high level of cuisine. A sample menu from the Chef’s Table
follows at the end of this article.
There is complimentary unlimited fine wine,
beer or soft drinks and speciality coffee served with every lunch and dinner
plus sparkling wine. As you go into the restaurant you can sit in a booth for
four/six people - this is unique to AmaWaterways, and offers the highest
comfort for you to sit with friends for your meal.
Alternatively, you can sit on round tables that
are set for five or six people and when I asked the maitre d' why five
seats, he said it was for solo guests, which is a lovely idea, so that
travellers can share an evening with company and not sit on their own. However,
if you prefer to be alone than tables for two are available. The evening
ambiance in the restaurant is buzzing, but if you want a special evening you
can book the intimate Chef's Table which is an area set off the restaurant
which is ideal for a special celebration, birthdays or anniversaries for you to
share with friends. There is also a conference room for group entertaining or
this is used for meetings and lectures.
Plus local wines and coffee or tea
AmaWaterways have won the Cruise Critic
editors pick award for 2016 Best River Cruise Company in the USA. There
are 21 ships sailing in Europe, Africa, Cambodia, Vietnam and there is the same
quality and attention to detail on all ships.
The AmaDara is on the Mekong in
Vietnam/Cambodia, the AmaPura sails on the Irrawaddy river in Myanmar, the
Zambezi Queen sails on Botswana's Chobe River, so the world is your oyster so do
it in style.
Whether you are a group of bikers, walkers,
hikers or a church group AmaWaterways will facilitate and endeavour to cater
for all your requirements. Wine cruises, garden cruises and art cruises are
already in place (art cruises will discontinue in 2017). The Disney Adventure
group who are partners of AmaWaterways have cruises designed especially for
families (not in the UK); lots of activities are planned for the children and
further activities for the parents or grandparents.
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