Though I have traveled all over the world with friends and family, this was my first river boat cruise. Before you decide to go on an Amawaterways river cruise, I think you should close the glossy brochure and read actual reviews from travelers. It's all about expectations. The majestic views from the brochure are not the norm. The Rhine is a busy working river with cargo ships passing by often. You only have one day of looking at lush countryside and magnificient castles. You will not magically walk off the ship at night to grab a drink in a quaint town. Most of your stops are not near town, but rather in an industrial port on the outskirts of town. If you expect to wake up and enjoy a cup of coffee on your personal balcony that will not happen either. I never expected to be tied up to other river boats and staring into someone else's room. Who knew you would be climbing across other boats to get off your river boat. Save your money and choose the cheapest room on the boat.
Did you ever expect if you got hurt while traveling on a river boat you would be considered a nusance rather than a special traveler. It's all about expectations!!!
Our group did take the pre-cruise trip and I would highly recommend that if your time and budget allows. We met some great people which was extra fun once we left shore.
The Amakristina is a beautiful new ship. The rounded staircases looked elegant, but just be reminded that the depth of each step is shorter than the normal ones you use on land. I would recommend you hold on to the hand-rail when you are on the stairs. One of our group tumbled one afternoon and required surgery as soon as we got him back home.
The cabin rooms were immaculate with more storage than I expected. I would not upgrade my room to include a balcony. One sunny afternoon, we were pulling into a port and our plan was to sit and have a drink on our balcony to enjoy the view, but within a few minutes we were tied up to another boat and the stunning view was gone.
The cleaning staff were outstanding. They waited discreetly for you to leave your room and got your room sparkling before you returned.
The food was good. The dining room had booths and tables which you selected on a first come first serve basis at each meal. Make sure you don't hand your plate or tea cup to the server when they are clearing the table. They will definitely scold you to put it down. The staff definitely considered it rude to try and help them out. Not sure if the staff was reprimanded by upper management if they saw a guest helping but, it sure was unsettling on three occasions that a member of our group was sternly told not to pass their things to the waiter. I guess we crazy Americans just have a habit to help. I can't say I have ever traveled some place when you were told, "No! No! No!"
There was one main area to congregrate after dinner. The entertainment was ok, but nothing memorable. The bartenders did a good job. On the last night on the trip, "No talking" signs were posted in the only bar because of a string performance. Though they were talented musicians, I thought it was a bad idea for the last night aboard the boat to require all guest not to talk in the only bar. The activities director had fostered such great friendship building throughout the cruise and now, when people wanted to toast the trip and say good-bye they could not. The people we met from all over the world we terrific and by far the best part of the trip. The activities director who was in charge of all the off boat excursions worked her tail off. She was by far the hardest member of the crew and most professional.
The shore excursions were well organized. They left on time and had you back to the ship precisely when they said. The local guides were ok. They weren't too flexible. It was raining sideways in Amsterdam and the group was soaked and requesting to head to our coffee and apple cake spot a little early, but for some reason we could not do that. Make sure you bring an umbrella and a map so, if you decide it's time to get out of the rain, you can find your way back to the boat. don't be afraid to break away from the group and duck into a local spot. I think it might be more fun. Don't be afraid to skip a planned tour and do your own thing. There is not a lot of time to do both.
No one every expects to get hurt on a cruise, but if you ever worried what would happen if you did read on.
We were a group of eight onboard. One member or our group tripped on the main stairs. The fall resulted in a torn patella tendon pushing the passenger's kneecap up into his thigh until he got back to the states and had surgery. The recovery time was four months. The only person capable of handling the situation was another passenger. Thanks god he was there.There was no medically trained person on the ship. I am sure the size of the boat precludes it. We did not see any member of the crew who was assigned to triage accidents or medical emergencies. There was a first aide kit. If you are in need of a splint while in the middle of the Rhine River torn bed linens tied to tour guide sign posts work well. If you expect that the ship's Captain and/or Hotel Manager will take charge in this type of situation you will be disappointed. If you expect someone to knock on your door and deliver ice, food and maybe even a complimentary soda they won't.
Find the activiites manager and ask her to call ahead to a local guide to secure crutches at the next port. Use your dirty clothes bag to get ice at the bar. Borrow towels from your neighbors you are going to need extra when the ice melts.
Apparently, another passenger a few trips before we traveled fell and broke their collar bone on the same steps. If you thought an accident report would be filed at some point, by and any member of the AmaWaterways crew you will be waiting a forever. The VP of sales will be worried once you return and read the evaluations you complete at the conclusion of your ship.
There were no special accommodations made for the injured patient in the dining room. He was scolded multiple times in the dining room during the remaining five days he stayed on the ship. The dining staff were more concerned with not having to reset a table then helping a patient injured on their ship who could not bend his knee and who could only sit at very specific tables not a booth. If you are are concerned how the ship would handle an injury I think you should be.
Our group was celebrating our 30 and 35th wedding anniveraries. We had read so much about the over top service people had experienced while traveling on a river cruise, but sadly, that was not what we experienced. Hope yours is a million times better.
Our group is researching our next vacation, but it will certianly not be on a river cruise.
Don’t upgrade your room because you can’t use your balcony very often. Frequently you were tied up to another river boat. You know those majestic views you see in the marketing material? Yeah you won’t wake up to that very often. Don’t open the curtains until you are fully dressed for the day because you are a foot away from another ship most mornings.
It was raining sideways and no alternative plan was made. It was not just raining it was a soaking rain.View All 311 Canal Tour Reviews