Ama Waterways River Cruise - MS AmaDagio


Martin Hay – 21-12-2009 - Ama WaterwaysMS AmaDagio

 

Although I have been on many different ocean cruises I have never been on a river cruise and so when the opportunity arose last month at short notice to sample AMA for 4 nights from Nuremberg to Mainz I leapt at it.

Overall I am pleased to report that I travelled with high expectations and generally these were exceeded.

I flew from Manchester to Nuremberg with KLM via Amsterdam (comfortable with good service and connections), arriving in Nuremberg the transfer is straight forward 15/20 mins max by taxi.

Arriving alongside around 7pm (the vessel didn't sail until about 10pm - not unusual) it was pitch dark but I was greeted by a member of the crew as I excited the taxi who turned out to be the Captain! - I was welcomed on-board by the Hotel Manager and personally escorted to my stateroom by the Chief Housekeeper ....... when did that last happen on Oasis?

The stateroom was again better than expected at 170sq ft it was a good size, the furnishing etc were of a high standard, the french balcony works really well and the shower room larger and better equipped that any mainstream cruise line (fully tiled with spacious multi-point shower etc....). NB. Lowest deck same cabin size / features but only small picture window / may feel a bit claustrophobic.

The main lounge is spacious and is full of comfortable sofas and chairs (think floating English country club hotel) with full floor to ceiling windows and a lovely open seating area at the very front of the vessel outside.

The lounge has a complimentary quality refreshments area open 24/7 and mountains of cookies or better to tempt you round the clock. There is a nice bar area and the lounge is the main venue for and talks, presentations and evening entertainment.

At the rear of the vessel is a smaller second lounge area again with sofas and tables, various puzzles, board games etc. also free Wi-Fi (like main lounge and free on your stateroom TV / movie on demand system). Next to this is a small but well equipped gym and spa facility.

Dining turned out to be another highlight. Breakfast is a surprisingly extensive and quality buffet (remember max 150 guests), lunch again mostly buffet style with good selection of hot and cold dishes with a "lite" version available in the main lounge above.

Evening meals are served in one open sitting with at least 3 or 4 choices for each course (with salmon, chicken and steak always available as well). The food was surprisingly well presented, always hot and of good quality. Service in the dining room, indeed throughout the vessel, is courteous, attentive but not intrusive - everyone was very accessible and friendly.

Worth noting is the free local wines served with the evening meal - this is not one glass, it is often refreshed even over coffee so your first post dinner drink in the lounge as you enjoy the evening's entertainment is also free.

Speaking of entertainment there is a resident keyboard player. In addition we had several talks demonstrations whilst on-board (wine tasting and glass blowing). On some nights we also had local acts come on-board although these were rather variable quality.

The inclusive walking tour each day are well organised and interesting with quality guides using microphones and you with receiving ear pieces, also there isn't one excursion but up to three catering for thedifferent levels of interest and fitness levels of the various guests onboard.

Core guest profile is active and interested 50 to 70 year olds. Families are welcome and occasionally do appear, but there is no kids programme and in truth this would only really be suitable for teens who enjoy relaxing reading, playing board games and watching the world go by up close and personal at circa 6 knots.

Because it was November and our particular route took us under many low bridges the open deck on top didn't really operate - a shame as I can imagine in spring, autumn and especially in summer it's fab. Also please note if there are low bridges the satellite feed goes down so no internet.

AMA was great - a true 5* product that is significantly more inclusive (tours each day + wine with meals, free web etc.) than virtually all mainstream ocean cruise companies.