River Cruise Review: AmaWaterways
Since its launch in 2002, AmaWaterways has carved out a name for itself as one of the world's most luxurious river cruise lines. With a fleet of 15 custom-designed ships operating in Europe, Russia, Asia and Africa, AmaWaterways covers an impressive geographical range. It also has some of the most personalized service in the industry -- the family-operated company's owners regularly join cruises and make changes based on their experiences.
The newest ships have innovative features including a heated pool with swim-up bar, a glass elevator, twin balcony staterooms and a secondary dining venue complete with glassed-in chef's kitchen.
AmaWaterways offers a good selection of shore excursions at all ports, with groups divided by walking pace to accommodate most requirements. Generally speaking, the line attracts a younger demographic than its competitors (40s, rather than 55+), which, combined with nightly entertainment from local musicians and dancers, ensures a lively atmosphere on board.
Luxury lovers will appreciate the massage, beauty treatments and hair salon aboard each ship. These features, plus a fitness studio, fleet of bicycles for shore use, sun deck walking track and sauna on most boats, heighten the sense of being aboard a "floating luxury hotel."
Selling point: AmaWaterways offers an extensive range of river cruise destinations and itineraries. It has more than a dozen different itineraries in Europe alone, ranging from 9 to 30 nights.
Keep in mind: Given the relatively young demographic on AmaWaterways ships, active types hoping to use the gym might find themselves battling for use of the machines each morning. Similarly, light sleepers on the top accommodation deck might be affected by the use of the walking/running track above them.
Operating since: 2002
Number of ships: 15, plus 3 more scheduled for 2014
- Europe: Danube, Douro, Main, Moselle, Rhine, Rhône, Seine
- Africa: Chobe
- Asia: Mekong
- Russia: Volga
Most popular route: Week-long voyages along the Danube (March to October, from $2660 per person).
What's included: Cruise fares include full board and wine, beer or soft drinks at lunch and dinner; shore excursions; Internet; and use of bicycles.
Contact: 800-626-0126; www.amawaterways.com
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