First impressions of the Ship
Having only ever been on large ocean ships, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but from the moment we arrived at the port it was clear that AMAWaterways was on another level. Having only been built in 2017, AmaKristina stuck out against the other river ships with her modern and elegant exterior. Once onboard and checked in, we headed to our cabin where our luggage was already waiting for us, along with a welcome package. This included the ‘Daily Cruiser’ newsletter which features the weather forecast and itinerary, a ‘Meet the team’ leaflet featuring key staff members, and a multi-national charger adapter (which we very much appreciated!). We had a Category AB Twin Balcony stateroom and were delighted by the space (235 sq. ft), not to mention the amazing views. Having struggled with seasickness before, I was worried I would feel too closed in, but the floor-to-ceiling windows let in plenty of light and opened up the cabin space. The bathroom also had switchable glass, letting more natural light into the bathroom if desired. I would recommend this stateroom category to anyone thinking of travelling with AmaWaterways, as the size felt noticeably larger and more open than the fixed-window cabins on the Piano Deck, which would be perfect for single occupancy. The suites on the Violin Deck did have again, noticeably more space, with a sofa, double sink, and Champagne on arrival; if you were looking for a more exclusive and luxurious experience, a suite would be the choice for you – but with only four on the ship, be sure to book early!
We were also delighted to find every cabin had an iMac, providing you with TV programmes and a selection of recent films, the internet, and a music system. It was already clear that AMAWaterways is all about the small details, catering for all people and leaving you to want for nothing.
Food and Things to Do
During the first day we were left to do self-guided tours of the ship followed by a light lunch, including a range of bagels, soups, and dessert. I was impressed with the whole ship, from the restaurants to the spa and gym facilities, which I would definitely have made use of (along with the deck chairs and heated pool on the sun deck) had we had a longer period of time onboard. The fleet of bicycles were also a nice touch; however we weren’t fortunate with the weather so I was unable to give one of their tours a spin.
In the afternoon we had some free time to explore Amsterdam central, which was easily accessible with just a short 6 minute walk from the ship.
Upon returning to the ship, we had our welcome and safety speeches, accompanied by free-flowing Champagne, and pre-dinner canapes.
As members of the prestigious La Chaine des Rotisseurs, the dining throughout the trip was amazing and continued to demonstrate the attention to detail with incredible, colourful presentation. Each nightly menu features a ‘chef recommendation’, as well as a several-course menu with multiple options for starters, mains, and desserts. Each menu also highlights a healthy choice and a local choice, based on the itinerary of the cruise. They will also do their upmost to accommodate any dietary requirements, but I would recommend this be noted when you book. I would also recommend any of their soups; my top dish would have to be the Crayfish Bisque with puff pastry sticks.
The wine was also delicious with an extensive list and choices made to complement the daily menu.
Although the second night was a formal night, the food excelled on both evenings, and celebrations carried on post-dinner in the main lounge and bar with music entertainment.
The genuinely caring and friendly service is what stood out to me, along with the attention to detail, providing facilities beyond expectations. This service extends to post-cruise, where a few weeks later I received a hand-written thank you post card from the Cruise manager, Nick. This is on top of the thank you letter posted into cabins on the day of departure. I would recommend to anyone looking for a hassle-free and luxurious trip, with top class facilities and service. As a river ship, the smaller size does call for those more social-minded or solo travellers looking to mingle with just the one indoor lounge; however, if someone was really seeking solitude, the in-cabin entertainment and twin balcony space would more than meet requirements, in addition to the sun deck space in the warmer months.
by Imogen Henderson