We spent considerable time on a bus (6 hrs) transferring from Strasbourg to Antwep with a stop in Luxembourg on the way. We also were scheduled to sail Mon night to Breisach our first night, but didn't leave until Tuesday morn. Between the transfer and delayed departure from Basel we lost excursion time that was originally scheduled. Did enjoy seeing places we hadn't been before, but would have rather continued to Cologne area. We can cross river cruise off our bucket list, if we did another we may try another company based on discussion s with folks on board who've cruised with others and could compare.
The entire experience AFTER the air travel portion was great. Our cruise manager was just that. Nicola was not the typical "entertainer" that you get on an ocean cruise. He truly manages the whole experience and shows up during many of the excursions to verify all is going well.
The food was great and the staff was wonderful.
Ours was a wine cruise and thus was busy all the time between the normal excursions and the tastings added in.
The cabins on the third deck are subject to noise from the sun deck/walking-jogging path. Even though the cruise paper work said it should not be used between 10 pm and 8 am.
You will meet a few new friends as with only 170 passengers maximum you will have the chance to meet almost all your fellow travelers.
Before booking any river cruise check the age of the ship. AMA Stella was new in 2016. We saw lots of other ships from other lines that were much older and a few that just looked warn out.
RE: "After the air travel" comment above. We were booked on British Air for most of the trip. Their "business" section is NOT the same as business on Delta, KLM or American. Much smaller seats, same higher cost. Get your travel agent to show you the seats BEFORE you pay extra for this when you will be on British Air. It was not worth the cost to me.
In every category, AMA exceeded expectations. The ship, AmaStella, was beautiful. The food was world class, the crew, to a man, were happy, friendly and helpful. Our waiter, Milen, was professional, friendly, funny, experienced and caring. It was a dream trip!
We cannot stop talking about our cruise down the Danube on the beautiful AmaStella. Everything was absolutely perfect.
We were met on the dock by the captain and officers who gathered up our bags and moved them to our room while we enjoyed a relaxing drink on the sun deck.
Our balcony room was spotlessly clean and well appointed. Beautiful linens, efficient bathroom and plenty of storage room so that we felt like we could put away our belongings and move in.
We met our steward, Ardi, who was there for us whenever we needed him. He also cleaned our room when we left for tours so that we could return and relax. At night he again tidied and left us chocolates on our pillows.
The food was wonderful. Breakfast and lunch were mainly beautiful buffets to which you could add custom cooked dishes. Dinner dishes were chosen from a menu and changed daily. Beer and wine were plentiful and well chosen. The food was the best we have had on any cruise we have ever taken.
Then there were the tours. Our Cruise Manager, Nikola, had set up both walking tours and bus tours that really made us feel we had seen and enjoyed the cities we visited. The tour leaders were knowledgeable and funny, telling anecdotes about the character and history of each city. When we traveled by bus, the buses were new, clean and safe. We even had to wear seat belts. Nikola hovered over us to ensure we were happy, entertained and educated.
Finally there was the personnel. To a person - officers, reception staff, maintenance and cleaning staff, waiters, cooks ( and i know they played several rolls) - all were friendly, helpful and really seemed to enjoy their work.
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