Compare Cruises Around the World from AmaWaterways
AmaWaterways is one of the top river cruise companies that offers river cruising vacations in Europe, Africa, and Asia. With a focus on luxury and personalized service, AmaWaterways river cruises provide guests with a range of amenities, including complimentary shore excursions, sun deck walking tracks, and chef's table specialty restaurants. On board the sister ships, guests can enjoy a massage and hair salon, swim up bar, and dedicated wellness hosts. Each AmaWaterways river cruise provides the opportunity to explore the terraced vineyards, French balconies, and heated pools of Europe's Rhine River or Portugal's Douro River.
AmaWaterways is a family-owned river cruise line that provides the best cruise experience for every guest. With a fleet of luxury yachts that offer spacious staterooms, connecting doors, and outside balconies, AmaWaterways cruises are designed to meet the needs of every traveler. The company also provides complimentary bicycles for guests to explore each destination on biking and hiking tours. On board, guests can enjoy fine cuisine, English language TV stations, and high-speed internet access. AmaWaterways also offers expert guides on its art cruises, and every guest can enjoy complimentary sparkling wine and bottled water. With public spaces, wellness programs, and expert guides, AmaWaterways provide.
AmaWaterways: Elegant, Intimate Cruising On The World’s Great Rivers
AmaWaterways is a California-based river cruise line that has won a loyal following for its exemplary service, fine cuisine and welcoming ambience. It has also earned many awards for innovation in the river cruise space.
Founded in 2002 by river cruise pioneers Rudi Schreiner, Kristin Karst and the late Jimmy Murphy, the line now offers a fleet of 26 ships, most of them travelling on Europe’s great waterways, including the Danube, Rhine, Seine, Douro, Moselle, Main, Dordogne, Garonne and Rhone.
Outside Europe, AmaWaterways vessels traverse the Mekong river in Vietnam and Cambodia, the Nile in Egypt and the Chobe in southern Africa, where river cruising is combined with land-based wildlife safaris. Future plans include an expansion to the Magdalena River in South America’s Colombia in 2024, where AmaWaterways will be the first mainstream river cruise line to operate.
A long-time couple, Schreiner and Karst still run the company, and they are frequent guests aboard AmaWaterways ships. Their outgoing, friendly personalities and obvious love of the product are reflected in the crew – they’re treated like family -- and new guests are warmly welcomed into the fold.
The crew members on AmaWaterways vessels feel empowered to express their individuality in their interactions with guests, which sets the tone for an informal, convivial atmosphere. And the level of service is nothing short of superb – if you want something, all you have to do is ask.
Long, Lean & Lavish: The Ama Waterways River Fleet
The intimate, contemporary ships of AmaWaterways offer the luxury of personal space yet accommodate an average of just 156 guests, less than on many traditional river cruise ships.
Spacious and uncrowded, the fleet offers elegantly-appointed staterooms and suites, typically ranging in size from 155-350 square feet. They are expertly designed to make the best use of every inch of available space, with plenty of storage for clothing and baggage. Most staterooms feature two private balconies — a French balcony and a full outside balcony. Together, they provide a unique panoramic view of the sights along the river.
Many of AmaWaterways’ ships include unexpected features like hair salons, spas, gyms, libraries and swimming pools, and there’s a strong focus on wellness, with included exercise and yoga classes. WiFi is included in the cruise fare.
In 2019, AmaWaterways introduced a new dimension in river cruising with the debut of AmaMagna on the Danube River. Twice the width of traditional European river ships, AmaMagna’s luxurious accommodations consist of more than 50% suites, reminiscent of those on ocean ships. Staterooms and suites are much larger than typical river ships, ranging from 355-710 square feet. The extra real estate in public areas also allows AmaMagna to offer four unique dining venues, a chic onboard cinema and an expansive Zen Wellness Studio.
In 2019, AmaMagna was recognized by TIME magazine as one of the ‘World’s Greatest Places.’
AmaWaterways ships are uniquely designed to minimize the impact of water levels on the river, which can sometimes cause problems in Europe. The fleet of ships features low drafts for when there isn’t enough water, and specially engineered wheelhouses for when there is too much.
Sustainability is a key concern at AmaWaterways. Twenty of its ships in Europe have been honored with Green Award certification, demonstrating high safety and environmental standards based on fuel consumption, pollution prevention and more.
Chef’s Kiss: Cuisine Is An Absolute Highlight On AmaWaterways
AmaWaterways sailings include all meals, as well as fine local wines and beers at lunch and dinner and a nightly cocktail hour. Cuisine is a highlight of the experience, with AmaWaterways the only river cruise line to belong to the gourmet chain La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs.
The cuisine is a true highlight. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all offered a la carte, and the last two meals of the day come complete with wines and beers local to the region travelled. There’s a daily included ‘Sip’n Sail’ cocktail hour as well.
As well as the main dining room, guests have an option for bistro-style dining at lunchtime. They are also invited to dine at least once per trip at the Chef’s Table, an intimate specialty restaurant included in the price of the cruise. Here you can watch the chef prepare a lavish multi-course menu right in front of you, with each course served with complimentary hand-selected local reds and whites from Europe’s renowned wine regions.
A recent shift has removed most self-service elements from the AmaWaterways dining experience. Instead of an appetizer buffet, for example, a selection of tasty treats are placed on the table shortly after guests sit down. Even at breakfast, a bread basket and small plate of fruit arrive immediately, before guests place their full meal order.
“This is a top product, so we don’t want people to have to stand in line at a buffet,” Schreiner told a JustCruises.com correspondent during a Captivating Castles of the Rhine cruise in 2022. “And we like to offer a little something to eat as soon as they sit down.”
AmaWaterways chefs get top marks for presentation. From edible flowers to artfully arranged meats, vegetables and sauces, many dishes are almost too pretty to eat – almost. As Karst puts it, “you eat with your eyes too.”
Entertainment is another important aspect of the AmaWaterways experience. The company understands that part of the attraction of traveling to new destinations is immersing yourself in authentic local culture.
Evening entertainment on board includes musicians, folkloric dancers and storytellers who live and work in the cities you visit and are happy to share their cultural traditions and talents. Whether it’s traditional Bavarian music, a local quartet or contemporary piano favorites played by the resident musician on each ship, AmaWaterways guests can enjoy an eclectic schedule of onboard entertainment every night.
Included Excursions Embrace A Wide Range Of Tastes
One of the true joys of river cruising is the ease of getting on and off the ship, both at embarkation and for the wide range of included shore excursions. As AmaWaterways likes to say: “Oceans take you to countries. Rivers take you through them.” AmaWaterways river ships often dock in the heart of their destinations, so guests can effortlessly sightsee or take an evening stroll.
Recognizing that guests come with a range of different tastes, AmaWaterways has developed a diverse menu of included shore excursions to give all travelers a personalized experience in every port of call. In many destinations, guests are offered a choice of one of several tours — all of which are included in the cruise fare. One of the options is always a city tour designed to show you the renowned highlights and landmarks in grand capitals and charming villages alike.
At each port, guests have a choice of included guided excursions, on foot or by bicycle, or guests can simply walk off the ship and tour on their own.
AmaWaterways was the first river line to bring bicycles aboard, and there are cycling tour options at each port. There are guided walking tours as well, offered in ‘gentle,’ ‘regular’ and ‘active’ levels. AmaWaterways was also the first river cruise line to offer a dedicated Wellness Host on board leading complimentary small-group fitness classes, ranging from yoga to resistance training, aqua aerobics in the small pool and more.
AmaWaterways also offers immersive culinary-themed Special Interest Tours such as cooking demonstrations and tastings. As AmaWaterways often docks just steps from the heart of the city, you may also explore many destinations on your own on foot or by bike. If you’ve already visited Nuremberg, Germany, for example, you can skip the city tour and get deeper under the destination’s skin on a beer-and-bratwurst tasting tour.
Follow Your Passion On An AmaWaterways Themed Cruise
Many river cruisers love the experience so much that they will even return to destinations they’ve been before to explore more deeply. AmaWaterways offer a range of specialized cruising focused on wine, golf, Europe’s charming Christmas markets and more. Each year, for example, there are more than 60 unique wine cruises to choose from, exploring such iconic regions as France’s Bordeaux, Austria’s UNESCO-designated Wachau Valley, Germany’s Riesling-rich Rheingau and Moselle valleys; Portugal’s Douro Valley and more.
Another option invites guests to explore their personal history on ancestry-focused itineraries created in collaboration with AmaWaterways’ partner Ancestry. These trips provide guests with exclusive opportunities to explore their heritage with tailored experiences that educate and immerse them in the destinations their forbears once called home.
Guests signing up for AmaWaterways’ exclusive heritage-focused program start their experience with a pre-journey welcome call with an expert genealogist, an Ancestry DNA Kit and a five-hour Ancestry research and consultation package. Once the cruise begins, guests will be accompanied by a genealogist throughout the journey, providing historical and genealogical presentations, a private consultation, a hosted lunch or dinner plus a curated excursion delving further into the heritage of the region.
In a more recent development, AmaWaterways is offering passionate river cruise enthusiasts the opportunities to explore several regions on one extended trip. The ‘Seven River Journeys Through Europe’ range from 45-49 days in length, and participants will explore 14 different countries during the trip. In 2023 there are spring, summer and fall versions of this unique offering, and the spring 2024 edition is ready to book as well.
Extend Your Pleasure With An AmaWaterways Land Package
AmaWaterways invites its guests to make the most of a long-awaited vacation by adding optional land packages before or after your sailing. Led by a dedicated Cruise Manager, these packages feature carefully selected four- and five-star hotels, along with specially curated guided tours with just the right amount of leisure time to explore the art, history or culinary delights in sought-after cities around the world.
Among the most popular land packages are Prague in Czechia, Bucharest, Romania, Spain’s Basque Country, the wonderful city of Amsterdam and Cambodia’s Siem Reap. On an Egypt cruise, options include land packages in Jordan, Israel or Dubai.
Land packages include transfers between your hotel and river cruise ship, portage service and daily breakfast at the hotel. In addition, guided city tours and excursions are included.