If you follow along in this blog, you’ve probably realized that I just love AmaWaterways. This river cruise line has the most beautiful ships, with wonderful amenities. My friend Phyllis recently wrote a review of AmaWaterway’s new AmaPrima, and I just had to share it with you… Heidi
A Review of AmaWaterways New AmaPrima
By Phyllis Steinberg
The AMA Prima, launched in 2013, has a luxurious two story lobby accented by sparkling white marble floors, a glass enclosed elevator, with dual spiral staircases and a rich walnut wood reception area. Four decks with a sun deck, heated swimming pool with spacious lounge chairs atop, the riverboat features deluxe accommodations, superior amenities and attentive service. The line, founded in 2003 has 15 vessels cruising the waterways of Europe, Asia and Africa. The Prima, a sister ship to AMA Certo, took its maiden voyage in April 2013 sailing along the Dutch and Belgium waterways. It moves to the Budapest to Prague itinerary in the summer. Hotel stays can be added at both ends of the voyage.
Taking 164 passengers in 82 cabins, 60 percent with French balconies and separate full size outside balconies, the 443-foot vessel carries Eastern and Western European officers and crew. The majority of the crew is from Romania. The captain is Dutch. Crew members speak English and are efficient, friendly and helpful. Most of passengers are from the U.S. Other nationalities include British, Irish, Australian and Canadian. The ship caters to adults, mainly seniors with some younger couples.
In each port of call, AMA takes passengers on complimentary escorted tours, mostly half-day with some walking. Three levels of walking tours are offered; gentle walkers, groups that go at a leisurely pace, active walkers, that cover more ground and late starter tours for those that prefer to sleep in. Optional tours are offered at additional charge. Passengers are given Quietbox portable headsets with earpieces providing excellent reception for commentary on tours. Often the ship stays overnight in port allowing the passengers to experience dining and nightlife in the areas. Bicycles are available for short rides along the rivers and nearby towns and Nordic sticks with small seats are available for the hikes. The cruise manager is well informed and advises passengers on activities, shopping and restaurants in the area. Tours are generally interesting and give passengers an overview of the regions visited. Maps are provided for ports of call. Culinary Delights, an additional complimentary tour is offered to a limited number of guests providing a taste of the area visited with local guides. Participation in Culinary Delights is limited. It is best to make reservations early for these fun tasting tours.
The public space on the ship is elegant featuring ample open space, luxurious overstuffed seating areas and a cozy fireside library.
A fitness center, beauty salon, spa area, aft lounge, observation lounge, swimming pool and open air top sundeck give passengers choices of activities while on board. The main lounge has a bar and comfortable seating with large windows to view the passing scenery. Lectures and local entertainment take place in the evenings. A gift shop and 24-hour coffee bar are additional amenities.
The restaurant located on the deck below the lounge offers open seating and good views of the port and starboard. The dining room has spacious booths that seat up to six guests as well as large round tables and tables for four. Tables for two are scarce. Dinner is casual with women wearing skirts and slacks and men wearing sport shirts, while some get more dressed up for the final captain’s farewell dinner. Breakfast is served buffet style. A salad bar and dessert bar is served buffet style at lunch and a menu is provided for the main course. Dinner is served by the wait staff and includes four courses, wine, beer and soft drinks. European regional dishes are served. The food is excellent and not too over seasoned. The line has been inducted into La Chaine des Rotisseurs, one of the world’s most prestigious culinary organizations.
The Erlebnis Chef Table restaurant seats 28 passengers is offered once during the cruise to passengers at no additional charge. The gourmet dining experience features regional specialties and fine wines.
The service onboard is exceptional. Everyone, from the restaurant staff to the front-desk personnel is helful and quick to respond to passenger requests.
Twin-balcony staterooms are 210 to 235 square feet and and are outfitted with individual temperature control, plush down bedding, large screen flat-panel televisions, terrycloth robes and slippers and complimentary bottled water replenished daily. There is ample closet space, in-room safe, umbrella, hair dryer, glass-enclosed shower with multi-jet showerheads, magnifying mirror and one dual voltage outlet for North American appliances. Complimentary internet is available in all staterooms on the flat-panel television. Large sliding glass doors provide picturesque views in the twin-balcony staterooms. Staterooms without the balconies have small fixed windows. All cabins are outside.
Guests are able to mix and mingle in the open seating format on this elegant riverboat. All the announcements are made in English and the staff is well versed in English. The staff to passenger ratio is about one-to-three guests, affording personal service. There is a lot of walking, so comfortable shoes are a must. Layers of clothing are also advised as temperatures vary. Riverboats park on the river adjacent to other ships and passengers often have to walk through other boats to disembark the vessel, sometimes climbing steps between ships providing challenges for those with disabilities. The main competition is Uniworld and Viking Cruises which provide similar itineraries.