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Posts posted by canaturelover

  1. Thank you so much for your review. We are on the 13th August sailing. If it's not to much trouble, could you please tell me how much the laundry package is? It's good to know some of the little details to help with the budgeting. Cheers, Jen.


    Ours was around $300 for 33 days and don't recall what the others were. Maybe $260 for 22 days??? I know I have seen the pricing somewhere on this board before.

  2. Thanks for the review! We too will be on the 22 day cruise starting on July 11. We leave for Rome on Wednesday for a week in Italy before boarding and can't wait!


    I am curious about the availability of unlimited internet on the ship. Did they offer that as a package option? And if so, do you remember the pricing?




    They offer that as a package - not sure how much, but what I do know is that everyone complains about the slowness and the disconnects.


    Also for those who want to connect with wifi when you get off, a lot of the the Tourist offices had it for free, but since everyone is there the connections is very slow or not. Same for the restaurants that are right off the dock. We have drunk a few beers for no wifi:) Better to get further away and see where the ship staff go.

  3. Thanks...we go on board for 22 days starting July 11 so it was nice to hear.


    For the dining room, did they repeat the 11 night menus each new 11 night cruise?

    Also, did you ever exchange for Euro on board and if so, what was the exchange rate?


    My wife would like to know if the coffee bar or somewhere else had milkshakes :D



    No they did not repeat it exactly.

    Euro on ship was 80E to $100 US. We got better outside (85-87). In Rome we found out that Italian banks do not exchange money only the little Money Exchange places do. Make sure what your net is as they can charge up to 19% service fee. We saw 67E for $100 Canadian.

    Don't change too much Kuna in Croatia - we and others found ourselves buying things we did not need to use up the money. Same with Kusadasi lira. Both places take Euro if you ask them. The Duty Free airport in Istanbul had all it's prices in Euro and we had to ask them what the Lira was as we wanted to use ours up.

    Sorry not sure about milk shakes, but do not see why they could not make one.


  4. My husband's first trip to Europe so he chose this port intensive cruise as an introduction. This was also his second cruise, the prior one being in the Caribbean for 7 days. I have been to Europe before and have been on many cruises but not for about 10 years. This cruise was actually 3 legs - 11 days each. Barcelona - Rome - Venice - Rome. We had an inside cabin on aft deck 5.


    We both enjoyed the cruise. We did our own port excursions, be it Hop on Hop Offs, taxis with others at ports, tours found at the ports, and 3 booked tours. Cruising Excursions for Livorno (Florence and Pisa), Rome and Naples ( Pompeii, Positano and Sorrento) and Ephesus Deluxe for Kusadasi (Ephesus tours) all which were very good. I should add that whilst the ship's tours were expensive compared to DIY, there were others who preferred to have the peace of mind and the ease of booking their tours with the ship. KK was good but busy. Watching the taped info on TV was very helpful. Michael was a good Cruise Director involved with a lot of the Trivia, Dancing with the Stars, Wedding Games etc.


    We found the Crew starting with Captain Turner to be available, friendly and interactive with the cruisers, which is not what usually happens I think. The Captain got us into every port - and that is saying a lot about his skills as sometimes, slightly rough seas can be used as an excuse for cancellation of a port.


    The staff was mostly Indonesian and Filipino. They were good but could be better with customer SERVICE in certain locations as opposed to talking amongst themselves. Our cabin stewards worked very hard and were good but as our cruise continued service was not very consistent and some information ex. last laundry times were not given to us. A couple of our initial wake up calls were forgotten, most room service breakfasts missed something, and the front desk was often inconsistent with their information.


    We had the open seating dining option and ate dinner during the first leg, less the second and even less by the third leg. There was a lot of repetition, especially with the deserts. The Dining room staff was good and generally friendly but busy. About 3 times, the wait for the entree was over 30 minutes. Sarat at the dining entrance was excellent in remembering our names and cabin number.


    The Lido deck food was good. We enjoyed the lunches - which we usually missed due to being in port, and the Dive-In burgers were delicious. They did have some Sail-Aways with Greek food, Italian foods, Croatian foods buffet style on the Lido deck and once with a band, which they should have used more often. We had dinner once at the Canaletto and the food was very good, but I commented to DH that this was the kind of food served in the Dining rooms before, and now one has to pay for it.


    Our inside cabin was spacious enough for us, with a king sized bed. We slept very well and used the automated wake up calls together with a room service breakfast to make sure we were up. For 33 days my husband found it no problem, but in hindsight maybe I would have liked to move for one leg of the cruise to a room that had a window or a balcony. I also feel we had a teeny bit of steward fatigue by that time.


    Which brings me to the ship condition. Generally speaking it was old, but was being looked after best they could. It was the maintenance that was taking place all the time that was a problem for some. Water leaks, water drips from the ceiling, hammering whilst eating, paint fumes at night (this caused us to have to move to another cabin for that night at 1am), odors on certain deck levels, and other breakdowns that we were told of in other parts of the ship. I will say that our problem was recognized apologized for by Customer Service, and we were given a complimentary dinner and a bottle of wine.


    We bought the laundry package and that was well worth it for us. Just find out what the last day/time is, if that is important to you. It was for us as we had another 6 days in Rome and would have liked to make sure all the necessary clothes had been cleaned. We did not buy or have any other packages. My husband enjoyed a few of the Happy Hour beer buckets on the Lido deck. Did not use the spa. My husband used the gym on sea days. We did go to see 2movies and enjoyed that.


    Shows: This is where we actually found we could get some free time as there were a lot of repeats! The outside entertainers were good. All the Bars had their fans: We enjoyed and danced at the B B King's Lounge and Aussie pals shook their thangs in the Disco on Abba Nights. The Ocean Bar Band was excellent and a lot of people enjoyed their music and the Happy Hour drinks. Adagio was also greatly enjoyed and so was Damian at the Piano Bar.


    Embarkation and Disembarkation were as smooth as the port officials and the port locations allowed. We had no problems in Barcelona or Rome (we booked a big cab with friends who were also staying on in Rome).


    In conclusion, it was tiring but fun! Different cultures, languages, foods, lots of ruins, churches, wines and beers. Friendly and helpful people in every country, many who do not have what we take for granted back home. And many who have much less but are happy. On board we made new friends we will be in contact with, who made the trip even more special. And yes, cruising is not like it used to be in many ways and even the luxury lines have downgraded a lot of services they used to offer, but cruising is still an easy way of visiting many places in comfort. We will cruise with HAL - but on new/er vessels.


    PS - I wonder if they ever finished that puzzle in the Library? Deck 10

  5. I would recommend the Walhalla Hotel, Limmatstr 5, Zurich 8005, Switzerland . Book directly on their website and you might save some $$s.

    We did the same cruise in 2013 with AmaWaterways, and I wrote a review on CC and on TripAdvisor.

    You can take day tours from right across the hotel.

    We took the train from Zurich to Basel.

    Wishing you as wonderful vacation.

  6. Another wonderful trip.

    My 80+ mother and I were on the Romantic Danube cruise, our 2nd AmaWaterways cruise. Last year in October we did the Enchanting Rhine.



    We did our own pre-cruise in Prague so that mother could see things at her pace. Stayed at the Hotel Lippert and enjoyed Prague.


    We missed our transfer bus from the Hilton Hotel to Vilshofen. Got there late. However the Cruise Director Veronika -who was on the bus - made arrangements for us to meet the bus in Regensburg, where we joined our fellow cruisers.



    Embarkation was easy and as we were a small group, everyone was upgraded! We were now in 209 and had a real balcony! There was also champagne with an apology for our late start, and an invitation to join the Captain for dinner.



    Disembarkation: Well organized and a very early start for Cruise Director Veronika. We left around 10ish as we were staying an extra day in Budapest. Loved Budapest and will certainly return. We were docked across from the Liberty Statue on the Pest side. Took a cab to the Intercontinental.




    Features:The Lobby was similar to AmaLyra, but the Lounge was a bit different. It was bigger, with a library section where one could relax in front of the fireplace and read the daily news or magazines. The Bar was the same. There was no dedicated dancing area in the Lounge - which did not deter us.

    There was another Peter at the piano, and he knew Peter from AmaLyra. Just reinforces the fact that AmaWaterways is one big family. We even got news about some of the AmaLyra staff we had last year.

    The Sun deck was nearly the same, but this hot tub was bigger, and did get used. Towards the end of the cruise the Christmas decorations were put up and everything looked lovely and festive.


    I never used the room internet as the wifi was sufficient for my needs. My 2 prong outlet with USB port was enough to recharge my phone and camera.



    Ports: Vilshofen: lovely. Passau, Linz, Alpine Lake District (instead of Salzburg or Cesky Krumlov for us), Melk, Wachau Valley and Dürnstein -Krems, Vienna, Bratislava (Slovania), Budapest. All beautiful places with differing charm, fabulous architecture and very good guides. Tours at the active, regular and gentle pace. Don't think anyone did the bike tours due to it getting dark fairly early. We saw Christmas markets being set up for the next weeks, but were lucky to see the Vienna Christmas markets which had just opened. Couldn't get any better! The warm towels and hot drink on returning after our tours were welcome. Umbrellas were available if needed.



    Food: Delicious and very chic but included burgers, sandwiches and fries for those who desired. Unlimited wine, beer, soft drinks with lunch and dinner. Local beers, wine and local delicacies offered everyday complimenting our port tours. AmaWaterways buys all local produce and everything including the bread and pastries are made fresh daily. The Lounge served early meals, tea time, late night snacks and the 24 hr. machine serving, hot choc, tea, coffee, cappuccino, espresso etc. Missing the food as I write this.



    Staff: Captain Cristian Creteanu, Hotel Manager Bogdan Stefanescu, Cruise Manager Veronika Holikova, Maitre' D Bobby Bozhinov, Chef Robert Kellerhaus, Purser Aleksandra Panaytova and my Special Favorite: Cabin Service Mariya. Two examples of going the extra mile:

    1: I have a cream suede fur trimmed jacket. In Bratislava, during the tour the back of my jacket got wet varnish stains from the stalls being set up. Back on the ship, I explained the situation to Bogdan who took it to be cleaned. The next morning, it was returned wonderfully clean and dry but one spot the size of a quarter remained. Mariya told me that when I returned after my Budapest tours, she would try and see what she could do. So that evening I gave it to her. That night on returning to my cabin after the illumination tour and saying my goodbyes, there hanging in the closet was my jacket, looking brand new- with no stain. She had worked her magic. Cost: one time charge of 2.40 euro.


    2: Due to the small number of cruisers, the Schönbrunn Palace tour was cancelled as the bus did not get the 14 it needed. However, Veronika went and notified those signed up that if they still wanted to go, after the Vienna day tour, she would take them by train, and I think most took her up on that.




    Fellow cruisers: We were a small group, mostly USA with 1 Brit, 3 Canadians, 2 Dominican Republic and 4 Hong Kong, and everyone came to know each other, and I think we all got along very well. A lovely surprise was having 4 friends we made on AmaLyra last October, come meet us on the AmaBella in Budapest. They had done the same cruise on the AmaSonata but were 3 days ahead of us. We had a great reunion and they did a mini tour for future reference.



    AmaWaterways -which does very little advertising - offers unbeatable value and service, carries fewer passengers than other ships and their Staff is extremely well trained and loyal. I heard others share the same sentiment or experience it after comparing with other cruises. With AmaWaterways my mother feels safe, relaxed and wonderfully happy - so much so that I have been given 2 itineraries to plan for the future. Hope to see you!

  7. Am I the only one who is surprised with people starting Roll Calls for cruises in the general format? All Christmas.... All Scenic... All Budapest to.... etc.


    When did this start happening? Why?


    I was under the impression that the Roll Call format was to ascertain who was going to be on a specific cruise at a specific time. The rest of the questions were to be asked/researched on the general River Cruises Forum, Ports of Call, or on the Member Review Forum.


    However, seeing the # of responses to these generic threads, shows me that my thinking is old-fashioned.


    I have 1 post with no response, a few views, and do use the search engine. And whilst I am happy for a meet and greet scenario, I have no desire or time to wade through 100, 300, 500, 800 plus responses in the "ALL."... threads.


    Not asking for any response. Sure that those threads were started with the best of intentions - gone Wild!


  8. We did our own pre-cruise trips. Loved Zurich, Lucerne, Basel. Excellent Swiss trains, trams and bus system. People were friendly, welcoming, and most spoke decent English. The countryside, the Alps, the architecture = spectacular!


    Money: In Switzerland you can go to a bank for CHF. In our small cruise towns, banks did not exchange $s. You had to have an ATM card or go to the “main bank,” or “main post office” for EUR. The ship gave us the best rate $100= EUR 65.


    Cruise: First time River cruisers. Mother had a wonderful time! Itinerary and pace was perfect for her. The fact that “everything was taken care of “was a big plus. Most cruisers were from North America, with a couple from each; Brazil, Colombia and Argentina. Australia? Most were seniors. The people we met played a BIG part in our enjoyment of the cruise. Very compatible crowd.


    Ship: Nothing negative, clean and sparkling. It might be old but it was gold. Checked out the hot tub, exercise room, aft lounge and beauty salon, but never used them. Enjoyed the Lounge and Peter at the piano. Dining room was fine: tables for 2, 4, 6 very comfortable. Umbrellas and foldable stools at reception level for use, - besides umbrellas in room – so no need to bring any for the cruise section.


    Captain Henk Klos aka Hunky Hank, big and well-liked. Staff come and stay because of him.


    Cruise Director: Reka Piros. Excellent. Has the right attitude, personality and tone for such a job. People were asking for her schedule to book future cruises with her.

    Weather was good for most of the trip. Scattered rain here n there. Fall colors everywhere.


    Cabin: 104 Piano deck, mother had no problem walking up and down stairs. Twin beds. Enough space. Bathroom was fine. Room steward Stephan kept our cabin spotless. Daily Cruiser delivered every evening during dinner. Bathrobes on the second night. Flat screen for information and internet. Bad weather or locks mean Wi-Fi was slow or unavailable.


    Tours: All enjoyable. Guides very knowledgeable, friendly and willing to help. Sometimes humor is lost in the translation, accents and smiles vary as their personalities. Levels: Active walkers, Gentle walkers, Limited mobility walkers, and bikes, something for everyone! Picked up a map and list of tips (sights, food etc.) from Reka/front desk before every tour. VOX boxes = fantastic! Warm towel and a glass of hot tea on returning from tours = perfect.

    Attention: Before every tour you collect a boarding pass and a colored ticket to show which bus you are on. On returning to the ship the boarding passes MUST be returned so that they know you are back. (drop box)


    Staff: Mostly Eastern European (Romania, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Hungary etc. ) Their temperaments are different from the “Latin” ones most North Americans are used to. We enjoyed ALL the staff we came into contact with, even when we thought a response was not quite suited to the service industry! It became our funny moments to remember :D


    Restaurant Food: Attractive and many options. They tried to have local dishes at every port. Whether your palate appreciates such food is another matter. Wine and beer as much as one wished for during lunch and dinner. Never saw "unruly" behavior d/t the free alcohol.

    Lounge: Afternoon tea had cakes, cookies etc. Coffee machine = 24 hrs. milk, coffee, macchiato, cappuccino, hot chocolate packages, teas, iced water and iced drink. Improvement needed: Cookies were the same every day, and Late Night snacks were sometimes inedible or insufficient.

    Bar: Reasonable prices. People could drink their own wine in the lounge too.


    Cruise Ports: There are probably many port reviews, so nothing here. Suffice it to say: All get a thumbs up.


    Embarkation: Basel. At the main train station there is a Tourist Information office for maps etc. Tram 11 on Platform 5 took us to St. Johaan Tor. (8th stop). CHF 3.20 p/p. Exit and walk a few feet down towards the water. Staff saw us and came to get our suitcases. Mom had refreshments in the lounge whilst I walked the town. 3pm cabins ready. Passports are collected on arrival (for harbor authorities). Pick them up the next morning.


    Docking was never a problem -even when we had to walk through Uniworld! Someone asked for and got a tour. Bring comfortable walking shoes. Stairs (on ship and tours) especially during the wet season, need extra attention. There was always a biergarten or café in walking distance for a local “one 4 the road” and some fun after the onboard entertainment.


    Gratuities guidelines: Cash or credit card. Crew (everybody but cruise director) E84/guest. Cruise Manager: E 21/guest or E 33/guest if pre-trip taken. Tip box at reception desk and envelopes in cabin. If someone has been especially nice – an extra E1-5 may be given directly to the person/s.


    Disembarkation: Early Breakfast served. at 6.30am with Early pastries etc. in Lounge at 4.30am. Luggage out according to your tag time, then board bus. At airport, staff member will help you get a cart for your luggage and then you are off. Independent Travelers; you have preordered your taxi with Reka the previous evening. 9am All Cabins Vacated. The Lounge is available till transfer time.


    Sample of daily program:

    6.30 am – 7.30am : Early risers Pastries in Lounge

    7.30am – 9.30am : breakfast in Restaurant

    9.30am – 10.30am: Late risers Pastries in Lounge

    10am: Reka gave a presentation on upcoming stops, briefings etc.

    11.30am: lunch is served in Restaurant. Light lunch of soups, salads, in Lounge

    1pm: Tours depart

    4pm – 5pm : Tea in Lounge with Peter playing music on piano

    @ 6pm ish: Tours return

    7.30pm: Dinner

    9pm: Entertainment

    10.30pm: late night snack

    NO walking or jogging on Sun Deck before 8am or after 10pm.


    Shout out to Staff: Reka, Romeo, Stephan, Peter, Grumpy, Damien, Dorina, Boris……

    THANKS for the memories to my fellow cruisers especially my Cali pals.

    Travel again with AmaWaterways? In a heartbeat! :)

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