Danube River Cruise with AmaWaterways

Amastella docked during Danube river cruise
Body: 
I participated on an educational European river cruise to explore one of the river cruise ships I had not been on:
AmaWaterways' ‘Amastella.’
 
Our journey started in Vilshofen, Germany, a small town about 90 miles from the Munich Airport, and ended in Budapest, Hungary. Enroute, we visited Passau in Germany; Linz in Austria and through the Wachau Valley, with stops in Weissenkirchen - with a Melk Abby Visit; Durnstein and Krems, then to Vienna and to Budapest, but not before a stop in Eszergom.
 
Having arrived in Munich a few days early to explore, I chose not to purchase transfers to the ship. Instead, I took the regional train from the Munich Main Train Station to Vilshofen and from there its just a short taxi ride to the cruise port. Checking in was easy and my cabin was ready to enjoy for the coming week. I was greeted with a glass of Champagne and a rose from the Captain. Quite a special touch.
 
Each of the Ama ships has been thoughtfully decorated, which creates a relaxed, warm and contemporary feel. The ship’s lounge has an open flow design which offers full Panoramic views of the passing scenery. The public areas, like the lounges and restaurants, never felt overcrowded. This in contrast to some river cruise ships that have higher passenger complements on ships of similar size.
 
AmaWaterways was one of the first river cruises lines to offer twin-balcony staterooms – a French balcony and a full outside balcony.  All of the staterooms also offer a flat screen monitor with on-demand feature movies, news, TV and music. You’ll never feel disconnected from home, thanks to the in-room internet access and ship-wide Wi-Fi, which are complimentary.  This is a nice benefit when one just wants to stay onboard and relax.
 
AmaWaterways offers a choice of buffet and menu items during breakfast and lunch, which includes unlimited sparkling wine and fresh juices. For dinner, you may enjoy exquisite multi-course dinners (2-3 choices per course) with handpicked regional wines or beer. With reservations you may also dine at the specialty restaurant, “The Chef’s Table,” to enjoy a more intimate dining experience, which is also complimentary.
 
In the Main Lounge, tapas, snacks, sandwiches and refreshments are served daily. Also offered, is a complimentary gourmet coffee and tea station, which is available 24 hours a day. I could get my favorite cappuccino anytime I wanted—perfect!
 
The excursions ashore were led by local English-speaking guides, with enough choices to please everybody. You could partake in a late riser’s option and/or the gentle, regular and active walking tours. If you’re looking for a unique and active excursion, AmaWateerways offers plenty of hiking excursions to take you off the beaten path; however, these are offered more frequently on summer sailings rather than in the winter season. Since Limited Edition tours are small groups, you can become even more immersed in a destination. You can learn how to make goulash in Budapest or enjoy a Bratwurst and beer tasting at the oldest brewery in Nuremberg; truly remarkable and unforgettable experiences. AmaWaterways even has bicycles on board so you can bike along riverside pathways, enjoy the scenery and get some exercise. 
 
I explored the Sun Deck on the only day we had beautiful, warm sunshine. I planned to stay for just a moment, but the area was so lovely, I decided to stay for a few hours!  It would be absolutely delightful in the summertime. The Sun Deck is large with plenty of space and beautifully decorated with wicker chairs and lounges. Although, it was November and already rather cold (32 Degrees F), quite a few guests took advantage of the heated pool up on the Sun Deck.
 
AmaWaterways is family owned-and-operated and has earned a proud and well-deserved reputation for having a passionate commitment to excellence. If you haven't been on a river cruise as yet, and are looking for something different - remember, an ocean cruise will take you to your destination, but the river cruise IS your destination.

Maike Cenci