By Hank Schrader, USMA ’71, Europe Destination & Europe River Cruise Expert
One of the unique experiences of a Europe River Cruise is the design of the riverships. While I truly believe that a Europe River cruise is destination experience, one of the huge differences between visiting these fascinating places, is the vendor you choose for your river cruise. The difference between river cruise lines often is the onboard experience and the included tours. So to help you understand why we recommend AmaWaterways as the best overall Europe River Cruise Company, let’s take a tour of the AmaCerto and its sister ship the AmaPrima—we have sailed on both and found both exceptional ships.
Overview. The AmaCerto was built in 2012, is a 135 m ship (443 ft), and is 38 feet wide. It has 82 staterooms, a capacity of 164 passengers and a crew of 51. The length and width restrictions of the ship allow it to fit into the locks of the Main-Danube Canal and pass under the bridges—all items on the sun deck (top deck) can be lower to help it pass under low bridges. This includes the navigation bridge—it is so cool to see how it can lower down to the sun deck level to pass under some low bridges. The front of the ship has the two main public areas—the lounge and bar and directly under it is the main restaurant. Staterooms are in the stern area of the ship, as well as some of the other on board facilities. Here are some pictures of the AmaCerto
The AmaPrima is almost identical to the AmaCerto. It was built in 2013, is the same size as the AmaCerto and has identical facilities. The only real difference is that the décor has changed but still as stunning as the AmaCerto. The AmaPrima
Atrium The ship’s lobby is beautiful and has a glass elevator. Some folks have told me it has the look of a luxury yacht and I agree with them—the design and décor are really tasteful and elegant. The reception area serves as a nerve center for the ship, as it is manned 24 hours a day to provide guests with all the information they might need to enhance their vacation.
Observation lounge/bar This is where most passengers spend their time while on board. I think the design and décor is very good. The bar is well designed, there is an awesome coffee machine, and this area serves a small buffet style breakfast, a lighter lunch option for guests who do not prefer the 3 course lunch in the main restaurant, and tapas and snacks for tea time. This is the hang out—they serve drinks, you can see the river during day-time cruising and meeting interesting folks in the comfortable lounge is great and enhances your trip, in my opinion. It also has a musician and is the area that the evening shows take place. This is the picture of the AmaCerto Observation lounge/bar area:
Restaurants There are 2 restaurants on board. The main restaurant has been redesigned and they have two separated larger tables that can seat 8 in the front of the main dining room. These also serve as a wine storage area, so it’s like dining in a wine cellar. There is plenty of seating for all guests with varying sized tables. The main restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast and lunch are usually buffet style meals with an order of the menu option. The food is exceptional—they make everything fresh and even bake all their breads and pastries on board. There is even complementary sparkling wine at breakfast along with fresh juices, as well as complimentary, unlimited wine and beer served at lunch and dinner. At lunch, they even serve 3 flavors of homemade ice cream. Dinner is a multi-course meal, served at your table and is locally-inspired fare of the region you are sailing past. It is always paired with 2 great wines, usually from the region. I just can’t say enough about how good the food is, how visually stunning the food is plated, and how much I enjoy the evening meal. Here is the Main Restaurant:
The second restaurant is a specialty restaurant. It is called the chef’s table. This area has seating for 28 guests, and is an included feature of the cruise fare. The special menu is prepared right in front of you. This unique menu is paired with carefully selected, fine wines. It is truly a great experience. AMA spends more than most other river cruise lines on the food and wines and it shows, especially in this unique dining venue. We always go during our cruises and always arrange for the groups we led to dine together—it’s always a superb experience! Here is what the Chef’s Table restaurant looks like:
Other facilities The AmaCerto has a massage and hair salon, a fitness room and carries a fleet of bicycles. The bikes provide guest an opportunity to go on guided bike tour (offered at no additional charge) or to go off on their own to explore the destinations during their cruise. On the main deck, next to the reception area, there is a new lounge library area– a reading room complete with an electronic fireplace.
The Sun Deck The sun deck has seating so guests can observe the passing river. It has enhanced pool topside, that includes a swim up bar. It is a nice upgrade from the hot tub on earlier riverboats. Here is the swim up bar on the AmaPrima and in the background you can see the navigation cabin that can be lower for low bridges:
Staterooms The big change to these Ama riverships is that twin balconies have been added to some cabins—one is a French balcony with a sliding glass door and the other is an outside balcony to sit and watch the river glide by. Both the AmaCerto and the AmaPrima have 3 decks with cabins. On the Piano deck there are 17 staterooms with a fixed window only—safety regulations prohibit balconies near the river line. The upper two decks all have some type of balcony. On the Cello deck (middle deck) there are 8 French balcony cabins and 25 cabins with twin balconies. On the Violin deck, there are 8 French balcony cabins, 20 twin balcony cabins and 4 suites. The beds are very comfortable and the showers have rain shower faucets and also feature a hand held shower head. Here are some of the complimentary in room amenities: flat screen internet/infotainment system (Wi-Fi is free ship wide), cabins have adjustable climate controls, bottled water is replenished daily or as needed, each cabin has a desk and sitting area, there is a safe and they use high quality linens and toiletries. The twin balconies
These ships are just awesome and I believe the live up to the description often used by Ama—it truly is “the luxury of more”. When you combine the outstanding service, the exception food and wine and these well designed riverships, it is easy to understand why so many think Ama has the best river cruises in Europe. You truly will cruise in style and comfort and visit some of Europe’s best destinations.
These are just a few of the reasons we like AMA so much—they are constantly improving their product. We hope this will inspire you to give us a call (Hank 713-397-0188) or send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) so we can help you visit Europe on a river cruise and help you: Savor life . . . make memories . . . Visit Dream Destinations ! Your journey begins here!