AMA Waterways

AMA Waterways

To be an accomplished travel agent you need to live and breathe the products you sell. It’s a perk of the job and sometimes a challenge as the trips are often short and may well involve a long flight. When the opportunity arose for a group of us to discover AMA Waterways I have to say I was a little hesitant. In the last year, Designer Travel has focused heavily on taking a concentrated look at what makes cruising such an important part of the travel industry here in the UK and we have been astounded by the variety and scope of products and suppliers we have had the good fortune to learn more about. If you had asked me a year ago about river cruising, my instant thought would have been what a great option for those older travellers (65+ and possibly retired) looking for a softer holiday option with easy access to a variety of destinations all from the comfort of your chosen vessel. Did my experience of AMA Waterways challenge that perception? Sixteen of us took the earliest of early flights out to Frankfurt to join AmaMora on a cold and damp day in late November. We joined the ship in Rudesheim, a picturesque small German Town, which had changed a lot since my first visit back in my school days. Our transfer bus drove us to the tiny jetty and we boarded within minutes of arrival to be greeted by a smiling crew who were on hand to provide suitable refreshments after our early start. The ship was nothing like the visual picture I had crafted in my head from promotional videos. The public space was contemporary in design, light and airy. A grand piano graced the main lounge, which was surrounded by windows giving you maximum opportunity to soak up your surroundings. Time to check in to our staterooms and explore the ship. The AmaMora was built in 2019 and has just 78 Staterooms spread over three of the four decks. The top desk (Sun Deck) offers up a heated pool, parking for the ship’s bicycles, which are there for general use and are used for some of the excursions on offer (and incidentally, included as part of your package price) and a walking track. It’s also home to the all-important bridge. Cabins are spread over three decks (Violin, Cello and Piano Decks). I stayed in a suite on the Violin deck and was amazed by the space, the full-size bath (with a complimentary selection of bath salts!) and separate shower and an array of wardrobe space. The outside balcony was roomy and a perfect spot to take in your surroundings albeit a little chilly in November! The suite also benefits from a French Balcony and a large window – it’s a perfect choice of accommodation for a special celebration or just a chance to spoil yourself – total luxury afloat. There is a choice of Stateroom options available. Violin Deck is also home to Chef’s Table, here guest can enjoy an award-winning dining experience where the chef prepares their meal right there in the heart of the venue – all guests have the opportunity to experience Chef’s table at least once during their cruise with all reservations made once onboard. Having personally sampled a full menu consisting of multiple courses I can personally recommend this fine dining experience – the location of the restaurant means that guests, during the summer months, would have the most amazing views of the river, from the back of the ship, as they dine. We set sail shortly after boarding. The Rhein is a majestic river, in parts lined with historic buildings and beautiful riverside houses, but it’s also a working river and it’s fascinating to watch the different vessels that sail the river transporting their wares – it’s like stepping back into another world, a world where the pace was a little slower and more gentile. We sailed to a place called Lahnstein where guests had the chance to take a stroll or visit the 13th Century Medieval Lahneck Castle. The ship moored up for its overnight stay. An early start saw the AmaMora set sail for Cologne with a predicted arrival time of midday. The journey from the point of embarkation to Cologne itself is in most parts stunning, it’s hard to draw yourself away from the observation lounge (or during warmer months the sun deck I’m guessing). Evening entertainment onboard did just the job, engaging everyone on board. From a live singer to an accomplished violinist there was a little of something for all tastes. Like clockwork, we arrived at Germany’s fourth largest city – Cologne, at Midday sailing right into its heart. With an abundance of excursions to choose from, we opted to explore the old town, the Christmas Market and the Gothic cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. By “sailing” into town you maximise the time you have to spend in each location – you can come and go as you please – just remember that your Stateroom may be facing a “centre of town” staples like pavement or street, so no getting changed with the lights on!! Our next part of the journey saw us travel further north to Amsterdam for a two-night adventure in a city that, much like Vegas, never sleeps. When you arrive on the river you dock so close to the city centre it’s amazing…it’s like you have moved into your primary residence albeit for a short space of time. Disembarkation took minutes and we were off to explore the canals and waterways on a guided tour that revealed the Skinny Bridge, bridges with padlocks and a very pretty bridge covered in flowers. There were wonky houses, historic sites and so much more – it might have been raining but no matter, through the slightly steamed-up windows of the canal boat we say it all. Suitably settled in our new home we explored the bars, the cafes, the sights, the shops, museums and more – we had a fun-filled 48 hours taking time to enjoy some of the ship on-board offerings including amazing dinners and an afternoon tea set to tempt even the fussiest of palettes. A short flight home from Amsterdam saw the conclusion of this amazing trip. So, back to my original question “Just for the retired or something for everyone?” I loved my time on AmaMora and was flabbergasted to find that this was a product that has so much scope to attract customers from a much wider range than I had ever imagined. The benefits of river cruising are too numerous to mention but if I had to summarise them into just a few words they would be – superb cuisine, fantastic and friendly service where the team can’t do enough to make this a memorable experience, convenient – docking so close to the centre of towns and cities is brilliant. Add to that total comfort in a unique boutique setting and you pretty much have all angles covered. For guests keen to explore multiple destinations all from the comfort of one base river cruising is just perfect, the product offers great value for money with AMA Waterways appealing to adults of all ages. If you have a particular region on your bucket list – from Europe to the Far East, Egypt to parts of Africa you would never have associated with river cruising, consider a river cruise experience. I am sold on river cruising and at a much younger age than I had previously considered being the river cruise “age range”; it was an unforgettable experience. AMA was so hospitable and I am currently in the process of working out when to visit Egypt on another of their amazing ships. Imagine visiting the pyramids for an Egyptian adventure in a boutique hotel afloat! Please contact any of the team at Designer Travel to find out more about AMA Waterways, their superb range of ships and river cruising around the world .

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