FX Excursions

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AmaWaterways Update

by Margaret Backenheimer and J.D. Brown

Jan 1, 2018
Cruising

AMAWATERWAYS HAS BEEN at the forefront of river cruising since its launch 15 years ago, establishing its high reputation on the grand rivers of Europe, chiefly the Danube and the Rhine. Now it expands its reputation not only with new highend appointments but also with features designed to appeal to younger, more active passengers.

Headquartered in California, the line operates 19 river vessels, each serving no more than 164 passengers. The cabins are spacious for river ships, the service highly attentive and the cuisine sterling. AmaWaterways was the first river cruise line inducted into La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, and its specialty restaurant, Chef ’s Table, with a true tasting menu, is available at no extra cost to all passengers at least once on each voyage. Wine, beer and soft drinks are complimentary at lunch and dinner, as are sparkling wine and fresh fruit juices at breakfast. Also included in the fare: internet access, WiFi and a shore excursion at each port. AmaWaterways will enhance these standard, nearly all-inclusive amenities in 2018 with a free Sip & Sail daily cocktail hour and a wellness program featuring healthful menus and group exercise programs.

AmaWaterways, long noted for wine cruises, offers vintners and wine tastings on board as well as excursions to nearby vineyards, and there are more than 50 such sailings slated for 2018. AmaWaterways was also the first river cruise line to provide a fleet of bicycles, enabling passengers to make independent port excursions. Group biking adventures are also on tap, some arranged by AmaWaterways’ new partner, Backroads, an international operator well-regarded for its biking and hiking trips.

Sandeman Winery tasting © AMAWATERWAYS

Sandeman Winery tasting © AMAWATERWAYS

While AmaWaterways’ two newest ships, AnaKristina (2017) and AnaLea (2018), ply primarily the Rhine and the Danube, the line is branching out to explore more adventurous riverbanks. The Zambezi Queen sails Botswana’s Chobe River for four-day cruises that can be combined seamlessly with seven-day wildlife safaris in East Africa. Another ship, the AmaDaral, cruises the Mekong River in Vietnam and Cambodia; in 2018 it will offer its own wine cruise hosted by California’s Sbragia Family Vineyards.

AmaWaterways intends to increase further its level of luxury cruising and its appeal to more active passengers in 2019 with the launch of the AmaMagma on the Danube River, a super river ship with an open-water sports platform. Twice the width of its other river vessels, AmaWaterways’ ship of the future will be yet more luxurious and sports-oriented — fully in line with current trends in river cruising.

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