Cruise - River Cruise
The AmaWaterways Tulip Cruise
200 people found this review helpful
Sometimes you do not want to go independently and arrange all your little trips and visits from one city. It may involve hiring a car and driving, getting on the correct train or bus, coping in a different language, packing and unpacking from hotel to hotel and finding somewhere good to eat then maybe being disappointed. Too much fuss! That’s why the AMA Waterways Tulip cruise was perfect for us. We unpacked once only in our very comfortable state room. We had one of the smaller ones, overall size being about 10′ × 17′, but exceptionally well designed, having lots of storage and with its own ‘Infotainment’ system and wi-fi (AMA being the only waterways line to provide wi-fi in all rooms). There was a good selection of films but my small and only criticism is there are no subtitles for the hard of hearing. All the food on board was plentiful with high quality fine dining and good, free flowing complimentary wines, beers and soft drinks with meals. My husband, being a ‘gastronome extraodinaire’ can attest to that! We dressed casually most of the time and smart-casual for dinner. There was no need for black tie attire though you could not wear shorts for meals! There was a gym and beauty parlour as well as a spacious and well kitted out scenic deck with walking/jogging track, patio areas and outdoor pool with swim up bar, its use weather permitting!!
The ship was only on its second sailing having new, opulent interiors and a sparkling exterior. The captain gave a talk and wheelhouse tour one day and all cruise ships in the company apparently are recent with more new ones due. We weren’t really aware of the AMAPRIMA sailing as the inland canals and rivers are not deep but occasionally, as it moved through a lock or was near the sea, there was some movement. However, it sailed mainly through the night so we were asleep anyway and in the day we were off to see the towns. There is not a great deal to see in the Netherlands from the boat because of the geography of dykes shielding the low lying land behind them but some of AMA’s other river cruises, say, along the Rhine and Danube, sail more during the day to make the most of the sights.
All trips were carefully planned for us with a busy timetable. Knowledgeable local guides showed us around the towns taking in the best sights. The sophisticated individual audio headsets provided for all guests meant we could hear the guides clearly in our ear, even in crowded, noisy places and even though we stopped to take photos, paused to look in shop windows etc. As long as we were in range we would not get lost. There was a good selection of visits to places with background information provided in a daily newsletter, maps and the occasional talk by the onboard cruise manager. Our interesting itinerary included Amsterdam, Volendam, Arnhem, Antwerp , Ghent, Bruges, Dortrecht, Kinderdijk and the Keukenhof gardens.
The good thing was that the pace of the visits was varied. Often,there was an active or regular walking group, bike tours (AMA being the only provider to take their own bikes) and optional tours too. Of course, we did not have to do the group tours and occasionally went off in the alloted time by ourselves (bearing in mind that the ship would sail at a certain time whatever!) or stayed on the ship to avail ourselves of its marvellous facilities.
During the the champagne welcome dinner, ladies were presented with a long stemmed red rose by the captain, which, incidentally, lived the whole week in a vase on my dressing table, and on the penultimate dinner we were presented again with a gift, commemorative napkin rings and a beautiful shawl scarf which some ladies wore to breakfast next day. Evening entertainment of just the right length of time started with a clog making demonstration with local music, dancing and costume one evening. Later in the week, a classical concert with a string trio was very popular as was the musical theatre star.
With such a cruise – there were about 160 passengers of varying ages over 50 – you see fellow guests everyday and inevitably get to know them and socialise with them. We soon made friends over dinner or in the lounge and met people from different countries, mainly Americans, English and Canadians. We also got to know many of the 49 crew. Even though they were of various nationalities, the language of the ship is English. The crew were very friendly and each had their own different personality and quality, some funny, some serious but all with the perfect ratio of attentiveness and unobtrusiveness, busily and efficiently working in the background to make our stay enjoyable. The only ‘extra’ cost was a gratuity to the cruise manager and staff on final disembarkation. The amount was optional, anonymous with a suggested amount and was well deserved and happily given.
All in all, it turned out to be a most enjoyable and memorable cruise and was a new experience for us. Having talked to the seasoned river cruisers and many returners to AMA Waterways, we would certainly like to try one of the other cruises the company do. Possibly the scenic one that takes us through Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary or maybe go down the Volga, or go further afield and try the Mekong cruise through Vietnam and Cambodia. Decisions, decisions!
200 people found this review helpful
This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.