We have had the Danube on our bucket list for quite a while. We chose the Magical Christmas Markets cruise because we knew our son--currently in graduate school--would be available between academic semesters to join us.
Although we were excited about the trip and expected to see many wonderful sights, everything about our AMA Waterways experience exceeded our expectations. Every single meal--breakfast, lunch and dinner--was a five-star experience. But that's not to say it was stuffy or pretentious. It's just that the chef, baker, waiters, and other employers were amazing. There were always multiple options--eat a so-called "light" meal in the lounge upstairs, but the choices laid out were the types of hors d'oeuvres and finger food you might expect to find at an expensive wedding reception, plus assorted fruits, breads, and desserts. Meanwhile, in the main dining room, we could always choose to order off the menu or select items from a more extensive buffet. Or both, by which I mean that our waiters were quite fine with us mixing and matching anything we wanted. There was always a special table filled with a variety of fresh breads from the bakery chef, with desserts added to supplement what was featured on the menu. Local specialties were highlighted, as were local wines and beers.
Our staterooms were clean and convenient. Towels were thick and spotless. Our housekeeper was friendly and honest to a fault. For example, we threw away an old pair of gloves that were falling apart. (We had found a new pair at a Christmas market and wanted to save space in our luggage.) The next morning, when she saw us in the hall, she expressed concern that if we were missing a pair of gloves, she had found a pair in the garbage. In fact, everyone on the AMACerto seemed to be concerned about our happiness and welfare.
There were choices of tours at every stop--a "gentle" tour, a regular tour, a strenuous hike, and bicycle options. Bus tours to Salzburg, Melk Abbey, and other nearby sites were available, all most all of which were included in the price.
Before, during, and after these tours, heads were carefully counted to ensure that nobody got lost.
When it came time to settle the bill, everything was exactly as I had expected it to be.
I could go on, but you get the point.
Our bed was a full queen, and the bathroom was large enough for us to keep two sets of toiletries on the counter for the duration of the cruise. There were two chairs inside, which we could turn around to face out the large window--these in addition to the two chairs on the outside balcony. This double window meant that we always had an excellent view of everything on the starboard side of the ship. There were lots of thoughtful extras. For example, on the day we embarked, there was a heavy plastic duvet on the foot of the bed that allowed us to plop our luggage there while we were getting settled. And we were treated to a bottle of chianti and chocolates upon arrival. Housekeeping service was impeccable. My only issue was getting use to the vacuum toilet, which was sometimes tricky to flush. (I figured it out after one of the AMACerto employees ran up to show me.) Everything worked great, and we could set our own thermostat however we liked.
Excellent combination of bus tour and walking tour, visiting major landmarks in addition to several Christmas markets.
Excellent, knowledgeable tour guide.
Local tour guide caused us to understand the pride she felt in her hometown.
Well worth the tour. (Be sure to buy chocolate at their famous store!)