The Cruise Director provides insights about the local area before detailing the specific tour options on offer each day. From time to time there are also guest lecturers and wine experts onboard. Two resident musicians perform popular music every night, tailored to the over-50s Australian clientele.
All shore excursions are included in the trip price and there is generally a choice of three excursions a day. (There are two excursion options offered on a couple of the days.) These are half or full-day tours, depending on the destination. The guides are always local experts with excellent English. Passengers can also opt to stay onboard the ship or explore at their own pace, with the help of maps and tips on the APT app. There is always an interesting variety of excursions including coach, walking, and sometimes cycling tours, of varying lengths depending on the destination. Limited mobility options are also offered so guests can tailor their experience to suit their interests and activity pace. Passengers can indicate their preferences in advance of the trip and can also change their options once onboard. The few limited-capacity tours can be pre-booked before the trip starts.
There are walking tours offered in most destinations including Budapest, Vienna, and Cologne as well as Durnstein, Regensburg, Wurzburg, Passau, Melk and Bamburg. Sometimes there is a combination of bus touring and walking to places such as Bratislava, Cesky Krumlov, Nuremberg, Salzburg, Rothenburg, Keukenhof Gardens and Zaanse Schans. There's a gondola ride in Rudesheim, a canal boat cruise in Amsterdam, a focused tour of Melk Abby, the Bishop's Residence in Wurzburg and Siegfried's Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum in Rudesheim. Guided bike rides are offered in the Wachau Valley and Cologne. Active hikes are offered in Nuremberg and Miltenberg. There are also several limited-capacity, special-interest tours including a culinary tour of Regensburg, a golf day at Schloss Schonborn Golf Club, a visit to a farm near Wurzburg and a Bavarian dance lesson.
Daytime and Evening Entertainment
A diverse range of onboard daytime and evening entertainment is held in the Main Lounge. During the day, there might be expert lectures, wine-tastings, craft demonstrations and special foodie experiences such as a Bavarian sausage and wheat beer brunch, ginger bread afternoon tea or brandy coffee.
The musicians offer a range of thematic activities including line-dancing lessons in preparation for a country music night, an Abba trivia game for the Abba music night, as well as a dancing competition, karaoke night and special request night.
There is also a Chaine des Rotisseurs (International Association of Gastronomy) dinner and a Captain's farewell dinner.
There is an excellent range of free onboard enrichment on the 15-day Magnificent Europe itinerary between Amsterdam and Budapest. These include: a glass-blowing demonstration; wine-tasting with a representative of a leading local winery; a German language class; and a Bavarian oompah band. An expert gives an excellent presentation on the Main-Danube canal and a student comes onboard to give insights on student life in Germany. No pre-registration is required and all take place in the Main Lounge.
There are also three off-ship Royal Signature Experiences: a luncheon journey on the Grand Empress Steam Train from Budapest to the Godollo Palace (one of the late Austro-Hungarian Empress Sisi's favourite castles; a chamber orchestra concert of works by Strauss and Mozart (with a guest appearance by Mozart Boys Choir members) at the ornate Vienna City Palais Liechtenstein; and dinner and a classical piano concert at Namedy Castle.
The Main Lounge, with floor-to-ceiling windows on the Violin Deck (Deck Three), is the social hub of the entire ship. It features the ship's well-stocked bar, contemporary styling and plenty of comfortable seating. To one side is a small stage as well as a baby grand piano. A wide range of free wines, beers and cocktails are on offer as well as premium drinks, which guests can buy.
The Observation Lounge, towards the front of this space (and the bow of the ship), is the perfect indoor space from which to take in the approaching sights. Tea and espresso making facilities are available 24 hours a day at the entrance to the Main Lounge, directly across from the gift shop. There is also a quieter library area, with gas-burning fireplaces.
The Main Lounge is where the Cruise Director makes presentations, where guest lectures, wine tastings and demonstrations take place and where the live entertainment happens each evening. It is also the location of the River Bistro, which offers casual dining all day long. When food is not being served, the area tends to be pleasantly quiet while it can be full of life during pre-dinner cocktail hour and when live entertainment is offered.
There is a large rooftop Sun Deck with tables and chairs both under shade and in the sun. A walking track loops around the perimeter. A small heated pool with swim-up bar is also available as well as a putting green. There is a small terrace at the front of the Lounge Area on the Violin Deck and another larger sunken terrace with tables and chairs at the back of the ship.
Staff are available at the reception desk 24/7. This is the place that guests can address all questions about onboard life. The Cruise Director, whose desk is located at the top of the stairs overlooking the reception area, co-ordinates all excursions and off-ship adventures from there. Guests use a digital card to sign in and out of the ship. There is a small library and games area as well as a boutique stocking jewellery, gifts, chocolates, and a wide range of mementoes typical of the places the ship visits. A group jigsaw puzzle is always underway in the lounge area. An elevator runs between the Violin and Cello decks. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the ship.
Room service, daily shoes shining, one complimentary laundry service per week, and pressing of two pieces of clothing per day is also included for select suites. Guests may also pay for additional laundry and pressing.
There is a small spa room for massages and facials as well as a hair salon. The male masseuse is a trained physical therapist.
A small fitness room has a treadmill, two stationary bikes and free weights as well as a sauna room, shower and toilet.
Intermittent morning stretch classes are offered in the lounge. There is also a walking track around the perimeter of the Sun Deck. Bicycles and helmets are available for use at every port and informal walks off-ship are offered by a staff member from time to time.
AmaVerde is an 'adults-only' river cruise ship.