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AmaSonata Review

Find a AmaSonata Cruise from £1,639

4.5 / 5.0
72 reviews

Included shore excursions cater to varying activity levels
Kinks in the ID card system
Bottom Line
A good choice for travelers seeking active pursuits on land and laid-back time onboard




Passenger to Crew


Shore Excursions
Sails To
Sails From
AmaWaterways Cruise Deals
Chris Gray Faust
Cruise Critic Managing Editor

AmaSonata Overview

AmaWaterways has carved a niche for itself as offering advanced design with a more active shore experience. AmaSonata, which launched in 2014, continues that philosophy. A key distinguishing feature is that most of its 81 cabins have two balconies, consisting of a French balcony (a sliding door that lets in light and air, but lacks an exterior platform); and an adjoining outside balcony that seats two. Even the non-balcony cabins are efficiently designed, attractive and relatively roomy. Public areas -- namely the dining room and the main lounge -- are light and airy and large enough that they never seem overly crowded. The vibe is relaxed. Onboard announcements are kept to a minimum, and they aren't broadcast into the cabins.

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With the exception of several optional tours, shore excursions are included in the cruise price. So is the use of bicycles, wine at lunch and dinner, and Wi-Fi. And in an effort to appeal to more active cruisers, the line offers some strenuous options, like hiking and cycling excursions, in addition to the usual city walking tours. It also divides many of its outings into three levels of physical exertion, so you can join a group that suits your pace. In 2015, AmaWaterways partnered with the active travel company Backroads to offer supported biking and hiking tours on select cruises; these cruises are a real workout and definitely appeal to a younger demographic than you typically see in river cruising.

The food is excellent. AmaWaterways takes pride in its membership in the world's oldest international gastronomic society, Confrerie de la Chaine de Rotisseurs, and its commitment to fine dining shows. There's an emphasis on regional dishes, such as Vienna-style schnitzel in Austria and Hungarian goulash in Budapest.

Dining room and cabin service was friendly, efficient and generally spot-on. Our jolly waiter remembered our preferences and worked with the kitchen staff to accommodate the vegan at our table. When we told our cabin steward she needn't bother with the nightly turndown service -- but we'd appreciate the pillow chocolates -- she delivered a cupful the next morning.

The biggest wrinkle on our cruise came with the line's ID system. AmaWaterways issues picture IDs to guests, and requests they scan them when entering and exiting the vessel. It's common practice on oceangoing ships, where everyone must funnel through a controlled queue. But on AmaSonata, the system is basically voluntary. (You go to the desk, hand the ID over or scan it yourself, then exit on your own.) Consequently, it's not a failsafe way to determine whether everyone's aboard when the ship sails.

So imagine our surprise when, after dinner ashore in lovely Bratislava, Slovakia, we arrived 15 minutes before the scheduled 9 p.m. departure to see the gangplank lifted and two crew members preparing to cast off. Yes, we'd neglected to log out. But why were they leaving early? We hopped on board with an assist from the crew. Crisis averted, if not really understood.

Top AmaSonata Itineraries

7 night christmas markets on the danube

Vilshofen an der Donau, Passau, Linz (Salzburg), Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, Budapest

7 night Christmas Markets on the Danube


View All AmaWaterways AmaSonata Itineraries (15)

Fellow Passengers

Cruisers on AmaSonata are primarily North American, though you'll find a handful of Australians onboard (AmaWaterways also partners with APT, an Australian tour company, so the name has some recognition down under). Baby Boomers comprise the bulk of the passengers. However, recent programs that gear excursions to three levels of rigor (gentle, regular and active) are designed to attract adults of varying ages who enjoy traveling together, if at sometimes different speeds. The Backroads trips also attract a younger demographic, as do themed cruises like the one focused on wine.

AmaWaterways AmaSonata Dress Code

Daytime wear is casual. Comfort is key, since most passengers are out on walking tours or cycling through the countryside. (Good walking shoes able to handle cobbled streets are a must.) Suggested dinner attire is "sophisticated casual" -- collared shirts and slacks for men, and dresses, skirts or dressy pants for women. Even for the weekly Captain's Dinner, a dressy affair on many cruises, the daily program noted guests were welcome to dress up, but it wasn't compulsory; men will be OK if they don't bring a jacket. However, shorts and sneakers aren't welcome in the dining room at dinner.

AmaSonata Inclusions

At least one daily shore excursion is included in the cruise fare. On our Danube cruise, options ranged from hourlong city walking tours, to group hikes and bike tours, to half- and full-day excursions in farther-flung locales, such as the Austrian Lake District and Salzburg. The ship's 25 bicycles are free for use on shore.

Regional wines and beer are served with lunch and dinner (and a bottle of sparkling wine is on ice by the smoked salmon at breakfast). Soft drinks are also free with meals. Bottled water is delivered daily to cabins. The free Wi-Fi is fast and reliable.

Gratis postcards are available at the front desk; they'll even stamp and mail them for you. Electrical adaptors, reading glasses, walking sticks, wheelchairs and shower chairs are also available for loan.

Suggested tips are 3 euros a day per person for the cruise manager and an additional 12 euros a day for the crew. Tips can be paid in cash or by credit card. The onboard currency is the euro. Suggested tips to excursion guides are 1 or 2 euros per person in cash.

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AmaSonata Ratings

Public Rooms5.04.8
Fitness Recreation2.54.3
Value For Money4.54.6

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More about AmaWaterways AmaSonata

Where does AmaWaterways AmaSonata sail from?

AmaWaterways AmaSonata departs from Budapest

Where does AmaWaterways AmaSonata sail to?

How much does it cost to go on AmaWaterways AmaSonata?

Cruises on AmaWaterways AmaSonata start from £1,639 per person.

Awards and Recognition

AmaWaterways AmaSonata Member Reviews

Sail Date: Apr 2019
We took the AmaSonata Danube cruise from Budapest to Vilshofen over Easter 2019.... Read More
Sail Date: May 2018
The team on the AmaSonata met or exceeded every expectation. Every team member, the cruise manager Sonja, hotel manager Cristian and the entire team went out of their way to make us feel welcome.... Read More
Sail Date: Aug 2019
We went on a Backroads biking cruise, and for this purpose a river cruise was great. The AMAWaterways staff was wonderful - interesting, always willing to help, and just generally very competent. I can't say... Read More
Sail Date: Jul 2019
We did a cruise that combined daily biking via the Backroads company and we all thought we would have been too inactive had we not included that activity. The fitness room was only able to allow 2 persons on a... Read More

AmaWaterways Fleet

4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

50 reviews

The 148-passenger AmaDolce, deployed in 2016 to France's Bordeaux region, offers an elegant and warm-hearted river cruise experience.

AmaDolce Cruises to Europe View All AmaDolce Cruises

With a special wellness component, AmaWaterways' AmaLyra carries 148 passengers and sails itineraries on France's Seine River.


AmaWaterways' 148-passenger AmaDante debuted in 2008 and sails on the Danube, Main, Rhine and Mosel rivers.

4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

One of AmaWaterway's smaller 148-passenger vessels, AmaCello sails the Rhone and Saone rivers between Lyon and Arles in France.


The majority of AmaCerto's staterooms feature double-balcony configurations. One side is a French verandah, with floor-to-ceiling doors that open wide, and the other is an actual balcony, with comfortable chairs.

5.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

On AmaPrima the majority of staterooms feature double-balcony configurations: one side is a French verandah and the other is an actual balcony, with comfortable chairs.


Cabins on AmaVida range in size from 161 to 323 square feet; onboard amenities include two dining spaces, a heated pool and a small fitness center and spa.

4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

AmaWaterways' 82-cabin AmaSonata offers an advanced design, a relaxed vibe and an active shore experience with hiking and biking excursions included in the fare.

4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

The 164-passenger AmaSerena is a family-friendly river vessel, with connecting cabins with state-of-the-art entertainment -- most of which include twin balconies.

4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

AmaDara cruises on the Mekong River, through Vietnam and Cambodia. The 124-passenger vessel features 48 standard, 226-square-foot cabins, all of which have private twin balconies.

5.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

AmaViola debuted in 2016, as part of AmaWaterways' European river fleet. The ship features family-friendly cabins, which is relatively unusual in the river cruise market.

4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Launched in 2017, AmaKristina. sails the Rhine River on seven-night itineraries in France, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland with optional land extensions.

4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

The first of AmaWaterways' ships custom-built to accommodate families, AmaStella debuted in 2016 as a Concerto-class vessel created with input from partners at Adventures By Disney.

4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Set to debut in 2018, the 58-passenger AmaLea is the sister ship to AmaWaterways' AmaKristina and will be the 19th ship in the line's European fleet.

4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

AmaWaterway's game-changing river ship is double the size of its other ships, making it the one of the largest on the Danube.

4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Sister-ship to 2018's AmaLea, AmaMora is the latest evolution of AmaWaterways' comfortable and contemporary European-based river cruise ships.


A comfortable way to cruise Portugal's Douro River, AmaDouro brings AmaWaterways' contemporary sensibilities to the land of port wine.


Sister-ship to 2017’s AmaKristina, AmaSiena will be AmaWaterways’ newest contemporary ship on the rivers of Europe when she debuts in 2020, carrying just 156 passengers. 


AmaWaterways’ newest river cruise ship brings contemporary style and elegance to the waterways of Europe.

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