One shore excursion is included at each port. Since the ship might be at one port in the morning before moving to another in the afternoon, it is possible to participate in more than one tour per day in some cases. The standard tour for each port is an overview city tour, that could be all walking, departing directly from the ship, or could be a combination walking and bus tour.
Tour guides are typically highly qualified locals and are quite knowledgeable. When busses are used, they are comfortable and clean, often AmaWaterway's own coaches. Tour guides ride with guests at all times, providing insights and information about points of interest along the way as well as about the ultimate destination of the tour. Once off the bus, guides communicate through individual headsets provided in each cabin.
Special interest tours that include beer or wine tastings, cooking demonstrations or even cooking classes are offered in some ports of call, as an alternative to the city tours. In some locations, extended full-day bus tours to cities beyond the river's edge are offered as well. For example, when our ship stopped in Passau, a bus trip to Salzburg was one of the choices. The ship moved to Linz in the afternoon, but the bus tour met it there in the evening.
Optional tours with a charge between 50 and 75 euros are offered at some ports. These might include evening concerts or more extensive tours.
When possible, walking tours are divided into three groups: active with a faster pace and possibly rougher or steeper terrain, regular and gentle, for those who with limited mobility. A booklet with tour options is provided prior to sailing, and more detailed explanations of each is provided on the first or second day of the cruise. The tour options and operational logistics are explained in detail by the cruise manager onboard at the beginning of the cruise. At that time, you can choose your tours for the remainder of the trip.
Prior to each day's tours, guests are asked to pick up color-coded tour cards from the reception desk. The colors then match up with signs carried by tour guides and signs placed in the front windows of the busses, making it easy to follow your guide and to return to the proper bus following free time during tour stops.
Daytime and Evening Entertainment
A keyboard player plays during afternoon tea each day as well each evening following dinner in the lounge and for special events like the afternoon ice cream social held while the ship sails to a new port before dark. Local entertainers come onboard the ship at various times providing cultural entertainment in the form of song and dance. During our cruise, one night was designated as disco night in the lounge. Cruises during the Christmas season include activities like tree decorating, gingerbread cookie decorating and holiday carolers. For the most part, days are so packed with tours and activities that things get quiet rather early.
Enrichment, other than tours, comes in the form of port information in each day's newsletter and port talks provided by the cruise manager. On our cruise, an expert was brought onboard to provide an interesting lecture about the construction and operation of the locks on the Danube on an afternoon that the ship passed through some of them.
Main Lounge (Deck 3): This window-lined space is the social hub of the ship. Comfy couches, chairs and coffee tables are clustered throughout the space, providing plenty of opportunity for conversations with both new and existing friends or quiet spots for reading and scenery watching. The focal point is the buffet counter, in a shape that matches the ship's bow. It is home to an ever-changing supply of cookies and savory snacks, ice tea and water, plus acts as the service area for light breakfasts, lunches, afternoon tea and late-night snacks. The bar itself is the place to order complimentary beer, wine and soft drinks during lunch. Those beverages and cocktails are available for purchase at all other times. A keyboard is positioned between the bar and buffet with the ship's pianist playing most afternoons and every evening. There's a tea and coffee station just outside the entrance to the lounge on the starboard side. There is a small dance floor, that is easily overlooked. On our cruise, there were a few couples dancing on the designated disco night.
Observation Lounge (Deck 3): This is the most forward portion of the Main Lounge, with no separation between the two. It has panoramic views of both sides of the river and is an ideal spot for river watching when the weather prevents outdoor viewing.
Al Fresco Terrace (Deck 3): This small collection of patio tables and chairs is a great covered spot to enjoy snacks and drinks outdoors. It is accessed via a glass door on the port side forward in the Main Lounge. Re-entry into the lounge requires your room key card.
The Chef's Table (Deck 3): The rear-facing glass-walled specialty dining room is open during the day for guest games and conversation. There is a smaller version of the coffee and tea self-serve station available all day.
Pool Bar (Deck 4): The ship's pool on the Sun Deck has four barstools in one end, presumably with service available during warm weather. It was not used during our cruise.
The Sun Deck features a small center pool, not large enough for swimming, but would be a good spot for relaxing. The pool is heated, making it useable throughout most of the regular cruise season. The deck also has a putting green, an oversized chess set and a walking/jogging track circling the central portion of the deck. Ten laps equal about a mile. Jogging is restricted to the hours between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. because there are cabins located directly beneath the track. Lounge chairs and clusters of wicker sofas and chairs complete the main portion of the top deck of the ship.
A smaller, observation area known as the Lower Sun Deck has tables, chairs and sofas. Look for it all the way forward in front of the wheelhouse. The designated smoking area of the ship is a small secluded spot with tables and chairs, all supplied with ash trays, at the rear of the Sun Deck.
The reception desk in the central lobby is manned around the clock and is the primary point of contact for most needed services either in person or by phone. The hotel manager and the cruise manager have desks just above the lobby on the Violin Deck. Passengers may use the printer located here from the computer in their cabins as needed, particularly for airline boarding passes. Besides managing all tours and entertainment, the cruise manager is available to discuss future cruises.
Self-serve ice dispensers are located on each floor, or you can request ice from your cabin steward.
A small library, complete with two faux fireplaces, offering books and board games for loan is located on the port side of the ship between the lobby and the lounge. News digests, puzzles and the daily newsletter are provided on a table in this same area. On the opposite side of the ship in the same location is a small gift shop with various sundries, AmaWaterways logo clothing items and regional souvenirs like Christmas ornaments.
Wi-Fi is included in the cost of the cruise and was surprisingly fast throughout most of our cruise. The exception was when the ship was in a lock.
A small spa and salon is located on the Violin Deck near the entrance to The Chef's Table Restaurant. The menu of services is located in your cabin. A fitness center is opposite the spa. It has two treadmills, two cycling machines and a weight machine. Yoga mats, hand weights and an exercise ball are provided. Water and towels are available at all times.
The ship is not ideal for children and the line does not encourage children under the age of 8. There are no children's menus or activities. There are however, four sets of connecting cabins that can be used for families traveling with older children or teens (unlike some other AmaWaterways ships that partner with Adventures by Disney, AmaSerena does not). On our cruise, there was one such family with two teens and two young adults traveling with their parents. It was obvious that Wi-Fi and French fries were the two most popular things for the teens.