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Gems of Southeast Europe (Wine Cruise)

4th Nov 2024 | 7 nights | AMAWaterways | AmaVerde

Free wi-fi
Excursions included
Drinks included with meals
Complimentary cocktail hour
Complimentary speciality restaurant
Ruse (Rousse)
Vidin
Iron Gates
Belgrade
Novi Sad
Ilok
Mohacs
Free wi-fi
Excursions included
Drinks included with meals
Complimentary cocktail hour
Complimentary speciality restaurant
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Day
Date
 
Arrival
Departure
 
1
4th Nov 2024 Monday
Giurgiu
2
5th Nov 2024 Tuesday
Ruse (Rousse)
3
6th Nov 2024 Wednesday
Vidin
4
7th Nov 2024 Thursday
Iron Gates
5
8th Nov 2024 Friday
Belgrade
6
9th Nov 2024 Saturday
Novi Sad
6
9th Nov 2024 Saturday
Ilok
7
10th Nov 2024 Sunday
Mohacs
8
11th Nov 2024 Monday
Budapest

AmaWaterways has carved out a niche for itself in the river cruise arena with its emphasis on wine and food amid comfortably stylish surrounds.

The majority of AmaVerde's staterooms (along with those found on AmaBella and near-sisters AmaCerto and AmaPrima) 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. Notable, too: These spacious staterooms aren't limited to a lucky few. On the top two cabin decks, they're plentiful.

Other delightful features on AmaVerde make it such a welcoming ship. On the sun deck, a splash pool (with swim-up bar) and deep, comfy wicker-like sofas are popular gathering spots. The small gym is well stocked with state-of-the-art equipment, and the sprawling lounge features a library nook with a faux fireplace.

It's important to note, though, that the ship's gorgeous décor and creature comforts are a backdrop to the experience you'll have on land. AmaWaterways features a nice range of possibilities in each port (most of which come in the complimentary category) that target a variety of travel styles. Highlights include standard tours; themed experiences geared toward interests in areas like art, food and wine; and recreationally oriented expeditions on bicycles. (Two dozen of them are stored onboard, and they're free for passengers to use in port.)

AmaWaterways offers terrific value-for-money extras on its cruises; these include free and unlimited Wi-Fi (with an unusually fast connection for a cruise ship) and complimentary beer, wine and soda at lunch and dinner.

Rounding out a superb cruise experience, the crew on AmaVerde are outstanding. Warm, efficient and personable, the tone was set for us on the first night onboard, when a couple, having travelled all day, arrived well after mealtime. They plaintively asked the bartender if there were snacks available. Instead, she went down to the kitchen and assembled them a full meal.

Day and night, the prevailing dress code is country club casual, except for the once-a-cruise Captain's Dinner, when male passengers don jackets and ties and women wear cocktail garb.

If you want to learn more about the ports you're visiting on an AmaVerde cruise, it generally won't happen onboard the ship. There's little programming -- such as lectures or food demonstrations -- beyond a handful of folk-style performances. The library, which is rather small, doesn't stock a great collection of guides or other informational tomes.

Where you will pick up excellent insights is on tour; Ama's shore excursions, most of which are included in cruise fares, stray beyond the usual staple of guided city tours. Particularly intriguing on our Danube River trip was a culinary tour of Vienna, a communist-era look at Bratislava and a trip to Austria's lake district. Via the ship's fleet of bicycles, there were numerous opportunities to tour ports like Dürnstein and Linz on two wheels. Walking tours were offered at a variety of paces. Wireless transmitters, so passengers can hear guides without being right on top of them, are provided. Because of the good variety of offerings, tours rarely were too crowded.

Onboard, a pianist plays a variety of music before and after dinner, and quite a few passengers on our sailing had enough energy later to dance. On some nights, local entertainment plays in the lounge.

The cruise director's nightly talks, mostly focusing on the events of the following day, are humorous and enjoyable, as well as informative.

AmaVerde's gym, with a handful of machines (treadmill, Technogym weight machine and two stationary bikes), is thoughtfully equipped, complete with television screens for entertainment. Water is provided. The ship also offers salon services, such as massages and hairstyling.

There's also a walking track on the Sun Deck.

One of AmaVerde's highlights is its fleet of two dozen bicycles. These are free to use in port.

One of the ship's most interesting features is its small pool; it's not big enough for "real" swimming, but it's a lovely place to cool off on hot days. It's also heated for use on chillier ones.

As on most riverboats, the hub of onboard life on AmaVerde is the sprawling lounge. There's a semi-circular bar, a small library nook with a faux fireplace, a handful of tables at perfect height for writing letters or checking email, and a vast array of deep and comfortable couches and armchairs. There's also a closet-sized gift shop.

The beautiful lobby area, which spans two decks, is home to the cruise director's desk (he arranges onboard and in-port activities), a reception desk and a lift that travels between the restaurant and the lounge decks. Because of marine regulations, lifts can't travel below the water line or to the sun deck. (That means cabins on the lowest deck, Piano Deck, are only accessible via the stairs.)

On riverboats, the topmost level -- the sun deck -- is, essentially, an extension of its lounge area, and AmaVerde's Sun Deck is one of the most beautiful and comfortable in the industry. There are plenty of tables and chairs for playing games, writing letters and eating, and there's a gorgeous sitting area with deep wicker-like sofas just forward of the bridge. The Sun Deck also has canopied areas for shade, with plenty of mesh-covered loungers.

AmaWaterways is the only major river cruise line to be part of the Chaîne Des Rôtisseurs, a culinary society, so we expected the food to be better than average. Indeed, it was superb. All meals are open seating within specified meal times (quite generous, allowing for the schedules of all types of passengers, including those who skipped tours and lazed around onboard). Breakfast generally is served from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., lunch from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m. Most tables are sized for groups of four or more (just a few two-tops), and the handful of booths are always quickly occupied.

Menus typically reflect the region in which the ship is traveling. In our case, on a Danube cruise from Budapest to Vilshofen, items included Hungarian goulash, Bavarian sausages and Viennese schnitzel, along with comfort foods like steak, salmon, chicken and salad.

Breakfast consists of buffet service with a station for freshly prepared omelettes and other egg dishes; it's was substantial. There's plenty of healthy fare, such as yogurt and fresh fruit, as well as European-style breakfast options like cold cuts and cheese. Each morning, a menu also features a handful of daily specials. Think eggs Benedict and cinnamon pancakes.

Lunch, which includes free-flowing wine, beer and soda, consists of menu options and a buffet. Salads are plentiful, and usually there are several choices of soups, regional entrées and desserts. Burgers, fries and other American staples are also available. Dinner is the most formal meal in the main dining room, offering several choices of starters, salads and soups, entrées and desserts, and, of course, plenty of wine. Special needs, from vegetarian to low salt, were pleasantly accommodated (though it helps to give the kitchen advance notice). Always-available choices include steak, chicken and fish.

Other dining options: Erlebnis is a Chef's Table-style eatery with an almost-open kitchen that allows you to watch the chefs work. The set menu (with two choices for the entrée), starts with an amuse bouche followed by four courses. The menu is repeated most nights. With just 24 seats (mostly tables for four with a few larger ones), reservations are recommended; in fact, book your seats the first day because demand is typically quite high for the experience. A wine steward is on hand to explain the choices for the evening. The ambience is as lovely as the dining (and sipping). Erlebnis is located all the way aft and features walls of windows around three sides. There is no additional fee.

The ship occasionally features special themed meals. On our Danube River cruise, it was a Bavarian-style lunch, complete with pretzels, German beer and waiters dressed in traditional costume.

For light fare, the lounge offers pastries in the morning and salad, soup and sandwiches at lunch. There's also afternoon tea. Otherwise, cookies are set out for snacks.
Coffee, tea and water are available around the clock. There is no room service, although special requests (particularly if you're under the weather) will be accommodated.

Many riverboats offer cabins with modified "French" balconies (floor-to-ceiling windows that open from side to side but don't allow passengers to step out), and a few others offer real verandahs you can sit on, but AmaVerde goes further. Ranging from 210 to 235 square feet, A and B categories offer living areas with French balconies and, off the bedrooms, two-seater verandahs. Roughly half of all cabins onboard have the dual scenario. In these cabins, the living areas feature easy chairs and desk/vanity combinations.

The marble shower-only bathrooms are unusually spacious for a river ship and have funky windows that look out into the cabin. Fortunately the windows have privacy switches that transform them into opaque, frosted glass. A window at the end of the balcony shines extra light into the living area.

One tip: Cabins on Deck 2 are more centrally located, while those on Deck 3 might have slightly better views in port when the ship butts up against other vessels or docks.

AmaVerde has two suites onboard. Measuring 350 square feet, each of these is essentially one large room with a spacious seating area, a larger-than-usual balcony (about 2 to 3 feet deeper than the others) with room for ottomans. They boast the only onboard bathrooms with tubs.

A handful of more traditional cabins, at 170 square feet, have French verandahs. And, on the lowest level, the Piano Deck, 160-square-foot cabins have high windows. These rooms small desks, adequate closet space and easy chairs.

All cabins include comfortable beds that convert from twins to queen-size. There are minibars stocked with complimentary bottled water, and generous amounts of closet space and under-the-bed storage, especially in higher-end staterooms. The bathrooms have both rain showerheads and regular showerheads. (Hot water was plentiful, though the water pressure was a bit on the weak side.)

Each cabin features a flat-screen television with somewhat skimpy programming, including a handful of movie picks and news channels beamed in via satellite. There's also in-cabin Internet access; most passengers we met brought their own devices. A nice touch: Each cabin is outfitted with European- and American-style plugs and comes with a pair of umbrellas. Amenities include robes, slippers and individual-sized bath products like soap, lotion, shampoo and conditioner.

Sun Deck
Violin Deck
Cello Deck
Piano Deck

Best for...

Wine-lovers, foodies, wellness enthusiasts and families

Not the best for...

Travellers with limited mobility

Who goes on AMAWaterways cruise ships?

Most passengers are North Americans, though a good share come from Australia and the U.K. Most are in the 50-plus range, and are well-educated and active. AmaWaterways attracts solo travellers and couples, and recent ships draw families and multigenerational groups with stateroom designs accommodating multiple passengers.


Do I have to dress up on a AMAWaterways cruise?

A little bit, particularly in Europe where, in general, the dress code is country club casual, with cruisers turning up the notch a bit for the captain's night and farewell dinner, showing up dressed as they would be for a fine restaurant. In Southeast Asia, the line urges cruisers to travel lighter with smart casual clothing for the welcome and farewell dinners, and in Africa the rule is casual throughout.


Is everything free on AMAWaterways cruises?

In all destinations, AmaWaterways offers free Wi-Fi, coffee, tea and bottled water, and in Europe, Vietnam and Cambodia, a complimentary shore excursion is provided in each port. In Africa all excursions are included in the fare. On all European river cruises (except Portugal), there is complimentary sparkling wine and juices at breakfast, and beer, soft drinks and unlimited wines at lunch and dinner, plus a cocktail hour with complimentary wine, beer and spirits. These same cruises provide free bikes and helmets for independent use in port. In Vietnam and Cambodia, cruisers have complimentary soft drinks, juices, house brand spirits, local beers, filtered coffee and tea during the cruise, with free flowing wine with lunch and dinner onboard and bottled water, replenished daily. In Africa complimentary wine and beer is served with all lunch and dinners onboard. Gratuities, laundry, spa and beauty services and some shore excursions carry an additional fee, as do premium alcoholic beverages and drinks outside of meal times.


What are AMAWaterways's most popular activities?

The destinations visited are the main draw for cruises on an Ama sailing, and passengers take advantage of shore excursions that range from Gentle to Active Walker groups; there's even a concentrated Late Starter option for people who want to sleep in but still see key tour highlights. In Europe there are also guided bicycle and hiking tours in some cities along the way. While sailing, wine tastings and lectures draw a crowd, and when nothing is on the schedule, cruisers are just as happy to relax on deck or in the lounge and watch the scenery go by or read. Some afternoons local cultural groups come onboard to perform and share their heritage. AmaWaterways has found that many of its passengers want active pursuits onboard, so the line established a wellness program onboard. Passengers do relax in the lounges, but they also show up for stretch sessions, yoga, cardio/core strengthening, resistance band workouts and circuit training. There are quite a few reasons to be in your stateroom, too; the line's Entertainment-On-Demand system not only provides high-speed internet access but also movies, music and English language TV stations.


  • Return flights from London or Manchester
  • Group overseas transfers to and from the ship
  • Full board meals
  • Exquisite, La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, regionally-inspired cuisine at every meal paired with complimentary hand-selected wines with every lunch and dinner
  • A meal in the The Chef’s Table specialty restaurant once per cruise
  • Sip & Sail Cocktail Hour every evening
  • A diverse menu of shore excursions, up to 4 choices each day
  • High speed internet provided free of charge throughout the ship
  • Wellness programme
  • Dedicated wellness host
  • Use of the onboard gym, heated pool & walking track

Inclusions may differ depending on region. Please check with our team.

Prices based on:

Fixed Window - Piano Deck - 170sq.ft.
Fixed Window - Piano Deck - 170sq.ft.

  • In-room temperature control
  • Deluxe hotel-style bedding with Egyptian linen, down pillows and duvet
  • Spacious bathrooms with multi-jet showerheads
  • Large wardrobe, full-length mirror, hair dryer, safe and direct-dial telephone
  • Flat-screen TV
  • Entertainment on Demand system providing complimentary TV, movies and music library
  • Complimentary internet and Wi-Fi
  • Complimentary bottled water replenished daily
  • Desk and chair
  • Located on the Piano Deck
  • Fixed window
  • 170 sq. ft.

Cabin Grade Fly Cruise
E £2,975 pp
D £3,188 pp

French Balcony - Violin & Cello Deck - 170sq.ft.
French Balcony - Violin & Cello Deck - 170sq.ft.

  • In-room temperature control
  • Deluxe hotel-style bedding with Egyptian linen, down pillows and duvet
  • Spacious bathrooms with multi-jet showerheads
  • Large wardrobe, full-length mirror, hair dryer, safe and direct-dial telephone
  • Flat-screen TV
  • Entertainment on Demand system providing complimentary TV, movies and music library
  • Complimentary internet and Wi-Fi
  • Complimentary bottled water replenished daily
  • Desk and chair
  • Located on the Violin & Cello Deck
  • French balcony
  • 170 sq. ft.

Cabin Grade Fly Cruise
C £3,899 pp
Twin Balcony - Cello Deck - 210sq.ft.
Twin Balcony - Cello Deck - 210sq.ft.

  • In-room temperature control
  • Deluxe hotel-style bedding with Egyptian linen, down pillows and duvet
  • Spacious bathrooms with multi-jet showerheads
  • Large wardrobe, full-length mirror, hair dryer, safe and direct-dial telephone
  • Flat-screen TV
  • Entertainment on Demand system providing complimentary TV, movies and music library
  • Complimentary internet and Wi-Fi
  • Complimentary bottled water replenished daily
  • Desk and chair
  • Located on the Cello Deck
  • French balcony & outside balcony
  • 210 sq. ft.

Cabin Grade Fly Cruise
BB £4,325 pp
Twin Balcony - Violin Deck - 210sq.ft.
Twin Balcony - Violin Deck - 210sq.ft.

  • In-room temperature control
  • Deluxe hotel-style bedding with Egyptian linen, down pillows and duvet
  • Spacious bathrooms with multi-jet showerheads
  • Large wardrobe, full-length mirror, hair dryer, safe and direct-dial telephone
  • Flat-screen TV
  • Entertainment on Demand system providing complimentary TV, movies and music library
  • Complimentary internet and Wi-Fi
  • Complimentary bottled water replenished daily
  • Desk and chair
  • Located on the Violin Deck
  • French balcony & outside balcony
  • 210 sq. ft.

Cabin Grade Fly Cruise
BA £4,467 pp
Twin Balcony - Cello Deck - 235sq.ft.
Twin Balcony - Cello Deck - 235sq.ft.

  • In-room temperature control
  • Deluxe hotel-style bedding with Egyptian linen, down pillows and duvet
  • Spacious bathrooms with multi-jet showerheads
  • Large wardrobe, full-length mirror, hair dryer, safe and direct-dial telephone
  • Flat-screen TV
  • Entertainment on Demand system providing complimentary TV, movies and music library
  • Complimentary internet and Wi-Fi
  • Complimentary bottled water replenished daily
  • Desk and chair
  • Located on the Cello Deck
  • French balcony & outside balcony
  • 235 sq. ft.

Cabin Grade Fly Cruise
AB £4,609 pp
Twin Balcony - Violin Deck - 235sq.ft.
Twin Balcony - Violin Deck - 235sq.ft.

  • In-room temperature control
  • Deluxe hotel-style bedding with Egyptian linen, down pillows and duvet
  • Spacious bathrooms with multi-jet showerheads
  • Large wardrobe, full-length mirror, hair dryer, safe and direct-dial telephone
  • Flat-screen TV
  • Entertainment on Demand system providing complimentary TV, movies and music library
  • Complimentary internet and Wi-Fi
  • Complimentary bottled water replenished daily
  • Desk and chair
  • Located on the Violin Deck
  • French balcony & outside balcony
  • 235 sq. ft.

Cabin Grade Fly Cruise
AA £4,751 pp

Suite
Suite

  • In-room temperature control
  • Deluxe hotel-style bedding with Egyptian linen, down pillows and duvet
  • Spacious bathrooms with multi-jet showerheads
  • Large wardrobe, full-length mirror, hair dryer, safe and direct-dial telephone
  • Flat-screen TV
  • Entertainment on Demand system providing complimentary TV, movies and music library
  • Complimentary internet and Wi-Fi
  • Complimentary bottled water replenished daily
  • Desk and chair
  • Located on the Violin Deck
  • French Balcony & Outside Balcony
  • 350 sq. ft.

Cabin Grade Fly Cruise
SS £5,674 pp
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