A Rhine River cruise has been at the top of the list of things I wanted husband to do with my, with our 35th wedding anniversary coming up, a cruise aboard the AmaWaterways newest ship, the AmaSerena, was the perfect way to celebrate.
The first surprise once we were on board was discovering we’d been upgraded to a suite. The cabin was as luxurious as an upscale hotel room, spacious and filled with light from the wide doors of the double balconies, with a separate sitting area, mini bar and a wall of lighted closets and shelves.
The bed was dressed in crisp white linens and soft pillows and like all of the other rooms on the AmaSerena, there was an Apple TV and MacBook for entertainment and Wi-Fi access. The cabin’s bathroom featured marble tile, double sinks and a wide vanity and mirror. The shower was small but there was a big bathtub and that was another wonderful surprise. When we were on shore we spent hours exploring some of the most beautiful and interesting cities in Europe, but each night I settled in for a long bubbly soak with a good book. It was heaven.
Suites aboard the AmaSerena come with butler service but my husband and I are both independent travelers and we found we really didn’t require the extra attention. With a coffee maker in the room and the ship’s 24-hour coffee and tea station just steps away, sodas, juice and water in the mini fridge and a basket of fresh fruit in the cabin, we had everything we needed close at hand. But it was nice to feel so pampered.
AmaWaterways vice president and co-owner Kristin Karst frequently sails on company ships and was on board the AmaSerena during our cruise. She was warm and gracious and seemed to be genuinely interested in what each guest had to say. At the various receptions she toasted the crew and passengers and at dinner each evening, when a cake was brought out to celebrate a birthday or anniversary, Kristin congratulated each couple, including us, with a big smile and hugs.
Cruise director Frederico, efficiently handled all of the logistics for excursions and transfers, making the week’s activities seamless and relaxing. Our Rhine River cruise was one of AmaWaterways wine-themed cruises. Christopher Silva of St. Francis Winery in Sonoma was aboard and hosted special tastings and wine classes.
River cruising is the most popular way to visit and explore the historic rivers and cities of Europe. The small ships—the AmaSerena carries only 164 passengers—are intimate and comfortable and the staff and crew shower passengers with attention. One thing that particularly impressed me was the number of repeat AmaWaterways cruisers. I spoke to several people who were on their third or fourth Ama cruise and that speaks volumes about the company’s performance.
Our anniversary cruise was one of the most wonderful travel experiences I’ve ever had. I came home with a camera full of memories and, I’ll confess, a brochure tucked into my luggage. Like the other passengers who were loyal cruisers, once with AmaWaterways was definitely not enough.