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ak1004

Enchanting Rhine with AmaWaterways

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Hello all,

 

We are planning taking Enchanting Rhine with AmaWaterways next June (2020), with pre cruise in Zurich and Lucerne. This will be our first river cruise, after doing 12 sea cruises.

 

Any tips? Is it a good itinerary? Should we take AmaWaterways, or Avalon/Viking who have similar itineraries? Is June a good time for this itinerary? Is ship important (our dates are flexible, so we can select AmaKristina, AmaMora or AmaStella)?

 

Any feedback would be appreciated.

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I have travelled with AMA on three cruises (Rhine, Rhône and Chobe in Africa) and highly recommend them.

 

AmaKristina (2017), AmaMora (2019) and AmaStella (2016) are all from the latest class of AMA ships and are essentially identical despite the slight age differences.  I would choose based on the dates that work best for you.

 

Is there a reason you chose to go from Basel to Amsterdam?  My own preference would be the other direction, because IMO Amsterdam is a better place to get over jet lag [if you are too tired to do much, you can assume you will be back...] and you will have full energy to enjoy Lucerne and Zurich at the end.  Also you start off with a leisurely first-day sail [again, good for jet lag] and the scenery just keeps getting better and better from A to B.

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@Host Jazzbeau Thank you very much for your response!

 

What you say about the direction makes sense, but my wife prefers to start with pre cruise program. She says that at the end of the cruise she just wants to go home. And if I want to enjoy the cruise, I should listen to my wife. She is always right anyway.

 

On a more serious note, the Enchanting Rhine cruise has an option from Basel to Amsterdam only. If you want to start in Amsterdam, you have to take the Captivating Rhine, but this requires 2 nights in Amsterdam pre cruise.

 

Since the cruise itself already includes a night in Amsterdam, and we will be 2 nights in Amsterdam this year, this doesn't make sense to us.

 

When people usually book those cruises? We book our ocean cruises sometimes 18-24 months in advance, but ocean cruises have price adjustments policy if the prices go down prior to final payment. I understand this is not the case with river cruises and the deposit is non-refundable. So does it make sense to wait? What are the chances that they do a price reduction?

 

Also, can we book business class flights with Ama, and is it typically cheaper? I understand that if something happens with water levels and they offer a refund, it will include the flight fare as well if you book with them? 

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Captivating Rhine is offered (on their website) in a 7-day cruise only version. But I’m sure both itineraries are great. 

 

It it used to be necessary to book river cruises very early because they sold out, but with all the new ships that hasn’t been as much of a problem lately. The risk is that you get a good price on the cruise and then give it all back to the airline...  But sometimes the offer includes free air. 

 

I don’t have experience booking Business class thru the cruise line. They can often offer a good deal on Coach, but I won’t fly that way. I haven’t tried getting Premium Economy thru them — as that is becoming more widely available they may have it. I generally book my flights directly with the airline, and cover my risk with Trip Insurance (which I want for medical coverage anyway).

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Is it a good time to take this cruise in mid May in terms of water levels and general temperature? Wouldn't be still a bit chilly? They have now a good promotion for a cruise that starts on May 7, 2020.

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On 5/4/2019 at 3:17 PM, ak1004 said:

Is it a good time to take this cruise in mid May in terms of water levels and general temperature? Wouldn't be still a bit chilly? They have now a good promotion for a cruise that starts on May 7, 2020.

 

Can't really predict water levels a year out.  Temps could be 40's and rainy/windy or 80's and hot/humid, or anywhere in between.  Normal averages are in the 60's.  I think May is a great time to go - lighter crowds in Europe and cooler temperatures for touring.

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My daughter and I took the Enchanting Rhine in June 2019 on AMA Waterways Serena......it was perfect from start to end.  We decided the pre-cruise hotel package in Zurich and Lucerne was very pricey.  So we flew into Zurich arriving in the morning....and took a 1 hour train directly from airport to Lucerne.  We spent 2 nights in Hotel Des Alpes in Lucerne....right on the lake overlooking the wooden bridge......Lucerne was a highlight of our trip. I have some walking limitations but found Lucerne very walkable....even walked from train station to hotel.  We then took a 1 hour train from Lucerne to Basel the day of our cruise.  From the moment we stepped out of cab in Basel crew were incredible.  Restaurant Manager met my daughter within 15 minutes of arriving on the ship to discuss some meal alternatives since she advised them when we booked the cruise that she is a picky eater.....e.g. she does not eat fish/seafood so they substituted with really good pasta meals. Excursions were all good.  We had great weather in June....no rain...the first couple of days were a little hot for my liking but comfortable the rest of the week......another highlight was just sitting on our balcony watching Europe go by.  This was to be a once in a lifetime trip.......but actually considering another river cruise!........enjoy

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On 8/28/2019 at 12:52 PM, newcruisercw said:

My daughter and I took the Enchanting Rhine in June 2019 on AMA Waterways Serena......it was perfect from start to end.  We decided the pre-cruise hotel package in Zurich and Lucerne was very pricey.  So we flew into Zurich arriving in the morning....and took a 1 hour train directly from airport to Lucerne.  We spent 2 nights in Hotel Des Alpes in Lucerne....right on the lake overlooking the wooden bridge......Lucerne was a highlight of our trip. I have some walking limitations but found Lucerne very walkable....even walked from train station to hotel.  We then took a 1 hour train from Lucerne to Basel the day of our cruise.  From the moment we stepped out of cab in Basel crew were incredible.  Restaurant Manager met my daughter within 15 minutes of arriving on the ship to discuss some meal alternatives since she advised them when we booked the cruise that she is a picky eater.....e.g. she does not eat fish/seafood so they substituted with really good pasta meals. Excursions were all good.  We had great weather in June....no rain...the first couple of days were a little hot for my liking but comfortable the rest of the week......another highlight was just sitting on our balcony watching Europe go by.  This was to be a once in a lifetime trip.......but actually considering another river cruise!........enjoy

Thx for your mini review. DH & I are looking @ this itinerary for our 4th AMA cruise. BY any chance would you have the dailies -interested in amt of time in ports on excursions.

Many thx

Carole

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sorry I did not keep any dailies......if you contact AMA I am sure they can give me this information.  I have some trouble walking long distance but found all of the excursions allowed for time to sit and not over rushed.  We are considering doing a Danube cruise next and just trying to decide on best itinerary.

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newcruisecw,  thanks for the feedback about your daughters diet.  I am a very picky eater and I liked that the chefs make pasta. Do they put different sauces on the pasta; like marinara, pesto, alfredo?  Thanks

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We booked the Enchanting Rhine for May 2020.  Like the OP we booked the pre-cruise in Zurich and Lucerne. And like to OP; family wants to go home after cruise; plus two days later we are heading off somewhere else in the US.  We booked directly with Delta Airlines. We booked Premium Select on way over and Delta One on way back.  I did this so I can compare the differences.  AMA did not have any discount with premium select.  Same price as Delta website

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We are leaving on the Captivating Rhine this weekend on the AMASerena.   Leaving for Amsterdam on Friday  (Flying to Paris and taking the Thalys from CDG to Amsterdam Centraal Station and stying the night pre-cruise).   Boarding the cruise on Sunday and disembarking in Basel for an immediate flight home.  I know, no real pre-cruise or post cruise, but we just returned from a 10 day Baltics cruise last month and this was a last minute deal we couldn't pass up.

 

Anyhow, after 46 Ocean Cruises, this is our first River Cruise and we are really excited to give it a try.

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11 minutes ago, trintrav said:

We are leaving on the Captivating Rhine this weekend on the AMASerena.   Leaving for Amsterdam on Friday  (Flying to Paris and taking the Thalys from CDG to Amsterdam Centraal Station and stying the night pre-cruise).   Boarding the cruise on Sunday and disembarking in Basel for an immediate flight home.  I know, no real pre-cruise or post cruise, but we just returned from a 10 day Baltics cruise last month and this was a last minute deal we couldn't pass up.

 

Anyhow, after 46 Ocean Cruises, this is our first River Cruise and we are really excited to give it a try.

 

Welcome to river cruising!  You have made a good first choice – hope you like river cruising as much as we do!

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AK1004, you said you were also interested in Avalon.  We did the Avalon Romantic Rhine in May 2018.  We started in Amsterdam because my husband is from the Netherlands and we had been throwing around going down to see his family.  

 

The advantage we had going in early May over June was Keukenhof.  We hit it (an optional tour with Avalon) on the 2nd last day and it was fantastic.  Our weather was good, mostly in the lower to mid 20's, which was great for all the walking you are doing in the old parts to the towns... I can imagine they are major sun traps later on in the year. 

 

We didn't do the Zurich excursion, however my S-i-L who sailed on Avalon towards the end of June did and they loved it.

 

Check out the stickies on the top of the page so you know what is involved with river cruising, it's not like ocean cruising so you want to be prepared.  For those of us who love it, it's very addictive. 

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Daisi,  we are do Rhine May 2020;  what is Keukenhof?

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32 minutes ago, AF-1 said:

Daisi,  we are do Rhine May 2020;  what is Keukenhof?

Keukenhof is an incredible flower show that runs for 6 weeks every year, from April into early May. If you are there at that time, it is not to be missed (and I am not a flower person in general).

https://keukenhof.nl/en/

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4 hours ago, gnome12 said:

Keukenhof is an incredible flower show that runs for 6 weeks every year, from April into early May. If you are there at that time, it is not to be missed (and I am not a flower person in general).

https://keukenhof.nl/en/

I really agree about the not to be missed part.  I love to take pictures (detailed ones of flowers etc), and DH isn't quite into flowers, but even he enjoyed it.  We got lucky with tulips still out (although we have a major tulip festival in one of the cities near us), but just wandering through the gardens was fantastic.

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And which town is this show in?

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It's usually done when you are in Amsterdam as an excursion, at least it was with our Avalon cruise.  If you are spending extra time in Amsterdam, it's fairly easy to arrange a trip down.

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1 hour ago, Daisi said:

It's usually done when you are in Amsterdam as an excursion, at least it was with our Avalon cruise.  If you are spending extra time in Amsterdam, it's fairly easy to arrange a trip down.

The actual place is Leiden, but, as Daisi mentioned, it is usually done from Amsterdam.

 

By the way, the dates for 2020 are March 21 - May 10, although you aren't likely to get too many outdoor flowers in March.

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