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MarLieb

Amawaterways "Europe's Rivers & Castles" - Thoughts? Will sundeck be closed?

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Hi!  Thanks for all of the replies I've received on my other threads as I contemplate different cruises and different cruise lines!

 

After looking at a few Rhine cruises and hearing feedback that you have to take buses in many of the ports on the Rhine, I've turned my attention to an Amawaterways "Europe's Rivers & Castles" river cruise that starts in Luxembourg and ends in Nuremberg.  It looks lovely and as my husband's main goal of the trip is to see Germany, I thought this particular itinerary might appeal to him more.  I just read a thread, however, that mentioned most river cruise ships close their sundecks while on the Main and Main-Danube Canal.  Can anyone share their experience with this?  As I mentioned, the cruise starts in Luxembourg and then goes to Trier, Bernkastel, Koblenz, Rudesheim, Wertheim, Wurzburg, Bamberg and Nuremberg.  We are looking at booking on the AmaSiena which is a newer ship with a pool and I really would love to take advantage of the pool and sundeck, if possible, and am just trying to get a sense, in advance, if this will even be possible.  Thank you!

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We did this cruise in 2015 on the AMALyra.  LOVED the Mosel and the Rhine.  In the Main and the Canal, the upper deck was closed.  A lot.  It was really hot during our cruise, so it wasn’t much of an issue, and there wasn’t a pool on our ship, but it was definitely closed.  Sailing the Mosel is so beautiful, and of course the Rhine has all the castles.  If your husband is interested in WWII, don’t miss the American cemetery in Luxembourg where General Patton is buried.  And Nuremberg as well.  

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I’m really confused about having to take buses on the Rhine. I don’t recall many bus rides. 

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4 hours ago, Got2Cruise said:

I’m really confused about having to take buses on the Rhine. I don’t recall many bus rides. 

I would also say that the bus rides are not that extensive on the Rhine. Kehl dock for Strasbourg is long-ish, but other than that I would say it is okay.

 

The itinerary on the Moselle and Rhine, etc. sounds great. The sundeck is closed on the Main and Canal, from past cruisers' experiences it seems almost always on most ships. Split-level ships have a small area that may stay open and two-level ships - like some of CroisiEurope - keep the sundeck open. It should say in the small print or phone the cruise line.

 

For Roman history Trier is great, the Moselle is a splendid river and to experience Germany this itinerary in my opinion can hardly be beaten.

 

notamermaid

 

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55 minutes ago, notamermaid said:

I would also say that the bus rides are not that extensive on the Rhine. Kehl dock for Strasbourg is long-ish, but other than that I would say it is okay.

 

notamermaid

 

Notarmermaid, how long would you expect the ride from Kehl to be?  We were in Strasbourg at Christmas and were told it was around a 15 minute tram ride, so I assumed the bus wouldn't be too long.

 

I have some issues whereby I can't cope with long bus rides, hence why I am asking.  It will help be plan.

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Strasbourg to Kehl is maybe a 15 minute bus ride; you will spend more time assembling and getting on and off the bus than in actual transit.

 

Note that Strasbourg will be on itineraries to/from Basel; it will not be on Mosel-Rhine-Main cruises.

 

The longish (an hour or slightly more) bus rides I recall on either of these itineraries are to Luxembourg, Heidelberg, Baden-Baden and Rothenburg; these tours if offered are optional ($$) on many lines, none of these towns being on the river you are cruising. Bamberg and Nuremberg on the Main are each maybe half hour rides. If your itinerary starts or ends at Paris or Prague those are multi hour rides. 

 

 

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Thank you so much, everyone!  This is great info.  I just spoke to Amawaterways and, while the answer was a little vague, the rep did state they try to keep the sundeck open as much as possible.  I think that's fine.  The ship we are looking at has a lower outdoor area plus we would have a french balcony.  I don't want to pass up a good itinerary just because of a sundeck.  I think we will, most likely, book this itinerary and combine it with a land tour of Nuremberg, Munich, Leipzig, Dresden and Berlin?  I'm the history buff in the family, so I really appreciate the sight-seeing tips as well!  Thank you!

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Of course the deck is open while you are docked.  It is while sailing it is closed.  The outdoor area on the front of the ship is open. You will love the Moselle.  We are heading out next week for Budapest for a Danube cruise on the AMALea. I think you will really enjoy your trip.  

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I forgot to mention, we are doing a post cruise tour as well.   Renting a car and driving to Berchtesgaden (Hitler’s Eagles Nest) and Fussen, Germany ( Neuschwanstein Castle) and returning from Munich. 

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43 minutes ago, KY Deb said:

Of course the deck is open while you are docked.  It is while sailing it is closed.  The outdoor area on the front of the ship is open. You will love the Moselle.  We are heading out next week for Budapest for a Danube cruise on the AMALea. I think you will really enjoy your trip.  

Not usually true. It is a fair amount of work to lower the guardrails and remove all the things that need to be removed in order to close the sundeck. They will usually leave it closed for the period in which you are going under low bridges, and not reopen it until you are through the entire area.

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 I think that the primary boats AMA uses on the Main (AMADante, AMASiena) are split level where the forward ~1/3 of the boat is half a floor below the aft 2/3. The top of the side rails on the forward 1/3 are at the same elevation as the floor of the aft 2/3. For much of the Main the aft 2/3 rails are dropped and the chairs are stored. The forward 1/3 rails and chairs are left in place. The cleared aft 2/3 just makes it under some bridges, and the clearance above the forward 1/3 sundeck is ~3-4 feet. Passengers will be asked to leave the forward sundeck when a low bridge is approached, but are allowed to return after the low bridge is passed. The boat wheelhouse will be lowered in order to clear the bridge (or certainly should be lowered; Viking lost a wheelhouse and 2 crew members who did not lower the wheelhouse in time). There is a definite advantage having a split level boat on the Main. 

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@TravellerThorn, thanks for the explanation.  We are only doing Rhine Highlights for 7 nights, so Strasbourg is on our itinerary.  We were only there in January, but we loved it so happy to spend another day there.  I think we will be going to Heidelberg, glad that it is just over an hour, I can just manage that.  It is when it gets to 2 hours plus that I have problems.

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55 minutes ago, djh1959 said:

.  I think we will be going to Heidelberg,

There are multiple possible ports for buses to Heidelberg. I’m guessing you are on Scenic and will be doing Mannheim to Heidelberg. The actual road time for that should be just under half an hour, but with city traffic on both ends, parking etc might be an hour. Enjoy your cruise!

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You might also check Avalon for similar itineraries. Their ships have a similar configuration where the front part of the sundeck is significantly lower than the back part. Also they have a nice open area in the front of the ship just in front of the lounge (similar to Viking's Aquavit Terrace). 

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22 hours ago, TravelerThom said:

There are multiple possible ports for buses to Heidelberg. I’m guessing you are on Scenic and will be doing Mannheim to Heidelberg. The actual road time for that should be just under half an hour, but with city traffic on both ends, parking etc might be an hour. Enjoy your cruise!

Thank you TravelerThorn.  You are correct, we will be on Scenic and I believe docking in Mannheim.

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On 8/8/2019 at 7:37 PM, TravelerThom said:

 I think that the primary boats AMA uses on the Main (AMADante, AMASiena) are split level where the forward ~1/3 of the boat is half a floor below the aft 2/3. The top of the side rails on the forward 1/3 are at the same elevation as the floor of the aft 2/3. For much of the Main the aft 2/3 rails are dropped and the chairs are stored. The forward 1/3 rails and chairs are left in place. The cleared aft 2/3 just makes it under some bridges, and the clearance above the forward 1/3 sundeck is ~3-4 feet. Passengers will be asked to leave the forward sundeck when a low bridge is approached, but are allowed to return after the low bridge is passed. The boat wheelhouse will be lowered in order to clear the bridge (or certainly should be lowered; Viking lost a wheelhouse and 2 crew members who did not lower the wheelhouse in time). There is a definite advantage having a split level boat on the Main. 

This is very good to know!  Yes, I remember on the AMASiena deck plan it said "lower sun deck", so that must be the 1/3 forward area you are talking about.  That would be lovely, actually.  If my son could swim just a little bit during the sailing and we still have some outdoor area to enjoy while sailing (even if we have to leave and come back), that would be awesome.  Thank you so much for the very detailed information!

 

Enjoy Berchtesgaden - we visited in 2014 and, though we didn't visit Eagles Nest, we went to the Salt Mine which was incredibly interesting and really fun!  Such a beautiful area!  Hope to get to Neuschwanstein Castle someday!

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