Family-owned and operated AMA Waterways was founded in 2002 by three families but the story of their river cruise started long before that. Co-founder and President Rudy Schleiner was born in Vienna, at the heart of the Danube River. His love of design attracted him to architecture, but his even greater love of travel drew him far and wide. In 1975, he traveled to South America for a journalism mission on the Amazon. Here he designed his first ship, using what he found to build a raft, and traveled up and down the river in the next seven months. Shortly thereafter, he began working in the travel industry, creating a unique touring experience in Europe.
Comfortable “Country Club Casual” is the recommended attire for daytime, and to pack something a little dressier for the Captain’s night/Farewell Dinner – similar to how one would dress to dine at a 5-star restaurant. Comfortable shoes are recommended for excursions and workout clothing if you plan to take part in any wellness activities, active tours or use the onboard gym. Depending on the time of year, clothing that can be layered is highly recommended.
Vietnam & Cambodia: It is always advisable to travel light in Southeast Asia. For the hot and humid weather, lightweight easy-care clothing that includes some long-sleeved items for protection from mosquitoes and sun, raingear, and sturdy and comfortable walking shoes that you won’t mind getting wet or muddy. We also recommend you pack a few smart casual items to wear at the Welcome and Farewell dinners.
Africa: When traveling through Africa, it is always advisable to travel light as some itineraries baggage size and weight are strictly limited. On Safari: casual, easy-care clothing that includes some long-sleeved items for protection from mosquitoes and sun. Attire during Winter (April - September): it is wise to bring some warm clothes for chilly early morning and late night temperatures. Dressing in layers is also recommended, as temperatures rise quickly during the day.
Dining in Town: If you plan on dining at a fine restaurant in a city such as Cape Town or Johannesburg, “smart casual” is the norm – no ties for men or evening dresses for women are necessary.
Are excursions included?
Europe: A sightseeing tour is included in each city or town you visit, along with free time to explore the city according to your own interests. The sightseeing tours can take place on foot, via motor coach, or a combination of the two. Each tour is led by a qualified, licensed English-speaking local guide or your Cruise Manager. In addition to our Gentle and Active Walkers groups for some excursions, we have a "Late Starter" option for guests who wish to sleep in but do not want to miss key tour highlights. For those guests interested in exploring Europe from an exciting new perspective, we offer guided bicycle and hiking tours in select cities. In addition to our many choices of excursions we also offer our Special Interest Tours, offering small groups the chance to be even more immersed into the local life. In the event of water level problems on certain stretches of the river, it may be necessary to operate part of the itinerary by motor coach or to alter the daily program as determined by the ship's Captain.
Vietnam & Cambodia: A sightseeing tour is included at each location on the itinerary. The sightseeing tours can involve walking on uneven ground and steps, travel by motorcoach, local boat or a combination thereof. Each tour is led by a qualified English-speaking local guide. In the rare event of water level problems, it may be necessary to operate part of the itinerary by motorcoach or to alter the daily program whenever conditions render it necessary, by determination of the ship's captain.
Africa: All excursions are included.
Is internet available onboard?
Europe: High-speed Internet service is available free of charge as part of the in-stateroom "Entertainment-On-Demand." Additionally, AmaWaterways offers complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the ship.
Africa: Free Wi-Fi is available but may be limited and sporadic during certain times of the day due to the ships isolated location.
Vietnam and Cambodia: Free Internet and Wi-Fi is available in the lounge with computer stations.
Can we reserve a table at the restaurant?
All ships have an open seating policy in the Main Restaurant to ensure you have the opportunity to meet your fellow travelers. Reservations for our specialty tasting menu at The Chef's Table specialty restaurant can be made once you are on board the ship. Our Receptionist can assist you with any dining questions.
The Chef's Table is available on all our ships in Europe, in Egypt and on the Mekong River. It is not available in Portugal or on board the Zambezi Queen in Africa.
Is there an elevator on board?
Europe: Elevators are available on board all vessels reaching the two highest passenger decks, reception area and restaurant, but does not reach the lowest passenger deck or the Sun Deck. The AmaMora, AmaLea and AmaKristina feature an elevator that reaches all 3 passenger decks, but does not reach the Sun Deck. The AmaMagna features a pop-up elevator that can reach all decks, including the Sun Deck during select times.
Vietnam & Cambodia: The AmaDara does not feature elevators.
Africa: The Zambezi Queen cruising the Chobe River does not feature an elevator.
Egypt: The AmaDahlia features an elevator; deck information to be determined.
What time is embarkation?
Europe: Official embarkation time is 3 p.m. for all ships. This allows the staff to prepare your stateroom and have the ship ready for the next departure. If you arrive earlier, you may check your luggage on board, and then explore the embarkation port city. Please refer to your travel documents for specific instructions on where to embark and your official embarkation time.
Vietnam & Cambodia: On Cruise Embarkation Day, passengers will proceed to the AmaDara via a transfer from one of the hotels listed below:
For embarkations scheduled for Tonle Sap Lake: Register at the AmaDara Check-In Desk located in the lobby of the Sofitel Angkor Hotel, Siem Reap, at 11:00 a.m. Passengers will then be transferred to the ship. Low Water Season: Your registration at Lobby of Sofitel Angkor Hotel, Siem Reap, will take place at 7:30 a.m. A motorcoach transfer to your ship will depart Sofitel Angkor Hotel at 8:15 a.m. this transfer will take approximately 5 hours with a stop en route at Kampong Thom and you will embark the ship at Prek Kdam, rather than the Tonle Sap Lake.
For embarkations scheduled for Ho Chi Minh City: Register at the AmaDara Check-In Desk located in the lobby of the Sofitel Plaza Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City, at 11:00 a.m. Passengers will then be transferred to the ship at My Tho Port to arrive by 2:00 p.m.
What time is disembarkation?
Europe: Official disembarkation time is 9 a.m. You may disembark earlier if the ship is moored in the location you are disembarking in, and you may disembark later providing you have vacated your stateroom and checked out before 9 a.m. If you have purchased transfers with AmaWaterways, please refer to your documents for disembarkation instructions.
Vietnam & Cambodia: For Disembarkations Scheduled for Tonle Sap Lake (Direction Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap), disembarkation is 8:45 a.m., and the passengers will be transferred to Sofitel Angkor hotel in Siem Reap.
During low water season, you will disembark the ship at Preak Kdam, a small village on the Tonle River and arrive at the Sofitel Siem Reap at 1:30 p.m.
For Disembarkations Scheduled for Ho Chi Minh City (Direction Siem Reap to Ho Chi Minh City), disembarkation time is 8:30 a.m. at My Tho Port and passengers will be transferred to Sofitel Plaza Saigon in Ho Chi Minh City.
When does the Reception Desk open?
Europe: The ship's reception desk is open 24 hours a day. Should you need any assistance, please call from your stateroom by dialing 9, or pay them a visit.
Vietnam & Cambodia: The ship's reception desk is open from 6:00 AM to 12:00 AM Should you need any assistance, please call from your stateroom by dialing 9, or pay them a visit.
Africa: The Cruise Manager will be available at approximately 6:00 AM each morning until 10:00 PM every night.
What language is spoken on board?
The official language on board is English on all ships. Most crew members speak fluent English. All announcements and lectures will be presented in English. All locals guides are fluent in English.
What are the tipping guidelines?
EUROPE 7-Night Cruise
Ship’s Crew: The entire amount will be divided equally amongst all crew members. Recommendation: 100 Euros per 7-night cruise, per guest. (AmaMagna 120 Euros per 7-night cruise, per guest)
Cruise Manager: Your Cruise Manager is not part of the ship’s crew and is the AmaWaterways representative who also accompanies you on any pre- and/or post-cruise hotel/land extensions you may have booked. Recommendation: 25 Euros per 7-night, per guest; 4 Euros for each additional day, per guest for pre- and post-cruise hotel/land extensions.
Ship’s Crew: The entire amount will be divided equally amongst all crew members. Recommendation: 143 Euros per 10-night cruise, per guest.
Cruise Manager: Your Cruise Manager is not part of the ship’s crew and is the AmaWaterways representative who also accompanies you on any pre- and/or post-cruise hotel/land extensions you may have booked. Recommendation: 36 Euros per 10-night, per guest; 4 Euros for each additional day, per guest for pre- and post-cruise hotel/land extensions.
Ship’s Crew: The entire amount will be divided equally amongst all crew members. Recommendation: 158 Euros per 11-night cruise, per guest.
Cruise Manager: Your Cruise Manager is not part of the ship’s crew and is the AmaWaterways representative who also accompanies you on any pre- and/or post-cruise hotel/land extensions you may have booked. Recommendation: 40 Euros per 11-night, per guest; 4 Euros for each additional day, per guest for pre- and post-cruise hotel/land extensions.
Ship’s Crew: The entire amount will be divided equally amongst all crew members. Recommendation: 200 Euros per 14-night cruise, per guest.
Cruise Manager: Your Cruise Manager is not part of the ship’s crew and is the AmaWaterways representative who also accompanies you on any pre- and/or post-cruise hotel/land extensions you may have booked. Recommendation: 50 Euros per 14-night, per guest; 4 Euros for each additional day, per guest for pre- and post-cruise hotel/land extensions.
Ship’s Crew: The entire amount will be divided equally amongst all crew members. Recommendation: 100 Euros per week, per guest.
Cruise Manager: Your Cruise Manager is not part of the ship’s crew and is the AmaWaterways representative who also accompanies you on any pre- and/or post-cruise hotel/land extensions you may have booked. Recommendation: 30 Euros per week, per guest; 4 Euros for each additional day, per guest for pre- and post-cruise hotel/land extensions.
PRE- AND POST-CRUISE
Cruise Manager:$3 per person per day
Crew:$10 per person per day (To be divided evenly among all crew members)
Zambezi Queen Onboard Staff: To be divided evenly among all crew members US$15-20 per guest per day AmaWaterways Tour Guide: From Cape Town to Johannesburg US$5-10 per guest per day
Safari Lodge Stay
Safari Ranger/Guide: US$10-20 per person per day Game Tracker (South Africa only): US$5 person per day Butler/Waiter at Lodges: US$5 person per day General Lodge Staff: US$10-20 person per day
Is smoking allowed on board?
Smoking is not permitted anywhere inside any of the ships. Smoking is only permitted on the Aft of the Sun Deck. For the safety and comfort of all passengers on board, your cooperation in observing the no-smoking policy is greatly appreciated.
What amenities are available in the staterooms?
Stateroom and suite appointments include white-on-white plush bedding, cotton bathrobes and slippers, high-quality bath and body products, hair dryer, safe and water replenished daily. Suites include added enhancements, such as larger sitting areas and expansive bathrooms with both a shower and bathtub. Entertainment-On-Demand center in all staterooms and suites with complimentary high-speed internet access, movies, extensive music library and English-language TV stations.
Vietnam & Cambodia: Each stateroom is equipped with a hair dryer, bathrobes, slippers and a safe. Your bathroom offers toiletries including soaps, body wash, shampoo, conditioner and body lotion.
Africa: Suites on the Zambezi Queen include private balconies overlooking the Chobe River, en-suite bathrooms with Bao Body amenities, floor-to-ceiling glass windows for riverside views, sliding shutters for sun protection and privacy, private in-room safes and sliding mosquito net doors.
What is the Entertainment-On-Demand System?
Europe: Our Entertainment-On-Demand center is available in all staterooms and suites with complimentary high-speed internet access, movies, extensive music library and English-language TV stations. It's all available on your flat-panel TV, and it's completely free of charge. Please note that television reception is via satellite, therefore depending on location, reception may be temporarily restricted or unclear.
Are there phones in the staterooms?
Europe: Each stateroom has its own telephone, along with instructions for use. Phones may be used to call from stateroom to stateroom and ship to shore. Since the telephone system functions via GSM, there may be times, depending on location, when service is unavailable. Any charges for calls will be billed to your shipboard account. Please inquire at the reception desk for rates.
Vietnam & Cambodia: Each stateroom has its own telephone, which may be used to call within the ship.
Africa: There are no phones in the staterooms.
Is air conditioning available in the staterooms?
All staterooms in Europe, Africa, Vietnam and Cambodia are equipped with individual climate control. If you have any questions regarding your stateroom's temperature control, please refer to the instructions or check with the reception desk.
Do I need to bring a converter or adaptor?
Electricity on board all ships is 220v, with 2-pin power outlets. You will need an adapter, and/or converter depending on which electrical appliances you bring with you.
Is there a Fitness Center on board?
All of our ships in Europe and the Mekong River have a fitness room with a selection of exercise equipment. Hours of operation vary according to the ship. There is no attendant on duty and therefore, without limitation, AmaWaterways and its affiliates are not responsible for any injuries sustained during the use of the fitness room.
Is there laundry service on board?
Laundry services are available on board for a fee. Price lists are available in your stateroom. Please note that clothes cannot be dry cleaned on board.
Are there medical facilities on board?
Europe: There are no medical facilities on board. However medical services can easily be called from shore if required.
Vietnam & Cambodia: We do not employ doctors or nurses on board the ships. In the event medical assistance is needed, appropriate medical facilities will be contacted. Note that response time can vary.
Africa: We do not employ doctors or nurses on board the Zambezi Queen. In the event medical assistance is needed, appropriate medical facilities will be contacted. Note that response time can vary.
Are bicycles available?
Europe: Each ship has a limited number of bicycles and helmets available for use when the ship is docked and can be signed out for independent use. Most sailings will also offer a choice of bicycle lead excursions with a tour guide and these can be reserved once you are on board. We do not have bicycles available on our ships in Portugal. Use of the bicycles is at your own risk. Therefore, without limitation, AmaWaterways and all of its affiliates are not responsible for any injuries sustained during their use.
Are all meals included on board?
All meals on board the ships are included in the cruise price. Meals are served in the dining room in a single seating. For dinner, guests will be seated by a dining room host.
What type of cuisine is served on board?
Europe: All meals are skillfully prepared by European chefs and consist of both regionally-inspired and Western cuisine made with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients whenever possible. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served at your table with multi-course menus offering a wide variety of choice, including vegetarian and gluten-free options.
Vietnam & Cambodia: All meals are prepared by local chefs and consist of Western cuisine as well as delicious Vietnamese and Cambodian menu items.
Africa: All meals are prepared by local chefs and consist of Western cuisine as well as local cuisine. The mornings offer a full English breakfast and the afternoons offer a lavish gourmet lunch. Dinner is a multi-course meal with a selection of entrées. Certain meals will be served on land.
Dietary Restrictions/Allergies: Please advise your Travel Advisor or call us directly to advise if you have any dietary restrictions or allergies prior to embarkation so we are able to accommodate your request. Please note, though we can provide options to accommodate food allergies and sensitivities, we cannot guarantee there will not be any cross-contamination.
What beverages are included on board?
Europe: Sparkling wine and juices at breakfast; beer, soft drinks and unlimited wines at lunch and dinner (new selections daily); a Sip & Sail cocktail hour with a selection of complimentary wine, beer and spirits; plus, gourmet coffee, tea and bottled water 24/7.
Vietnam & Cambodia: Complimentary soft drinks, juices, house brand spirits, local beers, filtered coffee and tea are available during the cruise. Free flowing wine with every lunch and dinner on board. Imported wine and premium alcoholic beverages are available to purchase at an additional cost. Complimentary water is replenished daily.
Africa: Complimentary wine and beer is served with all lunch and dinners on board. Coffee and tea are available free of charge throughout the day and during meals from the bar. Premium alcoholic beverages as well as drinks outside of meal times are available at the bar for additional cost. Complimentary water is replenished daily.
Can you accommodate my food allergies/dietary restrictions?
Please advise your Travel Advisor or call us directly to advise if you have any dietary restrictions or allergies prior to embarkation. In most cases, we will do our best to accommodate special dietary requests and food allergies, but with one exception: Kosher. This diet has specific rules regarding food and its preparation and the shipboard environment does have limitations that prevent us from being able to adequately cater to this dietary need. Please note, though we can provide options to accommodate food allergies and sensitivities, we cannot guarantee there will not be any cross-contamination.
Are audio sets provided during the tours?
Europe: During shore excursions, we provide a sophisticated audio headset system that allows guests to comfortably listen to their tour guide while taking photos or admiring some of Europe's hidden gems.
Vietnam & Cambodia: During shore excursions, we provide a sophisticated audio headset system that allows guests to comfortably listen to their tour guide while taking photos or admiring the surroundings of Vietnam and Cambodia.
Is there a beauty salon and spa on board?
Europe: Various beauty and hair treatments as well as massages are available on board. Please inquire at the reception desk for a list of services and to schedule an appointment.
Vietnam/Cambodia & Portugal: A spa offering massages is available on board our ships in Portugal, Vietnam & Cambodia. Please inquire at the reception desk for a list of services and to schedule an appointment.
Is there a gift shop on board?
The ship has an onboard gift shop that sells accessories, souvenirs, gifts, and a limited selection of personal and toiletry items. Opening hours vary according to itinerary.
Is there a pool on board?
Europe: All ships are equipped with a whirlpool or heated swimming pool, perfect for a refreshing dip. Saunas are available on select ships. AmaMagna offers both a heated pool and whirlpool.
Africa: The Sun Deck has a small environmentally-friendly pool for your enjoyment. This pool is filled with filtered water from the Chobe River and is drained and refilled each day. No harmful chemicals are ever added to the water in order to protect the wildlife living in and along the river.
Vietnam & Cambodia: There is a refreshing pool located on the Sun Deck.
Please note there is no attendant on duty and use of these facilities is solely at your own risk. AMAWATERWAYS and its affiliates are not responsible for any injuries sustained during the use of the whirlpool, pool or sauna.
What is the minimum age to travel with AmaWaterways?
On our programs in Europe and Southeast Asia, children under the age of 4 years old are not permitted on board and children 4-7 years old are not recommended. On our Africa program, due to safety precautions, there is a minimum age limit of 12 years old, unless otherwise agreed upon by AmaWaterways. All guests under the age of 18 are to be in a stateroom with an adult, and must remain supervised at all times, as their safety is the responsibility of the accompanying adult(s). Children between the ages of 4 and 10 at the time of embarkation may share a stateroom with 2 adults provided the child is able to share the bed with the adults – no additional bed will be provided. Select ships offer a limited number of staterooms with a fold-out sofa for a triple occupant; we would be happy to guide you through these options when available. A triple occupancy rate will apply for the child sharing the stateroom; pricing can be provided upon request. Please be aware that balcony staterooms of any kind may be unsafe for small children if left unsupervised. AmaWaterways does not provide child-specific programs or child-minding facilities. Please reach out to us if you have any further questions regarding our child policy.
Are the ships wheelchair accessible?
Europe: Wheelchair accessibility is very limited on our European ships. We do have an elevator between the two main decks; however, it does not reach the Sun Deck or Piano Deck. The AmaMagna features a pop-up elevator that can reach all decks, including the Sun Deck during select times. Guests would be able to move around the dining room and lounge in their chair; however, the staterooms are not able to accommodate a wheelchair, so while in their stateroom they would need to be able to move around on their own. Their chair would also need to be stored in their stateroom due to limited storage on board. Getting on and off the ship could be a challenge, as the planks are narrow and cannot accommodate a wheelchair or scooter's width. Guests would have to be able to get on and off the ship without their wheelchair and the wheelchair would have to be light enough to be lifted off and on the ramps. It is common to tie up to other river ships in port. When this happens we would sometimes need to travel through another ship to disembark, with many ships requiring we do so from the Sun Deck, where there is only stair access.
During the excursions, a good majority of the cities visited have cobblestone walkways. This may be a challenge to maneuver with a wheelchair. The motorcoaches we use as a main means of transport do not have any sort of lift and there are 4 or 5 steep steps to get on and off.
Vietnam, Cambodia, Africa and Egypt: These itineraries require a person to be able bodied. There are many unpaved roads and the ships do not have elevators.
Do we accept Traveler's Checks on board for payment?
We do not accept Traveler's Checks on board. Please find the preferred forms of payment that guests can use to settle their accounts on board.
Europe: All onboard charges will be in Euros. Payable with cash (Euros) and credit card. Pre-paid charge cards are not accepted.
Mekong: All onboard charges are in Vietnamese Dong. Payable in cash (USD or Vietnamese Dong) or with credit card. Pre-paid credit cards are not accepted.
Africa: All onboard charges are in US Dollars. Payable in cash in the following currencies: US Dollar, Rand (South Africa), Pula (Botswana), Tanzanian Shilling (Tanzania) and credit card (Mastercard/Visa, not American Express). Pre-paid charge cards are not accepted.
For credit card payments, the guest’s credit card company will convert their onboard charges into the guest’s home country’s currency at the current exchange rate and service fees may apply.
How do I obtain a copy of my Travel Protection policy?
If you have purchased Travel Protection with AmaWaterways, please log into the "My Cruise" section of our site. Once you log in, you will be able to access your state-specific policy.
Tethering or "Double Docking"
River ships all share docking ports in Europe. Throughout your river cruise it is likely the ship will be docked next to one or two other river ships. During this time, your view from your stateroom may temporarily be obscured by a neighboring ship. It is important to note that in these cases, disembarkation/embarkation may include walking through the adjacent ship(s) lobby or Sun Deck to reach the shore.
Water Levels "High or Low Water"
Most river cruises sail ahead with no interruptions on the river. However, Mother Nature occasionally presents us with unexpectedly high or low water levels outside of our control. We are committed to our guests’ satisfaction and are always prepared to make any necessary modifications during these unforeseen events to provide you with a memorable experience. Modifications may include temporary hotel accommodations and additional bus rides to cities in which the ship cannot sail.
What health and safety procedures are implemented on board during our river cruise?
We are continuously monitoring the international travel bulletins regarding the COVID-19 and will always take preventive measures as recommended by the health authorities, as well as intensifying our normal very high standards of hygiene on board. We work closely with our partners in the destinations we sail through to ensure our excursions are operated in accordance with the most up-to-date recommended guidelines.
Beyond expectations! Then again we weren't sure what to expect. Lovely stay at the lodge, met other like-minded travelers (many had their trips planned by Adventure Life) and the owner was a gracious hostess. It felt like you were one happy family, visiting with a favorite aunt.