The AmaLyra is a cruiseship was built in 2009, but I could not tell that it was one of Ama Waterways’ older ships. The ship is shiny, spotless and all of the fixtures look new. Passengers board what looks like a hotel lobby and are welcomed to the lounge while the cabin stewards clean prepare their rooms.
The lounge has floor to ceiling windows with a lot of indirect light. Soft sided couches, chairs, coffee tables and bell jar lamps. This creates a comfortable environment for relaxing and socializing.
The dining room has seating arrangements for small and large groups. The center of the dining room houses a buffet for breakfast and lunch. Passengers can also order something off of the menu. An example of this was their eggs benedict.
The rooms have floor to ceiling windows with sliding glass doors. Passengers can watch the world go by from the comfort of their stateroom. There is a thermostat on the wall that controls the room temperature.
They have a customized Macintosh that is available as an information kiosk, general purpose computer and TV. A good selection of channels are available – especially news. I liked the fact that these computers each had broadband internet access.
On the top deck they have reclining deck chaises; some are covered with awnings. They also have a small jacuzzi. From the top deck, you can see the wheelhouse and watch the captain and his crew in action.
Unlike some other cruiselines, all of the shore excursions are included with the price of the cruise. They are led by local experts that have extensive knowledge of the history of the area.
AMA Waterways is serious about providing quality food. In fact they are the only river cruise ship that is a member of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs. This is a prestigous organization that has members by invitation only. In general, I found the food to be very good. I think the group quickly realized that the chef’s recommendations were the way to order. By the end of the trip, that was what we were ordering for dinner.
We had a few different people serving us food, wine, coffee and desserts. Everyone was extremely professional, but what emerged was a witty guy named Ventsi.
The cruise manager is the person that ensures that everyone’s needs are attended to. In our case, cruise manager Reka, noticeably moved between shore excursion parties and made herself constantly available.
During the beginning of the cruise, my wife experienced a severe toothache. To my wife’s credit, she asked Reka if there was a dentist she could visit. Reka took it upon herself to research dentists within walking distances of the ship. She found one extremely close by, but recommended another one that was a bit further away because her ratings were superior.
I was a bit worried because we were set to sail in a matter of hours. I could see us possibly getting lost and not making it back to the ship. I was extremely grateful that Reka got her an appointment, but that it was early enough in the day where we could walk in both directions. I observed the care and attention that was given my wife and was quite happy with the experience. After we returned to the ship, we thanked Reka profusely.
To me, AMA Waterways has a mission statement or a goal that they wish to ensure that every passenger have the best vacation ever. This means that they sincere, they go the extra mile to make someone happy and they take unusual steps to ensure that there are no communication breakdowns. I think they succeed in their endeavor.