4.5

AmaWaterways

Review Summary

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Pros

  • Great value with loads of inclusions: excursions, wine/beer, and Wi-Fi
  • Stylish exterior design and polished interiors that's still comfortable
  • Fewer passengers than on sister ships; doesn't feel crowded
  • Spacious staterooms, most with generous double balconies 
  • All cabins have iMacs for computer/TV use, plus on-demand shows
  • Excellent fine dining in main restaurant and alfresco seating
  • Gourmet specialty tasting menus in Chef’s Table restaurant (included)
  • Small heated swimming pool with swim-up bar and beautiful sundeck
  • Small fitness room, hair salon, and massage treatment services
  • Free bicycles for guest use
  • Friendly, attentive service 

Cons

  • Two guests per cabin; no connecting cabins or extra beds
  • Not as family-friendly as sister ships; no kids' features
  • Not wheelchair-friendly

Bottom Line

Launched in 2012, the 162-passenger AmaCerto is a high-end riverboat with polished public spaces, fine dining, and fairly spacious cabins equipped with iMacs (plus many have double balconies). The line excels at port activities, from tours to themed experiences to bike trips, and many of these perks are free. Onboard activities are less effusive, but there's a lovely splash pool with a swim-up bar, a great sundeck, a small gym, and live music, often from local entertainers, plus Wi-Fi is free. Food is excellent and includes free wine, beer, and soda during lunch and dinner, plus there's a Chef's Table-style option that's fee-free. It's not a kid-friendly ship, however, with no family-friendly cabins or activities; families might want to check out one of the Adventures by Disney cruises instead offered on other AmaWaterways ships.

What's Included (and What's Not)

AmaCerto offers a great value with many inclusions in its rates. Most activities as well as all dining and entertainment are bundled in the fare with your chosen cabin category, plus tours, drinks, and unlimited Wi-Fi are included.  

The ship especially excels at port, where at least one free shore excursion is provided for each port of call, plus there are free bikes with helmets for guest use to explore shoreside. Premium tour/excursion alternatives are available at a cost. Airport transfers are also included with the purchase of flights from AmaWaterways. 

All meals are included at the main dining room, observation lounge, alfresco terrace, and even the Chef's Table restaurant (reservations are required). Many beverages are also free: sparkling wine and juices at breakfast; beer, wine, and soft drinks at lunch and dinner, and a daily cocktail, wine, beer, spirits, and soft drinks during the Sip & Sail cocktail hour. Always available are gourmet coffee, tea, and bottled water.

The bulk of activities on the ship are also included, such as daily briefings, wellness programming, and use of the pool, fitness room, and walking track. Internet is free onboard, extending to Wi-Fi access and in-cabin computer terminals. Stateroom iMacs additionally feature free on-demand movies, TV stations, and music. Daily live entertainment, including cultural performances, is also part of the base fare.

Massages and salon treatments cost extra, as well as laundry services, phone calls, shopping, and gratuities.

Tips can be charged or accepted in cash onboard. Gratuity amounts are at guests’ discretion, but guidelines are provided as follows: 3 Euros per passenger, per day for the cruise manager and 12 Euros per passenger, per day for the crew. The crew total is split among employees. AmaWaterways also notes that it is customary to tip well-performing local guides 1 to 2 Euros and bus drivers 1 Euro, each per excursion.

Remember that AmaWaterways may update its pricing or policies at any time. It’s advised to verify them prior to sailing.

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Oyster Ship Review

Scene

4.5

Attractive, polished riverboat with inviting atmosphere; attracts mainly mature couples

None

The AmaCerto is a beautiful example of a modern riverboat. Most competing vessels are limited to the same size constraints, so its limousine-like exterior proportions may be familiar, but its architecture offers a bit of a different take, with swooping curves stretching behind a traditional bow shape, plus plenty of polished surfaces. Even what could be a boxy stern is nicely rounded off, giving the Chef's Table restaurant inside panoramic views.

Interiors are inviting, with sleek surfaces and an autumnal-foliage theme accentuated by auburn and golden hues. Curvy edges continue to dominate the design, seen in oval shapes of the airy public spaces. Most venues are wonderfully surrounded by expansive windows for scenic vistas all around.

Meanwhile, the ship’s layout is arranged across split levels, with four decks at the back of the ship and three at the front. The aft is predominantly filled with staterooms and suites, flanking a central corridor and crowned with the sun deck and walking track. At the very back is also a small fitness room and salon space for massages and hair treatments, as well as the Chef's Table restaurant.

Most public areas are reserved for the bow, though, with the main restaurant on the bottom and the observation lounge on top. Above it all is the forward portion of the sundeck, swimming pool, and bicycle storage. Both the lounge and pool are serviced by attached bars (the lovely pool has a swim-up one). Further off the observation venue is a small gift shop and alfresco terrace.

The boat is easy to navigate and small enough that everything is within quick and easy reach. Stair landings make it convenient to access the split decks. However, while there’s also a Willy Wonka-esque tubular glass elevator, the ship is not particularly wheelchair-friendly. The elevator does not reach all levels, and cabins are not well designed to handle wheelchairs. Getting off and on the ship requires some degree of dexterity as narrow gangways can be occasionally steep.

The demographic is mostly comprised of well-traveled middle-aged couples. It's not well suited for kids, with no activities or features geared to them, but there are occasionally a few on board. 

Cabins

4.5

Spacious staterooms, most with double balconies, plus iMacs, but no family accommodations 

None

Surprisingly for a relatively small vessel, the AmaCerto offers nine stateroom categories ranging in size from 160 to 300 square feet of space. Granted some are nearly identical save for their ship location, but the variety is nonetheless impressive.

All cabins have outside views, and many have double balconies, one of which is a French balcony. The foliage motif seen throughout the ship also appears here, along with handsome dark woods and premium fittings. Plush bedding consists of high-end Egyptian linens, down pillows, and a duvet, and all rooms have desks as well as chairs and small tables.

All cabins have iMac computers that also serve as the on-demand entertainment center for movies, television, and music. Rounding out standard amenities are a wardrobe closet, full-length mirror, hairdryer, electronic safe, direct-dial telephone, mini-fridge stocked with free bottled water (replenished daily), and free Wi-Fi. Marble bathrooms have showers with rainfall showerheads, as well as magnifying mirrors and individual toiletries. Bathrobes are supplied.

Entry-level Category D and E staterooms are situated on the first deck somewhat below the ship’s waterline, so they have narrow windows positioned close to the room ceilings. Category C cabins are slightly bigger at 170 square feet, located entirely above the water with a French balcony replacing the windows. For a larger option, guests might want to opt for one of the Category BA and BB staterooms, which measure 210 square feet. These have twin balconies with a seating area by the French Balcony and another one out on the regular balcony. 

The Category AA+ cabins and Suites are the best options onboard, measuring 290 square feet and 300 square feet, respectively. They have bigger bathrooms, with suites featuring both tubs and separate showers as well as double sinks.

There are no cabins designed specifically for accessibility nor families. Newer ships in the series are geared toward multiple generations thanks to beds for thirds and connecting configurations, but the AmaCerto lacks these. Still, kids aged 4 to 10 are allowed to occupy a stateroom with two adults if they can also share the bed with them. No extra beds are available.

Food

4.5

A delightful, prestigious main dining room and Chef's table restaurant

None

Indicative of the high quality of food served onboard is AmaWaterways’ membership in La Chaine des Rotisseurs global culinary society. AmaCerto’s fine dining is primarily found in its main restaurant as well as its Chef’s Table restaurant, which is also included in the fare (but requires a reservation).

The handsome venues are elegantly decorated. The main dining room is arranged with cozy booth seating as well as traditional tables situated along the windows. A central oval shape comes to a tapered point at a convenient buffet counter used during breakfast and lunch. Dishes range from hearty egg helpings to regional favorites. American fare is also available.

Full-service dinners are chosen from extensive menus usually consisting of three appetizers, two soups, three main course options, and four desserts. If the gourmet likes of delicious papaya cocktail and Milan-style veal ossobuco are not to your taste, alternatives such as Caesar salad and chicken breast are always available. The food typically reflects the region the ship is sailing through, so expect goulash in Budapest and schnitzel in Vienna. The main restaurant has an open-seating policy.

Meanwhile, for foodies, the Chef’s Table offers a chance to explore several flavors while seeing the chef prepare them all in the open kitchen. A preset tasting menu of five courses, including an amuse bouche and dessert, features an array of mouthwatering bites. Fantastic wraparound windows overlooking the ship’s stern contribute to the lovely atmosphere. Seating is limited and reservations are required. 

Both dining venues are free of charge. Plus, sparkling wine and juices are free at breakfast, while beer, wine, and soft drinks are included at lunch and dinner. Meals are paired with European reds and whites that swap out daily. Also, a daily cocktail, wine, beer, spirits, and soft drinks are included at the Sip & Sail cocktail hour, while gourmet coffee, tea, and bottled water are available around the clock.

Elsewhere, tapas, sandwiches, and sweets such as cookies can be found periodically throughout the day in the observation lounge for further snacking. Other light selections may include pastries for breakfast, soups and salads for lunch, and tea service in the afternoon.

The line will do its best to accommodate dietary restrictions or food allergies if informed prior to embarkation. One exception are kosher meals, which the ship is limited in catering to. However, in other cases, it cannot guarantee there will not be any cross-contamination.

Light onboard entertainment includes live music, but the real activities are tours and excursions. 

None

Most river ships differ dramatically from ocean cruises in the area of entertainment, and the AmaCerto is no exception. Understandably on this smaller vessel, there is no room for a dedicated performing arts theater, and a movie venue is also missing. 

The observation lounge serves double duty for scenic lounging as well as most onboard amusements or activities. It's the central gathering space for daily briefings, and has a projection screen that's available for talks and lectures as well as occasional screenings. There’s also a small piano that offers live music during cocktail hours. At other times, live entertainment can include local musicians brought onboard for a dose of regional culture.

Most guests happily keep themselves entertained by reading a book or a magazine on a deck chair, but on-demand movies, TV shows, and music can also be pulled up on in-cabin computer terminals. That said, passengers are usually occupied by extensive shore excursions. This is where AmaWaterways excels, with several tours and excursion options available at each port of call, many of which are free. These can include city tours and specialized excursions, such as food themed ones or hiking tours. The ship also has a fleet of bikes that guests are free to use, and guided bike tours of destinations are also available.

For an alternative form of entertainment, there’s a small gift shop onboard for some minor retail therapy. Souvenirs, accessories, and a few toiletries are all featured here.

Small pool with swim-up bar and a lovely sundeck

None

AmaCerto has a small heated outdoor pool and a lovely sundeck. The pool is blocked from any wind courtesy of glass side panels and even has a convenient swim-up bar. The beautiful sundeck is a great spot for sunbathing or just taking in the passing scenery. It has a shaded area furnished not just with loungers, but also comfortable padded wicker sofas. The only area on the ship where smoking is allowed is the very aft of this level, so fumes are generally kept at bay.

Small fitness room, hair salon, and massage services, plus a fleet of bikes on loan

None

For a river vessel, the AmaCerto offers quite decent wellness options. Passengers will find a small fitness room onboard as well as a walking track. The fitness facilities include a flat-screen TV plus a handful of machines like a treadmill and TechnoGym weight machine.

The cruise line also features Wellness Hosts, who lead free fitness classes like core strengthening and circuit training. There are wellness lectures as well, plus the ship has a fleet of bikes for free guest use. While it lacks a full spa, the ship has a hair salon and massage room with available treatments.

Family

3.0

Not family-oriented, with no kids' activities or dedicated family cabins

None

Several ships in the AmaWaterways fleet are specifically family-friendly, but the AmaCerto is not one of them. Kids under 4 are not permitted to sail onboard, and even those aged 4 to 7 are not advised. Any guests under 18 must share a cabin with an adult. They need to be supervised at all times as there are no kids' programs or facilities onboard.

Also worth noting, children aged 4 to 10 are allowed to occupy a cabin with two adults if they can also share the bed with them. No extra beds are provided, and a triple occupancy rate will apply to the child.

Alternatively, riverboats like the AmaKristina and AmaLea feature connecting staterooms as well as fold-out sofas for third passengers, making multigenerational arrangements far easier. AmaWaterways has also teamed up with Adventures by Disney to offer exceptional family programming on and off such ships.

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