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Cruise Ship Information
AmaWaterways' AmaLyra launched in 2009, joining nearly identical sister ships AmaDolce (2009), AmaCello (2008), AmaDante (2008), AmaLegro (2007) and AmaDagio (2006). The riverboat cruises along Europe's great inland waterways, including the Rhine, Mosel, Main and Danube.
 
360-foot long AmaLyra carries just 148 passengers throughout the waterways of Europe in comfort and style. Her sleek design, classically-modern interior spaces and blue exterior accents are all hallmarks of AmaWaterways, a highly successful river cruise line that was formed just ten years ago.  Because of her carefully-planned dimensions, AmaWaterways can deploy the AmaLyra almost anywhere in Europe, from Amsterdam to the Black Sea.
 
Atmosphere on board 
Here's what you can expect on an AmaLyra cruise:
 
A cruise on AmaLyra is nearly all-inclusive. Beyond the standards –- food, accommodation, entertainment -- there's wine and beer with dinner, unlimited Internet access and guided tours in each port. There are also about 20 bikes available for tooling around onshore.
Standard cabins are 170 square feet. (AmaLyra also has four 255-square-ft. suites.) All cabins have "Infotainment" setups, basically flat-screen TV's with Internet access, movie and music libraries, bow and navigational cams and more. 82 percent of cabins feature a French balcony, a sliding glass door with railing. Cabins on the lower Piano deck feature picture windows right at the water line instead of French balconies.
 
AmaLyra has two lounges -- a large main lounge at the bow and a more intimate lounge located aft -- that offer panoramic views of Europe, as well as a sun deck with whirlpool. Other onboard amenities include an elevator, small fitness area and a treatment room.
The AmaLyra offers spacious 170-255 sq. ft. staterooms, most with French balconies, complimentary high-speed internet and WiFi, a walking track along our Sun deck, and guided bicycle tours at stops along the river.
AmaLyra’s uppermost deck is the Sun Deck.  The perfect vantage point for viewing some of the remarkable scenery you’ll be passing, the Sun Deck has a wide array of chairs and seating options, including a hot tub located just aft of the Navigation Bridge that was well-used during  winter Christmas Markets voyage.
 
Family with Kids/Teens
AmaWaterways cruises are primarily designed for the adult traveler. Children are allowed; however, there are no child-specific programs or child-minding facilities.
Minimum age to sail on AmaWaterways is 4 years. Children 4-17 must be in a cabin with an adult.
 
Past Passenger Programs
Blue Members: Qualify on your 2nd Cruise! Benefits include:
An exclusive $100 per person savings on the cruise price
A private AmaWaterways guest reception on board
 
Silver MembersSilver Members: Qualify on your 3rd Cruise! Benefits include:
An exclusive $100 per person savings on the cruise price
A private AmaWaterways guest reception on board
Dinner with a senior crew member
A delightful welcome amenity
Complimentary coach transfer to and from the airport
A 50% discount on a one-category stateroom upgrade (excluding suites)
 
Gold MembersGold Members: Qualify on your 4th Cruise & Onward! Benefits include:
An exclusive $100 per person savings on the cruise price
A private AmaWaterways guest reception on board
Dinner with a senior crew member
A delightful welcome amenity
Complimentary coach transfer to and from the airport
A complimentary one-category stateroom upgrade (excluding suites)
 
Fitness And Spa
All the way aft on Violin Deck is the cozy Aft Lounge and its adjacent Fitness Centre and Spa. 
Next to the Aft Lounge is the AmaLyra’s small but functional Fitness Centre.  Definitely a nice addition, but with all the walking you’re likely to do ashore, it’s not needed as much here as on the larger ocean-going cruise ships.  There is, however, a convenient exterior staircase through the Fitness Centre that allows you to access the open Sun Deck. A Hot Tub is also available on the Sun Deck, just aft of the Navigation Bridge.
 
Food & Dining
Dinner aboard AmaLyra is an elegant yet relaxed affair, with complimentary regional wines, beer, spirits and soft drinks. All the way forward on Cello Deck is the AmaLyra’s comfortable Restaurant.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all served here in a relaxed, open-seating environment. Breakfast and dinner can be ordered off the menu or taken buffet-style, while dinners are a menu-driven affair, each offering their own, port-dependent local specialties.
Beer, wine, spirits and soft drinks are also complimentary at dinner, and the wine pours are generous.
 
Entertainment
If you want to learn more about the ports you're visiting on an AmaBella cruise, it generally won't happen onboard the ship. There's little programming -- such as lectures or food demonstrations -- beyond a handful of folk-style performances. The library, which is rather small, doesn't stock a great collection of guides or other informational tomes.
 
Where you will pick up excellent insights is on tour; Ama's shore excursions, most of which are included in cruise fares, stray beyond the usual staple of guided city tours. Particularly intriguing on our Danube River trip was a culinary tour of Vienna, a communist-era look at Bratislava and a trip to Austria's lake district. Via the ship's fleet of bicycles, there were numerous opportunities to tour ports like Durnstein and Linz on two wheels. Walking tours were offered at a variety of paces. Wireless transmitters, so passengers can hear guides without being right on top of them, are provided. Because of the good variety of offerings, tours rarely were too crowded.
 
Onboard, a pianist plays a variety of music before and after dinner, and quite a few passengers on our sailing had enough energy later to dance. On some nights, local entertainment plays in the lounge.
The cruise director's nightly talks, mostly focusing on the events of the following day, are humorous and enjoyable, as well as informative.
 
Staterooms
There are eight different categories of accommodation aboard Amalyra: at 140 square feet are the Single Accommodations. These two staterooms are located side-by-side on Cello Deck, and feature a French balcony – making them ideal for solo travelers who don’t want to compromise. These feature a wardrobe, bathroom with shower, and a desk with Internet access and a flat-panel television.
Categories D and E measure 170 square feet, and are located on Piano Deck. They feature fixed windows and offer a sitting area, desk with Internet access and flat-panel television, and a bathroom with shower.
Categories A,B and C are also 170 square feet, but are located on Cello and Violin decks. They feature all the amenities of the Category D and E staterooms, but with the addition of floor-to-ceiling windows that open to a French balcony. Category A staterooms offer a slightly more desirable location, being one deck higher than Category B and are located amidships.
Amalyra has one Category A+ stateroom located all the way forward on Violin Deck. It offers all the amenities and features of a standard Category A stateroom, but is appreciably larger at 225 square feet.
Topping off the accommodation choices are three Junior Suites. Located on Violin Deck, these suites are a comfortable 255 square feet and feature a full bathroom with shower and tub, a flat-panel television, mini bar, spacious wardrobe, and a full size window in addition to a complete French balcony. As with many ships, these suites can sell out quickly, so it pays to plan ahead.
 
Piano Deck -- The lowest deck aboard AmaLyra, the Piano Deck is home to 13 oceanview staterooms spanning Categories D and E.
Category D and E Staterooms. Both come in at a very comfortable 170 square feet, and offer two fixed windows placed higher up in the stateroom thanks to their location near the waterline. But other than the fixed windows and their relative location on the ship, these rooms offer all the comforts of their French Balcony counterparts, but at a very affordable price. These rooms have a small desk and vanity area that’s large enough to place a full-sized laptop on.  Be sure to bring a North American power converter, as all power outlets aboard the AmaLyra (and indeed, most river cruise ships) are of the two-prong European variety.
 
An interactive TV system allows guests to access the internet or browse through the ships’ selection of complimentary movies, television channels, and even a forward-facing bridge camera. This desk area is also home to your QuietVox audio systems.  Featuring a single earpiece, these wireless receivers are used when on tour to allow you to better hear your guide at all times.  To test their range, I wandered away from my guide in Vienna and was impressed when, two and a half blocks away and inside a chocolate shop, I could still hear her.
 
Closets provide more than ample storage for the typical weeklong voyage, and suitcases can be easily stored underneath the comfortable beds. The mattresses in all staterooms run more towards the firm side of the scale, but coupled with the ultra-soft duvets and pillows you’re likely to have a week of fabulous sleeps
 
But the real winner in all stateroom categories has to be the ingeniously-designed bathrooms that feature a full, multi-function shower that’s one of the best we’ve used anywhere. Showers in even these Category D and E staterooms feature real glass doors and plenty of space; there’s no cylindrical tube and wayward shower curtain here!
 
Cello Deck -- Category A, B and C Staterooms. These are all identical, with the exception of Category A rooms, which reside one deck up on Violin Deck.  At 170 square feet, these rooms are every bit as spacious and convenient as their Category D and E counterparts, but with one distinct feature: they offer a magnificent floor-to-ceiling French Balcony that can be opened to let in the fresh air and sweeping vistas.
Violin Deck
Junior Suites and Category A+ Suites
The largest accommodations aboard AmaLyra are the three Junior Suites, which boast a generous 255 square feet of living space.  A separate sitting area is adjacent to the bedroom and features a full-size couch, two chairs and a coffee table.  A vanity desk provides enough space to comfortably store your QuietVox headset devices, a laptop, and a bottle of bubbly.
 
Three full-size closets provide ample storage space, and additional shelf space is available next to and underneath the beds.
Inside the bathroom is a full, glass-enclosed shower, a full-size bathtub, and a generous sink and vanity area with cleverly-hidden storage shelves behind the mirrors.
There is one single Category A+ Suite aboard the AmaLyra, room number 302.  At 225 square feet, this is nearly as large as the Junior Suites, but has a smaller bathroom that lacks the full-size bathtub.
 
Tipping
Europe: For good service, 3 Euros per passenger, per day for the Cruise Manager and 12 Euros per passenger, per day for the crew, which will be divided up among the ship's personnel is recommended. It is also customary to acknowledge a particularly good performance of a local guide by leaving a tip of 1-2 Euros per tour. Gratuities on most vessels, but not all, may be charged on credit card as well as cash.
 
Fellow Passengers
AmaWaterways generally appeals to well-traveled, 50-plus passengers with a strong interest in culinary arts and active exploration. Geographically, passengers are strongly drawn from North America, but the cruise line attracts a solid representation from the U.K. and Australia, where its partner, APT Touring, also markets the line.
 
Our Recommendation
Every ship is nonsmoking (except on the sundeck) and features a beauty salon and massage therapist. Unlimited local wines, as well as beer and sodas, are included with each open-seating lunch and dinner, which consists of indulgent regional cuisine with special selections from local European ports.
 
AMA ships feature international staffs. The majority of workers onboard are Hungarian, Romanian and Slovakian, and all staff members speak English. Each cruise also features a knowledgeable cruise director who does everything: leads shore excursions, arranges for airport transportation and offers running commentary during scenic cruising.
 
Daily sightseeing programs are included with each cruise, and tours include wireless audio devices so cruisers don't miss a word on history or culture. All ships offer roughly 20 bicycles that passengers can use to explore ports.
Entertainment is focused on local customs and culture -- performances by European dancers or an orchestral group keep passengers occupied in the evenings. There are also some more down-to-earth offerings such as an always entertaining crew talent show and wacky trivia night.