Get personal insight into all things river cruising from our Co-owner and Executive Vice President Kristin Karst
An AmaWaterways river cruise is about more than just the destination – it’s the journey. Our ships are inspired by luxury yachts so that you can enjoy an array of great features as you cruise along from one stunning place to the next. Because it’s not just about where you go. It’s how you get there that matters.
Executive Vice President and Co-owner Kristin Karst talks about what makes AmaWaterways river cruises so special.
Every year, eager travelers journey to Europe to experience the yuletide season at its very best. With the backdrop of winter white hilltops, twinkling lights and extravagantly decorated cities, you'll undoubtedly get swept up in the enchantment and wonder that's in the air.
Our Wine Cruises are a unique and immersive way to combine all the wonder of Europe's famed regions with the rich history of winemaking and epicurean treasures found along its wondrous rivers.
This section was designed to answer some of the questions most often asked about AmaWaterways.
The questions under the headings to the left are just a representative sample of what we routinely answer.
Note: Some FAQs link to the section in which the subject is addressed.
Europe: High-speed Internet service is available free of charge as part of the in-stateroom "Infotainment
System." Additionally, AmaWaterways offers complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the ship.
Vietnam and Cambodia: Free Internet and Wi-Fi in the lounge with computer stations.
We recommend country club casual for dinner. Guests typically wear dressier attire for the Captain's Dinner.
All ships have an open seating policy in the main restaurant to ensure you have the opportunity to meet your fellow travelers. They also feature an alternative specialty dining restaurant- The Chef's Table- with limited seating.
Europe: Elevators are available onboard all vessels reaching the two highest passenger decks, reception area and restaurant.
Vietnam & Cambodia: The AmaDara and the AmaLotus cruising the Mekong river do not feature elevators.
Africa: The Zambezi Queen cruising the Chobe River does not feature an elevator.
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.
Vietnam & Cambodia: On Cruise Embarkation Day, passengers will proceed to the AmaDara or AmaLotus via a transfer from one of the hotels listed below:
For embarkations scheduled for Tonle Sap Lake: Register at the AmaDara/AmaLotus 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/AmaLotus 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.
Africa: All passengers will be transferred from the entry port in Kasane, Bostswana to the Zambezi Queen on the Chobe River via small, private boats. Guests will arrive between 2:00-4:30pm depending on the scheduling of intra-Africa air flights.
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.
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.
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 a.m. to 12 a.m. 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 6:00am each morning until 10:00pm every night.
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.
Gratuities to your Cruise Manager and ship crew are not included in the vacation price. While the amount of these gratuities will depend upon your degree of satisfaction for services received, many of our clients have asked us for general tipping guidelines. Here are our recommendations:
Europe: For good service, we recommend 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. 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.
Vietnam & Cambodia: Pre and Post Cruise: National Guide US $2 per person per day. Local Guides, US $1 per person per half-day tour, US $2 per person per full day tour. Bus Drivers, US $.50 per person for half-day tour, US $2 per person for full day tour.
Cruise: Cruise Director, US $2 per person per day. Ship's Crew, US $10 per person per day. Cruise Guide in Cambodia, US $2-3 per person per day (covers all shore excursions in Cambodia). Cruise Guide in Vietnam, US $2-3 per person per day(covers all shore excursions in Vietnam.)
Africa: Gratuities are not included in the vacation price. The suggested tipping policy onboard is between $65-80 per cabin for the 4-night cruise. Of course, all tips are at the traveler's personal discretion.
Smoking is not permitted anywhere inside any of the ships. Smoking is only permitted on the Sun Deck. For the safety and comfort of all passengers on board, your cooperation in observing the no-smoking policy is greatly appreciated.
Europe: Each stateroom is equipped with a hair dryer, plush terry bathrobes, slippers and a safe. Your bathroom offers a magnifying mirror and spa-quality toiletries including soaps, body wash, shampoo, conditioner and body lotion.
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.
Europe: AmaWaterways offers the industry's most comprehensive information and entertainment experience in Europe. Stay connected, thanks to the computer provided in your stateroom and high-speed Internet access, plus Wi-Fi. Our exclusive movie-on-demand system offers Hollywood's current releases and a selection of classic films. Enjoy a variety of English-language news, sports and satellite TV stations, as well as a large selection of music channels. 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.
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.
All staterooms in Europe, 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.
Africa: All suites have deluxe floor mounted fans with remote controls. With floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors in each suite. Most passengers opt to keep their rooms open to the fresh air and wildlife throughout the cruise.
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.
Each ship has a fitness room with a selection of exercise equipment. Use of the equipment is at the sole risk of the user. 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.
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.
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.
Myanmar: We do not employ doctors or nurses on board the ship. 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.
Europe: Each ship has a limited number of bicycles and helmets available for use when the ship is docked. When appropriate, a sign-up sheet is used to request the bicycles. 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.
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, passengers will be seated by a dining room host.
Europe: All meals are skillfully prepared by European chefs and consist of Continental cuisine made with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients whenever possible. Breakfast is buffet-style with selections available from the menu as well. Lunch is also buffet-style with salads, soups and a selection of hot buffet items, hot entrees and desserts. Dinner is a multi-course meal with a choice of delicious entrees, including a vegetarian option.
Vietnam & Cambodia: All meals are prepared by local chefs and consist of Western cuisine as well as Vietnamese and Cambodian cuisine. Breakfast and lunch are served buffet style. Dinner is a multi-course meal with a selection of entrées.
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 buffet. Dinner is a multi-course meal with a selection of entrées. Certain meals will be served on land.
Europe: Coffee and tea are available free of charge throughout the day and during meals. Specialty coffees, such as espresso and café latte are also available free of charge. Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages are available at additional cost. During lunch and dinner, local wines soft drinks and beer are available on a complimentary basis. Complimentary bottled water is replenished daily.
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 bottled water is replenished daily
Myanmar: Complimentary house wine, local beer and soft drinks are offered with every lunch and dinner on board.
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 bottled water is replenished daily.
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 noted in our Health and Well-Being section, 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 tours in select cities (capacity controlled). 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.
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.
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 both the AmaDara and the AmaLotus. Please inquire at the reception desk for a list of services and to schedule an appointment.
The AmaVida also offers a spa.
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.
Europe: All ships are equipped with a whirlpool or heated swimming pool, perfect for a refreshing dip. Saunas are available on select ships. There is no attendant on duty and use of these facilities is at the sole risk of the user. AMAWATERWAYS and its affiliates are not responsible for any injuries sustained during the use of the whirlpool, pool or sauna.
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.
Myanmar and 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.
All guests under the age of 18 are to be in a cabin with an adult, and must remain supervised at all times, and their safety is the responsibility of the accompanying adult(s). Children between the ages of 4 – 10 at the time of embarkation may share a cabin with 2 adults provided the child is able to share the bed with the adults – no additional bed will be provided. Please be aware that balcony cabins of any kind may be unsafe for small children if left unsupervised. Children 4-7 years old are not recommended on any program and on our Africa program, due to safety precautions, there is a minimum age limit of 12 years old, unless otherwise agreed upon by AmaWaterways. AmaWaterways does not provide child-specific programs or child-minding facilities. Please let us know if you need anything else.