Named for Kristin Karst, executive vice president and part owner of AmaWaterways, AmaKristina exudes all the poise, elegance and warmth of its godmother. With a sleek design and expertly chosen decor, the ship and its excellent crew make passengers feel welcome as soon as they step onboard.
Launched in 2017, AmaKristina is the 20th ship in the line's fleet, offering two superb dining experiences, a heated top-deck pool and a fleet of 25 bicycles that are made available to passengers for use in port. There are also fun hidden touches that also serve a practical purpose. The wavy ceilings in the dining room? They're actually sound panels that reduce noise. The paintings in the stateroom hallways? They creatively mask fire extinguishers.
Cabins are in line with the industry average in terms of size, and furnishings are rich. Nearly 90 percent of staterooms have balconies, and several offer connecting doors, which are ideal for families, particularly when the ship is chartered by AmaWaterways partner Adventures by Disney, which weave Disney into experiences both onboard and in port.
In addition to between-meal snacks in the main lounge, the ship features excellent cuisine in its two complimentary eateries -- the main dining room and The Chef's Table -- which often include local specialties from the Rhine region, where the vessel sails.
Excursions, which are free and a standout feature for AmaWaterways, range from standard bus and walking tours to more local pursuits like beer tastings and active ones like biking and hiking. Within the standard options, passengers can group themselves according to activity level so nobody feels rushed or slowed down.
Overall, passengers will find exceptional value for their money. Adding to the feeling that they're staying in the home of a good friend is a crew that's helpful and genuinely pleasant.
The line aims to draw a slightly younger demographic through more active pursuits like biking and hiking in port, as well as theme sailings that include wine, Adventures by Disney and Backroads bike tours.
The line sees most of its passengers in the 55-and-older age group, with about 85 percent of clientele hailing from the United States and 13 percent from Canada. The remaining 2 percent largely comprises cruisers from the U.K. and Australia. Children generally aren't found on regular sailings, but Adventures by Disney sailings do aim to draw families with younger cruisers.
On our sailing, many had taken ocean cruises before and were trying river cruising for the first time, but AmaWaterways does have a steady stream of repeat travelers who are loyal to the line.
The dress code aboard AmaKristina is generally smart casual during the day for excursions or scenic cruising, with nice jeans, walking shorts or khakis with collared golf shirts or nice T-shirts being the norm. For dinner, passengers tend to dress up a bit more. While we didn't see many men in jackets, most women wore dresses, and almost nobody donned jeans.
With the cost of the cruise fare, passengers receive free shipwide Wi-Fi, wine and beer with lunch and dinner (wine/beer outside of meal times and all mixed drinks cost extra) and a choice of shore excursions in each port, as well as bottled water (replenished daily in cabins and offered at the gangway prior to shore excursions).
Gratuities are not included in the cost of AmaWaterways' fares. For good service, the line recommends 3 euros (the onboard currency) per person, per day, to the ship's cruise manager and 12 euros per person, per day, to be split among the remainder of the crew -- room stewards, waiters and others behind the scenes. Tips are not automatically added to bills for bar purchases or spa/salon services; passengers can tip at their discretion. Gratuities can be paid at the front desk in euros or charged to a credit card. Envelopes are available at the front desk for anyone wishing to tip crew members individually.
For tours, recommended tips are 2 euros per person for the tour guide and 1 euro per person for the bus driver.
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Hot but intriguing cruise down the Rhône river through the South of France
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