AmaWaterways: A Guide to European River Cruises

If you’ve never tried European river cruises, you’re in for a fine treat. It’s an opportunity to get up close and personal with the destinations you’re seeking. A little slower pace than the big ocean cruises, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be sitting around all day sipping tea. You’ll find yourself in a new port almost every day and off the ship by 8 AM taking in the sights. Walk the streets of small villages, explore castles, discover museums, and immerse yourself in the culture of that country. Even while sailing you can see the banks of the rivers and enjoy the diverse countryside. Let’s discover why a smaller ship may just lead to bigger and richer experiences.


AmaWaterways was founded on the passions of exploration, world class service, and luxury design. Established in 2002, but it’s roots run deep from one of its founders who explored the Amazon on a hand-built raft in the 1970’s. From this early thirst for adventure coupled with vision of a luxury cruise line of the future crafted what AmaWaterways stands for today. You’ll soon understand nothing was left unturned and no attention to detail was overlooked. This is your gateway to a worry free and exceptional river cruise experience.

Available Itineraries

One of the best things about a European river cruises is being able to get up close to amazing destinations. European river cruises will be you closer to your intended destinations and give you the opportunity to see much more of a country than you ever could on your own. In fact, you’ll never have to stop sightseeing the entire length of your trip since you’ll always be within feet of the shoreline. At any free moment you can enjoy the beauty of the landscape or cities you’ll be sailing past. Since places are much more accessible the itineraries for a river cruise are just about endless. Rivers crisscross many European countries and you’ll fall in love with uniquely themed European river cruises itineraries from AmaWaterways such as “Tulip Time” and “Enchanting Rhine.” Be in Amsterdam for the tulip festivals or explore the castles of Germany and France. Many of the most popular river cruises are centered on the countries of Europe, but be sure not to forget about the vast countries of Asia and Africa. There’s so much breathtaking beauty and hidden wonder to discover that only a river cruise itinerary can offer. Research other AmaWaterways cruises such as “Riches of the Mekong” and “Stars of South Africa.


European river cruise ships will be smaller to their ocean cousins, but have no doubt, still demand the title of “ship.” You’ll find all the amenities you need to make your voyage enjoyable. Most European river cruise ships contain various dining facilities, a bar, swimming pool, dance floor, fitness center, walking track, gift shop, coffee café lounge, flat screen TV’s, massage and hair salon, deck lounge chairs, and live entertainment. AmaWaterways has an impressive fleet of ships that will impress even the most avid cruiser. Their fine attention to detail and luxury will undoubtedly be noticed and enjoyed on board every single one of their ships. The latest addition to the fleet is the AmaKristina which is shown featured in this article marks the 21st ship. Be sure to book your European river cruises on the AmaKristina. Only to outdo themselves, AmaWaterways is building one of the largest river cruise ships in the world, the AmaMagna, set to launch in 2019.

What is the Difference Between an Ocean Cruise and a River Cruise?

If you’re used to ocean cruises you’ll be in for a personalized treat. You’re truly made to feel like family on AmaWaterways and the intimate setting of European river cruises will put you on a first name basis with your gracious hosts. Unlike ocean cruises where you’re bombarded from all angles with entertainment and sensory overload a river cruise will leave you feeling much more relaxed. By no means is anyone saying river cruises are better than ocean cruises, but merely what you should expect from your vacation. Ocean cruises are wonderful and offer a wide range of exciting things to enjoy. European river cruises offer a much quieter setting and allow you to truly enjoy the scenery around you and the company you’re with. Another perk about being on a smaller ship is you get to dock right in the middle of town. Step off the boat and you’re in the center of the action. Ocean cruises can have upwards of 5000 guests on board versus around 80-160 on a river cruise. It’s guaranteed you’ll be on a first name basis with every AmaWaterways crew member and even a majority of the guests. Once it’s time to leave it will feel like saying goodbye to family.

What’s Included in Your AMAWaterways River Cruise

Most European river cruises will be all-inclusive when it comes to food and beverages. Since your ship will be making port at so many unique cities you’ll have a chance to eat local cuisine. Fresh local dishes and favorite drinks are stocked on board at every location to make you feel like your right at the family dinner table of that city. Alcohol may be an added cost so be sure to check with your cruise line to fit your needs. All excursions to land will be offered at no charge so be sure to take advantage of them every chance you get. If you want to explore on your own most ships have complementary bikes you can borrow for the day. Live entertainment will be available most nights on board as well a culinary tasting experience offered on AmaWaterways. Wi-Fi will be available on board if needed.

*Tip: Free Wi-Fi is available at every port as well.

Benefits of an AMAWaterways River Cruise

A few benefits right from the start are apparent. First of all many of the costs of a river cruise are up front compared to that of an ocean cruise. River cruising tends to cost more, but at least there will be no surprises at the end of the week. Another benefit is your port is closer to what you’re about to explore. That means you won’t be spending hours of on a bus to drive inland to find a place of interest. Many of the tours start right at the gang plank of the ship and will be walking or biking tours. There are less days at sea. This means there’s more cities to enjoy and countryside to explore. One more refreshing thing is there are fewer people on board giving you more of the feeling of your own private yacht. Making new friends will also easy to do.

Life on Board

Whether you choose to do a little, a lot, or nothing at all, you’re sure to enjoy every single day on board your European river cruise. The freedom to choose exactly what you do on you voyage puts you in the captain’s chair. Every stop has a variety of shore excursion to choose from and all with varying levels of difficulty. The English speaking tours provided at every location will ensure you don’t miss out on all the details of your destination. AmaWaterways offers absolutely world class inland tours with some of the best tour guides in the business.

If relaxing on the ship is more your style, you can find a cozy spot to read a book or get a massage in the spa. Maybe you’d like to spend your day at the swim up bar and relax on the sun deck while enjoying your own personal butler. The cabins are designed to make you feel at home and expertly planned out. Enjoying a cup of coffee on your balcony taking in the scenery will be a must. There’s always something to see!

Who Would Enjoy an AMAWaterways River Cruise?

Anyone with the thirst for exploration, relaxation, culture, history, cuisine, or active adventure will enjoy what European river cruises have to offer. Travelers seeking all the comforts of home while being on the door step of various unique countries and cultures. If you’re looking for a specific theme to fit your lifestyle AmaWaterways offers a variety of niche cruises to match your personality. Wine Cruises to hone your tasting senses, Christmas cruises to enjoy with family, Wellness cruises to reward your body, Culinary cruises to fill your appetite, and even Solo Traveler cruises to find your own path.


Before You Head to your AMAWaterways European River Cruises

Things to Remember

Before you ever start packing and head to the airport, be sure to go over all the essential preparations for your trip. Items on this list include:

  • emergency contacts
  • passports
  • medications
  • currency
  • international plan on your phone
  • logistics documents
  • any cruise documentation forms completed

Securing the proper currency ahead of time can save you serious coin when it comes to exchange rates. Also be sure to inform credit card companies of your multiple country and city travel plans. Exploring the city can be fun on your own. We recommend having an international data plan on your phone to use maps and find interesting locations.

*Tip: Most phone companies will allow you to add international coverage for a month only. This will allow you to have full use of your phone and not have to pay overage charges or $10 per day for overseas use. For a complete list of items to have ready before your cruise be sure to check out AmaWaterways website.

What to Pack

Packing is always tricky when you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into. European river cruises will bring you to many new destinations and weather associated with them. AmaWaterways offers cruises all over the world in various climates. In order to know exactly what to bring, you’ll have to check what time of year your cruise is and make sure to grab the proper clothing. Remember to make the temperature conversion if needed! For example, if you’re on a river cruise heading from the southernmost point of Europe to the northernmost point you’ll have to pack warm clothes even if it’s going to hot weather when you start your cruise. Dinners tend to be more on the formal side, but you won’t need a suit or ball gown.

Other essential items include a backpack, rain jacket, document case, walking shoes, gloves, plug adapters, and a water bottle. There will be a lot of tours and having a backpack, walking shoes, and even gloves for exploring on bikes. Keeping yourself and belongings streamlined will be very beneficial and a water bottle that attaches to you or a bike will come in handy.

Most of the cruise lines as well as AMAWaterways have U.S. outlets and USB plug-ins, but it’s a very good idea to have European adapters with you. These will also come in handy if you decide to spend time in hotels around your cruise. There will documents and passports you’ll need to have at the ready and having a document carrier is a big convenience. Luckily, upon booking with AMAWaterways, you’ll receive one in the mail before you leave. Umbrellas will be provided by the cruise line, but it’s important to have waterproof clothing ready. You will not miss your once in a lifetime castle tour on account of rain!

Getting There

You’ll first have to fly to Europe if you’re not already living there or visiting for an extended vacation. Once you arrive to the airport you’re in the caring hands of AmaWaterways and your cruise begins the moment you step off the plane. A private shuttle be waiting to take you directly to the ship. If you’re able, do yourself a favor and give yourself plenty of extra time on either side of your cruise.

A 7-Day cruise is wonderful, but it doesn’t mean you’ll only need seven days of time away from the office. In fact, flying in a few days early to explore the embarking city is a truly wonderful experience. This gives you time to get acclimated to the time change as well as spend some extra time exploring. If possible leave some extra days at the end of the cruise as well. AmaWaterways makes amazing stops and only spending one day in the breathtaking cities just isn’t enough.

*Tip: Most likely your cruise will depart from a larger city with an accessible airport or in close proximity to one. Flying to Europe is an exciting experience, but can be a large portion of the expense. Don’t be afraid to book a ticket on a European airline from a smaller airport outside the major airports.

If you’re looking for the ultimate experience in travel while exploring Europe, AMAWaterways gives you the opportunity to explore several countries in a way you never would imagine. A relaxing cruise with all the amenities you can imagine- delicious food, luxurious experiences, and adventures at every port- will give you an experience of Europe (or other destinations!) you will never forget. Check out everything that AMAWaterways has to offer. 


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Want to learn more about an excursion on AMAWaterways? Check out our Adventure on the AMAKristina right here on Daily Mom!




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Joe grew up in Minnesota, so he enjoys any kind of outdoor adventures, but also knows his way around a video game console. He grew up playing many sports as well as fishing with his family. He usually can be found traveling around the world somewhere, writing, taking photos, shooting videos, working out and exploring. He’s been traveling around the world since he was 3 months old and hasn’t stopped since. He also loves to cook and very much loves to eat. He enjoys being quizzed on movie trivia and cannot help but quotes TV/movies in his daily life.

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