For almost 15 years we’ve been sailing with AmaWaterways, exploring everything from the familiar routes of the Danube and Rhine to the less-trodden paths like the Mekong.
I wanted to share some of my favorite moments from our journeys in hopes that it will remind you of some of the voyages you’ve taken, or get you excited for your future travel plans. The people we’ve met and the experiences we’ve had on AmaWaterways have left us with a lifetime of memories. So here’s to reliving our favorite Ama moments and to the future experiences that await us.
One of the most memorable chapters within my river cruising journey was my first. When I was 14, my dad and I ventured all the way to Ho Chi Minh City to sail the Mekong with AmaWaterways. We took daily excursions that gave us a true glimpse into daily life. We met locals who shared their stories, trades, and traditions with us – like making rice paper, silk, farming, the aftermath of the Vietnam War and more. We visited temples and memorial sites, such as Cambodia’s Killing Fields where more than 1 million people were killed and buried during the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror.
There were many moments of beauty and joy between the heavier moments. It was important to experience both, as both are equally important to the shaping of this unique region. We knew this was a learning experience, as all river cruises with AmaWaterways are – the perfect balance of luxury and relaxation with education. And to show how important education is to Ama, they took us to a school they were sponsoring. It showed us that Ama’s commitment lies not only to their guests but also to the communities in which they travel.
I learned so much about the places we visited, and even though I was young, I enjoyed meeting other adventurers with whom I shared similar interests. My fellow passengers were as eager to chat and learn about each other as they were the destinations we were visiting. There was a nice mix of passengers on board, including a Dutch couple with their kids, a couple from Israel and quite a few Australians.
As soon as I stepped on board, I fell in love with this mode of travel. Though I had been on many ocean cruises, the level of service on board a river cruise was something I had never experienced before. A small ratio between passengers and crew meant no waiting in lines for drinks and food, and no jockeying for space on deck and in public areas. I was constantly enriched by the culture around me – be it through locally inspired meals, like a noodle bar at lunch, or lectures on board teaching us more about the region where we were sailing.
If you’re interested in cruising the Mekong check out:
- Guest Post: Cruising The Mekong On AmaWaterways
- Avid Travel With Britton Frost – Cruising The Mekong With AmaWaterways
- Voyage Report: AmaWaterway’s AmaDara on the Mekong
Fast forward nearly a decade to the christening voyage of AmaMagna. Cruising down the Danube with my friends was like having a big family reunion on the water. The AmaWaterways crew was friendly and attentive. Ama selected the “best of the best” for the special occasion. Though, in my experience, Ama’s crew is always top tier. They hold the perfect balance of being professional with being friendly. When you step on board you feel like part of a big family.
AmaMagna was the perfect vessel for this event. At twice the width of traditional river cruise ships, there is plenty of room for large groups, but also space for smaller groups to keep things intimate. We loved being able to make reservations for group dinners at the various dining venues onboard. My favorite was Jimmy’s Wine Bar & Restaurant. It has a really casual and cool vibe and was a great place to get together with new friends.
Check out our AmaMagna coverage:
- Is AmaMagna The Perfect River Cruise Ship For Families?
- Becoming Part Of The AmaWaterways Family Aboard AmaMagna
- 6 Types Of Travelers Who Are Perfect For AmaMagna, Are You One Of Them?
Setting foot on an AmaWaterways cruise for the first time post-pandemic brought a mix of emotions. I was nervous to make my return overseas, but I was excited to finally reconnect with fellow journalists and friends from the travel industry. As I cautiously stepped back into the world of cruising, it was evident that safety was a top priority for Ama, which helped me feel a lot more at ease. AmaWaterways had taken measures to ensure a secure environment, from enhanced sanitation routines to thoughtful adjustments in common spaces that allowed for physical distancing. While most of these measures have eased, Ama’s commitment to their passengers remains. This sense of assurance was particularly comforting, especially as I embarked on my first cruises post-pandemic, and highlighted AmaWaterways’ unwavering commitment to their guests’ well-being.
It didn’t just take a pandemic to prove that Ama cares about its guests. The company has a variety of programs to make sure that there is something for everyone on board. The sailings cater to a wide range of ages and activity levels – and the company will operate gentle walking tours for guests who need extra time, when able. I particularly enjoy Ama’s active excursions, like bike rides and hikes. Designated wellness hosts and lecturers on board ensure that guests can stay busy throughout the day, whether they’re learning the region’s history or taking a yoga class on deck.
The Essence Of Ama
During my more than 15 years of voyages with AmaWaterways, the company has continually displayed a remarkable commitment to guest satisfaction. The company’s approach spans cultural immersion, historical reflection and fostering friendships and connections.
Through river cruising with Ama, I have had a chance to learn about parts of the world that I might not have otherwise visited. As a child and an adult, Ama broadened my understanding about those with whom I share this planet. The company’s tour offerings and excursion choices allowed me to immerse myself fully in the region which I traveled. Not to mention, I have had the privilege of meeting individuals from many different backgrounds and been able to form lifelong connections. I can’t wait to see what the next few years bring.