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Over New Year’s Eve, we cruised on AmaWaterways’ AmaCerto from Basel to Amsterdam. Monica Frisk put together this photo slideshow. She’s a big fan of river cruising and of AmaWaterways – and of sailing along the rivers over the holidays. With us were Monica’s two daughters, Jessica, 21, and Rebecca, 25. We celebrated New Year’s Eve while docked on the Rhine river in Mainz, Germany.
During our cruise, AmaCerto’s interior was dressed in Christmas adornments, including a large Christmas tree in the reception area.
Just before midnight, many of us on board stood on the sundeck, bundled up in our winter coats, holding glasses of complimentary champagne to count down the minutes to the new year. Fireworks brightened the facades of beautiful buildings set against the backdrop of the dark night sky.
What we enjoyed about our AmaWaterways New Year’s Eve cruise:
- The cozy staterooms. We had a Junior Suite featuring AmaWaterways’ dual-balcony concept. Monica’s daughters shared a smaller stateroom with a French balcony.
- Dinners together. We enjoyed dinners in the restaurant and also in the reservations-only aft restaurant, The Chef’s Table.
- Included tours. The daily tours were great way to see and experience the destinations along the Rhine river.
- The gym and walking track on the top deck. We walked after our dinners. The girls worked out in the gym on several mornings.
- Free movies and internet. After the evening walks, we either went to the lounge for entertainment and dancing (we did lots on New Year’s Eve) or returned to our staterooms to enjoy movies on the large flat-panel televisions. The girls were impressed that WiFi was provided free of charge.
- The crew. Friendly and professional and lots of fun. The captain even danced with one of Monica’s daughters on New Year’s Eve. No wonder we were invited to the Captain’s Table for dinner the next night.
River cruises are often thought of as a spring, summer and fall activity primarily for solo travelers and couples. But winter cruises make for a great way to spend time together with loved ones over the holidays. “Best New Year’s Eve ever,” Monica’s daughters said at the end of our cruise. Indeed it was.
Our Junior Suite, 303
Launched in the spring of 2012, AmaCerto carries 164 guests in 78 staterooms and four 300-square foot suites. On a New Year’s Eve cruise from Basel to Amsterdam, we were privileged to have one of the suites, number 303, on the starboard side, deck 3.
Our suite featured AmaWaterways’ “Twin Balcony” concept, which gave us a full step-out balcony with two chairs and a table – and a French balcony with floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors.
Though the weather was mild during our sailing, it was too chilly for us to sit for long periods on the step-out balcony. We used the French balcony repeatedly, however, to admire the sites along the river with no glass between us and what we were seeing.
The suites featured complimentary laundry service, mini-bars that were restocked as needed (soft drinks, water and juices) and butler service. Shortly after we had settled into our suite, our butler knocked on the door to introduce himself and present us with a bottle of bubbly. Though room service is not offered, our butler offered to bring coffee or tea at any time – or should we have any special requests from the bar, he would gladly accommodate us.
Our suite featured a large bathroom with a separate tub and shower. The tub was large and luxurious, and with two sinks, Monica and I could get ourselves ready for dinner at the same time.
The Restaurant & The Chef’s Table
AmaCerto has two dining rooms, the main dining room, with two rows of booths that can seat up to six people as well as tables that can seat up to eight. At one end of the restaurant are two large tables that can seat up to a dozen each by my count. Those tables are walled off from the rest of the restaurant and are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. If you have a small group traveling together, tell the group leader to get to the dining room when the doors open to reserve those tables for the group.
We enjoyed the dining experience in the main dining room, both service and cuisine. Monica’s oldest daughter asked if gluten-free bread was available. In fact, gluten-free is one of many lifestyle selections available throughout the fleet. AmaWaterways’ Executive Chef Primus Perchtold said his team could cater to any lifestyle or dietary restriction except for strict Kosher. The focus on regional wines was also a nice touch.
The real treat, however, was dinner at The Chef’s Table, a reservations-only restaurant situated aft. There’s no extra charge here. Service was excellent and the food exquisite. Plus, the view from the aft restaurant is inspiring during the summer months when daylight lingers until late in the evening.
Internet & More
Internet functioned well on AmaCerto, but not quite up to the speeds that it was on AmaSerena in November. That will change, however. For the coming season, AmaCerto’s suites and staterooms will get upgrades, with iMacs installed for the infotainment and internet-systems. All hardware and software for serving internet throughout AmaCerto will be updated as well.
Be sure to see our AmaCerto ship review.