Courtesy of AmaWaterways
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Courtesy of AmaWaterways
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Courtesy of AmaWaterways
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Courtesy of AmaWaterways
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Courtesy of AmaWaterways
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AmaLea

Our Ship Review
Deal Expert / Travel Blogger

This 156-passenger AmaWaterways river ship debuted in 2018 and was inspired by luxury yachts with spacious staterooms; most rooms onboard boast the line’s signature twin balconies. Also like a luxury liner is the fact that there’s plenty of space for socializing, ample outdoor areas, and lots of inclusions.

Guests can be found mingling in the lounge, where you’ll find lectures and demonstrations by day and cocktails paired with nightly entertainment in the evening (the piano player is especially lovely). There’s an on-board massage room, a hair salon, and a small gym. A heated outdoor pool with a swim-up bar is the cherry on top. Once docked and on shore, excursions have been created for all types; guests can opt for gentle to active outings and there’s an on-board fleet of complimentary bicycles that’s a nice perk. 

Here, our overview of the AmaLea:

What We Love

The Service: The service on the AmaLea was fantastic for the most part. There was always someone available at the front desk, as well as a designated concierge to help with planning and logistics. The wait staff was friendly and helpful and the behind-the-scenes employees, like housekeeping, did an incredible job freshening up the rooms twice per day.

Easy Access to Towns: For those who want to avoid long bus or dinghy rides into a town, the AmaLea often docks in areas that allow for easy access into port cities. Unlike on larger ocean vessels, we were able to walk off the ship at our leisure and meander into town; you never get the whole herded-cattle vibe while disembarking here. If guests choose the bike option (more on that below), the staff has the bicycles prepped so that they can simply hop on and hit the road.

Best Known For

Bike Options: AmaWaterways lays claim to being the first river cruise line to carry an entire fleet of complimentary bicycles onboard. They want guests to be able to explore towns like a local, and offer tour options that run the gamut: everything from exploring city centers to meandering around hills and beaches. There’s also an option to go off on your own. One of our favorite excursions was a bike ride along the Danube River between Dürnstein and Melk in Austria’s Wachau Valley.

Lots of Inclusions: A sailing on the AmaLea includes wine, beer, and soft drinks with meals. Also included is Wi-Fi, a choice of offshore excursions, daily water bottles, as well as access to the fleet of bicycles. 

Who It's Best For

Those Who Want More Spacious — and Comfortable — Staterooms: The AmaLea includes the option of their signature twin balcony: a French balcony, which is a designated interior space with two upholstered chairs and a window that opens, alongside a true outdoor space with two chairs and a table. Add to that the fact that beds are incredibly comfortable and feature luxe linens and plenty of pillows. 

Those Who Love Fresh Air: In addition to the spacious stateroom balcony options, the AmaLea features plenty of ways to enjoy the outdoors. There are casual al fresco dining spaces and an outdoor veranda on which to sip cocktails. The upper level features a running track, an oversized chess set, plenty of seating, and a heated outdoor pool with a swim-up bar. 

Don't Say We Didn't Warn You

Food Was So-So: The food on the AmaLea was underwhelming. Menu items were presented in the way of fine dining, but often lacked flavor. However, the service was excellent and servers often remembered details about each guest and would happily make special requests. 

Limited Dining Options: There’s one main dining room on the AmaLea, which is located on the lower level of the ship. The ambiance is higher-end with white tablecloths and excellent service, but be warned that it’s a bit dark and the ceilings are low. Additionally, tables are shared among other guests with first-come, first-serve seating. Guests can opt for a more casual bistro lunch in the lounge and there’s the Chef’s Table speciality restaurant option that you can sign up for upon arrival.