A silver lining on the Rhine
Austrian-owned Amadeus River Cruises has sailed quietly beneath the radar compared with some of the big names on the scene. However, things are about to change. Far from being a newcomer, the company has an impressive pedigree stretching back more than 30 years and is one of Europe’s longest-established river lines. Newly partnered with Fred River Cruises to sell in the UK, the company’s nine-strong fleet – which will become ten with the addition of French-based Amadeus Provence in 2017 – is set to make its mark further afield. I joined the Classical Rhine sailing on the newest ship, Amadeus Silver III, to see what’s on offer.
A standout feature in all 84 cabins is a spacious walk-in wardrobe, a first for river vessels. My 284 square feet suite, one of 12 on the upper deck, was very comfortable and well-designed, with a balcony and living area, complete with a library. The colour scheme in all staterooms is an elegant blue, gold and taupe, and an a la carte menu in the restaurant. Afternoon tea is often themed, showcasing regional treats such as apple strudel, and is hard to resist. There’s even a late-night snack. I particularly enjoyed the five-course dinners, with excellent complimentary wines, featuring imaginative and well-presented dishes. For a €28 supplement, special ‘highlight’ dinners can be arranged in the lounge – ideal for birthdays and anniversaries.
One oddity is that Amadeus doesn’t follow the open seating norm of most lines and restaurant tables are allocated at the beginning of the cruise. Tables are mainly four and six, and anglophone passengers will be placed with fellow English speakers. Tables for two can be requested.
None are included, providing passengers with flexibility and ideal for clients on a budget. Three packages, ranging from around five to eight tours, are bookable in advance, for a 15% discount, or onboard. The trips I joined were excellent, with friendly, knowledgeable local with ample storage, and bathrooms have over-sized showers. The 72 standard cabins are 172 square feet and, aside from fixed window lower deck cabins, have drop-down panoramic windows.
The main lounge bar is welcoming and airy and the smaller Amadeus Club lounge, at the back of the ship, has floor-to-ceiling windows on all sides and is a lovely, quiet spot with free 24/7 tea and coffee. In a nod to the company’s Austrian heritage there’s a Viennese cafe, with sumptuous gold chairs. Thea cafe offers a specialty coffee menu and complimentary biscuits. A lift serves every deck apart from the sun deck.
FOOD AND DRINK
Meals are outstanding. Days start with an early-bird continental breakfast in the lounge, followed by a buffet in the restaurant, with a selection of served courses. There’s a light lunch option in the lounge, and buffet guides. Everyone gets individual listening devices so you don’t have to cluster round to hear what’s being said.
The ship has an onboard hairdresser – a rarity on river ships – massage room and gym.
English, with German, is the onboard language and friendly crew members are multilingual. The ship will appeal to UK clients looking for a cruise that offers a flexible excursion programme and thoughtful extra touches, with onboard design and amenities.
- 1. Consider switch-selling to city break, food loving clients who enjoy a luxury experience and are new to river cruising.
- 2. Amadeus Silver III is perfect for passengers who don’t want to be ‘overly organised’. They can pick and choose excursions, or opt to explore ports of call independently.
- 3. With 168 passengers (some same-size vessels carry 190) there is a high crew to- passenger ratio and the ship never feels crowded.
The seven-night Classical Rhine itinerary, from Amsterdam to Basel or in reverse, is from £1,299 per person (including early booking discount), based on two sharing, cruise only. The itinerary is available from April to October 2017. Flights, transfers and excursion packages can be added.
|Passengers||Crew||Cabin size||Decks||Length||Amadeus Silver II USP|
|168||46||172 – 284 square feet||Walk-in wardrobes in every cabin|