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QUESTIONS ABOUT CHOOSING YOUR RIVER CRUISE

Q: Which river should I go on first?


Truly, you can not go wrong on any of them. However, each river has a unique aura.

The Upper Danube harkens back to the days of the Hapsburg Empire with stops in Vienna, Budapest, Bratislava and the gorgeous towns and villages along the way with their old abbeys, delightful cultural displays and bridge to a bygone era.

The Lower Danube brings you through the Celtic fortifications, medieval towns and grand cities, of one of the most diverse parts of Europe and along the natural beauty of jaw dropping landscapes like the famed Iron Gates.

The Rhine is dominated by castles and fairy tale-like history. Take a front-row seat on an enchanting journey that takes you thru the UNESCO World Heritage Site with its 40 castles strung like pearls on its river banks and to magnificent cities and charming villages alike: bookended by the excitement of Amsterdam and the majesty of Switzerland. Connect the Rhine with the story book beauty of the Mosel or the Main and you have truly mesmerising trip.

All the French rivers combine historic Chateaux and gardens, culture, culinary treasures and the sun kissed vineyards that have made French wines the envy of the world. Whether Bordeaux, Burgundy, Normandy or Provence you can’t go wrong.

Rambling vineyards and charming native farms cling to the steep sides of the Douro River Valley, creating an incomparable backdrop to one of Europe’s most unspoiled regions and to Port country.

Egypt and the Nile give you the chance to explore ancient wonders, such as the beguiling Temple of Luxor and the mystifying Valley of the Kings and Queens. Come face-to-face with the last survivor of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Great Sphinx and the three Pyramids of Giza. This unforgettable itinerary includes exclusive experiences, such as a private tour of the tomb of Queen Nefertari and much more.

Ama’s crown jewel journey gives you the chance to explore Africa by river, rail, bush and water safari. From Cape Town to Johannesburg, Victoria Falls to Kruger Park, not only will you experience the best of what Africa has to offer, from the Big 5 to incredible culinary experiences, but you will be pampered every step of the way.

Cruise along the Mekong through Cambodia and Vietnam as you are transported back in time to another era, where the rhythms of the countryside move at a slower pace and allow for a fascinating glimpse into a traditional way of life. Combine this with a trip to Angkor to experience the wonders of the ancient world.

There are so many choices, none of them wrong, and I can help you find the best choice for your tastes and dreams.




Q: What cabin is best?


Everyone has different tastes and budgets and AmaWaterways has options for everyone. Want to stretch your budget because you’re more interested in the overall cruise than the cabin? Than the double window Cat E & D cabins are right for you. Do you need to have fresh air, but still want to stretch that budget? Than the C French balcony cabins give you floor to ceiling windows that you can open. Love the idea of a step out balcony? Ama invented the double balcony concept with a step out balcony combined with a French balcony to give you endless viewing pleasure regardless of the weather with their B class cabins. Want more space? Step up to the A class cabins. Of course, there are also suites with butler service and luxury amenities.




Q: What is the best time of the year to take a river cruise?


Would you believe that the change of seasons changes your experience on each river so that you can sail the same river during different times of the year and it will be a different trip every time. Spring time is when the flora and fauna are bursting forth after the long, dark Winter. Summer is the time of the great outdoors: cafes, nature walks, gorgeous weather. Fall ushers in the harvest and the gorgeous colours as the hills turn red, orange and gold. Christmas markets dominate the landscape during the Advent season and snow flurries give you the holiday feels.

If the ships are sailing, it’s a good time to go!




Q: I heard water levels can affect your sailing.  What does Ama do?


From time to time the rivers can be too low or too high for ships to complete their journey as planned. The first thing Ama did to combat that problem was to design ships that can sail ín very low waters so they often are continuing their itineraries while their competitors are moored. However, if it happens that water levels affect your trip, first Ama will do everything possible to continue your vacation as scheduled, but will give you a very generous credit for any missed ports or activities. They also will sometimes do a ship swap and trade guests from one ship on one side of the low water to a ship on the other side. This allows guests to continue cruising.




Q:  Do the cruise lines only cruise or do they also have land packages?


Ama starts and ends every river cruise with a specially designed land package that shows off the highlights of its embarkation and disembarkation city points. These land packages are hosted by the same cruise manager that will lead your cruise and tours and transfers are included. Some people like to do their own thing in each city which is also fine. While some others will do an Ama arrival package and their own post or vice versus. Be sure I can help you decide what is best for you.




Q.  Are river cruises good for those with mobility issues?


While the cruise line does everything they can to accommodate those with mobility issues, many venues that are visited by the tours are not accessible for those with severe mobility problems. Ama ships have elevators that take guests from the lowest passenger areas to the top floor, however only the AmaMagna’s elevator can reach the Sun Deck.
Ama also offers scooter rentals which can be arranged ahead of time, however, it must be noted that due to the way that river ships often dock side by side, the passenger contract insists that guests be able to embark and disembark the ship on their own. If you have concerns, let me know and I will give you my honest feedback.





QUESTIONS ABOUT RIVER CRUISING IN GENERAL

Q: What kind of people book a river cruise and would I fit in?


To be 100% honest, I used to tell jokes about river cruising and river cruise guests. Like many people I had a mistaken notion that river cruising was for people who could no longer take sea cruises or travel on their own. I was SO wrong and nothing could be further from the truth.

River cruising is actually for a very broad spectrum of people of various ages, interests, backgrounds, languages and even fitness. One of the reasons I have now taken over 45 AmaWaterways cruises in the last 10 years is because of how welcoming, friendly, customer focused and absolutely multi-faceted they are.

Of course cruises change week by week, especially if there are groups on board, but my own groups vary in ages from 40s to 80s, married and unmarried couples, solo travelers, families, groups of friends, people who love to drink and dance to people who love to sit and read and have a quiet vacation. There really is something for everyone who is interested in seeing Europe, Asia and Africa up close. Sea cruises take you TO a country, river cruises take you THROUGH them!




Q: I always had the impression river cruises were expensive, what do they cost and what is included?


One of the biggest misconceptions about river cruising is that they are expensive and only for rich people. This is another myth I am about to bust for you. A river cruise generally includes everything you want to do and experience on your vacation and they give you an up front price with very little extra out of pocket once you pay your cruise fare.

Tours? Included - and not just one tour, MANY tour options in each port with various abilities. Fitness Classes? Included. Wi-Fi? Included Movies and in-cabin entertainment? Included. Specialty restaurant dining? Included. Bikes and bike tours? Included!! Along with free flowing beer, wine, & soft drinks at lunch and dinner and sparkling wine at breakfast, a 1 hour open bar “Sip and Sail” cocktail hour every night before dinner, unlimited bottled water in both your cabin -on tours -and anywhere on board the ship like the fitness room, 24/7 coffee bar, round the clock snacks & tapas in the bar, tea time with cakes and sandwiches galore, incredible meals that reflect where you are sailing, luxurious accommodations with daily toiletries ranging from lotion soap and shampoo to nail kits, and other personal items.


Now go add up all the money you spent on your last cruise and compare it to the up front fare of a river cruise and not only will you find that river cruising is actually a great way to vacation, but you get far more at higher quality and more dedicated service than any other kind of vacation.




Q. I heard there’s no casino, no broadway style shows, no discos: will I be bored on a river cruise?


If you NEED those things in order to enjoy your vacation, then yes. You are not the right fit for a river cruise. However, if you enjoy being kept busy all day going out to see the sites, experience the local culture, taste the delicious things made in the places you visit, enjoying fantastic meals and a variety of cocktail parties and on board talks, local entertainment in a more intimate setting, then I promise, you will NOT be bored. In fact, you will find yourselves exhausted by 11pm in many cases… but never fear, the bar stays open until the last passenger goes to bed.




Q. What is the dress code like?


This is one of my favourite questions, especially in light of the debates raging about what one should wear on a sea cruise still take place. On a river cruise, especially an AmaWaterways river cruise the rule for what to pack is simple: casual and comfortable. Bring and wear what YOU like. Remember that you are touring all day long and will need to dress for the local environment. Evenings on board are relaxed and casual; Ama requests simply that no shorts are worn in the dining room at dinner: even then, no one has ever been asked to leave or change. Just do you. Be comfortable. You are on vacation not at Fashion Week.




Q. Is smoking allowed?


AmaWaterways is a non-smoking cruise line, meaning that smoking is not allowed in doors or on the balconies. There is, however, a designated smoking area on the back deck of sun deck.





QUESTIONS ABOUT BOOKING WITH RIVERCRUISEKING.COM

Q: How do I book one of your escorted trips and is there a fee?


My escorted group cruises each have their own individual sign up page and you can register directly by simply filling out the form associated with each trip. If you already know what cabin category you want, what you want to do pre and post cruise, and you want to handle most of your trip planning on your own there is no fee. In fact, you can even have up to 30 minutes of free consultation with me by scheduled appointment for a video call or just sending me a mail with your questions. This is the DIY package and lots of guests do this.

However, if you need advice and assistance choosing a cabin, aren’t really sure what you want to do before and after the cruise or perhaps you want to customize parts of your trip and want my help finding the right hotels, tours, and help with transfers, etc. there is a $200 per cabin research, planning and curation fee that covers you from start to finish and ensure that all details are handled by me. You just have to express your wishes, pack and enjoy. This package is called Dave’s Royal Treatment.




Q: Do I have to come on one of your escorted river cruises to have you help me book my AmaWaterways cruise or can you help me find my own trip?


I can absolutely help you plan and book your own private AmaWaterways river cruise. Not everyone can, or wants, to come on my escorted group trips, but my advice and expertise is here for you no matter what. The same fee structure applies to this as well. If you just need help with a simple booking, already know what you want and just want to take advantage of my free planners and free tips, than this is still considered a DIY booking and includes the same offer of 30 minutes of assistance. If you need a more involved and customized level of help, then my Royal Treatment package is just the right thing. For $200 you will get the best planning and execution of a perfect river cruise possible.




Q: Do you book groups for other people, clubs, organizations, etc. and is there a fee?


I absolutely book groups for other people as private groups and the same fee rules apply. Anyone within that group that just wants to sign up can do so 100% for free. Anyone who needs extra assistance (including planning and choosing the group itinerary) would require a $200 fee.




Q: Which destinations do you sell and do you sell anything besides AmaWaterways river cruises?


A. I only sell and organize AmaWaterways river cruise adventures. I do not sell ocean cruises, all-inclusive resorts or land tours. However, I do sell airfare thru Ama and Ama’s land packages. Occasionally I will also put together my own land package to complement an Ama river cruise and sell it as a total package. B. I will also sell customized hotel and tour packages as an alternative to an Ama land package, but only in conjunction with a booked Ama cruise. I do not organize and sell city breaks on their own.




Q: Do you price match to online booking engines, Groupons, etc.?


My groups are booked two years in advance I always have the best available prices that Ama offers, plus my own specials thrown in. I also monitor rates up threw final payment and ensure that my guests are getting the best that is available. With that said, I don’t play games with clients who are just price shopping. Not only do my clients need to feel confident that I get them the best possible price that is offered under the circumstances and time that they book, my services are also highly sought after due to my extreme high level of expertise, knowledge, and personal connections. If you don’t trust me, then do not book with me.. and please do not insult me by asking me to beat another agent’s rate in a cabin auction.




Q: Are there payment plans?


Not only can you make payments whenever you want thru my TravelJoy customer system, but we can schedule regular payments at any time. You can also use your client portal to make a payment of your own choosing whenever you wish.




Q: Do you require Travel insurance?


The only trip that I absolutely 100% REQUIRE guests to have travel insurance for is the Stars of Africa adventure since my own ability to escort my group is dependent on all 28 spaces being taken and I charge an equal penalty to AmaWaterways for any cancellation on that trip. Therefore insurance is essential and required.

On all other journeys it is a personal choice whether to purchase insurance or not and whether you buy insurance thru Ama or on your own is up to you. However, I will require ALL guests to sign a waiver if they do not purchase insurance thru me or Ama that they accept all responsibility and costs in the event of calamity. I have seen too many accidents and unexpected emergencies happen to not have insurance and anyone making this choice is taking a very big risk. That consequences of that risk are 100% on you the guest.


My professional and personal advice is ALWAYS HAVE INSURANCE!