What do people wear on AmaWaterways river cruises? Really.
One of the most common questions I get from travellers is "What's the dress code on an Ama cruise"? It's also one of the questions that gets a myriad of answers, but unless that answer includes a comment about how comfortable you feel, ignore it.
To begin with, we need to separate your day time touring outfits from your night time onboard experiences for the dining rooms. There are several considerations that separate your exploration-wear and your evening attire.
Touring in Europe
When it comes to what to wear on your various excursions I have 2 very important rules that I pay attention to: comfortable footwear and layers. Regardless of the time of year, you will need to think about layers because one thing you can count on during European river cruises is that the weather can change very quickly and rain can come and go as swiftly as the wind changes. Layers are your friend, regardless of the time of year.
During the Summer, you will want a light cover for those cold wine cellars and a handheld fan for those times when the temperatures soar above normal. For the colder months and Christmas market tours you will want to be able to remove those heavy layers when you enter the well heated halls, but be sure to keep warm while standing and sipping your Glühwein.
Your footwear will be key to a lot of this! My NUMBER 1 RULE for Christmas market cruises is comfortable, waterproof, and well insulated footwear. If your feet are warm and dry, the rest is easy.
Onboard dinners & Captain's Farewell
This is the biggie... the one EVERYONE wants to know, but which has the broadest answer.
There is, of course, an official AmaWaterways answer of “Casually elegant” which, after my own 52 Ama cruises, has a very broad interpretation and practice. So I prefer my advice "Comfortable and Cute".
A river cruise is very different from a sea cruise in that rarely is anyone here on a fashion parade. Yes, people will dress nicely. Yes, your own personal style is acceptable regardless of where you come from. No, no one is looking at you and judging you. I have found that on river cruises people really just don't care that much. There are no formal nights, not even the Captain's Farewell evening is such a big affair that people dress up, in fact, I find that most people save their "fancy eatin' dress" for their night at the Chef's Table.
The rest of the time you will see everything from dress jeans and shirts to khakis and golf shirts for the men and women run the gambit from dresses to slacks to casual skirts and pantsuits. Because you are traveling internationally and have luggage restrictions, the expectations of the crew on board is that you have a good time and enjoy the food and service more than you wow them with your fashion. I have never seen anyone shamed out of the dining room for ANYTHING they've worn... including myself who sometimes breaks all the rules of dress etiquette in favor of "Comfortable and Cute" to fit the temperatures.
TIPS TO BE COMFORTABLE AND CUTE
Ama has an excellent laundry service so do not overpack
Pack things that you can combine three different ways
Ama gives all the ladies a special pashmina scarf on every sailing
When in doubt, go to Ama's Facebook page to see the photos of other guests
Wear what you like, not to impress
Consider your suitcase, don't abuse the poor thing
Ama provides robes and slippers, hairdryers, shampoos and lotions
Rotate your combinations from night to day / No one really remembers what you wore the day before
A crown goes with everything
Keep jewelry to a minimum!
No matter what anyone says, fanny packs are NOT back in.
Socks with sandals is a sin only Germans can commit (and even they get made fun of)
White sneakers at night will peg you immediately as someone from across the pond
If you're trying to decide between "bringing it" or "leaving it" LEAVE IT!
Lay out the things you want to bring and then Tim Gunn it... which is to say, "EDIT!"