The all-inclusive American river cruise company AmaWaterways has gained a big reputation for its rapidly expanding fleet of luxury, upmarket river cruisers on the historic rivers of Europe. In 2013, AmaWaterways launched the 106-passenger AmaVida, which tailors the same high standards of décor, space and cutting edge design found elsewhere to the Douro River in Portugal.
AmaVida’s passengers tend to be the 45+ age bracket and from the USA and Canada. However, she is also very popular with Australian and British passengers who appreciate her floating 5 star hotel ambience and excellent standards of service, with a crew to passenger ratio of less than one to four. Her passengers tend to be well-travelled and keen to immerse themselves in their journey, whether or not they choose a themed wine itinerary.
The Main Restaurant is located on the middle Lisbon Deck and serves buffet style breakfasts and lunches, with the option to choose from the menu too. The Main Lounge also offers an early riser breakfast, light lunch and afternoon snacks.
Onboard dinners are sumptuous multi-course affairs, prepared by the chefs who are members of international gastronomic society La Chaine des Rotisseurs and work with menus designed by AmaWaterways’ award-winning Executive Chef, Primus Perchtold. All menus are produced with the seasons and the itinerary in mind, so on the AmaVida, passengers can expect to sample many delicious flavours of Portugal and Spain. Although the stylish restaurant operates a laid back open-seating policy at dinner, the dress code is more formal than on many European cruise lines, with a smart casual code.
AmaVida also offers casual alfresco dining with spectacular views at the front of the Lisbon Deck.
Tea and coffee are always available onboard, and fine regional wines, port wines, beers and soft drinks are in plentiful supply at lunch and dinner. Sparkling wine is even available at breakfast time! On the AmaVida’s wine-themed itineraries, passengers will enjoy specially paired wine and cuisine.
All AmaVida’s itineraries include a Sail Away Mimosa and Sun Deck BBQ, cocktail reception, welcome dinner, Captain’s gala dinner and themed dinner, putting the pleasures of food and drink firmly at the heart of the ship’s social life. Passengers on the wine-themed itinerary will have this experience enriched by the talks and tastings conducted by their special wine hosts.
The Main Lounge is a lovely place to enjoy a drink to the accompaniment of piano music in the afternoon or evening, and every evening after dinner, local entertainers are invited onboard.
The spacious Sun Deck is home to a heated swimming pool and lounge chairs from which to watch the world go by. There’s also a gift shop for souvenirs, and complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the ship.
On offshore excursions, passengers can set their own pace and enjoy the full attention of their experienced, English-speaking guide, whether they’re exploring a museum, touring a city or enjoying a wine-tasting tour. State-of-the-art headsets are included on all land excursions, and all associated costs are part of the all—inclusive price passengers pay.
Back onboard, AmaVida has a programme of lectures relating to the itinerary. This is enhanced on the wine-themed itinerary with the activities organised by the wine host.
All AmaVida’s outside staterooms and suites are luxuriously decorated in a fresh modern palette. Safe, hairdryer, phone, spacious storage, free Wi-Fi, 42” flat screen TV and air conditioning come as standard in all cabins. Luxury hotel-style bedding, terry robes, marble bathrooms and the daily replenishment of bottled water add to the feeling of upmarket comfort.
The back of the Porto Deck houses two large 323 sq. ft. suites which boast stunning views from their private balconies. The rest of this deck is devoted to 18 staterooms with an area of 215 sq. ft, also with their own private balconies with seating. The Lisbon Deck is home to 18 more of these fantastic balcony staterooms.
The lower Douro Deck is home to AmaVida’s 15 fixed window staterooms with an area of 161 sq. ft.
The Spa and Fitness room are both handily located next to the elevator on the Douro Deck.
The AmaVida sails the 11-day Enticing Douro itinerary, which starts with a three-night stay in Portugal’s capital, Lisbon, before embarking the ship for a week-long cruise down the beautiful Douro River, with its picturesque fishing villages, green vineyards and stunning gorges. Highlights include a visit to the palace and gardens of Mateus and an excursion to UNESCO World Heritage Site, Salamanca in Spain. This itinerary is also available as a wine-themed cruise. Alternatively, passengers can choose AmaVida’s 14-day Port Wine & Flamenco itinerary, which also starts with a stay in Lisbon, visits the small town and wine-lovers paradise, Pinhao, via Porto, and culminates with a three-night stay in Madrid.