This family-owned Austrian company knows how to make guests feel at home as they glide along the Rhine, Danube and other fabled waterways
Taking in storybook villages, historic castles and lush green vineyards from the deck of your floating five-star hotel….now that’s the way to see Europe.
River cruising offers a carefree experience all wrapped up in a neat little bow, delivering a laid-back, kaleidoscopic adventure that no land tour can match. New discoveries unfold every day as you drift merrily along.
Amadeus River Cruises, as a family-owned Austrian business with a 40-year history of plying the great waterways of Europe, holds special appeal for group tour organizers looking to partner with someone who knows the territory like the back of their hand.
“Operating in our own backyard, we’re a European company that wants to share our heritage, our culture, our history,” says Marcus Leskovar, executive vice president of Amadeus River Cruises. In choosing a river cruise operator, “it makes a big difference.”
Because Amadeus markets its luxury cruises around the world, the clientele aboard its ships is truly international, another factor that contributes to a mind-expanding cultural experience. This gives Americans a chance to get acquainted with people from homelands as diverse as Japan, Australia, Israel and South America, not to mention all corners of Europe. But the common language spoken on board is English, and Americans account for about 45 percent of guests.
Having such a cosmopolitan passenger make-up “mixes it up a little bit,” Leskovar says, and provides the kind of in-depth experience not possible when traveling in your own “bubble.” He points to an instance where a French couple became friendly with an American couple in the dining room and ended up inviting them to their home, a wine chateau, when the ship called in Lyon.
Since the beginning, Amadeus has owned and operated its own ships, yet another point of pride. (Many river cruise operators do not own their vessels.) As an owner, it is responsible for planning and building the ships to its exact specifications and styling.
Amadeus counts 17 vessels in its fleet, with passenger capacity ranging from 140 to 168. The company boasts one of the most modern fleets of river ships in Europe—the average age being just 2.5 years.
Each vessel features the latest technology and highest safety standards. The line, moreover, has instituted strict health and sanitation protocols relating to the coronavirus, following guidelines and requirements set forth by local authorities and trade associations such as CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association). Even before the pandemic, the river cruise industry in Europe had developed proven hygiene standards.
Itineraries span the breadth of Europe, from Amsterdam to the Black Sea. Rivers traveled include the Rhine, Danube, Moselle and Main. In the south of France, Amadeus offers trips through Burgundy and Provence along the Rhone and Saone rivers, while sailings from Paris to Normandy feature the fabled Seine. The intricate network of canals in Holland and Belgium presents another choice. Special themed cruises focus on golf or classical music, while December trips visit the Christmas markets of Germany and Austria. Most sailings are a week long.
Unlike ocean cruises, where the port of disembarkation is often far from the city center, river ships tend to tie up in the heart of town, with major attractions and shopping areas a short walk from the gangway. Fans of river cruises also relish the fact that they don’t have to keep changing hotels, being able to forgo the hassle of unpacking, packing and getting on the bus to the next destination. After settling in to their stateroom the first day, guests can relax, knowing they will be calling the ship “home” for the next week or so. It’s clearly the most comfortable way to discover new countries and cultures. And when you consider the combined cost of accommodations, meals, sightseeing and transportation, a river cruise compares favorably to a land tour.
With the worldwide pandemic expected to be largely behind us, Leskovar predicts 2022 will be a “big year” for river cruising and travel to Europe in general. He notes that a pair of once-a-decade events—Germany’s Oberammergau Passion Play and the Netherlands’ Floriade Expo—will take place next year from spring to fall. Some of the line’s cruises will feature admission to one or both of the spectacles.
Groups are important to Amadeus, which works diligently with the trade to craft the optimum trip. The line’s group rates represent significant price concessions, and tour operators earn a full cabin after 10 paid cabins. Part-charter rates start at 20 cabins. The line will hold a group’s cabin allotment until 120 days before departure. Space in public areas can be reserved for a meeting, lecture or other private event during the cruise.
As for shore tours, the key word is flexibility. The group can buy into one of the line’s standard set of optional excursions, or Amadeus can customize excursions exclusive to the group. Or the tour operator may wish to plan its own activities ashore. For individual travelers, Amadeus offers a choice of excursion packages that can be booked in advance at a discount (or purchased individually on board). The number of excursions in each plan varies between four and nine.
On all guided shore excursions, guests are given a feather-light audio device that can be worn around the neck or kept in a bag or pocket. The headphones enable you to hear every word of the guide’s commentary even if you drift to the rear of the pack. Such digital devices, moreover, are proving to be convenient in this era of social distancing.
The ships have complimentary bicycles available for those who wish to explore at their own pace. And Amadeus offers concierge service for independent types who need help making arrangements on shore, such as booking museum tickets or dinner reservations.
Life aboard an Amadeus ship combines modern elegance and luxurious comfort with top-notch service and gourmet dining. The ambience is relaxed and gracious, with beautifully appointed surroundings designed to make everyone feel right at home. Trained to the highest standards of service, the international staff and crew anticipate passenger needs before being asked; their passion for hospitality is expressed in every detail.
On a typical day of cruising, guests can drink in the dreamy landscapes from open-air spaces or the wide, panoramic windows. The expansive Sun Deck atop the ship welcomes guests with its Lido Bar, reclining lounge chairs, shade awnings and giant chess board. At the front of the ship, the glass-shielded River Terrace also provides an inviting place to watch the scenery and sip a drink.
The Panorama Bar & Lounge, the main gathering spot, hosts travel talks, shows and cooking demonstrations. Local singers and dancers, for example, may come aboard to perform. In Amsterdam, a Dutch choir presents a program of traditional seamen’s chanteys. Nightly, the Panorama Bar features Amadeus’ onboard musicians.
At the stern, the intimate Amadeus Club, accommodating 40-45 passengers, is the perfect location for reflecting on your day or sitting down with a good book. Other public areas include the massage/hair salon and state-of-the-art fitness center. There is complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the ship including your stateroom.
All staterooms in the Amadeus fleet are outside, and a large number of them have ceiling-high panoramic glass fronts with French balconies or drop-down windows offering a wide-open view. Suites on some ships have balconies with a cozy seating area. Both cabins and suites feature spacious wardrobes, some of which are walk-in. Suites measure 237- 284 square feet, while cabins range from 161.5-188 sq. ft.
Bathrooms are equipped with shower, hair dryer, cosmetic mirror and high-quality toiletries. Other in-room amenities include a safe, mini-bar, telephone and flat-screen TV with Infotainment system. Air conditioning is individually regulated.
Dining in the elegant restaurant, a real highlight of cruising with Amadeus, is a feast for the senses. Dishing up true tastes of Europe, chefs demonstrate their culinary artistry in preparing authentic dishes that reflect the cuisine of areas visited, whether it’s German sauerbraten, Austrian wiener schnitzel or Hungarian goulash. Every meal is prepared with high-quality regional ingredients, much of which are locally sourced. Menus reflect the flavors of the season and take advantage of the best available market offerings.
Each lunch and dinner present plenty of entree choices, and there’s always a vegetarian option. A special treat are the breads, rolls, pastries and desserts made fresh daily. And the chefs pull out all the stops for the Welcome Dinner, Farewell Dinner and Captain’s Gala Dinner.
In addition to multi-course lunches and dinners, the cruise fare includes early morning breakfast and breakfast buffets, plus afternoon tea and a late-night snack. A light lunch is served in the Panorama Bar. Coffee and tea are available 24 hours a day in the Amadeus Club.
Every lunch and dinner includes wine, draft beer and soda. The restaurant can easily seat all passengers in a single seating.
Known for its impeccable standards of hospitality and backed by 40 years in the business, Amadeus offers groups an unparalleled cruise experience on the rivers of Europe.
For more information on Amadeus River Cruises, call 844-462-6727, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.amadeus-rivercruises.com. The company’s U.S. office is located at 7035 Veterans Boulevard, Suite B, Burr Ridge, IL 60527.