Viking River Cruises © -vs- AmaWaterways River Cruises © | A Comprehensive Comparison sm
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Cruises vs. AmaWaterways
When it comes to taking a river cruise for the first time, we've found travelers want to talk about, and know what the experience is all about; they have a lot of questions. Are you looking to book a river cruise for the first time? Or thinking about choosing a cruise line you haven't sailed with lately? Perhaps you've narrowed down your search to two of the most popular brands: Viking River Cruises or AmaWaterways. Let's compare Viking River Cruises or AmaWaterways. That way, with more information in hand, the decision should be that much easier.
First, the sights ashore are the same, no matter what river cruise you sail on. The castles, towns and villages and their sights to see are there for everyone to see and enjoy. The riverboats themselves all look pretty much the same. Long, slender, and no taller than 3 or 4 decks. Both Viking River Cruises and AmaWaterways appeal to American passengers and they both sail the world's major rivers - such as the Danube, Rhine, Moselle, Main, Douro, Elbe, Rhone, Seine, Dordogne, Gironde and Yangtze. Both dock at many of the same ports-of-call.
River cruising through
Europe is an excellent way to explore a destination.
Discover local culture and sights on included tours, and
then hop back on your luxurious river cruise ship and
sail to the next stunning city or charming town.
Included in the fares of river cruises are shore
excursions in every port of call; all dining on board;
fine wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner;
internet access and Wi-Fi; and bicycles ( AMAWaterways )
that you can use to explore on your own or join a guided
bike tours ( both Viking and AmaWaterways ).
Beer, wine and soft drinks included with lunch and
dinner; sparkling wine with breakfast; and complimentary
cocktails during Happy Hour, introduced in 2018.
Complimentary shore excursions included in every port,
along with complimentary Special Interest Tours.
Features twin balconies, both a French and an outside
balcony, in many staterooms. In addition to the main
dining room, AmaWaterways features The Chef's Table
restaurant, with its excellent multi-course, wine-paired
dinners, at no additional charge. Light lunches and
breakfast are served in the lounge, along with full
lunches and breakfast served in the main dining room.
Nice touches like gluten-free snacks, fruits, Gemstone detox water, 24/7 coffee stations and more. Airport
transfers are included when purchasing air through
AmaWaterways. Pre-paid gratuities are offered.
Viking River Cruises : A complimentary shore excursion is included in every port; there are also additional optional shore excursions available on every itinerary. Beer, wine and soft drinks included with lunch and dinner. Specialty coffee & teas available anytime. Optional Silver Spirit beverage packages are available for extra fee & makes drinks all-inclusive. Room service, stocked mini-bars and laundry are included for Explorer Suites. Bicycles and gyms are available ashore and arranged by Viking. Airport transfers included when booking air (or receiving free air) with Europe. Some promotions offered prepaid gratuities or shipboard credits.
Find a Viking River Cruise
Popular Destinations: Europe, China, or Russia
Dates: Jan. 2019 Feb. 2019 Mar. 2019 Apr. 2019 May 2019 Jun. 2019 Jul. 2019 Aug. 2019 Sep. 2019 Oct. 2019 Nov. 2019 Dec. 2019 Jan. 2020 Feb. 2020 Mar. 2020 Apr. 2020 May 2020 Jun. 2020 Jul. 2020 Aug. 2020 Sep. 2020 Oct. 2020 Nov. 2020 Dec. 2020 Jan. 2021 Feb. 2021 Mar. 2021 Apr. 2021
All About Viking River Cruises
Viking is the largest of the two river cruise operators. Their fleet numbers 64, and is growing every year. The line features what they brand "Longships". All identical river boats designed to sail Europe's rivers. These Longships, with Scandinavian style interiors are only 2 - 3 years old, accommodating no more than 190 passengers. The award-winning Viking Longships showcase innovative engineering, streamlined Scandinavian design and understated elegance. Thoughtfully engineered to get you closer to your destination, they provide unprecedented levels of comfort, including spacious staterooms with full-size verandas, the largest suites on Europe's rivers and the most al fresco dining. Learn More About Viking River Cruises Longships.
Smaller vessels sail the Douro River in Portugal and the Elbe River in France. There are a variety of ship style and shapes that sail in Egypt, China, Vietnam, and Russia. The company currently operates a fleet of more than 60 vessels, state-of-the-art ships that have received numerous accolades since their launch from industry experts and travelers alike. Viking was recently voted the #1 River Cruise Line by Conde Nast Traveler in their 2018 Readers' Choice Awards, and for the second year in a row, has been rated the #1 Ocean Cruise Line by Travel + Leisure readers in the World's Best Awards 2018.
Sailing Europe's storied rivers, the award-winning Longships offer a variety of stateroom categories and true two-room suites with full-size verandas. Onboard amenities include a restaurant, bar and lounge, library and expansive sun deck. The Aquavit Terrace, an alfresco spot for drinking and dining on the third deck. The ships feature an elegant Scandinavian design and "green" features, such as solar panels, an onboard organic herb garden and energy-efficient hybrid engines for a remarkably smooth ride.
River cruises range from 8 to 23 days, with itineraries featuring Europe's Rhine, Main, Danube, Seine, Rhone, Douro, Moselle, Elbe, Dordogne, Garonne and Gironde Rivers; Russia's Volga, Neva and Svir; Egypt's Nile; China's Yangtze; and Southeast Asia's Mekong.. In 2019 Viking Cruises will offer combination Ocean & River Voyages. These cruises combine a Viking River Cruises' Europe river cruise ( 190-guests ) with a cruise on Viking Ocean Cruises six ship fleet of nearly identical ocean ships (930-guests ).
In May 2019, the Grand European & Viking Fjords itinerary will sail Budapest to Bergen, combining the 15-day Grand European Tour cruise on the Rhine and Danube rivers between Budapest and Amsterdam with the eight-day Viking Shores & Fjords ocean itinerary, which sails the North Sea between Amsterdam and Bergen, Norway. Viking will also offer additional departures in 2019 of the 15-day Rhine & Viking Shores & Fjords combination itinerary, which debuts in June 2018 and will sail between Basel and Bergen.
AmaWaterways offers cruises to Europe, Vietnam, and Africa. 23 ships that sail in Europe are similarly designed and can accommodate 164 passengers. Most staterooms feature signature twin balconies so you can enjoy the views however you wish, as well as Entertainment-On-Demand and marble bathrooms with multi-jet showerheads. Suites feature added enhancements, including a larger sitting area and an expansive bathroom complete with a bathtub and separate shower. You'll also find a massage and hair salon on board, as well as a fitness room, specialty coffee station and gift shop. Mealtimes are served in the Main Restaurant and at The Chef's Table.
In 2019, There will be a new river boat sailing the Danube, the AmaMagna, debuting on her maiden river cruise in May 2019. An evolution of AmaWaterways' fleet of river cruise ships, AmaMagna embodies the world-class service, 5-star dining, high-quality amenities and authentic experiences that river cruise guests hold dear, but now there's even more to enjoy. At almost twice the width of traditional European river cruise ships, AmaMagna will let passengers luxuriate within both sprawling spaces and intimate pockets that offer moments of repose. AmaMagna's expansive breadth is a welcome bonus for discerning travelers and frequent ocean cruisers who appreciate the added luxury afforded by generous personal space. In fact, most of her accommodations are ultra-spacious suites measuring 355-710 sq. ft. and featuring full balconies, so you can stretch your legs while taking in the ever-changing scenery. AmaMagna also has sizable bathrooms, many boasting double sinks and a deluxe walk-in shower, allowing you to rejuvenate without limitations. From swimming in the Sun Deck pool to relaxing in the whirlpool to exercising in the fitness center, AmaMagna offers a variety of activities to accommodate everyone's tastes.
AmaWaterways provides all-encompassing river cruise vacations on the most breathtaking waterways of Europe, Africa and Southeast Asia. World renowned for the unparalleled quality of its rapidly growing fleet, which includes 23 custom designed ships boasting impeccable itineraries, services and amenities - AmaWaterways has earned a reputation for transforming the river cruise industry, creating authentic and inspiring travel experiences. AmaWaterways offers a wide range of included excursions - at gentle, regular and active paces and was the first river cruise to include bicycles on board its European fleet. The company consistently outranks competition in the areas of accommodations, service and other onboard features in the industry recognized Berlitz: River Cruising In Europe travel guide.
Both lines sail on the Danube, Rhine, Moselle, Main, Rhone, Seine, Garonne, Elbe, Dordogne and Douro in Europe, and both offer Christmas markets cruises. Both sail the Irrawaddy River in Myanmar, and the Mekong in Vietnam and Cambodia. Viking sails on the Nile and Lake Nasser in Egypt, the Yangtze in China, and the Volga, Svir and Neva rivers along with Lake Onega and Lake Ladoga in Russia. AmaWaterways sails the Chobe River in Africa. With both lines, exotic itineraries in Asia, Russia and Africa often combine longer land tours with time on the rivers.
Viking River Cruises and AmaWaterways river ships look very similar as they sail up river, but their interior cabin design and decor are not the same. Viking River Cruises features comfortable, Scandinavian modern design and minimalist styling. Unique to the design of the Longships is an asymmetrically offset cabin corridor that allows for longer veranda staterooms on one side of the riverboat and shorter French balconies on the other. This means cabins are closer to what you would expect on a larger ocean cruise ship. As a result, staterooms are very comfortable. You'll find oversized room-length counters, welcome USB charging ports and large flat-panel TVs. The bathroom include heated floors, lots of closet space, and a small safe.
AmaWaterways cabins are quite colorful, with stark whites contrasting bright pops of pink or red patterns. Throw pillows are elaborate, and wood and marble touches are dark. Unlike Viking's Longships, in which decor is almost identical from ship to ship, AmaWaterways' cabins feature different decorations, depending on the vessel.
Cabins for both feature similar amenities, with things like mini-fridges stocked with water (replenished daily) umbrellas, robes and veranda blankets for use during your cruise, in-room Wi-Fi and interactive TVs with free on-demand programming. Both include toiletries: Ama supplies Hydro brand shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, soap and lotion, while Viking provides Freyja amenities. Bed configuration for both lines is flexible: Two twins can be combined into one king.
Cabin categories for Viking and AmaWaterways are pretty similar and vary from a standard riverview cabin with small windows all the way to suites with French and walk-out balconies. Ama's cabins in virtually every category are slightly bigger than Viking's.
Families and multigenerational groups should keep AMAWaterways in mind. Along with AmaKristina, AmaLea, AmaMora (2019) and AmaMagna (2019), each ship has 12 staterooms that can sleep up to three people and six sets of adjoining rooms that can be connected by an internal door, along with four suites with convertible sofa beds that can accommodate up to four guests. Dedicated family cruises are offered through AmaWaterways' partnership with Adventures by Disney; and will be available on the Seine, Rhine and Danube rivers.
Learn More about Adventures by Disney River Cruise
Both cruise lines offer a breakfast buffet. You can also choose to order from the menu at breakfast and lunch, dinner is served at each table ( no buffet ) at a set time each night. It's open seating, so you can sit wherever you'll like. Soda, beer and regional wines are included at meal times, and you'll find offerings from local markets, as the culinary staff shop in port to prepare dishes that reflect the areas your visiting. Viking offers a beverage package option, the Silver Spirits package, costs about $30 per person per day and allows guests to drink unlimited premium wine, spirits and beer while onboard.
On AmaWaterways you can experience dinner at The Chef's Table, that has a set menu. Amulticourse meal with unlimited wine, paired to the courses is served. Whatever your tastes, dining is always an important part of any journey, both on shore and on board. Highly trained chefs are passionate about food and committed to providing an enriching culinary experience, whether you are savoring authentic regional specialties or American classics. On a Viking River Cruise, if you prefer a more casual meal, dine on the Aquavit Terrace, a glorious outdoor seating area at the bow of the ship. Revolutionary in concept and design, the Aquavit Terrace offers the most al fresco dining on Europe's rivers. Dine and get to know new friends as you watch Europe's picturesque riverscapes unfold before you in this inviting space. Dining on both ships is informal. No need to dress up for dinner.
Viking River Cruises and AmaWaterways feature enrichment programs designed to provide more insight into the ports and destinations you visit. Here's an example of what you may experience on a Viking River Cruise. Similar activates on AmaWaterways cruises.
Guest lecturers expertly shed light on your destination's art, architecture, music, geopolitics, natural world and more. Their informative lectures help you fully engage with the culture and gain insight into the history of the places you visit, allowing for a more enriching experience as you explore.
Each Viking itinerary includes one or more Destination Performances representing the most iconic cultural performing art form of the region whether it be Portuguese fado, with its melancholy melodies and poignant lyrics; Viennese opera, a centuries-old storytelling art form; or world renowned Mariinsky Theatre performers from St. Petersburg.
Amsterdam. Budapest. Paris. Prague. St. Petersburg. Gain an overview of your next day's port of call through informative multimedia presentations covering the history and culture of your destination, as well as highlights of must see landmarks. And feel prepared for each new day of exploration with a deeper understanding of the places you will visit.
Cooking & Craft Demonstrations
Cooking demonstrations present recipes of regional treats and drinks - Austrian apple strudel, Rudesheim Coffee and more, so you can take the flavors of your destinations home with you. And the craft demonstrations reveal the time-honored traditions of local artisans, from glassblowing and lace making to silk screen printing and wooden shoemaking.
Viking believes cuisine
and wine are part of the journey, as both engage your
senses and open a window to the traditions and essence
of a place. During wine tastings, Viking introduces you
to a wide selection of regional wines.
Classical & Regional Musicians
From local ensembles to acclaimed choirs, they invite on board a wide range of talented musicians to perform well-known and lesser-known melodies. Their music will lift your spirit, soothe your soul and add to your onboard enrichment.
Both Viking River Cruises and AmaWaterways include at least one shore excursion in every port-of-call. These half-day or 3-4 hour length tours are guided by local experts who know the port's culture and history and speak English. Both lines offer an assortment of other excursions, at an additional cost. Both cruise lines use a QuietVox audio headset during excursions, so passengers can hear the guides commentary listen on earbuds. Excursions generally combine tour buses, some walking and guided exploration. Their are tours are designed for those who need a slower pace or have mobility issues. Choose an active tour, and you might find yourself walking more, climbing stairs and steep inclines, and the pace will be faster. AmaWaterways fleet offer bikes, which can be used in port as part of an excursion or for solo use. Some, but not all sailings include longer bike rides to and even between ports.
Viking takes you deeper, offering behind-the-scenes insights and opportunities. While they include the expected and iconic, such as visits to renowned museums and notable landmarks, they also go beyond, offering Local Life, Working World and optional Privileged Access experiences in places otherwise difficult to visit.
Our Final Take
Viking is the choice for couples who desire an adults-only vacation where you can immerse yourself with cultural and educational port experiences.
If your an active traveler or plan on traveling with children choose AmaWaterways. ( no children under 18 on a Viking River Cruise )
We've Left Pricing to Last
For the most part you will find AmaWaterways and Viking River Cruises comparable in price. However, both lines offer special promotions and offers such as 2 for 1 fares, shipboard credit, free or reduced airfare, or cabin upgrades. When on offer, prices and bonus extra's will vary from one line, ship and destination to the other.
The best thing to do is visit their web sites for the last offers, promotions and price reductions.
What Is a River Cruise?
Nothing Compares to a River Cruise.
River cruising is a relaxing, immersive and thoroughly enjoyable form of travel where you can enjoy ever-changing scenery along the banks of waterways such as the Danube, Rhine, Seine, Douro, Volga and Yangtze. Unpack just once on an award-winning, state-of-the-art 190-guest Longship and journey into the very heart of iconic cities and charming towns.
A river cruise can be defined as:
:: A form of leisure travel that takes guests along inland waterways.
:: Usually there are several port stops over the course of each passage.
:: Typical river cruises often last longer than a week.
:: Carry anywhere from 100 to 250 guests, depending on the ship size.
:: Are popular on many of the world's major rivers, including the Danube, Rhine, Volga and Yangtze.
Explore the world's great cities
The most cosmopolitan cities developed along the rivers, the world's first trade routes. From iconic "must-sees" like Paris, Amsterdam and Budapest to quaint villages and towns waiting to be discovered, a river provides you easy access to savor the delights of both. Cities like Berlin, Lisbon, Prague, Vienna, Moscow, Cairo and Beijing are just a few that are accessible on a river cruise. In addition to the rivers listed above, cruises along lesser-known rivers like the Mekong in Southeast Asia and the Main in Germany are options.
What to Expect on a River Cruise
ACCOMMODATIONS. River cruises are brimming with onboard amenities. Stateroom are most often river-facing, and come equipped with hotel-style beds, private bathrooms, individual climate control, refrigerators, safes and TVs. Higher stateroom categories may have French balconies, verandas, and separate sleeping and sitting quarters. Rooms range from 150 to 600 square feet. Guests receive excellent and personalized service from on board staff. Additionally, ships include restaurants, lounges and bars, as well as free Wi-Fi. Some ships even come equipped with libraries, boutiques, pools and/or sun decks.
CUISINE. Guests are given a choice of dining options, including where and what to eat. Breakfasts can either be enjoyed al fresco or at the morning buffet, while lunches and dinners can be eaten while viewing passing sights or with friends in a common eating area. Open seating is offered, allowing guests to meet new people or enjoy the presence of the same people each day. Cruises offer regional cuisine and use locally sourced ingredients to help with their authenticity. Also common are wine pairings, selected from local tastes to help guests get a closer understanding of a region's culture.
THINGS TO DO. River cruisers spend more time in the cities, towns and ports along the way. Included shore excursions consist of guided tours that help guests become well-acquainted with the culture, art and history of their destinations. In addition to guided tours, guests can roam freely around local stops or arrange optional shore excursions. There's always ample opportunity to find something to do in every port, whether it's visiting an ancient castle, attending a classical concert or enjoying a famous museum.
Who You'll Be Cruising With
While river cruises can be enjoyed by people of all ages, they generally appeal to people more advanced in age - baby boomers, in particular. Many river cruise lines allow children aboard their ships, although they may have age restrictions in place and usually there isn't much for kids to do. The makeup of a liner can include people of a wide range of nationalities, but more often than not, guests come from English-speaking countries.
Best Times to Go
Whether you choose to travel in the on-season or the off-season, you'll be able to gain a deep cultural experience in each of your destinations. In the spring and summer, you may witness local outdoor events and lively activities that only occur during the warmer months of the year. Cooler weather in the fall may mean you'll run into fewer people in the streets of cities and ports you visit, which will allow you to take your time and get a closer look at sites that interest you without feeling rushed or crowded. And in the winter season, you'll be delighted by festive Christmas markets and enchanted by the holiday traditions and celebrations of the locals.
What You Should Pack
Given that weather will be variable depending on where your river cruise takes you, bringing along both warm and light clothes is wise. Even during warm months, there is wind on the rivers, so it's best to plan for layers even if the weather is hot. Additionally, you'll likely be doing a lot of walking, so bring along comfortable shoes. Lastly, pack some dressier clothes in case you attend a formal event while visiting one of your cruise destinations.
How They Differ from Ocean Cruises
Although river cruises and ocean cruises share a number of similarities, there are also various-and considerable-differences between the two. For one, ocean liners are bigger and offer more stateroom accommodations on average. Appropriately, they're able to host significantly more guests. The smaller scale of river ships means fewer guests, but more opportunities to get to know fellow travelers, which often lead to lifelong friendships.
In contrast to ocean cruises that may include multiple sea days, you will rarely experience a full day of sailing on a river cruise. Typically, guests will awake each morning to find themselves in a new port. With river cruising, you can also enjoy an ever-changing mural of breathtaking scenery from your ship, so the journey itself becomes part of your discovery.
For those without sea legs, river cruises have the advantage of smooth trekking, shallow waters and the gift of land that's always in sight. Lastly, most river cruises offer inclusive value, meaning your Wi-Fi, water, alcohol and included excursions are covered in the price. However, ocean cruises tend to offer more upscale amenities, like fitness centers, multiple dining options and a variety of live entertainment.
Who Would Enjoy a River Cruise?
River cruises are great for everyone, especially those desiring a more relaxed and intimate form of travel. Individuals who've never stepped foot on a ship before will enjoy the relative ease of a river-bound trip with little chance of seasickness. Furthermore, with a focus on cultural exploration of locations, river cruises are perfect for those with a curiosity about art and history, or a general interest in travel. Every river is unique and each tells a different story-not only of the countries through which it flows, but also of its locks, canals, scenery and bridges.
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