Amadeus River Cruises offers the best of Europe for discriminatory groups
This Austrian family business knows how to make customers feel right at home as they glide along the Rhine, Danube and other legendary waterways.
Admire story-telling villages, historic castles and verdant vineyards from the deck of your floating five-star hotel… that’s how you see Europe.
The river cruise offers a carefree experience, all wrapped up in a neat little arch, providing a laid-back, kaleidoscopic adventure that no shore excursion can match. New discoveries are unfolding every day as you joyfully drift.
Amadeus River Cruises, as an Austrian family-owned company with a 40-year history of sailing the great inland waterways of Europe, holds particular appeal for group tour operators looking to partner with someone who knows the territory like the back of his hand.
“Operating from our own backyard, we are a European company that wants to share our heritage, our culture, our history,” says Marcus Leskovar, Executive Vice President of Amadeus River Cruises. By choosing a river cruise operator, “it makes a big difference”.
Because Amadeus markets its luxury cruises worldwide, the clientele aboard its ships is truly international, another factor that contributes to an enriching cultural experience. It gives Americans a chance to get to know people from countries as diverse as Japan, Australia, Israel and South America, not to mention all over Europe. But the common language spoken on board is English, and Americans make up about 45% of the guests.
Having such cosmopolitan passenger makeup “mixes things up a bit,” Leskovar says, and provides the kind of in-depth experience that you can’t when traveling in your own “bubble”. He recalls a case where a French couple befriended an American couple in the dining room and ended up inviting them to their home, a wine chateau, when the ship called in Lyon.
From the start Amadeus has owned and operated its own ships, another pride. (Many river cruise operators do not own their ships.) As the owner, he is responsible for planning and building the ships to his exact specifications and style.
Amadeus has 17 vessels in its fleet, with a passenger capacity ranging from 140 to 168. The company has one of the most modern river vessel fleets in Europe, with an average age of only 2.5 years.
Each vessel is equipped with the latest technology and the highest safety standards. In addition, the line has strict health and sanitation protocols in place regarding the coronavirus, in accordance with 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.
The routes cover all of Europe, from Amsterdam to the Black Sea. The rivers traveled include the Rhine, Danube, Moselle and Main. In the south of France, Amadeus offers trips through Burgundy and Provence along the Rhône and Saône rivers, while the Paris to Normandy crossings offer the legendary Seine. The complex network of canals in Holland and Belgium presents another choice. Special themed cruises focus on golf or classical music, while December trips visit Christmas markets in Germany and Austria. Most crossings last a week.
Unlike ocean cruises, where the port of disembarkation is often far from the city center, riverboats tend to dock in the heart of the city, with major attractions and shopping areas a short walk from the catwalk. Fans of river cruises also appreciate the fact that they don’t have to constantly change hotels, being able to forgo the hassle of unpacking, packing and boarding the bus to the next destination. After settling into their cabin on the first day, guests can relax, knowing that they will call the ship “home” for the next week. It is clearly the most comfortable way to discover new countries and new cultures. And when you consider the combined cost of accommodation, meals, sightseeing, and transportation, a river cruise compares favorably to a land tour.
With the global pandemic set to be largely behind us, Leskovar predicts that 2022 will be a “big year” for river cruises and travel to Europe in general. He notes that a pair of once-a-decade events – the Oberammergau Passion Play in Germany and the Floriade Exhibition in the Netherlands – will take place next year from spring to fall. Some cruises on the line will include admission to one or both shows.
Groups are important to Amadeus, who are working diligently with the trade to design the optimal trip. The line’s group fares represent significant price concessions, and tour operators earn a full cabin after 10 paid cabins. Partial rental rates start at 20 cabins. The line will retain a group cabin allocation up to 120 days prior to departure. Space in public areas can be reserved for a meeting, conference or any other private event during the cruise.
As for shore tours, flexibility is the key word. The group can purchase one of the line’s standard optional excursions, or Amadeus can customize group-exclusive excursions. Or the tour operator may wish to plan their own ashore activities. For individual travelers, Amadeus offers a choice of excursion packages which can be pre-booked at a reduced price (or purchased individually on board). The number of excursions in each plan varies between four and nine.
On all guided shore excursions, guests are provided with an ultralight audio device that can be worn around the neck or stowed in a bag or pocket. Headsets allow you to hear every word of the guide’s commentary even as you drift to the back of the bag. Such digital devices are also proving practical in this era of social distancing.
The ships have free bikes available for those who wish to explore at their own pace. And Amadeus offers a concierge service for independent people who need help making arrangements ashore, such as booking museum tickets or dinners.
Life aboard an Amadeus ship combines modern elegance and luxurious comfort with top-notch service and gourmet cuisine. The vibe is relaxed and gracious, with a beautifully appointed setting designed to make everyone feel right at home. Trained to the highest service standards, international staff and crew anticipate passenger needs before they are called upon; their passion for hospitality is expressed in the smallest details.
On a typical day cruising, guests can soak up the dreamy landscapes from the open-air spaces or the wide panoramic windows. The expansive Sun Deck atop the ship greets guests with its Lido bar, reclining lounge chairs, awnings, and giant chessboard. At the front of the ship, the glass-covered River Terrace also provides an inviting place to gaze at the scenery and sip a drink.
The Panorama Bar & Lounge, the main gathering place, hosts travel conferences, shows and cooking demonstrations. Local singers and dancers, for example, can come aboard to perform. In Amsterdam, a Dutch choir presents a program of traditional sailors’ chanteys. Every evening, the Panorama Bar welcomes musicians aboard Amadeus.
Aft, the intimate Amadeus Club, which seats 40 to 45 passengers, is the perfect place to reflect on your day or sit down with a good book. Other public areas include the massage / hair salon and state-of-the-art fitness center. There is free Wi-Fi throughout the ship, including your cabin.
All of the cabins in the Amadeus fleet are exterior, and many have panoramic glass facades up to the ceiling with French balconies or drop-down windows offering unobstructed views. The suites on some ships have a balcony with a comfortable sitting area. The cabins and suites have large wardrobes, some of which are on one level. Suites measure 237 to 284 square feet, while cabins range from 161.5 to 188 square feet.
The bathrooms are fitted with a shower, hairdryer, makeup mirror and high quality toiletries. Other room amenities include a safe, minibar, telephone and flat-screen TV with infotainment system. The air conditioning is individually regulated.
Dining in the elegant restaurant, a real highlight of the cruise with Amadeus, is a feast for the senses. Tasting the true tastes of Europe, the chefs demonstrate their culinary art by preparing authentic dishes that reflect the cuisine of the regions visited, whether it’s German sauerbraten, Austrian wiener schnitzel or Hungarian goulash. Each meal is prepared with high quality regional ingredients, most of which are locally sourced. The menus reflect the flavors of the season and take advantage of the best offers available on the market.
Each lunch and dinner presents many choices of starters, and there is always a vegetarian option. A treat are the fresh breads, rolls, pastries and desserts of the day. And the chefs go all out for the Captain’s Welcome Dinner, Farewell Dinner and Gala Dinner.
In addition to multi-course lunches and dinners, the cruise fare includes breakfast and early-morning breakfast buffets, as well as afternoon tea and a late-night snack. A light lunch is served at the Panorama Bar. Coffee and tea are available 24 hours a day at Club Amadeus.
Each lunch and dinner includes wine, draft beer and soda. The restaurant can easily accommodate all passengers in one seat.
Known for its impeccable standards of hospitality and backed by 40 years of business, Amadeus offers groups an unparalleled cruising experience on the rivers of Europe.
For more information on Amadeus River Cruises, call 844-462-6727, email [email protected] or visit www.amadeus-rivercruises.com. The company’s US office is located at 7035 Veterans Boulevard, Suite B, Burr Ridge, IL 60527.