I joined AmaWaterways on the AmaMagna sailing from Bucharest to Budapest in April. AmaMagna is a newer ship and is larger than most river cruise vessels---it holds a maximum of 196 guests. The staterooms are larger and most have full balconies which is something not available on all ships. I admire Sammantha Brown, the travel journalist, and she is the godmother of this ship. Not exactly a reason to choose a river cruise, but I found it a nice coincidence :)
I chose this sailing for the itinerary. I had wanted to sail through the Iron Gates since I saw photos of the area probably 20 years ago. I also liked that the ports of call were smaller and places I had not visited before (although I had been to both Bucharest and Budapest before this sailing). This sailing we stopped in Rousse (Bulgaria), Vidin (Bulgaria), Golubac (Serbia), Belgrade (Serbia), Novi Sad (Serbia), Ilok (Croatia) and Mohács (Hungary).
As you can see, the AmaMagna is a beautiful ship with many amenities. AmaWaterways includes all of your dining in the price of the cruise and wine, beer and soft drinks are included with lunch and dinner. There is a self serve coffee and tea area available 24/7 and bottled water (in glass) in replenished each day in your stateroom. One shore excursion per port is also included in the price of the cruise. The guides I had in each port were phenomenal! For me, the guides were one of the highlights. They were all local and had many personal experiences to share.
I enjoyed each port and I tried different styles of excursions---I did a cooking class in Vidin (we made banitsa in a local home), a bike tour in Novi Sad, wine tasting in Bulgaria and a "hiking" excursion in Belgrade (hiking mostly just meant walking up a lot of stairs to the fort instead of taking the bus). The wellness staff on board also offered activities after the main ones ended---like a run through a city or walking on the sun deck after dinner while we sailed to the next port. There were plenty of options to keep busy if you wanted to be doing something all day....as well as half day tours in many ports in case you wanted some downtime on your own or simply relaxing on board.
Even when you are not in port, there is often beautiful scenery to admire as the ship sails. I enjoyed sitting out on the balcony with a cup of tea watching the world go by. This itinerary had more daytime sailing than some other river sailings which I liked---I like to be able to see the scenery as we sail.
Please message me if you are interested in a river cruise. The itinerary options grow each year and there are sailings to meet your needs. There are river sailings in Africa, Asia, Egypt, Europe, India and in the U.S and many sailings have a theme---from beer or wine cruises to wildlife viewing and plenty of topics in between.
Tracey is the owner of Unraveled Travel and has traveled to every continent (thanks to the recent visit to Antarctica!