Today was the day we were starting our river cruise with AmaWaterways! After saying goodbye to beautiful Lucerne we made our way to the train station and took the train through the countryside to Basel, Switzerland. Navigating the train station was very easy and we found a taxi immediately out front that took us to the embarkation dock for AmaWaterways at St. Johanns-Park.
To say the embarkation process was easy is an understatement… we literally dropped off our luggage under an AmaWaterways tent, walked 20 metres to the AmaStella, were greeted by the captain and crew, gave them our passports and we were on board! Because we were there around 12pm the staterooms were not yet available to us so we met up with our colleagues and then left the ship to explore Basel!
With only a few hours before we needed to be back on board to meet our group, we strolled down the riverbank of the Rhine and walked up to the Münster which is a striking group of Roman/Gothic buildings. The Basel Minster is one of the most recognized landmarks and tourist attractions here in Basel. The day was sunny and beautiful so it was wonderful just strolling around this area and checking out the restaurants and shops that line the downtown.After making our way through the town and stopping to pick up some wine we walked back on board AmaStella and checked into our room!
On board AmaStella
The AmaStella was introduced in 2016 and feels new, fresh and very luxurious. From the beautiful entrance and reception area to the dining room and lounges you feel like you are in a 5 star hotel but without any of the stuffiness or protocol. Without a doubt this is because the staff make you feel incredibly welcome and comfortable from the minute you arrive – whether it’s just enquiring about your day, what they can do for you or showing you how to operate the sliding doors on board!
At 443 feet in length and 38 feet width the AmaStella has 78 staterooms and 4 suites with a capacity of 158 passengers and you feel the intimacy of this ship almost immediately. The 51 crew members make a sincere effort to know who you are, where you are from and will remember you throughout your journey.
Most of the accommodations on board the AmaStella have twin balconies, both a French and outside balcony, which lets you sit outside or just open up your room to the beautiful scenery you will pass by. The state of the art TV- which is really a huge apple computer – features Entertainment-On-Demand, free high-speed Internet access, Wi-Fi, movies, music and regular TV. The bathroom features beautiful marble and is an engineering feat unto itself – fitting in a spacious shower in a very small space!In the early afternoon we enjoyed a reception with the captain and crew welcoming us on board and introducing us to their team. The cruise director Marcia was funny, warm and happy to help out in anyway.
By 7pm we were famished and were eager to sit down for dinner – we knew we were in for a special meal. AmaWaterways is a member of La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs – a prestigious international culinary society. On board their expert chefs feature amazing locally-inspired cuisine at every meal, from breakfast to dinner! They are the only river cruise line that has The Chef’s Table (an intimate specialty restaurant where you are treated to dinner while you watch the chef prepare the meal right in front of you).
Although AmaWaterways does not offer an “unlimited” drink package, they do offer unlimited wine and beer with lunch and dinner as well as sparkling wine for breakfast . Even better, AmaWaterways now features a Sip and Sail event every evening, one hour before dinner. It’s a great time to have a drink (or more) while socializing with your friends and guests each night. The best part? AmaWaterways covers the cost of the drinks during this time as well!
So after a beautiful day in Basel and suitably stuffed with delicious food and wine, we were ready to retire to our staterooms to get ready for our first port of call, Breisach, Germany!