Let’s talk about the ultimate mother-daughter getaway – a cruise! Specifically, a river cruise on AmaWaterway’s luxurious AmaViola that sails through the rivers of Europe. This cruise experience is perfect for women over 40, especially those looking for a unique and unforgettable bonding experience with their daughters. Imagine sailing past breathtaking landscapes, exploring enchanting cities, and enjoying delicious cuisine, all while spending quality time with your favorite travel companion. So pack your bags, grab your daughter, and let’s set sail on the AmaViola!
AmaViola Ship Overview
Let’s start with the most important part – the ship! AmaViola is one of AmaWaterways’ newer ships, boasting modern and spacious staterooms with good views of the stunning surroundings. The ship has a maximum passenger capacity of 156, guaranteeing an intimate and personalized experience. Our sailing had less than 80 people on board, so we knew almost everyone by the time the week was done.
The decor is elegant, featuring a mix of modern and classic design elements that will make you feel right at home. The lounges and bars on the ship are all comfortably furnished, perfect for relaxing after a day of sightseeing.
They offer just a few room choices. We stayed in one of the regular rooms with two twin beds and a balcony. It was the perfect size for us. If you prefer just one bed, it’s the same exact room, and they just push the beds together. The bathroom had a hair dryer that worked great. It also has shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. The bottles are large, so there is plenty of product for the entire trip.
There is also a suite and a junior suite on the AmaViola. The suite can sleep four people, and the junior suite can sleep three. The AmaWaterways ships that they use just for Disney have lots of rooms like these to make it easier for families. If you want to travel with younger children, I recommend looking into the Disney AmaWaterways cruises. If your kids are older like mine, it won’t matter which ship you choose to sail on.
The benefits of the largest suite include a stocked minifridge, snacks for the room, and a coffee service that will bring the coffee you want to your room in the morning.
The ship is incredibly stable and neither of us experienced any motion sickness at all. It’s nothing like being on one of the big cruise ships. Even going through the locks (there were 25) the ship barely moved. The locks are a sight to behold. They do an educational lecture about how they work that you won’t want to miss. They also did a cooking demo on one of the days which was quite interesting.
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AmaViola Food and Dining
Now let’s talk about the food, which is borderline all-inclusive. The culinary experience on AmaViola is in a league of its own. The menu offers a variety of delicious dishes inspired by the local cuisine of the regions you’ll be sailing through. Whether you’re looking for a fine dining experience or a casual meal, the ship has you covered. And, of course, the wine is included at lunch and dinner. On our cruise, the wine at night tended to be something local. Cheers to that!
Food tips: If your chef is from Asia and they are offering curry, pho, or some other dish from Asia, then get it! If your chef is from some other region, figure out what that region is known for, and then watch for it to show up on the menu. While all our meals were fantastic, we had some of the best curries we’ve ever had on board the ship!
Happy Hour tips: They offer one hour a day called the ‘Sip and Sail” hour. During this hour you get lots of complimentary drinks. Here’s a look at the Sip and Sail menu.
Tea Time: If you are hungry in the afternoon they do tea time with finger sandwiches, cookies, other treats and of course tea.
Chef’s Table: You have to sign up for the Chef’s table when you get on board. It’s a special multi-course meal in a different part of the ship. It’s the same every night, so it doesn’t matter which night you attend.
Attire Tip: I’ve had several people reach out online about what to wear to dinner. At the top of the post, you can see what Eden and I wore to the farewell night. I thought this farewell event would be dressier. It wasn’t. We were by far the most dressed-up people that night, but hey we looked great! We also dressed up a bit the first night because we were having dinner with the captain. We were also the most dressed up for this. I found the attire to be casual, so in general, you can dress however you like. Nobody will say a thing!
AmaViola Legendary Danube Itinerary and Excursions
The best part of this mother-daughter adventure is the itinerary, which for us was all new cities. AmaWaterways ships sail through some of the most beautiful rivers in Europe and Asia, stopping at charming towns and cities along the way. You can expect guided tours of historic sites and museums, as well as opportunities for shopping, street food exploration and local entertainment. Some must-visit destinations on this itinerary include Nuremberg, Passau, Vienna, and Budapest.
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One of the top reasons to cruise with AmaWaterways is the included excursions. Each stop offered one to three excursion choices. Typically one was a walking tour, one was a biking tour, and the third offering was a food tour or hiking experience.
In Nuremberg, we went on the WWII walking tour, and it was so good. I highly recommend going on this tour. It’s sad, but the fascinating history makes it worth it. Luckily, it ends on a happy note with some free time in the old town.
We did the active walking tour. It was decent, but if we had a do-over, then we would have done the biking tour instead. After the tour, we were also able to try an amazing and very popular sausage shop while it was still early in the day, so the usual large line had not formed yet. The tour will lead you to this delicious shop.
If you can handle a 14-mile bike ride with several hills, absolutely choose this activity when you get there. This is what we did, and I cannot say enough good things about it. We biked through the town, saw the baroque cathedral, then biked out into the forest where we crossed the river into beautiful Austria. The scenery was incredible.
At this stop, we went by bus out to the tiny town of Durnstein about 30 minutes away. The drive is beautiful, and you learn a lot about the wine growing in the Wachow Valley. However, you will see most of it from the ship when you sail down that part of the river. (This will be during lunch, so I recommend skipping lunch and staying up to see it all. Then grab lunch in the lounge.)
Once there, we had a walking tour that lasted way too long considering how small the town is. I recommend taking the little train instead of doing the walking tour if you go here.
Honestly, we recommend opting for the Melk Benedictine Abbey tour instead of Durnstein. Based on what we heard from others, this was a better tour, and the Abbey is gorgeous. The bike tour at this stop is basically an exercise route.
Here we recommend taking the biking tour. I think you will have a better opportunity to see more things and not from a bus window. We did the walking tour, which was fine. Slightly too long, but then we had lots of free time in the amazing city. While the tour was average, we did have a day and a half in Vienna because it was the main stop on the cruise. Vienna was our favorite city on the cruise so far and is definitely worth exploring and grabbing some traditional food.
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Here there was no biking tour offered, just two types of bus/walking tours. Make sure to do the earlier one, otherwise you will miss out on the Grand Market.
One of the most unique and exciting features of the AmaViola cruise experience is the onboard fitness and wellness activities. There’s something for everyone, from yoga classes to cardio workouts and stretching sessions because they have an actual fitness trainer dedicated to this on board. Hopefully, you have Wellness Host Roman on your ship, he’s the best.
Spa and Hair Salon
The ship also has a spa room, where you can relax and unwind with a massage. There was even a hair salon where you could have your hair done too.
Up on the top deck they have giant chess, a swimming pool, a walking track and corn hole. Eden and I played many rounds of corn holes during our cruise. Bring a deck of cards with you so you can play cards up here at the table.
Unfortunately, the weather was never warm enough for us to be able to take advantage of the heated pool, which was a boomer. The first full day of sailing the river had many canal locks to get through and many bridges the ship had to clear. Therefore, the first day the pool and the entire sundeck were closed. That’s on the route going from Nuremberg to Budapest. The opposite route will probably have it in reverse, so the last day.
There wasn’t entertainment every night but almost every night. We enjoyed traditional Hungarian dancing and music, live music, disco parties and more.
Doctor at Every Port.
I cannot conclude this article without mentioning the ‘doctor situation’ in the unfortunate scenario where you get sick. Unfortunately, Eden got an ear infection during our trip. I told the staff around 4/5 pm that she needed to see someone. They hustled and had a doctor on the ship in less than two hours. The next day was a national holiday, so everything would be closed. So they sent out a staff member to immediately get her medicine that night. They were unsure if the pharmacies would be open the next day and left nothing up to chance. I was blown away at how they got this done for us. The doctor charged us $350, but the ship charged us nothing to run out and get her medicine!
Sailing on the AmaViola is not just a cruise, it’s an unforgettable experience that you and your daughter will treasure forever. The ship’s luxurious amenities, world-class cuisine, and outstanding itinerary guarantee a journey full of exploration, precious moments and memories. So don’t hesitate – book your mother-daughter adventure today and get ready for the voyage of a lifetime!