AmaKristina is a beautifully designed ship, modern in a fresh and understated way, and accommodates just 156 lucky guests. Each cabin is similar in its décor; it's the space and the balconies that make the difference. I was fortunate enough to stay in a category AB room with both a French balcony and a double balcony. Which I imagine would be lovely during summer - not so much in the middle of March!
The rooms are designed to let in as much light as possible, and even the bathroom has a window which can be frosted with the flip of a switch. Another great idea, particularly for family or friends travelling together, is the availability of adjoining rooms; a rarity on river ships. Having only been on an ocean cruise, I was pleasantly surprised by the size of the room - I assumed it would be rather small, but again I was proven wrong.
My cruise was a short insight into river cruising before the season truly began. I joined the ship in Amsterdam and spent time exploring the city before embarking the ship in time for the evening departure to Lelystad. On the first night there was a drinks reception in the main lounge and bar before dinner where we not only met our Captain, but also our Cruise Director who introduced us to the staff on board and outlined the plans for the next day.
When we arrived in Lelystad, we were impressed by the seamless way in which AmaWaterways run their excursions. This is helped by the fact that each stateroom has its own listening device which you bring along with you and is automatically colour coded to each excursion, thus ensuring you don't miss the trips you are most interested in. I went to a cigar factory and did a walking tour of the city, but the staff really paid attention to us as they realised we were cold and arranged for coffee and tea at the factory. Once we were back on board, we were met with warm welcomes from the crew and a warm ship.
On our last evening we enjoyed another drinks reception before dinner whilst we set sail for Amsterdam, and had the opportunity to thank all of the staff who had made our experience so wonderful. Apart from the service on board, AmaWaterways' other real strength is their food. In the main dining room there is a set menu which changes each night, and never failed to impress. On the first night we were given the opportunity to sample dishes from their Chaine des Rotisseurs menu; membership of this culinary society is invitation only, recognising world class culinary acumen. Don't be fooled by the small portions; there are plenty of courses, and they all need to be tried as they are all delicious!
There's a very good reason why AmaWaterways have some of the highest rated river ships in Europe: their ships effortlessly combine service, quality and stylish design, and certainly dispelled all of my concerns about river cruising.