Top FAQs for First-Time River Cruisers


Find out everything from what’s included to how to dress on board our river cruises.

Planning to cruise with AmaWaterways for the first time but not sure what to expect? We have curated a list of questions submitted by first-time river cruisers to give you a better picture of the unparalleled experiences you will have while traveling with us.

What makes AmaWaterways different from other river cruise lines?

One point that sets us apart is our European heritage. Our Co-Founder, Rudi Schreiner, grew up in Europe along the Danube River. Each of our itineraries is thoughtfully curated with his guidance. His expertise and relationships forged throughout the years have enabled us to offer exclusive experiences just for AmaWaterways guests, such as our year-round Oktoberfest celebration in Vilshofen, Germany, as well as our private tour of Lahneck Castle on the Rhine River. We warmly welcome multi-generational families on board and accommodate our guests with their choice from up to eight enriching guided excursions each day, as well as three unique activity levels on our walking tours – all of which is included in our river cruise fare. For more points of distinction, click here.

Which meals and beverages are included in my river cruise fare?

Every breakfast, lunch and dinner during your river cruise will be included on board. This includes dinner at The Chef’s Table specialty restaurant, all-day tapas, afternoon tea delights and more. Every lunch and dinner includes unlimited complimentary fine wines, beer and soft drinks. And each day you will be treated to a complimentary Sip & Sail cocktail hour with wine, beer, spirits and soft drinks. Select itineraries, such as our Secrets of Egypt & the Nile, Enticing Douro and Flavors of Portugal & Spain sailings, also include a select number of meals on shore. Guests reserving our optional land packages will also find daily breakfast at their hotel included in the price of their package.

How do I make reservations for The Chef’s Table restaurant?

Every guest will have the opportunity to enjoy a complimentary multi-course dining experience one evening at The Chef’s Table specialty restaurant. Reservations are made on board at the Reception Desk. You may inquire about available times once you embark. Please note: The Chef’s Table is not available in Portugal.

I have food allergies/dietary restrictions. Will AmaWaterways be able to accommodate me?

AmaWaterways happily provides delicious alternative meals, desserts and snacks for guests with food allergies, or who require low-sodium, gluten-free, vegetarian or vegan diets. Please let us know of any dietary accommodations you require at the time of reservation. For severe allergies, we also recommend meeting with a member of our Culinary Team once you embark. Although we do not have a kosher kitchen on board, we are able to provide “kosher-friendly” meals.

I have somewhat limited mobility and occasionally walk with a cane. Will I be able to participate in AmaWaterways’ excursions?

On AmaWaterways’ European ships, there are a limited number of canes with small sport seats as well as Nordic walking sticks to assist our guests who need extra support during excursions. We also offer “gentle walkers” tours which typically move at a comfortable pace and make more frequent stops. Due to uneven terrain, a lack of handicap amenities, and a fair amount of stairs, our Portugal itineraries are not recommended for guests with limited mobility. In addition, our Mekong River itineraries sometimes require embarkation or disembarkation via a narrow gangway or local tender boat, or occasionally require crossing a dirt or grass-covered surface to reach the ship. Please inquire with your travel advisor or our Reservations Team to ensure which itineraries and destinations are the best suited for your needs.

If I get seasick on boats or on ocean cruise ships, will I get seasick on the rivers?

Absolutely not! The rivers we sail are calm bodies of water and our ships experience no waves or rocking motions – the primary cause for seasickness. Our ships also move along at a gentle pace and you can always see land on both sides of the river, removing any additional anxiety for those who may feel stranded out on the open water.

What kind of equipment is available inside your fitness rooms?

While our fitness rooms vary from ship to ship, they will typically include a treadmill, elliptical machine or spin bike, as well as an assortment of free weights. During our complimentary onboard wellness activities, yoga mats and other equipment such as resistance bands will be available and will be thoroughly cleaned after each use. Most of our ships in Europe include a fleet of complimentary bikes for you to use on our guided bike tours or for your individual exploration ashore. Exclusively available on board AmaMagna, the Zen Wellness Studio also includes outdoor spin bikes, two massage rooms, a hair and nail salon and a juice bar as well as a fully equipped full-sized pickleball court on the Sun Deck. Our ships in Europe and on the Mekong River also offer a complimentary Wellness Program with host-led activities in the Main Lounge, shoreside or up on the Sun Deck – weather permitting.

What if I want to explore a port on my own – are we required to stay with the group on AmaWaterways’ excursions?

While we offer a wide variety of included excursions to suit your individual interests and encourage you to join us, you are of course welcome to explore on your own. We will be happy to provide you with a map of each port at our reception desk, and you will find the city’s highlights marked. Your Cruise Manager can also help recommend restaurants, shops, museums, bars and more. In addition, you may choose to reserve a complimentary bicycle to pedal further along the river or into any port city. Just be sure to check your Daily Cruiser onboard newsletter to ensure you are back on board the ship before it departs for the next port. On very select rivers and itineraries, the Personal Audio Device we use for shore excursions can also be used for your individual exploration, as pre-recorded commentary may play, based on your current GPS location. Your Cruise Manager will explain more when applicable.

What should I bring to wear for my river cruise? Do I need formal attire?

Plan to pack attire that is casually elegant; and something a little dressier to wear to the Captain’s Dinner or an evening concert. Bring comfortable walking shoes for shore excursions and one pair of dressier shoes. You may be traveling through different climates and altitudes, so layering is advisable. For more helpful information by destination, click here.

Can I bring my curling iron or hair straightener on board?

For safety reasons, the use of your personal curling iron or hair straightener is restricted on board the ship. A limited number of curling irons / hair straighteners are available for you to borrow at reception. However, you may leave your hair dryer at home as there is one in every stateroom.

How are gratuities handled – and what is the suggested amount?

Although we leave gratuities to your discretion, many guests have asked for general tipping guidelines. Gratuities may be charged on a credit card or given in cash. For a 7-night cruise in Europe, the below is recommended:

Ship’s Crew: The entire amount will be divided equally amongst all crew members. Recommendation: 100 Euros per cruise, per guest. (AmaMagna: 120 Euros per cruise, per guest)

Cruise Manager: Your Cruise Manager is not part of the ship’s crew and is the AmaWaterways representative who also accompanies you on any pre- and/or post-cruise land packages you may have reserved. Recommendation: 25 Euros per cruise, per guest; 4 Euros for each additional day, per guest for pre- and post-cruise land packages.

For tipping guidelines in other destinations, click here.

Still have questions? Visit our FAQs page, learn more about river cruising with AmaWaterways, contact S.T.S at 469-846-8004. We hope to see you on board soon