The Spacious Amadeus Silver
I have just been lucky enough to enjoy 4 wonderful nights sampling a Rhine river cruise on board the Amadeus Silver and I was blown away.
The ship was built in 2013 and is the first of 3 in the Silver fleet, she is classed as 4 star and German owned but sold world wide to give a great range of nationalities on board. She has 78 standard cabins which are all the same size and being on the Mozart deck I was lucky enough to have a french balcony. This was different from my expectations, I had thought it involved doors that slide open, but on here it was a full sized window which dropped down to let the air in and allow you to pop your head out. The cabin was plenty large enough with lots of storage, we had twin beds and with double configuration you would have had more room still. With 25 degree heat the air con worked great too.
With 12 suites as well as the standard cabins the ship holds around 180 people but the feeling on board was one of space. The top deck was a full sun deck with loungers, chairs, shuffleboard and chess, my highlight was the first morning as we sailed from Koblenz to Cochem. It was beautiful weather and the scenery was breathtaking and yet there hardly seemed to be anyone about. You were able to sit and chat without being overheard or feeling you were intruding on anyone’s space. The downside of the sun deck though was the lack of a swimming or plunge pool, although these are rare in the river cruise world.
Downstairs the Amadeus Silver offered a lounge with 24 hour coffee, tea and cookies, the Panorama Lounge with a bar and dance floor at night and offering light lunch and continental breakfast, plus an outdoor terrace attached for pre-dinner drinks (and afternoon ones too.) Plus a couple of other quiet seating areas. Amadeus have a clever trick in that both the Panorama Lounge and the restaurant have more seats than the ship accommodates in terms of people. You never feel hemmed in and your personal space is immense.
The food on board was plentiful but healthy. Breakfast and lunch was a choice of waiter service or light snack, afternoon tea was served and dinner was 4 courses. There was a choice of 2 starters, 2 soups and 3 mains with a vegetarian option always on the menu. Personally I eat most things but with just 2 choices some of my group were a bit fussy, fortunately the staff were very accommodating and adjusted the meals to suit. Wine, beer and soft drinks are included with meals and I can honestly say I haven’t been anywhere with as much free flowing wine as there was on here. If ordering beer though make sure you tell them that you want the included draft beer, otherwise you may be charged!
I have fallen in love with the whole concept of river cruising. Our itinerary consisted of half a day sailing and half a day in each port which was perfect. Some ships sail mainly at night and it was so relaxing to just sit and watch the world go by, it would be a shame to not do this. The scenery was amazing, particularly the lower end of the Rhine. We sailed from Koblenz, along the Moselle to Cochem and then back along the Rhine to Amsterdam. The lower Rhine and Moselle were stunning with castles on every corner and forests or vineyards planted high on the river valley sides. Once we’d reached Cologne though the scenery changed, the river widened out and the view was much more industrial. Personally I would recommend the lower Rhine or Moselle areas when picking an itinerary. Whilst we sailed along Gabrielle kept us informed of the local points of interest and history, although only if you were seated below as the residents along the Moselle had complained about having to listen to commentary and the speakers banned from the sun deck.
At Cochem we took the ships bikes out, there were 5 on board. There are huge cycle paths along the river – safe even for a novice and it was a great way to see the area and explore and burn off the calories from the free flowing wine. The town itself was beautiful with cobbled streets and quaint shops, bars and restaurants, I had looked it up online before arriving but it oozed so much more charm than I had anticipated.
We also had a half day in Cologne – it was a Sunday morning though and a lot of things were closed, my main impression was off a city still being cleaned up after the night before. We then arrived in Amsterdam and had the night moored in port. Amsterdam is one of my favourite cities and always offers a fun time and the beauty of river cruising is that the ships dock in town or provide a free shuttle bus if slightly further out, making your own sightseeing easy and cheap.
Amadeus do not include excursions as part of their price structure but they are available to purchase. In the Netherlands we took part in a tour which was great value, taking a coach from Horn to Volendam for a guided walk then on to a cheese factory and ending up with a canal boat tour around Amsterdam. It was fully escorted and cost 54 euros per person for the 5 hour tour. It was the most expensive excursion of the trip, showing that value that is offered. Although personally and from a sales point of view, I feel they would do better to include the excursions in their package price.
I would like to thank Amadeus for inviting me on board their ship. I have become completely hooked on the whole concept of river cruising, such a relaxing way to travel and I would have no hesitation in recommending the Amadeus Silver. She was not as plush or chintz as the only other river ship I have been on, but personally I liked that she was understated and relaxed on board. If you do not want the pomp and ceremony and just want some chilled sightseeing and relaxing meals, then the Amadeus ships are the ones for you (and me.)