An Introduction to: APT River Cruises
March 26, 2015
APT stands for Australian Pacific Touring so, you guessed it, they’re an Australian river cruising line! They originally began in Melbourne in the 1920s, all because of a bus strike… Local man Bill McGeary put a bus onto the back of a truck during the strike to shuttle people around. One bus became two and then the family then started doing bus tours instead of travel routes – and eventually the empire developed into what it is today!
Did you know? The APT Royal Collection ships were the first to be voted “Best European River Cruise Fleet” by the prestigious Berlitz guide.
APT are still a family run brand to this day and are now owned by the third generation of the same Australian family. This means that they’ve been involved in the travel industry for 85 years and their knowledge and experience allows them to give their passengers a holiday that they will never forget.
Is there a “typical” APT cruiser?
APT attract both Brit and Aussie cruisers, which creates a fun culture clash. Tastes may differ as to whether good food is a shrimp on the barbie or fine dining – but APT keep everyone happy!
If you like culture, history, food, wine and want to try something new then APT are the river cruise line for you. They are ideal for those who may have taken cruises before and want to experience river for the first time but they also suit those who want to experience cruising for the first time – in style!
If you’re the type of person that loves city breaks then APT is perfect as they allow you to travel to so many cities in as many days and experience the culture like a local.
APT are all about their customers and pride themselves on their 99% customer satisfaction rate in Europe. With small ships carrying a maximum of 162 people you won’t face overcrowding or cramped conditions. If a relaxed atmosphere with luxurious touches appeals to you, then choose APT.
Meet the Fleet
APT don’t actually have their own fleet of ships; instead they partner with AmaWaterways and charter the ships for different sailings (and obviously offering a completely different experience to Ama). Just to make things more confusing though (we’re trying to simplify this – honest) APT offer four types of holiday; The Royal Collection, Voyages, APT Luxury and Travelmarvel.
Below is our handy guide to which type of holiday runs on which ship – as some ships run more than one!
The main difference between the most popular options (The Royal Collection and Travelmarvel) is that The Royal Collection is the more luxurious of the two. For example, Royal Collection gives you a chauffeur driven transfer between your house and the airport and unlimited drinks as part of the all-inclusive package. Travelmarvel don’t have these extras but offers you more flexibility for excursions and is for those who are more interested in the cities they are visiting.
APT Luxury is the same as The Royal Collection – except that the cruises run outside of Europe (for example in India, China or Cambodia.)
Just to confuse things even further – there are also two main types of ship that APT operate, called the Aria and Concerto. The Aria vessels are more of a boutique size of ship, with 148 maximum passengers. Aria ships include: MS AmaCello, MS AmaDagio, MS AmaDante, MS AmaDolce, MS AmaLegro and MS AmaLyra.
Concerto vessels are the newest and are the only river cruise ships to feature a double balcony – as guests have both French window doors and a balcony to sit on. Concerto ships can hold 162 passengers and include: MS AmaBella, MS AmaCerto, Ms Ama Prima, MS AmaReina, MS AmaSonata, MS AmaSerena, MS AmaVerde and MS AmaVista.
So many different holiday types and ships might seem a little confusing at first… But what it means is that you have a wealth of holiday options available to you! With APT, you can make sure you cruise ship and itinerary really suit your needs, to give you the perfect holiday.
Did you know? APT cruise and tour already operate in ten global destinations and they are launching a new ship in Burma in 2016!
Dining on APT is some of the best in the river cruising world, as they have been recognised by La Chaine Des Rotisseurs – which is one of the world’s most prestigious culinary organisations… (Yeah – we haven’t heard of them either! But seeing as they’re French we’re guessing they know their food!)
APT will typically try to match the cuisine to your location. So if you are in Hungary, expect to try an exquisite goulash (with lots of Paprika..) or if you are visiting Germany – you might try wiener schnitzel soup! This allows you to experience the local culture, whilst you are still on-board the cruise.
Breakfast and lunch will be buffet food – but we’re not talking about bad buffet at a wedding here. There won’t be any cheese and pineapple on sticks! Expect Monte Cristo sandwiches (ham and cheese sandwiches that are dipped in egg batter and fried) gouda quiche or duck breast with asparagus mouse. Every day there is also a light lunch available with sandwiches, salads and pasta served up in the main lounge.
There will be a set dining time in the evening. With Royal Collection, all drinks (including most spirits) are included and with Travelmarvel you will be served select wines and beers with your evening meals.
On the Royal Collection, dining options are even more spectacular, as there are up to seven unique dining experiences on-board. These include Erlebnis Chef’s Table – an intimate dining venue seating up to twenty people, where you can watch your chef cook your meal on the other side of the room whilst looking out the floor to ceiling windows over the back of the ship. The River Bistro offers casual dining in a café style setting, Bella Cucina offers Italian Style cuisine and Verde Fine Dining Restaurant is the ships main eatery and has flexible seating options (perfect if you’ve made friends or else want to dine alone!)
For the veggies amongst you, you’ll be well catered for. Just let APT know when you book!
Did you know? When the weather’s nice, you could dine outdoors on the sun deck and enjoy an alfresco lunch! If you’re feeling lazy you could even just order some room service food!
Entertainment on river cruises is generally much more low-key than that of ocean cruises. This is because entertainment on most river cruises is your excursions! With no long queues to disembark the ship, and the ability to get right into the heart of the city by boat, river cruise excursions offer a lot more freedom.
You know we confused you with the ship types? Now we’ll do the same with excursions!
The Royal Collection gives you up to three types of excursion – “Freedom of Choice,” “Signature Experiences” and “Royal Invitation.” Freedom of choice does exactly what it says on the tin – by giving you the freedom to choose between different excursion options. Choose from up to three choices of sightseeing experiences, depending on what you’ve seen before, how energetic you’re feeling, what you’re interested in… and how much you had to eat and drink last night!
“Signature experiences” allow guests to absorb the local culture and immerse themselves in history. They give guests an added extra insight to the places they visit, for example whilst in Budapest you could receive a private guided tour of the Hungarian State Opera House and then enjoy a private opera recital over a glass of champagne. It’s these added extras that make your holiday memorable for the right reasons.
“Royal Invitation” is APT’s range of exclusive excursions that no other river cruise tour operator will travel to. The VIP experience gives you the chance to get private access to exclusive events and areas. For example, on a trip to Vienna, you could be welcomed at an exclusive cocktail reception at the City Palace, listening to a private concert performing orchestral masterpieces.
It’s a hard life having to endure exquisite all day sight-seeing, an evening 6 course meal and plenty of free flowing wine… So we wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t stay awake for the entertainment!
That being said – entertainment is still available on-board your vessel! APT invite local entertainers such as singers, dancers and performers to entertain guests. There will always be live music, whether this is piano, string quartet or jazz (and some cruises are even jazz themed!) On occasions you might get local folk music players or even a performance from La Strada.
There are also insightful experiences where you have the chance to get involved in classes such as glass-blowing demonstrations, silk making demonstrations or watching a Bavarian Brass Band recreate the atmosphere of a German Beer Haus. Finally, you can enjoy intriguing presentations from your cruise director or perhaps a European historian.
You might have previous misconceptions about a river cruising being boring – but that certainly isn’t the case!
Did you know? On the Mekong cruise you can learn how to make Vietnamese spring rolls – get your chef hat ready!
Cabins will come equipped with air-con, a hair dryer, safe, Wi-Fi, a telephone and a boutique shop. You will also receive a daily newsletter which will contain information on available activities, shore excursions and tour departure times.
Selected suites will also have champagne waiting for you upon your arrival.
Ships will have a library, spaces to relax on comfortable chairs, a heated pool and whirlpool, a spa and salon, boutique shop and on-board bicycles available to use on excursions.
It’s worth noting that river cruising in general isn’t ideal for children. APT boats won’t have childcare facilities or amenities that suit traveling families.
A great added extra from APT River Cruises is that if you don’t want to fly you don’t have to – as where possible you will be able to get the Eurostar instead- at no extra cost. You can also have your luggage taken to the boat ahead of you, to save you travelling with it on trains (where luggage racks may be limited.)
One of the best things about APT is that gratuities are included in your price. It’s the case that gratuities and port charges are always included, whichever APT ship you sail with.
APT pride themselves on having no hidden costs, which is why the wide-range of sightseeing opportunities and on-board entertainment is included in your price.
Did you know? There are high staff to guest ratios at APT, meaning that you are guaranteed excellent customer service.
Dress codes on river cruises are generally much more relaxed, and dinner on APT is smart casual. This means trousers and no shorts for men, but no jacket- and for women casual dresses or trousers.
Around one in two evenings on board will be slightly smarter, but will not call for black tie evenings (the like of which you might find at sea.)
Make sure to check your itinerary for more details about the number of smart nights during your voyage. As with any holiday with plenty of excursions, make sure you pack some good walking shoes!
Has this enticed you to sail with APT? Have a look at some of our deals here…
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