Ship review: AmaKristina, AmaWaterways

'Feels more like a contemporary, luxury hotel than your typical five-star river vessel'

LOCATION: Sailing the Rhine between Amsterdam and Basel.

FIRST IMPRESSION: AmaWaterways’ newest ship, AmaKristina, feels more like a contemporary, luxury hotel than your typical five-star river vessel.

Lunched in May and named after the line’s executive vice president and godmother, Kristin Karst, the ship’s décor is modern through and through, from the unfussy curtains to the stylish low hanging light fitting at the Chef’s Table which is more akin to something you’d see in a Heal’s showroom.

There are splashes of colour throughout but the overall feel is understated luxury with no gaudy chandelier in sight.

THE FACTS: There are 79 staterooms spread across three decks and four suites with a total capacity of 156. All cabins on the second and top decks come with the line’s signature twin balconies and an Apple Mac computer which serves as an all-in-one entertainment system.

There are three dining venues including the Chef’s Table which offers a stunning tasting menu with wine paring, and the Main Restaurant with stylish fixed-booth seating and tables. The Main Lounge and Bar is a more casual affair with lighter, tapas-style food available.

AmaWaterways is the only major river cruise line to be a member of the Chaine Des Rotisseurs – an international gastronomic society founded in Paris and dedicated to fine cuisine. Unsurprisingly, the food, and service, is exceptional. The evening menu changes each evening on its Basel to Amsterdam voyage, but there are also some options, such as steak, salmon and chicken, always available. Breakfast and lunch is buffet service with some menu options and wine, beer and soft drinks are included with lunch and dinner.

The top deck (sun deck) has a heated pool with swim-up bar, walking track and obligatory giant chess set. There is plenty of seating with comfortable lounge chairs and blankets.

In terms of activities, AmaWaterways prides itself as the river cruise line that offers most active options on its sailings and is the first line to include bikes on board as standard. All main tours are included and designed to show guests the top sights and landmarks. Other options include Bike & Hike tours which require a minimum level of fitness; Walking and City tours for smaller groups with a local guide on foot; and Specialist Interest tours, ideal if you have already visited the city and want to see something a little off the tourist trail.

Each activity is categorised into either Regular, Active or Gentle so guests can choose the tour that best suits their level of fitness.

Entertainment is provided each evening in the Main Lounge and Bar, from live classical music to an ABBA tribute band.

A GOOD BASE FOR: Pure relaxation and getting upclose to Europe’s lovely towns and cities.

WOW: Food, glorious food! Everything I ate was simply wonderful.