Thursday, August 1, 2013

Industry Legend, Patricia Riley, Guest Blogs for Goldring Travel - Paris and Portugal on AmaWaterways' AmaVida - Part III (Welcome, Cuisine and the Staterooms)


The Welcome Aboard party was  a great opportunity to meet my fellow passengers.  Though the ship holds 106 guests there are a number of singles onboard so we are a group of 100.  We are an eclectic group with the majority of guests being from the U.S. and Canada.  In addition there is a couple from New Zealand, a couple from Australia, two ladies from Brazil (no language barriers for them) and a group of 20 from the Philippines.  In addition there is one couple that are from The Republic of Texas.  Their words, not mine.

The sparkling wine flowed freely and was topped off without having to ask for more.  Hot and cold canapés were passed around and we got to sample some local specialties.  The local specialties continued during dinner.  

AmaWaterways uses two words to describe their cuisine and those words are Regional and Seasonal.  Every dinner menu includes a starter followed by salad, soup, entree and of course dessert.  I was going to skip the soup, which was a cream of carrot.  I ended up ordering it though when my waiter advised me of the "house rule" that if I didn't order the soup, I couldn't get dessert.  Not being one to take chances when it comes to dessert I ordered the soup and was glad I did.  



My entree was called Trout-Salmon.  I think the theme of the evening was Fish, as you will see later.  I am not sure if they could get a better translation.  It was actually a flaky, fresh water fish, that was pink.  I'm so glad I was "forced" to have the soup as that meant I could get dessert.  Truth be told, dessert is my favorite part of any meal.  I only indulge when I am on a cruise though.  So, as I am on a cruise, I indulged.  It was a delicious chocolate mouse and I am a chocoholic. 

Now, as I mentioned the theme for the evening was "Fish".  Allow me to explain.  In the daily program the evening entertainment at 9:00 pm would be a TUNA show.  Now I know that Portugal is famous for its seafood, but a TUNA show.  There was something fishy about this (sorry) so I went to check it out.  it was actually a show put on by a group of men from the Engineering School of Porto.  They were very talented singers, musicians and dancers.  A lovely way to end my first day on the AmaVida.  Still not sure why they are called Tuna.

Let's talk a little bit about the cabins.  I am in a Category A which is 215 square feet.  All of the decks except the lowest passenger deck offer balcony cabins with full sit on balconies as I mentioned previously.




The entry level category, E, is 161 square feet with a large window.  I think it would be quite comfortable if that is what you budget for. Personally, for not that much more, I would go up to a balcony cabin.


The big screen infotainment system offers something for everyone  There is CNN, FoxNews, BBC and Sky News with an assortment of sports channels and movie channels.  A keyboard is at the table under the TV so if you left your laptop or iPad at home (do people do that?) you are not disconnected.

Things I have learned in the 24 hours I have been onboard:

     1.  There is no clock in the cabin.  Bring your own clock/alarm or use your phone for time and wake up.  You can of course leave a wake up call but being a control freak I want my own alarm.

     2.  The door between the cabin and the bathroom has a rise.  Being almost 6 feet tall my head grazes the bottom of the door frame.  Taller people must duck, or bump their head!

     3.  The bathroom products are L'Occitane and wonderful.  If you need hair conditioner bring your own as for some reason there is no hair conditioner.

     4.  Bring a power strip or an extension cord. The current is 220 so Ipads and Iphones charge fine.  There are U.S. outlets and European Outlets.  Everybody has so many things that need to be charged I find an extension cord with multiple connections works best and it gives you flexibility if the outlets are to in the best place for use.

     5.  There is no soap dish in the shower or a drying cord where you can hang bathing suits to dry. I would like to see those added.

     6. The Vox system which is used to listen to your tour guide does not have head phones, just an earpiece.  People who wear hearing aides may find this uncomfortable.  The good news is your personal headphones will work with the system.

     7.  The pool is a great place to cool off. It's not what I would call a swimming pool as you would probably hit your foot on the bottom as you swam.  You can actually sit on the bottom and your head is above water.  Great for cooling but not for swimming.

That's all for now.  I'll write more in another post about the incredible scenery, the tours and, of course, Port Wine.