Amadeus by Luftner Cruises
Amadeus by Luftner Cruises, an Austria-based company catering largely to European passengers, has worked to tap into the American market in recent years with its budget-priced cruises. The relatively low price includes extras, though, like complimentary wine with dinner (the cuisine is also a highlight). By the end of 2016, the line will operate a dozen ships sailing river itineraries in France, Germany, Hungary, Austria, the Netherlands, Slovakia, and Belgium, as well as Myanmar, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
What We Love
Fine Dining and Unlimited Wine: Food is a focus on an Amadeus cruise, and dinner is accompanied by free-flowing, high-quality wines that pair nicely with the chef's creations. The daily soup offerings are also a delight.
Nightly Cocktail Hours: Amadeus hosts a nightly cocktail hour at which passengers gather to mingle over drinks and conversation before heading to dinner. Live music is available on board each evening as well.
Best Known For
Amadeus Club: This aft lounge is a lovely space for relaxing, with a selection of teas, cookies, puzzles, books, a TV, and computers offering Internet access.
A La Carte Pricing Options: You can book all of your excursions ahead of time for a discount, or play it by ear and select tours one day at a time during the voyage. Tips aren't included in the fare, so you can dole those out to deserving crew members as you wish.
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Who It's Best For
River Newbies: Travelers looking to dip their toes into their first river cruise will find Amadeus offers highly competitive pricing.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Expect an International Mix: Your shipmates will hail from an assortment of countries but primarily Austria, Germany, and Britain. Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and mingle — passengers are likely to speak English even if it's not their first language.
John Roberts is a New Jersey-based writer for ShermansCruise who worked at The Virginian-Pilot.