AmaWaterways: River Preview

Zambezi Queen

AmaWaterways launches the 158-passenger AmaViola and AmaStella, sisters to AmaSerena; they’ll sail Tulip Time, Rhine or Danube voyages and offer new connecting staterooms and larger suites. Four luxurious, 350-square-foot Violin Deck Suites and most other accommodations onboard feature the line’s signature “twin balconies” — separate exterior and French balconies. Public spaces include a heated swimming pool, hair salon, fitness room and more.

AmaWaterways will offer 34 wine-themed sailings this year, double the previous offerings, plus a new seven-night “Taste of Bordeaux” itinerary along the Garonne and Dordogne rivers. Five new art-themed AmaWaterways voyages in northern France feature art-related tours and painting workshops.

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In Africa, AmaWaterways’ 10- to 19-day experiences all feature a Chobe River cruise on the 28-passenger Zambezi Queen and the line has enhanced its land program. It’s also bringing back the popular “Discover Africa” program featuring three nights in Cape Town, a four-night cruise, two nights in Victoria Falls and, newly added, an optional two nights in Johannesburg for exploring Soweto and Nelson Mandela’s former home. Akin to a floating lodge, Zambezi Queen has spacious balcony staterooms and an enclosed, air-conditioned dining room, lounge and bar. We’d head for the top deck for 360-degree river views and possible elephant spottings.

We particularly like the robust “Golden Trails of East Africa” itinerary for destination immersion. It features one night in Johannesburg, a four-night wildlife cruise, two nights in Victoria Falls, another two nights in Johannesburg and seven nights at Tanzanian luxury safari lodges in Arusha, Tarangire, Ngorongoro and the Serengeti. Why not add on three more pre-cruise nights in Cape Town, where AmaWaterways offers a new wine country drive and a Robben Island/city neighborhoods tour.

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