Q – We have been perplexed by the numerous choices of river boats and accommodations on Europe’s rivers. Until we found this site, we were babes lost in the wilderness. But we’re still not sure about AMA. They seem to have a real advantage in their double balconies and we were wondering if you feel that is a deal-maker? Please help us close this six-month project?
A – Hope you don’t mind if we say we’d prefer not to go to a buffet restaurant with you. Once you set out your parameters, the right decision should be self-evident.
There are many excellent reasons to choose AMA but we don’t think the double balconies are one of them. The new class of AMA 164 Guest boats feature twin balconies in the five top categories ranging from 210 to 300 sq. ft. One of the balconies is “French” which means there is no dancing permitted on the balcony. The second balcony is real, meaning two people can sit in chairs and admire the passing scenery.
Let us share our views on balconies briefly:
01 – Their most important function is allowing fresh air to enter a cabin in which strangers have slept for at least a week over the course of many months or years. The views are secondary. Fresh air is, we believe, an important health consideration. Unless you live in New Jersey.
02 – It is impractical to imagine actually sitting in a small chair outside watching Europe float by. If you have any interest at all in the scenery you will need to be on the top observation deck where you can enjoy thrilling 360 views of the river and both sides of the shoreline.
03 – The size of the cabin is more important than the amount of balcony space. Since every river boat has entry-level cabins that are the size of a San Quentin cell, some guests will feel claustrophobic. Given the relative size of the bathrooms on river boats, the bedding, and the tight room to maneuver, size really does matter.
04 – The best cabins on riverboats, the ones with the best balconies, are almost always located on the top passenger deck. This provides for some nice views but it also means that half the ship, after reading our advice, will be on the uppermost observation deck, right above your heads.