Viking vs. AmaWaterways: River Cruise Comparison

If you are looking to go on a river cruise, you have more than likely come across both AmaWaterways and Viking. These river cruise operators are similar, which can make it difficult to decide which one is best. In this article we will compare them to see which is better, Viking or AmaWaterways, for your trip.

Both Viking and AmaWaterways offer itineraries that cruise some of the most iconic rivers around the world. Passengers can cruise through the mighty Mekong in Southeast Asia, the Rhine in Europe, the Nile River in Africa, and more.

In addition, when doing a side-by-side comparison of Viking vs AmaWaterways, you will see that both companies market to North American travelers. Nonetheless, there are key differences between Viking and AmaWaterways that you should consider when making your decision.

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Viking Overview

Viking is the bigger of the two cruise companies, with a total of 64 ships, and the number continues to grow. These Scandinavian longships can accommodate up to 190 passengers.

The award-winning fleet is known for its sleek design capable of navigating narrow European waterways, with smaller ships that offer cruise itineraries through spots like the Douro River in Portugal and the Elbe River in France. However, you will also find cruise itineraries in China, Russia, Egypt, Vietnam, and more.

Viking ships may be smaller, but they have large staterooms and suites. The staterooms feature private verandas and all the amenities you need to have a comfortable and relaxing cruise.

When you aren’t in your room, you will find fine dining restaurants, lounges, bars, sun decks, and more on board the ships. The Scandinavian longships are “green friendly” and equipped with hybrid engines and solar panels.

As mentioned, there are plenty of Viking cruise itineraries to choose from that last between 8 and 23 days. The duration of the cruise will depend on the route and the number of stops. Lastly, Viking also offers ocean cruises in addition to river cruises.

AmaWaterways Overview

While they have plans to grow their fleet within the next few years, AmaWaterways currently has a 25-ship fleet. The itineraries cruise through similar countries and continents as Viking, including Asia, Europe, Africa, and Latin America. AmaWaterways has 23 ships that sail through Europe and can accommodate up to 164 passengers.

Similar to Viking ships, AmaWaterways offers passengers spacious staterooms. Some of these staterooms have twin balconies, marble bathrooms, and more. The suites will have more luxurious features, such as full-size bathtubs, showers, and enlarged living areas.

A highlight of AmaWaterways is their customized approach to cruise itineraries and onboard experience. Itineraries can be tweaked by the captain in order to provide the best possible experience for the passengers.

Plus, their unmatched customer service and world-class dining will make your cruise memorable. AmaWaterways was the first river cruise company to offer port bicycles to passengers, giving them the freedom to explore on their own.

AmaWaterways river cruise itineraries range from 7 and 14 days, depending on the location and route. However, AmaWaterways will be launching a longer itinerary that we will discuss later in the article.

Viking vs. AmaWaterways: Food & Drink

When comparing Viking vs. AmaWaterways food and drink, you will find that both cruise companies offer top-notch cuisine. They both have fine dining and buffets. In addition, passengers can make special requests for off-the-menu items.

There is no assigned seating for dinner, and soft drinks, beer, and wine, are offered with meals free of charge. One difference is that Viking offers an unlimited alcohol package, whereas AmaWaterways does not. Nonetheless, passengers can bring their own alcohol on board.

AmaWaterways offers one dinner per cruise at their special restaurant, The Chef’s Table. You won’t find strict dress codes at either Viking or AmaWaterways, so passengers can dress casually after a long day exploring onshore.

The Viking Longship Odin near the city of Budapest on the Danube River.

Viking vs. AmaWaterways: Itineraries

As mentioned earlier, the itineraries for Viking and AmaWaterways are very similar. In Europe, travelers can choose river cruises on the Rhine, Danube, Moselle, Main, Seine, Garonne, Elbe, Rhone, Douro, and Dordogne. Christmas market cruises are also a popular option for couples looking to experience the holiday in a unique way.

Both river cruise companies offer itineraries on the Mekong River in Cambodia and Vietnam. In addition, you can cruise the Nile River in Africa. Viking has other cruises that go through Russia and the Mississippi River in the U.S. AmaWaterways, on the other hand, sails the Chobe River in Africa.

Each company continues to increase its itineraries and the rivers they travel on. For example, AmaWaterways will be launching a 46-night cruise through Europe in 2023, and in 2024, they will be the first cruise line to offer an itinerary on the Magdalena River in Colombia.

You won’t have a difficult time finding an exotic cruise that you’ll never forget with either Viking or AmaWaterways. However, it will come down to where you want to go, the time of year, and your budget.

Viking vs. AmaWaterways: Cost

For most travelers, budget is a vital part when deciding what river cruise company and itinerary to choose. The cost for a Viking or AmaWaterways cruise can differ due to the length of the trip, the time of year, and your stateroom selection.

With that being said, travelers can expect the costs to range from $1,500 and $5,000+ per person. To get the best deal, narrow down where you want to go and track prices throughout the year.

Viking vs. AmaWaterways: Activities

One of the most exciting parts of a cruise is exploring each port city. During stops, Viking and AmaWaterways offer an included excursion. The excursion is guided by a local expert and you can learn about the history and culture.

However, passengers aren’t required to go on the excursions. Those who like to explore on their own can do so as they please. In addition to the included excursion, travelers can also pay for premium tours.

Viking is known to offer adventurous excursions taking passengers off the beaten path. However, for those who travel at a slower pace, there are options for them as well.

AmaWaterways has a variety of excursions depending on your fitness and interests. For example, some passengers may choose to borrow bikes to explore, while others may take a bus tour with little to no walking.

Viking vs. AmaWaterways: For Kids

If you want to take a river cruise with your little travelers, then AmaWaterways is the best choice for you. The reason is that Viking only allows passengers that are 18 years and older.

Parents should know that while AmaWaterways allows children, they do not cater onboard activities to them. In addition, there is no childcare if you have a baby or toddler.

Nonetheless, there are itineraries that would be exciting for older children. To get a better idea of what would be a great choice for children, speak to a cruise travel agent for help.

If you want to ensure your children are entertained during the cruise, we’d recommend choosing an ocean cruise. Cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, and Carnival offer endless fun-filled activities for kids.

Viking vs. AmaWaterways: Entertainment

There are quite a few differences between ocean and river cruises in terms of entertainment. River cruises have a strong focus on the culture and history at each port. In addition, they offer onboard education, including libraries and lectures from experts.

Ocean cruises, on the other hand, put a big emphasis on onboard entertainment. Partly this is due to the size difference between an ocean cruise ship compared to a river cruise ship. Ocean cruise ships will have rock climbing, waterparks, movie theaters, surf simulators, go-kart tracks, and more.

Nonetheless, AmaWaterways and Viking offer entertainment such as live music, bars, lounges, and more. AmaWaterways also has swim-up bars, hair salons, and spas.

Viking ships are known for their spacious indoor and outdoor lounging areas. The most well-known area is the expansive indoor/outdoor Aquatic Terrace.

Viking vs. AmaWaterways: Typical Passengers

Viking and AmaWaterways typically attract an older demographic. This is due to river cruises being geared towards learning about the history and culture at each port. Plus, since they don’t have extravagant entertainment and activity onboard, the atmosphere is more relaxed.

In general, you will find a mixture of retired couples and younger couples on honeymoons and romantic getaways. If you want to be on a river cruise where children aren’t allowed, then Viking is the better choice.

Viking vs. AmaWaterways: Final Thoughts

Overall, you can’t go wrong with either river cruise line as they both offer great customer service, exquisite cuisine, and unique itineraries. If you want to find a river cruise you can take your kids on, then we’d recommend AmaWaterways. However, if you are looking for more itinerary choices, Viking is a better choice due to its larger fleet.

Not sure if either of these river cruise companies is right for you? Can’t decide between a river cruise or an ocean cruise? We have articles that might help, including AmaWaterways or Avalon for Your Next River Cruise?, Norwegian vs. Princess Cruiselines – What You Need to Know, Uniworld vs. Tauck: Which River Cruise Company Is Best for You?, Royal Caribbean vs. MSC, Uniworld vs. Avalon, and Royal Caribbean vs. Celebrity.

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1 thought on “Viking vs. AmaWaterways: River Cruise Comparison”

  1. Having had the pleasure of both Viking and Ama Waterways….I agree with all you reported, but the big difference is payment before travel. I am taking a trip on Viking in September and had to pay my full cost one full year in advance. Whereas with ama, we paid in full 4 months before our trip……This difference is the main difference and the reason I will only use AMA in the future.
    Cheers, Bryan


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