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When we asked AmaWaterways’ executive v.p./co-owner Kristin Karst about the cruise line’s culinary offerings, her eyes sparkled as she pointed to the cooking classes on its voyages in France. Led by a French chef, the 20-passenger group takes a tour of the local market, “where the chef shows the people how to select the best produce.

“Of course, we ask the guests what they would like to eat for lunch, and that’s what the group makes. They cook it together with the produce they purchase at the market. It’s a 3-course menu, with lots of French wine flowing; everyone has a great time preparing the food and eating it together.” That’s all included, she points out, “we don’t charge anything extra.”

In addition to offering immersive epicurean shore excursions, AmaWaterways’ ships feature dedicated culinary spaces, unlimited regionally sourced wines and a variety of gourmet and healthy eating options. Here are a few of the other appetizing experiences the luxury river cruise line is serving up.

The Chef’s Table is an intimate experience open to small groups of up to 28 guests.
The Chef’s Table is an intimate experience open to small groups of up to 28 guests.

Chef’s Table
“From time to time we have guest chefs on board, as well, and they do culinary demonstrations. The chef’s table venue is actually a perfect venue for this,” says Karst. The Chef’s Table is an intimate experience open to small groups of up to 28 guests where the kitchen takes center stage. While sipping unlimited hand-selected wine pairings, guests can look on as a chef prepares and cooks a multi-course tasting menu using locally inspired ingredients. The private meal, while complimentary, is reservations only. Sample chef creations include marinated salmon trout with papaya salsa, scallops, carrots, and miso cream; Japanese glazed short ribs with cauliflower mash, quinoa and broccoli; and cod fillet with a saffron sauce, brussel sprouts, and a crayfish ragout.

In Pinhao, Portugal, guests can visit a wine cellar.
In Pinhao, Portugal, guests can visit a wine cellar.

Wine Cruises
AmaWaterways’ selection of European Wine Cruises immerse guests in the wine culture of the regions toured, such as Austria’s Wachau Valley, France’s Bordeaux region and Portugal’s Douro Valley. Hosted by expert North American oenologists, such as winemakers and winery owners, the cruises feature tastings, winery tours, private cellar tours, visits to iconic vineyards, and first-hand lessons on Old World winemaking. On board, hosts will recommend hand-selected food and wine pairings, lead discussions, and offer additional tastings throughout the cruise. AmaWaterways offers 95 Wine Cruises in 2017 and 2018, most with optional pre- or post-cruise city stays, including the 7-night Enticing Douro itinerary, which travels through the Douro River Valley to sample Portuguese wines from traditional quintas, and includes an optional 3-night stay in Lisbon to sample its Old World architecture, cuisine, and wine. Rates for the Enticing Douro itinerary start at $3,299 pp.

Healthy Choices
Guests can find a variety of tasty health-conscious options across AmaWaterways’ onboard menus, including recent additions—breakfast vitamin smoothies, detox water stations, and a selection of nutritious breads—and existing vegetarian and gluten-free dishes. AmaWaterways encourages guests to meet with the chefs on board, who can create customized meals based on guests’ preferences. The line also offers breakfast omelets made with cage-free eggs, pho soup stations incorporating crate-free pork, and dinner options with fresh, locally sourced fish.

For more information, call (800) 626-0126 visit