AMA Waterways vs Discover Corps - Tour Companies Compared

Compare details and see what other travelers are saying.

Rating Breakdown
Overall — 3.5
Value — 3.5
Guide — 3.3
Activities — 3.5
Lodging — 3.5
Transportation — 3.5
Meals — 3.5
Overall — 4.5
Value — 4.5
Guide — 4.5
Activities — 4.5
Lodging — 4.5
Transportation — 4.5
Meals — 4.5
Recent Reviews

Solo traveling

5.0 October 2016
A
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
As a senior solo traveler, safety and price are very important to me. I am so tired of paying the single supplement, charged by most travel vendors. With AMA Waterways, an E category cabin can often be booked without the single supplement charge.

Once onboard, AMA Waterways invites the solo travelers to dine at the Captain's Table. This is done on the first night so that you can meet other solo travelers. While I didn't do a lot with the other solo travelers, it was nice to know that I could find someone with whom I could share a meal, if I found myself alone.

AMA Waterways also has different categories of walkers for excursions. They have a fast-paced group, a moderate-paced group and a group for gentle walkers. They have thought of everything!
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Tour Ama Waterways Company Reviews

Ama Waterways Never Disappoints

5.0 January 2015
L
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 4.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
I'm very glad to see that Ama is expanding to Asia and Africa because I've cruised with them in Europe and I think they have the best food of any of the European river cruise lines, not to mention big cabins. I also like their little touches like the travel guides they hand out so you can explore the ports on your own if you like, or just learn more about what you're going to see along the way. Now I can't decide whether to try out their Asia or Africa cruises, but it's something i don't mind thinking about.
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Tour Ama Waterways Company Reviews

This is incredibly frustrating. Be very very careful when using this company

1.0 December 2016
P
Does Not Recommend
  • Value 1.0
  • Guide 1.0
  • Activities 1.0
  • Lodging 1.0
  • Transportation 1.0
  • Meals 1.0
I booked a cruise with AMAwaterways - first mistake - through their designated travel agent Avoya Travel - second mistake. I paid $800 deposit. Six months later I was asked to pay the balance. Avoya Travel asked if they could use my credit card. My wife was in hospital and I delayed answering until we discovered what was wrong and when I got the diagnosis and we couldn't travel. I told Avoya Travel and asked them not to charge my credit card. Avoya Travel still charged my credit card account without my permission!!! When I phoned up I discovered the agent was on holidays and I couldn't speak to her. Through major detective work I managed to reach and talk to her and she told me it would be dealt with. It was not and still has not been to this day, six months later.
I asked my credit card company to dispute the amount paid and they are in the process of doing that now but the company is fighting this all the way. Be aware that I cannot get through to anybody in the company and the travel agent isn't responding. This is incredibly frustrating. Be very very careful when using this company, they do not allow direct access on complaints. This is no way to gain customers. I would like to talk to somebody in the company about this but I cannot.
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Tour Ama Waterways Company Reviews

Fun in Japan

5.0 November 2018
JCO
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
We really enjoyed our Discover Corps tour and can't wait to return to Japan. My wife and I took the Discover Corps cultural trip to Japan (Started in Tokyo-then a bullet train to Kyoto & more local trains to Osaka). The transportation system works well and no cars were ever needed. We were completely taken care of from booking and then thru the process. Adrienne did a great job of informing us of all the details-no planning required. Our guides in Japan, Aki and Miwa, were very knowledgeable local people & made sure we were having a unforgettable time! The cultural experience in Japan was terrific. Great mix of excitement; watching Sumo and participating in Kendo. The food was wonderful plus we were able to participate in sushi making!
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Tour Discover Corps Company Reviews

Excellent

5.0 July 2018
B
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
We lived in the African bush for 10 days. Accommodations were wonderful - tents with nice furniture and attached bathrooms. Plenty of hot water! Food was delicious and quite sophisticated. But the best were the wildlife experiences led by an extremely knowledgeable and personable guide. All the staff were kind and professional.
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Really superb trip--highly recommended!

5.0 July 2017
TT
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
This trip was really superb, starting with the folks like Alex in the San Diego office to our tour guide in Havana, Orelvis (a perfect gentleman if there ever was one--and he seemed to know absolutely EVERYTHING about Havana), and our driver, Boris (who was an extremely safe driver, and the SUV that was our transportation was a practically new Honda), and our friendly hostess at the casa particular (B&B).

But at breakfast at the casa particular, keep in mind the CDC guidelines for healthy travel: cook it, boil it, peel it (yourself) or FORGET IT. So the bowl of fruit and the fruit juices? Pass them up in favor of coffee and toast. I know that sounds boring, but after I got home, I ended up in the hospital emergency room for dehydration due to e-coli--my fault for not following the CDC guidelines.

Also, to get up to my room at the casa particular, I had to climb a narrow, curved marble staircase--I took extra care not to fall either on the way up or on the way down.

The activities and attractions were first rate (but you must keep in mind that you're on "Cuban time," and not everything runs like a Swiss train). From the Hemingway house to the canon ceremony (which I loved even though it was a substitution for another event that was unexpectedly closed) to the jazz club (again, we went to one jazz club that for some reason didn't work out, but no problem--Orelvis took us to another jazz club recommended by his supervisor in Havana) to the art museum to the Malecon to the outdoor terrace at the Hotel Nacional and more, it was amazing how much we saw of Havana in about 72 hours.

There were only four people on the trip, and that was both a good thing and a bad thing--good because each of us received a great deal of attention from Orelvis and bad because two of the four didn't want to follow the itinerary and often went off on their own and then kept the rest of us waiting for them to return (highly frustrating--finally Boris said, "the schedule is the schedule," and we stopped catering to them). One of them spoke fluent Spanish--good for her--but I did wish that Orelvis had curtailed the lengthy conversations that she initiated with him, which the rest of us could not understand.

Two of my favorite activities were ones that I arranged myself: attending the world-class ballet at the gorgeously restored el Gran Teatro and then taking a yellow 1950 Chevrolet convertible with an Italian driver, who was an absolute hoot, back to the casa particular.

And the food at the private restaurants known as paladars was first rate. We even had lunch at one that Anthony Bourdain recently featured on his CNN travel show "Parts Unknown."

Just a small word of caution: sometimes there wasn't enough bottled water in the SUV in which we were riding, especially when we were dropped off at the casa particular at night. Make sure that you have plenty of bottled water with you at all times. (The CDC even recommends that you brush your teeth with bottled water.)

I also wish I had brought another pair of shoes with me because with all of the walking in the heat of the Cuban sun, my feet swelled. Fortunately, I had brought some Band-Aids with me, which helped cushion the sore spots.

I highly recommend this trip--to my way of thinking, it's much better than taking a cruise ship that only docks in Havana for one or two nights--and the "Havana Weekend Getaway" is the most popular trip to Cuba that is offered by Discover Corps, as I learned from Orelvis.
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Tours 26 Trips 28 Trips
Average Trip Price Per Day $ 429 $ 399
Operator Type River Cruise Line Group Tour Operator
Size Global Operator Global Operator
Trip Types
  • Small Ship & Expedition Cruises
  • River Cruises
  • Group Tours
  • Private Guided Trips
Service Level Luxury Standard
Regions
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Europe
  • Central America & Caribbean
  • South America
  • Australia & Pacific
  • Asia
  • Africa
Known For
  • 50+
  • 18 - 35
  • 50+
  • 18 - 35
  • Solo & Singles Travel
  • Eco Travel
  • Volunteering
Headquarters Calabasas, California, United States San Diego, California
Year Established 2002 2004
Solo Friendly N/A No single supplement
Tour Languages English
Top Trips
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    About AMA Waterways

    Known especially for its top-notch onboard regional cuisine, Ama is the only river cruise line to join La Chaine des Rotisseurs, a prestigious gastronomic society. Passengers tend to be affluent, over age 50, and interested in a mostly casual, all-inclusive experience with minimal hassle; cruise directors make sure everything runs smoothly. Good service is prized.

    Ama has won awards for its spacious, stylish cabin designs, and passengers can expect lots of complimentary perks: shore excursions, wine and beer at lunch and dinner, Internet access in every cabin (in Europe), and bicycles for use in port are all included in the price. Many cabins in its newer ships have both French and outdoor balconies.

    Originally called Amadeus Waterways when it was founded in 2002, California-based AmaWaterways later changed its name but hasn’t changed its prime customers: mostly North Americans, British, Australians, and English-speaking Europeans (English is the official language onboard).

    Ama has undergone rapid expansion and now cruises on three continents. Europe tops the roster, with fifteen ships sailing the Danube, Rhine, Main, Moselle, Douro, Seine, and Rhone rivers. Three ships ply the Mekong and Irrawaddy rivers in Southeast Asia, while Russia (on the Volga-Baltic Waterway between Moscow and St. Petersburg) and Africa (on the Chobe River in Botswana) each sport one ship.   


    About Discover Corps

    San Diego based tour company Discover Corps is a leader in the rapidly growing field of volunteer vacations. Operating since 2004, Discovery Corps trips average one to two weeks and focus on volunteering either with children and schools or with animals and wildlife conservation.

    What Makes Discover Corps Stand Out?

    They are focused on providing travel experiences with a wider humanitarian purpose - and help you put your tourism dollars to good use on the ground. The world of “voluntourism” is a sticky area, and has been met with some criticism over the years, so traveling with a reputable and transparent company has become super important.

    With Discover Corps, volunteering, responsible tourism, and giving back to local communities is their entire brand - not just a buzzword on the “about us” page. So for those travelers who truly want to make their vacation about volunteering first and tourism second, Discover Corps is a great choice.

    Discover Corps trips are all inclusive, and while volunteering is the primary focus, sightseeing and cultural activities are also included. Their trips are very popular among families, friend groups, and solo travelers.

    Who Will Enjoy Traveling With Discover Corps?

    These tours are best suited to travelers who want to have a humanitarian focus on their next trip. And if this idea is new to you, but you are interested in getting involved, Discover Corp is a great way to start.

    The average age on a Discover Corps trip is 45-65 except in summer, when families with children as young as 10 are welcome on “family friendly” trips.

    Wildlife lovers as well will love the opportunities available on Discover Corps Nature & Wildlife conservation tours. You’ll have a chance to get up close to some amazing species, learn about their habitats, and get to participate in various initiatives designed to protect these habitats.

    Top Destinations

    Discover Corp travels around the world, in rural villages, beach locations, and rainforests. Popular destinations are primarily in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

    Discover Corps Travel Style

    Their all-inclusive trips combine light volunteer projects with sightseeing and cultural immersion. They also offer support while you’re on site – from building classrooms to improving water systems to creating eco-friendly homes. The ideas come from the local communities themselves, and local staff plan everything in advance.

    Why Choose a Tour With Discover Corps?

    If you’re the kind of person who likes being actionable and getting involved with protecting threatened cultures, wildlife, and contributing to growing communities in need of schools and homes, then Discover Corps would be a great choice.

    Volunteer vacations are one of the best ways to get to know the local people on a different level than many tour companies provide. Rather than simply enjoying a meal at a local restaurant, you’re out in the neighborhoods meeting everyday people.

    “Traveling with a purpose” might seem like a thrown around phrase these days, but it is the entire philosophy around every Discovery Corps trips. So when you join one of their tours, you’ll be surrounded by guides and other travelers for whom this isn’t a buzzword - it’s an important and meaningful mission.

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