AmaWaterways now boasts two styles of river cruise. The first is the time-tested style in which they’ve built their reputation: sleek, classic vessels sporting the amenities you’ve come to expect within 160 square feet—a single main restaurant, one alternative dining venue, a lounge and of course, comfortable staterooms.
The second style debuted this past spring with the new AmaMagna, and at nearly double the width of the classic river cruisers, it’s making waves. The first ultra-wide vessel built for a major river cruise company, AmaMagna is nearly alone in its unique offerings—making the AmaMagna easily one of the best river cruises in Europe, if not the world.
To put it in perspective, what the AmaMagna brings to the rivers is very much akin to small ship ocean cruising. I cruised on AmaMagna for a week of July, and am confident it will appeal to a great many travelers with its boutique-hotel-like amenities, wide selection of dining venues and general spaciousness.
Some of the amenities in question include an expansive lounge, a large gym with state-of-the-art cardio equipment, spin bikes on deck outside overlooking the river, what feels like acres of sundeck, an expanded spa, four dining venues—all on top of the fact that the majority of the staterooms measure 355 square feet, larger than any of the top-tier suites on AmaWaterway’s classic fleet.
However, the payoff to AmaMagna’s width goes beyond the additional features. The ultra-wide vessel supplies a change in the social dynamic of river cruising—a change many are certain to find appealing.
Traditionally, on AmaWaterway’s classic river cruise ships, it proved increasingly difficult to break away from the pack. You (and the same group of people) would eat together at the same restaurant, exit through the same door, ascend the same set of stairs to spend your post-dinner hours together in the same lounge. The predicament, for some, can be too much “togetherness.”
On the AmaMagna, you’re free to go your own way. Thanks to a choice of four restaurants, the sundeck, the lounge as well as two libraries, plotting your path on the ship is certain to guarantee fresh faces. Of course, your stateroom is also an option, and I can speak from experience that you won’t mind spending time there.
With all this said, here are the six types of travelers I can foresee truly appreciating AmaMagna:
1. Small Luxury Ocean Ship Cruisers
Beyond the exterior, what struck me when first arriving to my stateroom was the width of the corridor. The corridor can comfortably fit two people, walking side by side—certainly not the case on the classic river cruisers—further solidifying why this is one of the best river cruises in Europe.
Opening the door to my stateroom, I was immediately impressed by the depth. Right beyond the entrance was the landing area, which gave way to both the bathroom, as well as the living room and bedroom (beyond a dual set of doors). The bedroom was adorned with a queen bed, a comfortable sofa, a 27-inch iMac computer, a huge flat-screen television, closets and drawers, a minibar stocked with sodas and juices, as well as a balcony that reminded me of ones I had seen on luxury ocean vessels. The bathroom was equally luxe, with the toilet in a different room from the dual-sink vanity and large shower.
The only two things present to remind me that I was not actually on a small luxury ocean ship were: The lack of tenders to get us ashore (we instead only needed to walk the gangway), and the view of the banks of the Danube as we traveled from Budapest to Vilshofen, Germany.
2. Those Who Prefer Multiple Dining Venues
Amongst the dining possibilities of the AmaMagna are the booths and tables of the quintessential main dining room; The Chef’s Table, a staple of AmaWaterways’ fleet; Jimmy’s, a family-style restaurant named for the late AmaWaterway’s co-founder Jimmy Murphy; and Al Fresco, sporting an all-windowed venue perfect for dining while cruising.
With AmaWaterway’s classic vessels, group meeting spaces are limited to essentially the lounge and The Chef’s Table—not the case onboard the AmaMagna. In addition to the lounge and the two libraries as options are the restaurants Al Fresco and Jimmy’s—ideal places to gather with family-style tables capable of sitting a large group.
Between the sun-deck pool, whirlpool, the dedicated cinema with movies and staterooms that can accommodate up to four, there’s certainly reason to believe that AmaMagna is the best choice for families. The reality can’t be too far off: during my sailing, there must’ve been at least a dozen teens and kids onboard. While some may have some trepidations about cruising with kids, I can happily say that all on board for my sailing were well behaved. Plus, AmaWaterways typically does not allow infants and toddlers on their cruises.
5. The Fitness Focused
Offering daily classes of Pilates, Yoga, Spinning and Circuit Training onboard each ship of its European fleet (partly thanks to the wellness instructors found onboard each), AmaWaterways strives to be the most wellness-oriented river cruise company.
Couple the offerings onboard with the options onshore—levels of walking for every level of speed and endurance, hikes and bike tours—and every day is perfectly poised to be one rooted in fitness. I personally enjoyed oneof AmaMagna’s bicycles in Vienna, where I took a 28-mile Endorphin-inducing trek to explore the surrounding hills and vineyards.
6. Past AmaWaterways Guests
AmaMagna is the continuation of the company’s two decades of success, the quintessential experience amplified. Consider it an infusion of AmaWaterways’ classic river cruises with the exciting element of choice—more choice when it comes to dining, fitness and enrichment, all coupled with larger staterooms. Summed up, it makes for a clear-cut list as to why the AmaMagna is one of the best river cruises in Europe worth discovering.