The first thing you notice after stepping on board AmaMagna is the size of the lobby. Anchored by two sets of stairs that rise to a glass-topped second level, it seems to go on forever.
This is just the beginning of the wow for a guest arriving at the new AmaWaterways ship for the first time. Christened in July, AmaMagna is nearly twice as wide as most other river vessels in Europe, allowing for more dining venues and lounge areas, a larger spa and fitness zone, an enormous Sun Deck, and unusual-for-a-river-ship amenities like a cinema. It’s a river cruise ship that feels more like an ocean liner—and it comes with an itinerary along the Danube that’s just as unique.
Here’s why the ship and itinerary are game-changers.
More Space in Every Area The spaciousness continues into the hallways—which are so wide two people can walk side-by-side—and through to large staterooms. At 355 square feet, the most common type of accommodation on the new AmaWaterways ship on the Danube is as spacious and inviting as any you’ll see at a fine hotel on land.
In fact, more than half of AmaMagna’s staterooms are suites that rival those found on ocean ships, with full step-out balconies, large seating areas, and an abundance of storage space. Many come with two bathrooms—one with a large walk-in shower and double sinks.
The biggest of the accommodations, the Owner’s Suite, is a sprawling 710 square feet and has its own bar, dining area, and separate bedroom. Like all suites on AmaMagna, it comes with such amenities as a welcome gift with Champagne and a mobile Wi-Fi device for use ashore.
Upscale ocean cruisers not only expect big staterooms with balconies, but also a wide array of choice in onboard venues, and AmaMagna delivers on this front as well. While many river ships have just one or two dining options, AmaMagna has four. In addition to a 140-seat main restaurant, there’s The Chef’s Table, an intimate, 36-seat luxury restaurant serving a multi-course menu that chefs prepare in front of patrons.
Even cozier is Al Fresco, a 24-seat venue overlooking the bow with its own six-course, vegetable-forward tasting menu. Rounding out the offerings is Jimmy’s Restaurant, named after AmaWaterways’ late co-founder Jimmy Murphy. Featuring a retractable roof and windows, Jimmy’s serves the same dishes as the main restaurant each night, but in a warm, family-style atmosphere.
The ship also boasts five bars, open on a rotating basis. They include a glass-walled juice bar in the Zen Wellness Studio at the back of the ship—which also is home to one of the biggest fitness rooms on the Danube, an open-air spin bike area, and two massage rooms, as well as manicure and pedicure services. An even bigger relaxation zone can be found up on the Sun Deck, which has a sizable heated pool and whirlpool served by a pop-up sky bar. The ship’s expanded array of options also includes a main lounge, two fireside libraries, a hair salon, and a fold-out Marina with a Sundowner boat for private excursions. Lined with chic banquette seating, the cinema doubles as a game room.
However, there is one thing you won’t find much expanded on the ship: the guest count. While it’s nearly twice the size of the typical AmaWaterways vessel, AmaMagna will sail with just a few dozen more people: Its total guest capacity is 196.
AmaMagna’s Owner-Curated Itinerary Might Sway Ocean Cruisers
But it’s not just more space and venues that is setting AmaMagna apart. AmaWaterways’ Co-Founder and President Rudi Schreiner has personally curated a new Danube itinerary for the vessel that—like the ship itself—is designed to appeal to ocean cruisers who may be on the fence about river cruising.
Called Magna on the Danube and launching in 2020, the seven-night routing from Budapest, Hungary, to Vilshofen, Germany, features more scenic daytime cruising than is common for itineraries on the river, which should play well with ocean cruisers who are accustomed to sailing past natural wonders in such ocean cruising hot spots as Alaska’s Inside Passage.
The trips will boast a daytime meander through the Danube Bend near Visegrad, Hungary, where the river curves through a lovely mountain area. Also on the schedule is scenic cruising through Austria’s UNESCO-designated Wachau Valley—the postcard-perfect wine region west of Vienna.
Such wonders are all the more alluring for a ship like AmaMagna, with its large number of suite balconies. And it’s something you can’t get from an ocean cruise. While ocean ships can take you to the countries of Europe, only river ships like AmaMagna can take you through them.
The new itinerary also brings special touches that aren’t normally part of AmaWaterways sailings on the Danube. Among them is an included-in-the-fare tour of Schönbrunn Palace, the spectacular summer residence of the Habsburg Monarchy just outside Vienna’s city center. There’s also an exclusive evening wine festival in Spitz, on the day the ship visits Austria’s Wachau Valley. The event includes a tasting of Riesling wines as well as the area’s famous Grüner Veltliner. Among additional special touches exclusive to AmaMagna sailings are a Concierge Golf Program, which will give guests the chance to perfect their swings at up to five championship courses in five European countries. AmaWaterways also has crafted a Vow Renewal Package aimed at couples wanting to rekindle the romance. It includes a symbolic ceremony, massage services, and more.
In short, bigger really is better when it comes to AmaMagna. Or, to play on its name, you could call this ship “magnificent.”
To learn more about this unique new ship—and to book your clients on an unforgettable Danube cruise—log in to the Travel Advisor Portal at AmaWaterways.com.
—By Gene Sloan