Reviewed by Kelly Ranson.
Overview: AmaWaterways launched its largest and most innovative river ship yet in May this year, in the form of AmaMagna. At almost twice the width of traditional river cruise vessels, the ship has 98 cabins and carries 196 passengers – just 20% more than the line’s other ships. Founder and co-owner Rudi Schreiner has designed a ship that really ups the ante when it comes to river cruising.
Cabins: More than half of the 98 cabins on AmaMagna are suites, and they are roomy, measuring between 355sq ft and 710sq ft. They have a sleek design and feel like plush hotel rooms, with brown and bronze accents of colour, plus tons of storage space. They feature sofas, double sinks, large rain showers and separate toilets, and most have outside balconies; the lowest-category cabins have fixed windows.
Food and drink: There’s a wide choice of dining venues, which makes sense given the designers had more space to play with. Guests can take their pick from four venues, including the main dining room, which offers self-service breakfast and lunch and waiter-service at dinner, and the popular Chef’s Table, where guests watch culinary experts prepare a seven-course menu complete with accompanying wine. The new additions are Jimmy’s Wine Bar Restaurant (named after co-founder Jimmy Murphy), which serves meals ‘family-style’, with high tables and bar stools; and Al Fresco, which offers lighter options in an airy space at the front of the ship, with glass-fronted walls and retractable windows.
Facilities: AmaMagna packs a punch when it comes to facilities, and this is where it rivals the small luxury cruise ships. There’s a cinema, two library areas and huge wellness space offering fitness sessions (AmaWaterways offers at least five classes a day, ranging from yoga to circuits), plus two treatment rooms, a hairdresser, gym with outdoor spin bike area and innovative watersports platform. On the lower deck sits a boutique and free guest laundry area, which comes in handy. One faux pas is the shortage of public restrooms, but the line is looking to fix this and will be adding more this winter. On the sundeck you really notice the expansive space compared with other vessels, with plenty of lounge chairs plus a pool, Jacuzzi and pop-up bar. There’s also an accessible elevator serving all four decks.
USP: It might sound obvious, but the key highlight of this ship really is the space it affords, both in the cabins and the public areas. Even when the ship is at full capacity it doesn’t feel crowded, with wide corridors, quiet spaces and areas to relax in, which makes a big difference.
Book it: AmaMagna will be sailing on the Danube from Budapest to Vilshofen throughout 2019 and 2020. In 2020 it will also sail from Budapest to Giurgiu in Romania. A seven-night cruise leads in at £1,951 per person, including complimentary flights and transfers.