River cruising isn’t just for retirees anymore. This segment of the cruise industry continues to explode in popularity, particularly among millennials and multi-generational cruisers. When 10Best asked readers to choose their favorite river cruise ship, the record-setting AmaMagna from AmaWaterways took the cake.
The luxury of space
AmaMagna in Bratislava — Photo courtesy of AmaWaterways
AmaMagna is no stranger to superlatives; it was already setting records from the moment it was announced. The ship, launched in May 2019, is the largest to cruise any European river, with twice the interior space of any other river ship in the region. And you’re not likely to see anything bigger in the future.
Ships in Europe are limited in size by their environment; they can’t be any wider than the rivers and locks through which they pass. AmaMagna passes through the locks of the Danube with mere inches to spare, but that extra interior space makes a huge difference.
AmaMagna offers some of the most spacious staterooms in Europe — Photo courtesy of AmaWaterways
Despite being double the width of other ships in the AmaWaterways fleet, AmaMagna only accommodates 20 percent more passengers – a total of 196 guests in 98 staterooms. Most measure 355 square feet and feature private balconies, separate seating areas, walk-in showers and more storage space than the average passenger will know what to do with.
Your cruise, your choice
With the added space on Europe’s largest river ship comes a greater variety of options for how passengers can spend their time aboard. The AmaMagna has four dining venues, all of which are included in the cruise fare.
The main restaurant serves three meals per day, while the bright and airy Al Fresco offers lighter breakfast and lunch options, or a Mediterranean-inspired dinner. The Chef’s Table treats guests to a multi-course tasting menu.
Jimmy's is one of four dining venues aboard AmaMagna — Photo courtesy of AmaWaterways
New to the AmaMagna is Jimmy’s. Named after AmaWaterways’ late co-owner Jimmy Murphy, this dining space serves meals family-style on long tables, encouraging passengers to get to know each other over a meal.
This abundance of choice extends to activities onboard and ashore as well. Public areas on the AmaMagna include a spacious fitness room with a fitness host on staff leading classes throughout the day, several lounge areas, a movie theater and game room, and a sun deck with a swimming pool, walking track and pop-up bar.
AmaMagna's accessible sun deck features a heated swimming pool and hot tub — Photo courtesy of AmaWaterways
At just about every port of call, passengers can choose between several included shore excursions, ranging from easy guided walking tours to more strenuous hikes. Those who’d prefer to explore on their own can borrow a bike from the AmaMagna fleet for a day in town.
The wonders of the Danube
Budapest features on just about every Danube itinerary — Photo courtesy of AmaWaterways
The AmaMagna was purpose-built to cruise the Danube, Europe’s second longest river flowing from the Black Forest of Germany to the Black Sea in Romania. Typical week-long itineraries navigate the river between Vilshofen, Germany and Budapest, Hungary, with stops in Passau, Linz, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Wachau Valley, Vienna and Bratislava along the way.
Expect little surprises along the way. Celebrate Oktoberfest in Vilshofen (no matter the time of year) with Bavarian beer, pretzels and a live oompah band; try chimney cake hot off the iron in Cesky Krumlov; taste Sacher torte from one of Vienna’s most iconic hotels; or sit down for a beer tasting at one of the oldest breweries in Passau.
Christmas decorations aboard the AmaMagna — Photo courtesy of Lydia Schrandt
Travelers cruising the Danube aboard the AmaMagna during the Christmas season enjoy a river ship decked for the holidays as it sails between some of Europe’s most impressive Christmas markets.