The AmaMagna, AmaWaterways’ new double-wide river vessel, was christened Thursday in Grein, Austria, by travel television personality Samantha Brown, host of “Places to Love” on PBS.
The ceremony took place on the banks of the Danube River, amid forested hills as local performers danced the waltz, sang “Sound of Music” and served German beer, wine and food.
Master of ceremonies Wade Korzan, managing director of European operations at AmaWaterways, talked about the company’s family feel, which persists onboard since its founding by two families in 2002, part of the company’s “sparkle.”
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He introduced a short video that showed company President and Co-Founder Rudi Schreiner on a raft in the Peruvian Amazon River. Schreiner spent six months on his Amazon raft in 1974-75. “That’s how river cruising started with AmaWaterways,” Schreiner joked. “Over the years, we’ve upgraded a little bit.”
Kristin Karst, executive vice president and co-owner, introduced Brown, who noted that AmaWaterways has hosted “Samantha Brown’s Places to Love” since it began in 2017.
The personable Brown spoke about how travel can make people feel a part of the world, especially when they connect with local people. “It is my belief that we travel in order to feel like we belong to this world, and that the new luxury of travel is simply meeting and connecting with people,” she said.
“My favorite part of being on any AmaWaterways ship is meeting the locals in the villages, towns, the cities we pass through, and then back on board it’s the sharing of those experiences, with the excellent crew, with our fellow passengers that truly reinforce this idea that we are not just consumers of travel, we are in fact a part of the travel community, an important world community, that truly makes the world a better place.”
Brown then moved to a platform next to the ship to bang the bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne into the hull—her first effort bounced off but she successfully smashed it on the second try.
The AmaMagna is a groundbreaking river ship in that it is 72 feet wide, twice the width of virtually all other passenger vessels on the European rivers, yet carries only 20 percent more travelers (196 passengers).
That means there is more space for passengers to stretch out. AmaMagna has four restaurants—three of which require reservations, but no extra fee—as well as five bars, an expansive workout facility and fitness program, a heated sundeck pool, a small cinema and a marina platform that can be lowered for excursion boat rides.
The ship also has very large accommodations. Most of the accommodations are suites, measuring a roomy 355 to 710 square feet with balconies, marble bathrooms with double sinks and multi-jet showers, couches and huge closets. The smallest cabins—there are 11 on the lowest deck—measure 205 square feet and have good-sized windows.
AmaWaterways serves wine and beer with meals and offers a complimentary cocktail hour most evenings. Unlimited wi-fi is also included at no charge.
Karst went on to explain that the expansive new ship will help attract new-to-river and luxury cruisers. Today’s luxury cruisers want spacious suites and multiple restaurants, while ocean cruisers are accustomed to many dining venues and a choice of large accommodations.
“Only two restaurants are not enough for anymore for luxury clients,” she said.
The AmaMagna entered service in May and operates on the Danube River, where it doesn’t have to worry about squeezing through narrower locks. For more information, call 800-626-0126 or visit amawaterways.com