In what might be their boldest move to date, AmaWaterways is currently building the largest river cruising ship in not just its own fleet but in all of Europe.
Destined to sail Danube itineraries, the imposing and game-changing AmaMagna is set to be launched in 2019 and will feature alluring amenities such as a variety of dining options, an eco-friendly engine, an open-water sports platform and lavish staterooms designed to elevate the modern luxury market.
PAX was invited to visit the carpentry factory in Huissen, Netherlands where the AmaMagna cabins are being built for an exclusive preview.
Big, Bigger, Biggest
Otherwise known for their controlled and reasonable growth, and their commitment to quality over quantity, family-owned AmaWaterways certainly took the industry by surprise with this audacious announcement.
“Consistency is extremely important for us and AmaMagna is just this one ship in our entire fleet. But we listened to our guests and travel agents partners, many of which have expressed the desire to experience river cruising with larger staterooms. This ship will be for guests that need that extra space and comfort,” explained Kristin Karst, executive vice-president and co-owner of AmaWaterways.
The AmaMagna will be twice as big as the average river cruise ship, with the same height and length but with a generous 22-metre width. The behemoth will consist of just 97 staterooms, the majority of which will be more than 300 square feet – some of the largest in river cruising – and will include AmaWaterways’ signature twin balconies.
Some of the lower deck cabins, which are becoming increasingly difficult to sell, were swapped for additional on-board amenities such as a larger gym (roomy enough to accommodate group classes) and spa (with new, unique treatments) in order to accommodate the popular demand for wellness. The large heated sundeck will include generously sized common and play areas as well as al fresco dining and a swimming pool with whirlpool and sky bar.
Groundbreaking to the very last detail, the AmaMagna will also introduce water sports to European river cruising with a unique open-water platform, complete with Zodiac boats, canoes and recreational equipment. Last but not least, a lift from the lowest to the highest deck will render every single floor accessible to disabled guests, something rather uncommon in river cruising due to low bridges.
Additionally, the mega ship will only accommodate a maximum of 194 guests for a more intimate experience. “There will be so much room on this ship, passengers might not even see each other!” jokes Rudi Schreiner, president and co-owner of AmaWaterways.
Getting The Timing Right
The ideation and construction of this ship was a complex undertaking as very few docks in Europe allow for such a sizable ship. The AmaMagna is, consequently, being purposefully built to sail the waters of the Danube River all the way to the Black Sea.
According to Rudi Schreiner, the timing couldn’t have been better as far as the luxury river cruise segment is concerned.
“We want to carry on as the leader in industry innovation. While this new double-width concept has been on the table for some time, we believe that now is the perfect moment to introduce this style of ship. Our guests deserve the very best and we are always thinking about new opportunities that will give them the vacation of a lifetime.”
Positive future for AmaWaterways and travel agents
The cruise line announced late Friday night that it welcomed a fourth shareholder to its board with Certares, a New York based investment firm who also has investments in American Express Global Business Travel. Colin Farmer, one of the firm’s managing partners, was on board the AmaKristina with unwavering views on the role of travel agents.
“We as an investment firm are big believers in travel agency distribution model," Farmer said. "For a business like AmaWaterways where the consumer has a choice to make between multiple options, multiple itineraries months in advance and spending quite a bit of money, they’re looking for someone to provide a consultative view on what they should do. There’s a human intervention that has to occur on the leisure side of travel. That trusting relationship really shines when complex and costly travel arrangements are being made, and this is where the expertise of travel agents come in.”
For more information, visit amawaterways.ca/agent-login or call (800) 626-0126.