European river cruises have unfortunate associations with unimpressive accommodations, unexciting itineraries and unlively clients. Certain lines doubtless confirm such stereotypes, but my recent experience with AmaWaterways smashed them to bits. My traveling companion and I sipped wine on our furnished balcony, explored beautiful destinations unspoiled by mass tourism and counted 31 people on the ship’s dance floor one night. A boring old river cruise this was not.
It helped that I had booked us a seven-day itinerary from Romania to Hungary aboard the 98-cabin AmaWaterways flagship. At about twice the width of the usual European river cruiser, the AmaMagna debuted in 2019 as one of the largest vessels of its kind. In this case, bigger is better, allowing the ship to offer more public spaces and larger accommodations. The typical Danube ship of a close competitor is 37.5 feet wide, with one true restaurant and cabins ranging from 162 to 410 square feet. The AmaMagna is the same length but 72 feet wide, with four separate restaurants and cabins ranging from 205 to 710 square feet. When I saw the AmaMagna docked alongside a standard-width riverboat, the difference was striking.
Our 252-square-foot AA-category cabin on deck 3, the highest deck with accommodations, had enough storage for us to unpack completely and get our luggage out of sight, plus a spacious shower stall, a soporific king bed (configurable as two twins) and a balcony large enough for two chairs and a small table. The cabin had no room for room service, unfortunately. Those wishing to occasionally eat in should reserve a 355-square-foot SA or SB stateroom, which has space for a sofa, plus dual vanities in the bath. The 474-square-foot GS category adds in a soaking tub, as well as a larger terrace with cushioned chairs; and the top suite, the OS category, also has a proper dining table. The contemporary-innocuous décor of the cabins won’t win any design awards, but they’re not unattractive.