AmaWaterways: River-bound innovation

Founded in 2002, AmaWaterways is a force to be reckoned with in the increasingly popular holiday choice of river cruising.

Group Safari - Chobe River - AmaWaterways

AmaWaterways has a fleet of 19 ships that sail the Danube, Rhine, Moselle, Main, Rhone, Seine, Garonne, Dordogne, Dutch and Belgian Waterways and Douro rivers, as well as Southeast Asia’s Mekong and Africa’s Chobe River. Every bit a trendsetter, this family-owned and operated company has garnered a host of awards including the ‘Highest Rated River Cruise Ship in Europe’ accolade by Berlitz Guide to River Cruising in Europe.

Innovation has always been at the forefront for the owners who pioneered the concept of the ‘Twin Balcony’ – where a French balcony with sliding glass window sits alongside an outside balcony in front of the bed – designed to maximise the natural light and scenery. Each new AmaWaterways vessel is equipped with connecting cabins which make their ships ideal for families.

The company also came up with the Chef’s Table speciality restaurant concept located at the aft of each vessel. From the open galley, chefs prepare a tasting menu that is paired with hand-selected wines from the region through which the ship is sailing.

Chefs Table - AmaPrima - AmaWaterways

Chefs Table – AmaPrima – AmaWaterways

All AmaWaterways ships in Europe are also members of the prestigious La Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, an international gastronomic society dedicated to fine cuisine. Breakfast and lunch are served buffet-style in the main restaurant, while a light lunch alternative is also offered in the lounge. At night multi-course dinners are served in the restaurant accompanied by a complimentary, high-end wine selection.

Pool - AmaDara - AmaWaterways

Spacious and tastefully decorated, each ship carries less than 164 guests. Staterooms range from 155 to 350 square feet and feature high quality linens and a multi jet shower. The flat-screen interactive televisions feature films and satellite channels. Every stateroom features complimentary Wi-Fi which is available throughout the ship.

There is a hair salon and massage room as well as a well-equipped fitness room, plus a walking track on the Sun Deck. Many vessels have heated outdoor swimming pools with swim-up bars.

Family admiring the Danube on a bicycle excursion during an AmaWaterways cruise

A hallmark of AmaWaterways is the array of included excursions which ensure flexibility for the majority of comfortably-off American guests who prefer to have a port-intensive experience led by expert guides. For those who wish to get more active, guided hiking and biking adventures take travellers well beyond the typical tourist paths. There are also Special Interest Tours that encourage further immersion into local culture.

Douro Valley - Portugal River Cruise

In 2019 AmaWaterways will launch a new river vessel that is set to be the largest in Europe. To be named AmaMagna, it will be twice as wide as existing vessels, allowing for larger cabins and a capacity for 194 passengers. This much-anticipated ship will sail on the Danube – the only river in Europe where a vessel of such proportions can operate.

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Gary Buchanan

About Gary Buchanan

Gary Buchanan has been an influential cruise writer for almost 30 years. Based in Scotland, he writes for Britain’s leading national newspapers and respected consumer magazines on a variety of cruise topics. Recipient of several awards for his creative writing, he has also written five books about cruising. His other skills include being an expert lecturer on maritime history aboard Cunard ships during transatlantic voyages. His favourite cruise destinations include the Greek Isles, Thailand and the Norwegian fjords. When it comes to river cruises he rates the Irrawaddy, Mekong and Seine as real gems.

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