At Sail on the Danube
Story and Photography by David Lewis Taylor.
After I arrived in Budapest, I thought it best to satiate my curiosity about the AmaMagna, which would be my home base, dining venue, and transport for the next week. River cruising on the AmaMagna was highly recommended by Unnamed Project’s preferred professional travel adviser Kathi Russ at Epic Travels by Kathi who made all of our arrangements. After a short walk, I marveled at the fury of activity dockside as it was Saturday, and the preparations were underway for Sunday’s departure. From my vantage point on the Liberty Bridge, the entire AmaMagna was visible. Is that a pickleball court on the top deck? Those aft chairs look like the ideal spot to enjoy a cocktail during a sunset sail. This immaculate ship, a stunning mix of steel and glass, looked even more inviting than my imagination had previously allowed.
Known for their luxurious river cruises in some of the world’s most stunning and intriguing locations, AmaWaterways specifically designed the AmaMagna, one of the largest river cruise ships in the world, for the Danube River. While the AmaMagna is quite spacious, the cabins and suites all feature balconies, and the hallways are wide, the AmaMagna is warm, with an inviting intimacy throughout. The main dining room’s airy partitions define space without closing it off. The spacious open lounge area, a quiet spot for afternoon tea, is lively, music-filled, including a stellar selection of guest performers, and festive in the evenings.
Only on the top deck does the size of the ship become evident and so magical when sailing under the stars. On deck, in addition to the pickleball court one finds exercise areas, a swimming pool, a hot tub, ample seating for deck lounging – and plenty of seating for an afternoon ice cream party.
To say that you feel welcomed and well tended to on the ship would be an understatement. The cheerful, refined, attentive staff and crew always opt to ensure the most luxurious passenger experience. The distinct tone in the dining venues on the Amamanga, The Main Dining Room, Al Fresco Restaurant, Chef’s Table, and Jimmy’s Bar and Restaurant enlivens the dining experiences on board. From the expansive breakfast offerings to the multi-course, masterfully prepared, and presented dinners, complete with wine pairings, dining on the AmaMagna is top-notch.
The guest cabins and suites, all graced with oversized bathrooms, offer the challenges of great comfort. How does one luxuriate on the balcony, fine rest and renewal under the crisp bedsheets atop the enveloping bed, or research the attractions of the ship’s next port on the in-room IMac without FoMO?
Our cruise from Budapest to Passau, in Germany, included stops in Bratislava, Vienna, Krems, Spitz, Linz, Salzburg, and Vilshofen. In nearly all ports, the city is only steps away. Morning and afternoon tours, excursions, walks, bike rides, hikes, wine-tasting, and special outings are planned. Guests can visit the city’s attractions the way they most prefer. A morning small-group guided tour in Vienna provided a historical and geographical introduction to the city and facilitated and enriched my independent afternoon of museums, gardens, and cathedrals visits. On the AmaMagna the destination and the journey share equal importance. Tour guides, specialists, activity guides, and motor coaches (for transport to Salzburg, castles, and mid-city Vienna) are handpicked with care.
For anyone with mobility issues, AmaWaterway and the AmaMagna find accommodations to allow ease in excursion outings. Each of the daily activities is noted with the difficulty level so guests can best plan to their ability. We were surprised when our affable Cruise Manager Cesaro met each passing group from AmaMagna on a random street in Vienna, handing out chocolates and checking in with his guest. This simple gesture was indicative of the entire journey where the level of care, and concern for your comfort never waivers. Soon exchanges with waiters lead to warm inside asides, the ships wellness host is personally inviting you on his planned walks or bike rides, your drink of choice arrives before you have ordered it at the nightly happy hour sip and sail, the captain and crew are familiar and friendly faces and your encounters with guests from around the world are interesting and enriching. Delightful indeed, coupled with exceptional service and a stunning port of call, your journey is pampering, exciting, luxurious, and unforgettable.
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