AmaWaterways to launch ‘biggest river cruise vessel’ in Europe in 2019

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AmaWaterways is to launch the ‘biggest river cruise vessel’ in Europe in 2019.

The ship will be twice as wide as standard river cruise vessels and accommodate 194 passengers.

The ship will sail the Danube with itineraries released by the end of the month.

President Rudi Schreiner said the ship, which will be called AmaMagna, would have more facilities and ocean style cabins.

The announcement was in Amsterdam during a week-long sailing on the line’s newest ship AmaKristina which was sailing a Rhine River itinerary from Basel to Amsterdam.

AmaWaterways was set-up in 2002 by husband and wife team Rudi Schreiner and Kristin Karst and Jimmy Murpy.

The cruise line has 20 ships and is expected to launch another five by 2019. It runs cruises around the world, including Europe, Asia and Africa.

The company set-up a UK office in Guildford last year headed up by cruise industry veteran Stuart Perl. Previously, it had been represented by Fred Olsen Travel since 2008.

Ama also has a partnership with APT which has chartered its ships since 2006 for its luxury cruises.

The ship will have multiple dining options including an al fresco glass-enclosed restaurant, an open-water sports platform, with zodiac boats, canoes and recreational equipment. Construction for the new began on March 6.

Schreiner made the announcement during a Rhine sailing on the line’s newest ship AmaKristina.

“As the luxury river cruise market continues to grow, we want to carry on as the leader in industry innovation,” he said.

“While this new double-width concept has been on the table for some time, we believe, given the unique demand that exists, that now is the perfect moment to introduce this style of ship.

“AmaMagna will provide guests with generous personal space, the freedom of multiple dining choices and exceptional stateroom comfort. “Combining this with our award-winning cuisine, noteworthy shore excursions and remarkable onboard service, we feel this ship is a game-changer.”

AmaMagna will feature 97 staterooms – the majority of which will be over 300 square feet.

Additional amenities include a large heated sundeck swimming pool with whirlpool and sky bar, spa area with new treatments, a fitness room large enough for small group classes.

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Disney river cruises to have ‘Beauty and the Beast’ theme

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Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” river cruise features a tour of Riquewihr, a French village that evokes Belle’s hometown from the movie. Photo Credit: Yoshihiro Takada
 

Adventures by Disney is amping up its themed river cruise experiences for 2018, adding “Beauty and the Beast” themed sailings along the Rhine River.

On six departures in 2018, Adventures by Disney will pay tribute to the villages and culture that inspired Disney’s Beauty and the Beast films. The sailings will feature a Beauty and the Beast-themed dinner as well as other culinary experiences inspired by the film.

There will be screenings of both the live-action and animated versions of the film on the ship and a tour of Riquewihr, a French village that evokes Belle’s hometown from the movie.

Adventures by Disney is also offering two epicurean Rhine cruises during the fall. Hosted by chefs and sommeliers, these adult-only sailings will highlight food and beverage experiences both on and off the ship. Activities will include winetasting, gourmet food and wine demonstrations and workshops, culinary walking tours in several ports, a French patisserie class, local beer and wine pairings, and craft cocktail seminars.

Adventures by Disney’s eight-day Rhine river cruises will sail on AmaWaterways’ 158-passenger AmaKristina, cruising through France, Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands.

For 2018, Adventures by Disney will also offer six Danube sailings aboard AmaWaterways’ 170-passenger AmaViola.

The departures will include a new adults-only Oktoberfest sailing in September 2018, which will visit Germany during the annual Oktoberfest celebration, and will include themed parties and festive culinary offerings both on and off the ship.

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The eight-day Danube cruises sail through Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. They include visiting scenes from the movie “The Sound of Music” in Salzburg, exploring Devin Castle in Bratislava, and taking a traditional Austrian folk dancing lesson in Melk.

Adventures by Disney entered the river cruise market last year when it partnered with AmaWaterways on family-focused river cruise itineraries. AmaWaterways thus has designed its newest vessels to better accommodate families, including providing sets of connecting staterooms and suites.

Adventures by Disney worked closely with AmaWaterways to reimagine shipboard spaces and activities to offer programming for kids, teens and adults.

Bookings for Adventures by Disney’s 2018 river cruise vacations open on March 2.

Disney to expand and tweak its river cruise program

Adventures by Disney (ABD) dove into the family river cruise market this year, offering departures on the Danube in partnership with AmaWaterways. How did their early sailings go? Well enough that ABD already announced that it will expand its river trips next year to the Rhine.

However, there will be one notable change in 2017 when the AmaViola and AmaKristina sail the Danube and Rhine respectively: No 4- or 5-year-olds.

In its first year of family river cruising, ABD set the minimum passenger age at 4 with a recommended age of 8, but that minimum has been boosted to 6 for year two.

“We continually review our policies and make adjustments from time-to-time as needed,” said Amanda Adler, public relations manager for Disney Destinations. “The level of activity on these itineraries is more suitable to children who are eight and older.”

Those itineraries include excursions like bike rides, walking tours and sledding into a mine. On a recent ABD Danube sailing, Travel Weekly writer Paul Heney found the company making some adjustments on the fly, like raising the minimum age from 12 to 14 on particularly challenging bike excursions and procuring appropriately-sized cycles for younger guests when the onboard options weren’t a great fit.

Accommodating a virtually all-ages clientele adds extra layers of difficulty to many aspects of a cruise, from designing excursions to crafting dinner menus. But Disney isn’t alone in trying to cater to a wide range of clients aboard family sailings. Tauck’s family river cruises also set the recommended age at 8, though passengers 4 and up are permitted, and Uniworld’s Family Adventures also have a minimum age of 4, with some activities specifically geared toward tweens or teens.

Uniworld began its multi-generational departures in 2010, and this year it more than doubled its family sailings from five departures to 13 cruises.

“Uniworld is in touch with its customers and listened to the need for more multigenerational family itineraries,” said Ellen Bettridge, Uniworld’s CEO. “These departures are designed for families of all ages to participate in programming like hiking, biking, cooking demonstrations, language lessons and more.”

As ABD gains more experience on Europe’s rivers, we can expect that it will fine-tune its itineraries and excursions to better entertain and accommodate all of its young passengers just as it does on its ocean cruises and in its parks. Ages 6-plus, of course.