Special Report: AmaWaterways thinks big to attract ocean cruisers

Special Report: AmaWaterways thinks big to attract ocean cruisers

AmaWaterways unveiled details of its biggest-ever river vessel during a Rhine sailing on the cruise line’s newest ship, AmaKristina. Amie Keeley reports

AmaWaterways is hoping to lure more ocean cruisers to river with the launch of central Europe’s largest river cruise ship.

AmaMagna will be twice the width of traditional river cruise vessels and carry 194 passengers.

It will feature ‘ocean-style cabins’ measuring more than 27sq m, larger communal areas, a heated sundeck swimming pool with whirlpool and bar, a glassenclosed restaurant, spa area and a fitness room large enough for small group classes.

At 22.85 metres wide, it will be the same width as Crystal Mozart, but 15 metres longer and able to carry 36 more passengers. Most river cruise vessels are 11.4 metres wide.

The ship, which will be launched in spring 2019, will be restricted to sailing on the Danube and itineraries will be released by the end of the month.

The cruise line made the announcement in Amsterdam on board AmaKristina, its newest ship, following its launch in Germany.

Kristin Karst, co-owner and executive vice-president, said: “We know many ocean cruisers haven’t come on river cruises because they thought the cabins were too small, so now we have a solution.

“Innovation is at the forefront of our business. We are always thinking ‘what next?’ Guests are younger and more active than perhaps they were 15 years ago, so you have to adapt and offer the right things, whether it’s the food, bigger cabins or more activities.”

UK managing director Stuart Perl said AmaMagna would have a “halo effect”, adding: “It gives us something very exciting to sell to the market; 60% of river cruisers have ocean cruised, so there is also a natural migration from ocean to river. AmaMagna offers a half-way house because some passengers want something smaller than an ocean ship.”

Karst admitted 2016 had been a “challenging” year following terror attacks in Europe, but since September sales had returned to normal and are on track to be up 20%-25% in 2017, compared with 2016.

The cruise line is building two 56-passenger ships. One will sail the Ganges from spring 2019 and the second will sail in Myanmar from late August in 2019.

Karst said she could also see Adventures by Disney, which charters two ships from AmaWaterways, opening up to the UK “at some point in the future”.

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