The steelwork was completed at the Vahali yard in Serbia, and she was then brought by barge to Holland for hard furnishings. A Korean freighter is taking her back again even as you read this, all the way to Constanza on the Black Sea, to sail back up the Danube to Germany for the final fit-out ready for the maiden voyage on 5th May 2019.
AmaMagna is unusual in that it will be the same length as the existing Ama vessels, but twice as wide. And whilst that results in double the space, the guest capacity will only increase from 160 to 196 people, who can enjoy larger suites and cabins, increased restaurant options, enhanced wellness facilities and more.
Amazingly spacious staterooms and suites will range from 355 square feet up to an incredible 710 square feet - with standard cabins (entry level) at 210 square feet, just about the size of the very biggest accommodation on some river vessels. Whilst this may sound small to ocean cruisers, by river standards it is extraordinary.
The restaurant options will be extensive. Jimmy's, named after Rudi's founding partner Jimmy Murphy, will be similar to the main restaurant in terms of food, but it will be served family style for tasting and sharing, whilst the Chef's Table, as on other AmaWaterways ships, offers a unique and truly distinct gastronomic experience with wine pairings. There will also be an al fresco restaurant at the front of the ship, with a rolling glass front to protect it from the breeze, seating 28 passengers and serving vegetarian style food.
A spacious wellness area with two wellness hosts will offer plenty of classes, as well as spa facilities. As on other Ama ships, a fleet of bicycles will be available for shoreside exploration, independently or on organised tours, whilst, unlike on the other vessels, the water deck will feature a garage with a selection of sports equipment and an excursion boat for 12.
Rudi admits this is something of a 'work in progress' and what is offered to guests will depend on what part of the Danube you happen to be sailing on. He mentions that at Passau, where the Danube, Inn and Ilz meet, there is a good area for kayaking, whilst the island at Budapest also offers some excellent opportunities. The water options will supplement the range of shore excursions on offer, and there will also be an outside sitting area next to the marina, furnished with tables and chairs.
As we know, the Danube is the only river able to accommodate a vessel of this width, and it can be taken just as far as Vilshofen, and obviously not through the Main/Danube canal at the watershed. As a result, AmaMagna is really a one-off: this is not a design that can be transferred to the other European rivers.
As Rudi says, with 20 vessels the company can afford to have specially designed ships for specific rivers, and welcomes additional capacity on the Danube, which is the company's number one destination, edging ahead of the Rhine. He loves the excitement of creating a fun and totally new prototype.
I asked him about his plans for the future, which he coyly confirms as 'continued expansion' and 'product enhancement' - in short, more and better! Something we should all aspire to!