My first boat tour was on the stunning AmaMagna, one of only two double-width boats cruising on the Danube, meaning more choice on board for dining, excellent spa facilities and very comfortable spacious accommodation. For someone that loves ocean cruising but is wary about trying a river cruise, I think this is a great starting point. Carrying 196 passengers with a wide choice of accommodation onboard, it provides the perfect stepping stone from ocean to river.
The facilities on board include a pool on the sun deck as well as comfortable loungers where you can sit and watch the world go by. AmaWaterways is a member of La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs which guarantees superb dining with plenty of choice; all diets are catered for. At the back of the boat, they have the Captain's Table restaurant, which has a lovely ambience and is perfect for a celebratory meal.
Alongside their European river cruises, AmaWaterways also offer Nile and Mekong River cruises - and in Africa they have a four-night cruise on the Zambezi river which they combine with a variety of pre and post cruise arrangements. There are some wonderful itineraries to choose from, including stays in Cape Town, a safari in Kruger National Park or Tanzania, visiting Victoria Falls and a 3 or 4 night journey on the Rovos Rail train.
Also announced at the conference was AmaWaterways' brand-new Magdalena River Cruises in Colombia, South America, launching in 2024. The first major cruise line to cruise and explore Colombia, this will be a very exciting addition to their programme.
While in Vienna, I was very pleased to visit the Scenic Jasper, another popular cruise line with Mundy clients. This was the first opportunity I have had to see their style of boat and I thought the Royal Panorama Suite was really lovely and spacious, with a fantastic view from the picture windows at the stern of the ship. All suites have butler service - and their innovative salt therapy lounge was very inviting.
The other cruise line I was excited to visit was Riverside Luxury Cruises. A brand-new river cruise line that, at the end of December 2022, completed the purchase of all Crystal River Cruise's ships. I was fortunate enough to stay overnight on their flagship Riverside Mozart, which Crystal had refurbished just before their pandemic-induced bankruptcy, so Riverside didn't have to change too much by way of renovation.
The style of the boat and Riverside's hopes of being the top Ultra Luxury Cruise line on the rivers will certainly appeal to the most discerning of clients. I occupied a Penthouse Suite which was exceedingly comfortable - as well as the bedroom area, it had a walk-in wardrobe and very spacious bathroom.
A quick tour of Vienna and my visit was over. The conference was very informative - and I have come home with great expectations for river cruise holidays in 2023.