Having just returned from a spectacular river cruise on the AmaMagna I have so much to share about my new found love of River Cruising. And share our Ama Waterways Review.
As our first river cruise experience we had no other river ships to make comparisons with, however were constantly told by fellow passengers we had started at the top.
Thus I wanted to create a Guide To The AmaMagna for families and share my Ama Waterways review.
Also a guide for couples travelling without the kids as let’s face it? As the kids grown up its great to sneak in a few romantic trips. So if you are considering your first river cruise, I hope I have covered all the bases?
We Went With Several Questions About River Cruising
Is river cruising for families, and would we like the small ship environment, also would river cruise ships be as beautiful as ocean ships and a questions we have been asked many times can you get sea sick on a river cruise. And are river cruises full of old people?
And we came away with many answers. But also firmly believing that had we know river cruising offered such a versatile way to see fabulous cities, but in a floating boutique hotel environment, we would have river cruised many years before.
The AmaMagna is AmaWaterways newest river cruise ship and currently the widest river cruise ship ever built. Thus offering cruisers double the space yet with only 20% extra passenger capacity. Resulting in a more spacious chilled out cruise experience. Offering lots of lounge and deck space and larger cabins.
The Burning Question And The Reason We Went Along To Explore The AmaMagna Is To Find Out;
Is River Cruising And The AmaMagna For Families? My Ama Waterways Review.
This answer is a double edge sword and not as straight forwards as one might think. If you are looking for a family river cruise holiday that offers your family the chance to exclusively spend time together; then yes, this is the perfect way to travel.
Alternatively if you are a family that is luxury and destination driven, river cruising offers you luxurious surroundings with impeccable service and awe inspiring ports to explore.
However if you are looking for water parks, kids clubs and amusements then larger Ocean Ships would better serve your needs. It’s all about finding the best cruise to suit your family.
There were several families on our Danube River Cruise and it was wonderful to see them enjoying exploring all the exciting towns and cities we stopped at with their families. The older kids were even taking part in the fitness classes during the day and all seemed genuinely happy hanging out with their families.
My AmaMagna And Ama Waterways Review, What Is Onboard The AmaMagna For Families?
Spread out over 4 decks the AmaMagna is the perfect transitional ship for ocean cruisers. Giving the feel of space and a choice of 4 dining choices. And as such has an awful lot to offer cruisers wanting to try a new cruise experience and explore cities and towns not accessible by ocean cruising.
The Pool Area On The AmaMagna
The pool area is surprisingly quiet. This offers families the promise of a refreshing dip on arriving back from a day exploring. And is wonderful for families with teens who don’t want to spend time round a packed pool. The vibe is quieter and more relaxed.
The deck also has an abundance of sun loungers and day beds. Not once did we struggle to get a seat on deck.
Deck Areas On The AmaMagna
Alongside the pool there is also a putting area and giant chess board for outdoor games. River Cruising offers families the time that we don’t always get in everyday life. Grabbing a chair and enjoying a long game of chess as you sail through Austria is such a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.
The front of the ship offers multi level viewing areas with comfy sofas that are directly in front of the bridge. This is the perfect viewing point for going through the locks. Kids and teens interested in engineering will be mesmerised by the sheer scale and the mechanics or a working river cruise lock.
Watching the ship prepare is fascinating as canopies are collapsed and the bridge lowers. All aided by a hydraulic lift that is able to adjust depending on the height of bridges over locks and rivers.
Keeping Fit On The AmaMagna For Families?
There is a full fitness programme, with daily classes. A full gym and spinning area, treatments rooms and hair salon. There is also a wellness area to chill out and enjoy a freshly made smoothie.
The restaurants offer many healthy options, although there is also an abundance of sweet treats. . However, if you book daily tours you will walk miles if you choose are more strenuous tours. Keeping fit and healthy on the AmaMagna really is part of daily life.
What Facilities Are There Onboard The AmaMagna For Families?
You will not find tradition kids facilities such water slides, kids areas and toys and kids club, the environment is more of an adult environment, however there is a cinema that in the day can double as a games room with Nintendo switches allowing the kids to hang out and meet other kids onboard.
The beauty of this is you are not competing with kids clubs to spend time with your family. River Cruising really is the way forward for one to one family time. The cinema shows family films throughout the cruise.
There are also daily quizzes and small lounge areas, perfect for hanging out and playing a game of uno, a board game or reading a book.
How Do You Find Out What’s Going On Onboard The AmaMagna?
Like ocean cruising you will receive a Daily Cruiser newsletter in your cabin when it’s turned down for the night. The Daily Cruiser has everything you need for your next day. This includes, practical information such as the ships phone no, weather forecast. And also what movie is showing, cocktail of the day, dining, fitness class and excursion times.
You are also given a full fitness programme listing all the classes available. I took part in stretch and yoga up on deck and there is something special about a morning stretch overlooking a beautiful city.
What Is The Dress Code On The AmaMagna?
The dress code is smart casual, I wore a summer dress every night, some opted for trouser suits or skirts. It really is more about what you are comfortable in. Men tended to dress smart but this also included shorts and polo shirts.
Everybody got a little more dressed up for the captains gala dinner, however this was still pretty low key compared to a cruise formal night. The whole atmosphere is pretty chilled, but in an elegant way.
Ama Waterways Review, Dining Options Onboard AmaMagna
There are 4 restaurants onboard offering a huge and varied selection of food. Drinks are including with dinner, which includes beer, wine and soft drinks.
Jimmys is a casual style restaurant where your meals come out on platters. The concept is great there is always a veggie option and amazing salads for starters. My only criticism would be that if you are dining with a hearty eater you may want to ask for extra portions. We did do this on one occasion and the waiters were more than happy to oblige.
Al Fresco is located at the front of the ship and on paper should have been my least favourite restaurant. It is described a cafe type venue, however this was my favourite. Offering plenty of choice but also child friendly options such as burger and pizza should your children/teens want comfort food. But also an inspiring Mediterranean menu, the steak that was cooked to perfection.
At lunch and throughout the day Al Fresco offers lite bites and sandwiches, perfect for grabbing and quick snack.
The Main Restaurant
The main restaurant serves buffet style breakfast and lunches offering a huge choice. This includes full cooked breakfasts and omelette stations at breakfast. And also cooking stations at lunch with a huge variety of salads. This changes daily and fits arounds where the ship is located, creating a local flavour of the places you are visiting.
In the evening it transforms to a table service restaurant with the most wonderful atmosphere.
Alternatively there is a menu of always available items. This includes;
Always Available At Breakfast
And a full breakfast with minute steak.
Always Available At Lunch And Dinner
Hamburger or cheeseburger seved with wedges or fries
And a variety of pizza
The Chef’s Table
The chefs table is an á la carte dining experience. The menu is a set tasting menu offering a choice for each course. All the food is prepared live to allow you to enjoy and observe the preparation as part of the dining experience.
The service is attentive and personalised and a must try dining experience. Which is more suited for families with older teens who are comfortable trying new food or have an adventurous palate.
Ama Waterways Review, Family Cabins, AmaMagna For Families
There are 19 suites onboard that offer 3rd and 4th berth cabins, the extra berths are a double sofa bed so more suitable for children around 14 and younger. Check out our Ama Waterways Cabin Review And Tour HERE.
There are also 16 interconnecting cabins, perfect for families travelling with older teens and as part of a multi generation group.
All of the cabins are very high tech with I-Macs in every cabin should you want to work, explore new ports. Or perfect for teens who want to keep in touch with the outside world.
WIFI on the AmaMagna is free which is a game changer in cruising, especially when travelling with teens.
And should you want a chill night in your cabin there is a full library of music and movies, you can also stream from Netflix should you feel the need to.
All of the lights, temperature and interactive TV are all fully controllable with the in-room ipad and wall control panel.
What About Shore Excursions On River Cruising, Review Of Ama Waterways Tours?
All shore excursions are free of charge, apart from 1 or 2 specially arranged concerts. The excursions are separated into ability levels. Thus if you are travelling with younger children you can take a pink tour aimed at people with lower mobility levels and offer small fun trains or gentle walking tours. The tours are split between guided walking, hiking, cycling, or driving.
All cabins contain bluetooth QuietVox devices which you can take out on tours and then recharge at the end of the day. Once you connect your QuietVox device to your guide you are able and hear the tour through earphones as you follow your guide. These are used on all tours except cycling tours.
The more strenuous tours are excellent. They give you whistle top tour of a town or city and added free time the return to any attractions you should wish too. There is a full excursion talk on the first day of your river cruise telling you about every tour to help you make a decision.
Additionally, should you fancy a bike ride there is a large selection of onboard bikes available to loan. This includes a small amount of children’s bikes. Or you can take part in an arranged bike tour.
What Sort Of Families Would The AmaMagna Suit?
The AmaMagna is a wonderful ship, and our Danube River Cruise was simply breathtaking. It has totally made me reconsider what we want from a cruise holiday. If you are a family that wants to spend time together without the distractions of kids clubs and water parks then this is the cruise for you.
I want to say its a relaxed experience, and in many ways it is. However we were busy the whole time, mainly down to choice as we stopped at so many amazing places and we didn’t want to miss a thing.
So….Can You Get Sea Sick On A River Cruise
We didn’t experience any movement AT ALL, you are aware of the engines when they are on, but its a gentle sound. Even though the Danube has a current it is nothing like being on the Ocean. I usually feel a bit of motion sickness when I get off the ship but experienced none at all.
The Nitty Gritty… Is There A Laundry On The AmaMagna?
Yes, there is a laundry with a washer, dryer and iron. There is also the option to get your laundry done for a small fee. But let’s face it? when you’re travelling with a family a laundry is a godsend. Am I the only mum that checks out reviews to find out about laundries?
And if you are in a suite level SA, SB or above you get butler service, a stocked mini bar and complimentary laundry service.
Ama Waterways Review, Are River Cruises Full Of Old People?
Ama Waterways attract a very international crowd of all ages. We were blown away by the mix, we had been told that river cruises were full of old people. Well, not on AmaMagna! The crowd was fun, friendly and the party nights were so much fun! This cruise totally blew away all the preconceived ideas I had about river cruising.
Final Thoughts And Overall Review Of Ama Waterways And The AmaMagna!
We have been totally bowled over by river cruising. It’s different to ocean cruising, but in a wonderful way. The intimacy of a small ship makes such a difference. Everything feels cosier but cool. And when you dock at a destination you can just walk off the ship and you are in a wonderful city or town waiting to be explored. But that’s for another post!
But don’t just take our word for it check out what Laura has to say over at Cruise Lifestyle
And if you are thinking of booking a River Cruise speak to my gorgeous friend Jane from Northumbria Travel, she is a bit of a AmaWaterways cruise guru!
Disclaimer, We were invited as guests onboard the AmaMagna but all thoughts are my own, and you can’t argue with exceptional quality, stunning cities and wonderful company.