Auspicious Launch

Amadeus Waterways debuts Amalegro

By: Ana Figueroa

The champagne flowed. A string quartet performed. And a local organ grinder strolled through the crowd. River ship christenings tend to be a little less formal than their ocean-going counterparts. In fact, the festivities launching Amadeus Waterways’ latest new build, the MS Amalegro, were downright warm and fuzzy. But that’s not surprising. As the officiating clergyman noted, the vessel’s name includes the words for “love” and “happy.” To love happily, he declared, was the destiny of all who sailed on her.

With that auspicious April launch, the garland-festooned Amalegro left the banks of the Danube in Vienna, and proceeded on her inaugural sailing to Nuremberg.

The sister ship to the MS Amadagio, which debuted in 2006, the 150-passenger Amalegro represents the evolving vision of Amadeus Waterways president Rudi Schreiner. A river cruise industry pioneer, Schreiner (who founded Amadeus in 2002 with Jim Murphy of Brendan Worldwide Vacations) believes it’s the details that set Amalegro and Amadeus Waterways apart from the competition.

“I looked at other river ships, but decided I should look to the finest hotels for inspiration,” said Schreiner.

That inspiration clearly permeates every aspect of the guest experience onboard Amalegro, from dining to entertainment to accommodations. The dining room, for example, offers complimentary local wines, regional specialties and fresh fish purchased en route from specially selected suppliers.
Nearly every evening, a different group of performers entertains with offerings ranging from Mozart operettas to Bavarian folkloric music. During the day, guests are treated to well-organized city tours led by local guides at each stop along the Danube.

Cabins on Amalegro are equipped with flat-panel TVs with Internet access, elaborate shower fixtures and real hotel-style mattresses in two separate sizes (no more “pushed together” twins to form one queen). Plush terry robes and complimentary bottles of water (replenished daily) are much-appreciated extra details.

Amalegro features French balconies on her two top decks, an elevator, and two different lounges. The Panorama Lounge is the vessel’s social hub; a place to enjoy entertainment or lectures, or simply admire the historic sites along the river. An attentive wait staff serves cocktails from a beautiful bar at the back of the lounge. Another bar-side amenity was an instant hit with guests: a commercial Nespresso machine, dispensing an array of coffees via a high-tech pod system.

Amalegro’s smaller aft lounge, the Veranda Bar, is perfect for more intimate gatherings. An excellent Wi-Fi signal attracts guests of all ages, eager to spend some time curled up with their laptops. Others gathered for boisterous games of cards.

“We think the Veranda Bar is a perfect spot for holding meetings. Agents should consider the ship for small-group business,” noted Amadeus Waterways vice president Kristin Karst.

Next to the aft lounge, a beauty salon offers haircuts, manicures and massages. A fitness area boasts a sauna and showers, treadmill and exercise bicycles. Even more fun is the fleet of real bicycles on the ship.

“You can pretty much bike along the Danube from Austria to Germany,” noted Schreiner.

Indeed, the ship’s young godmothers peddled ahead of the ship one day, and then told of their adventures.

Not feeling quite that free-spirited, I did, however, frequent the convenient jogging track on the Sun Deck. The brisk spring weather meant that I was usually alone up there, enjoying the gorgeous Danube river valleys, pointy church steeples and villages sweeping by me on all sides. At times, the white shade canopies on the Sun Deck collapsed down electronically, to accommodate low-lying bridges.

Bridges, of course, are a hallmark of the Danube. One morning, we suddenly encountered one that seemed so low that I crouched down as a precaution. Overhead, a group of schoolchildren ran to the center of the bridge and waved down to me with outstretched arms. I waved back enthusiastically and smiled about it all day.

I guess that clergyman was right about Amalegro’s name.


Amadeus Waterways’ MS Amalegro offers itineraries on the Danube, Rhine, Main and Moselle, as well as a Christmas Time Cruise featuring two nights in Prague.