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
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
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
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.