Fodor’s Expert Review
With itineraries focused on the most popular section of the Danube River traveling through Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary, AmaWaterways’ 162-passenger AmaSonata delivers the “Queen of Europe’s Rivers” in relaxed style for upscale couples. Family-owned by a US-based trio that helped develop and refine Europe’s river cruise industry as far back as the 1990s, AmaWaterways launched in 2006. The line elevated the quality of cuisine and wine offered on river ships, spending more on food than most of the competition. It was among the first to introduce a second dining option on its ships. AmaWaterways also introduced a now-signature “twin balcony” design for many of the cabins — that is, a balcony just large enough for two to sit lining one half of the cabin, with a French balcony for the other half.Read More
Serving a predominantly North American clientele, AmaSonata lures a somewhat more active crowd than some river cruise operators, and features a fleet of bikes that guests can take out on guided trips or for their own independent explorations (cycle tour operator Backroads utilizes AmaWaterways ships for its groups, although it brings its own upgraded bikes). A wellness host conducts daily activities including core strengthening, yoga, resistance band workouts, Pilates, and stretching. In each port, multiple off-ship offerings are provided, including coach tours, guided walks, cycling — all included in the cruise fare. A pianist is aboard most evenings, and special performances might include a Hungarian folklore show or opera singers; guest lecturers provide insight into local culture and history.
AmaSonata operates a series of themed cruises throughout the year. In addition to end-of-year Christmas market itineraries, of particular note are the cruises keyed to music inspired by the river, from Strauss’s The Blue Danube to Mozart’s Linz Symphony.