Most European river-cruise ships are the same width, length and height – up to 12 metres wide, 135 metres long and three decks high – to make sure they will fit under bridges, through locks and cope with fluctuating tides and seasonal conditions.
Once you’re decided on your itinerary, choosing which particular ship that will suit your budget and cruise style depends on various things that are important to you. You have to look at the size of the staterooms or suites, what sort of lounge and dining facilities are offered, whether fares include drinks and tips, and the quality of the (usually always included) shore tours.
Some regular cruisers choose specific ships within the same cruise line, whether for the captain, crew or even their favourite cabin. So we thought we’d take a look at the two biggest river ships in Europe – Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Mozart, already sailing the Danube, and APT’s upcoming AmaMagna, to see how they measure up.
Both are the about 22 metres wide; AmaMagna will be longer (135 metres to Crystal Mozart’s 120.4 metres) and most of AmaMagna’s staterooms will be bigger (27.8sqm to Mozart’s 20sqm). However, if you’re craving the ultimate in personal space, Crystal Mozart’s two-bedroom Crystal Suites measure an eye-popping 88sqm while AmaMagna’s biggest suite will be 66sqm.
Crystal Mozart carries a maximum of 158 guests and AmaMagna 194, which means AmaMagna will have less room for public spaces such as lounges, dining rooms and spa areas. Mozart has a much higher crew-passenger ratio; 92 crew compared to AmaMagna’s 70. All guests on board Mozart have butler service; APT usually offers Silver or Gold butler service to guests in select suites.
Both ships offer five dining options (including room service) and both have swimming pools; AmaMagna has one on the sun deck and Mozart one in the spa. One big difference is AmaMagna’s water sports platform, which will be stocked with Zodiacs, canoes and recreational equipment – a first for any river ship in Europe.