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20. April 2018

Amadeus Queen brings innovation in a sleek package

At first look, it's easy to see that Amadeus River Cruises' newest vessel, the 162-passenger Amadeus Queen, is sleeker than its predecessors. It is also designed to better adapt to high water-level issues by being six inches lower than most competing ships.

"It makes it a little bit more reliable," said Patrick Janssens, CEO of the Netherlands-based Shipyard De Hoop. "Compared with the competition, when the waters are high, this ship will be one of the last ones that can still pass [under] the bridges and continue the voyages."

Janssens said that while six inches might not seem like a lot, in the already tight dimensions of a river vessel, that meant the shipyard had to really rethink the construction and engineering. In so doing, it incorporated engines that are quieter, produce fewer vibrations and are more fuel efficient, among other enhancements.

The restaurant onboard the Amadeus Queen offers an intimate feel and a variety of seating configurations. Photo Credit: Michelle Baran

But even those passengers who won't ever know the engineering innovations that took place behind the scenes will readily recognize the investments in the public areas and ship decor, which make the Queen the most chic Amadeus vessel to date.

From the midcentury, modernesque furniture to the bright and airy central lobby that enables natural light to flood from large skylights through the center of the ship, the Queen showcases the evolution of the Amadeus River Cruises brand and the company's efforts to be more competitive in the river cruise market.

The Amadeus Queen falls into the company's Silver class of vessels, which includes the Amadeus Silver, Amadeus Silver II, Amadeus Silver III and the Amadeus Provence. As of next year, it will also include the Amadeus Star.

Perhaps one of the most unusual spaces on the Amadeus Queen is the lap pool and lounge area at the aft that features a retractable sunroof, enabling it to be used in both warmer and cooler weather. This area has its own bar, as well.

Martina Luftner, who co-owns Amadeus parent Luftner Cruises with her husband, Wolfgang, was a key force in the design process of the Amadeus Queen. She confided that she took inspiration for the resortlike area from the design of a yacht she found in a magazine.

That inspiration continues into the atrium lobby, where the central staircase is flanked by porthole-shaped openings and mirrors. Right off of the staircase on the lowest deck, a Zen garden-style planter marks the entrance to the massage room and hair salon, exuding an aura of relaxation.

The Amadeus Queen's bar/lounge area features midcentury modern-inspired furniture. Photo Credit: Michelle Baran

The restaurant, with its shades of light gray and white, is decidedly clean and modern, the lighting warmed by lamps hanging above the tables that offer a more intimate feel among a large variety of seating configurations, including two- and four-top tables as well as bench seating.

The food is pan-European and consistently delicious. Passengers can expect a mix of local specialties of the region they are sailing through as well as dishes that are popular throughout Europe. Breakfast and lunch are served buffet style, with the option of ordering specialty eggs at breakfast and from a set menu at lunch. Dinner is served from a full menu with two or three choices offered for each course, often including vegetarian options.

The Amadeus Queen has staterooms that are either 172 or 188 square feet as well as 12 suites at 284 square feet with small, step-out balconies. The larger staterooms are unique in that they have walk-in closets, which are not common on river ships. They also have drop-down windows that function as balconies when lowered. Several lower-deck cabins are connecting staterooms for families.

The bow features a fitness room and a bar/lounge area with outdoor seating. An elevator connects the three lower decks; the only deck not accessible by elevator is the sun deck.

Luftner Cruises formally launched its Amadeus River Cruises line in the U.S. two years ago. The family-owned and -operated company has been building and managing river cruise ships for more than 30 years, and after a couple attempts at partnering with third parties to represent Luftner in the U.S., it finally decided it was time develop its own U.S. office and business.

Marcus Leskovar, executive vice president of Amadeus River Cruises, who spearheads the company's U.S. operations, said, "We wanted to be able to compete and be represented."

Leskovar said that what Amadeus offers to the U.S. market is a better value than many of its competitors offer, thanks in part to the fact that the European customer base that the company has traditionally worked with is much more price sensitive than the U.S. customer base. American passengers who opt for an Amadeus river cruise can expect a more European atmosphere onboard, including the possibility of multiple languages being spoken, such as German, French and Spanish. But Leskovar said that English-speaking passengers can expect all announcements, excursions and services to be offered in English, as well.

[Article by Michelle Baran, Travel Weekly]

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