AmaWaterways’ new double-width river cruise ship is redefining river cruising in Europe. One of the most irresistible features of this river cruise ship is its choice of dining onboard. AmaMagna boasts four dining venues for guests to enjoy and all are included in the cruise fare. In this ultimate guide to AmaMagna dining I’ll be explaining the options available and sharing the dishes I loved on my cruise.
What is the food like on AmaMagna?
I found the quality of food onboard AmaMagna to be impressive. The presentation of the food was excellent and portion sizes were just right. AmaWaterways is the first river cruise company to be invited to join the oldest and largest food and wine society in the world – La Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs. A sign that the quality of food is one of the best in the world.
AmaWaterways’ outstanding cuisine and service is one of the main reasons that six of its ships have made it into the top ten in the Berlitz: River Cruising in Europe & the USA travel guide. I’m certain that AmaMagna will be included in this list for 2019-20.
AmaWaterways spends considerably more on high-quality food ingredients and wine and on hotel crew service training than any other river cruise company.DOUGLAS WARD, BERLITZ RIVER CRUISING IN EUROPE
The food on AmaMagna, takes inspiration from the destinations it visits on the Danube. You can expect local specialties to be served throughout the cruise. For example, in Austria, we enjoyed Goulash, Sacher Torte and Apricot dumplings; in Germany we were treated to a Bavarian-style lunch (think sausages, pretzels, cheese and noodles, washed down with Pilsner beer).
The food is fresh and offers healthy options on all of its menus. This is particularly helpful for those who are health-conscious and prefer lighter options.
Are all meals included on AmaMagna?
All food is covered in the cruise fare on AmaWaterways’ river cruises. This includes all four dining venues so there’s no need to worry about additional specialty dining charges. For dinner, the Main Dining Room is available every evening and reservations are required for the other three dining venues. It’s advised to see the Maitre d’ when you get onboard AmaMagna to make your reservations and discuss any dietary requirements.
AmaWaterways offers passengers unlimited drinks, including wine and beer, during meal times. The waiting staff are very attentive so your glass will never run dry. A sommelier will always offer recommendations for regional wines at the beginning of dinner to suit the dishes.
Are special dietary requirements catered for on AmaMagna?
AmaMagna is able to cater for people with special dietary requirements, including allergies and intolerances, for example, a gluten-free section is available in Al Fresco Restaurant’s buffet.
It’s important to speak to the Maitre d’ at his desk in the Main Dining Room to inform him of your needs at the start of the cruise. The chefs on AmaMagna are able to accommodate all requests except kosher meals.
What are the dining times on AmaMagna?
AmaMagna offers passengers a number of dining options throughout the day: breakfast, lunch, afternoon snacks, dinner and late-night snacks. The times of these meals alter slightly on a daily basis to account for the itinerary and excursions. An example day from Day Two of our cruise:
6.30 – 10.30am Breakfast in Al Fresco Restaurant
7.30 – 9.30am Breakfast in the Main Dining Room
12.30 – 2.30pm Bavarian lunch in the Main Dining Room / light lunch in Al Fresco Restaurant
4.00 – 5.00pm Sandwiches and cakes served in Al Fresco Restaurant
6.30pm Dinner in the four dining venues
10.30pm Late night snacks in Al Fresco Restaurant
In this example, dining in the Main Dining Room is from 6.30pm onwards but if you’re dining in any of the other venues, you should be seated for this time as some of the courses are served to all guests at the same time.
Is room service available on AmaMagna?
Room service is available for guest staying in suites. Hot drinks and pastries can be ordered via the door card that can be left outside on the stateroom door.
What is the dress code for dinner on AmaMagna?
The dress code for your evening meal on AmaMagna is smart casual. On some information I found in relation to the dress code AmaWaterways recommends ‘country club’ style but better advice is be to dress as you would to go to a nice restaurant.
no tie required
no suit required
no cocktail dress required
There is likely to be a Gala Dinner on one evening of the cruise, when you’re invited to dress a little smarter.
Main Dining Room
Location: Cello Deck forward, adjacent to the Reception
Serving: Breakfast, lunch and dinner, brunch is served for passengers taking morning and afternoon excursions on some days
AmaMagna’s Main Dining Room doesn’t require reservations for dinner. Passengers are seated on a first come, first served basis and is the largest of the restaurants onboard Amamagna (seating up to 140 passengers). Tables are arranged in booths seating four, round tables of six and a small number of tables for two. Not set seating is enforced so you can choose to dine with others or on your own.
Breakfast in the Main Dining Room
Breakfast is served as a combination of hot and cold buffet and menu items. I particularly enjoyed the cooked to order poached eggs but other items such as waffles and Eggs Benedict were also popular. For a good start to the day you can order an A+ Breakfast that includes eggs, steak and hash browns.
Lunch in the Main Dining Room
Lunch in the Main Dining Room is available every day and like breakfast, offers a choice of buffet and menu items. The buffet offers fresh salad and cooked meats as well as delicious desserts to treat yourself to. The lunch menu changes to reflect AmaMagna’s itinerary but there were items such as burgers and pizza that were available to order every day.
Dinner in the Main Dining Room
The dinner menu changes daily and offers two or three options per course. I never found it difficult to decide on what to order. The portion sizes were just right so I could enjoy my entire meal without forcing down the dessert. Some items like salmon, steak and chicken are always available to choose from the menu. The left hand side of the menu always offers the chef’s recommendations.
One evening on each cruise, AmaMagna offers a La Chaine des Rotisseurs menu. This French meal, features items such as French onion soup, Foie Gras and lamb chops served with fine wines. To enjoy this special menu, just ensure you dine in the Main Dining Room or Jimmy’s Restaurant on this day.
Al Fresco Restaurant
Location: Violin Deck forward
Serving: Breakfast (early/late riser), light lunch, afternoon tea and dinner
The Al Fresco Restaurant is a bright and casual dining venue that offers breakfast, lunch and dinner to passengers looking for light and healthy options. I discovered that this venue also does extremely good desserts.
The Al Fresco Restaurant has a light and clean decor with windows that retract (when AmaMagna is not cruising) and an outdoor seating area. This outside space was surprisingly quiet in the mornings and we regularly enjoyed a quiet coffee with breakfast whilst admired the views.
Breakfast in the Al Fresco Restaurant
Breakfast is offered as a buffet with continental and cooked breakfast choices. There is cereal and yogurts as well as a self-service hot drinks station. This venue offers extended breakfast times so if you’re looking to eat before or after the Main Dining Room times, this is your second option. It opens one hour before and extends to one hour later than the Main Dining Room for breakfast. You can still order from the Main Dining Room menu in the Al Fresco Restaurant so you won’t miss out.
Light Lunch and Afternoon Snacks in the Al Fresco Restaurant
Lunch in the Al Fresco Restaurant changes daily and incorporates local cuisine along the Danube river cruise. This is buffet-style dining but you still have the option to order off the Main Dining Room menu. Regular options in Al Fresco include baba ghanoush, serrano ham and chorizo, and mushrooms stuffed with tuna. The staff are so helpful and attentive and are happy to help with any special requests.
Dinner in the Al Fresco Restaurant
You are welcome to dine in the Al Fresco Restaurant on AmaMagna on any evening during your cruise, provided that a reservation has been made with the Maitre d’. I believe this restaurant can seat around 30 diners. The Al Fresco Restaurant has to be my favourite for evening dining, serving seven-courses of fresh and flavoursome food that didn’t leave me feeling like I’d overindulged.
Late Night Snacks in the Al Fresco Restaurant
If you’re feeling a bit peckish later in the evening, the Al Fresco Restaurant offers a selection of hot snacks. During our cruise this included: spring rolls, chicken legs, onion rings, jalapeno poppers and cake.
Location: Piano Deck forward
Serving: Lunch and dinner
During lunch, the Chef’s Table Restaurant is used as an additional space for dining and offers dishes from the Main Dining Restaurant menu. This is particularly needed when cruising during lunch time and all guests are onboard.
The Chef’s Table is a chance to get closer to the action as each course is prepared in front of you at an open chef’s station and served to guests at the same time. Guests who have previously cruised with AmaWaterways will be familiar with this venue. The menu remains the same each night (the chef informed us that the current menu will be served until the end of 2019) and each passenger is guaranteed the opportunity to dine here at least once during the cruise – just a reservation is required as the restaurant can seat approximately 30 guests.
The seven-course meal is presented with care and precision, with every dish appealing to the eyes as well as the taste buds. Particular favourites for me were the salmon and beef dishes. The sorbet is served in alcohol which a bit too strong-tasting for me.
Jimmy’s Bar and Restaurant
Location: Piano Deck forward
Serving: Lunch and dinner
Jimmy’s Restaurant is a brand new restaurant debuting on AmaMagna and is named in honour of AmaWaterways’ late co-owner, Jimmy Murphy. I especially liked the nice touch with Jimmy Murphy’s family photos on the wall to emphasise the family feel in this dining venue. Up to 65 guests can dine here each night with a reservation. This venue is used as an additional space for diners during lunch, which serves the Main Dining Room menu.
This restaurant serves the same menu as the Main Dining Room – with a difference. Two to three dishes from each course are served to each table on large sharing platters. Diners are free to help themselves to the food on the platters. I admired this innovative approach to dining as sometimes, with so much good food on the menu, it’s difficult to choose just one dish. This format encouraged you to try a few dishes per course.
It’s reassuring to know that there is no need to worry about eating too much when sharing with fellow guests. If you’d like to order a second helping of a popular dish then the waiting staff are more than happy to bring the table extra portions. I ordered extra bacon as it was very tasty on the Caesar salad.
The waiting staff are very accommodating and were able to help with items that weren’t on the menu. The request for a banana ice cream sundae for dessert was met with no trouble whatsoever.
AmaMagna is a contemporary ship that’s redefining river cruising and Jimmy’s is a prime example of how AmaWaterways is making river cruising current and refreshing. There’s a buzz about the place that’s encouraging passengers to be more social during dinner and to try different foods. This family-dining style may not suit all passengers but definitely shouldn’t be ruled out before trying; I enjoyed my second visit to Jimmy’s Restaurant more than the first, simply because I was more familiar with the concept and its relaxed style.
Final Thoughts on AmaMagna Dining
Dining is one of AmaMagna’s most passionate elements. Each meal is prepared with fresh local ingredients hand-picked by the chefs to a standard that truly represents the places visited on the Danube. AmaMagna’s dining brings more choice to the river cruise experience for passengers to try and this variety extends to the style of dining.
The food is consistently high in quality and is quite possibly the best food I’d ever had the fortune to enjoy on a cruise. I appreciated the fresh and light dishes that were served in the set menu restaurants as well as the local dishes on offer during lunch.
There is certainly no chance of feeling hungry on AmaMagna, the most difficult thing to decide is likely to be where to eat first!
How to book a river cruise on AmaMagna
If you’re from the US or Canada, you can book directly with AmaWaterways.
If you are from the UK, I would highly recommend that you contact one of AmaWaterways’ trade partners, Planet Cruise, which has a specialised river cruise team who can help you.
Disclaimer: I was invited to cruise onboard AmaMagna as part of a VIP Fam Trip organised by AmaWaterways. This blog post features my own, honest opinions of the cruise and the river ship.