River cruising is growing in popularity and many people are trying a river cruise for the first time. AmaWaterways is one of the leading river cruise lines but which cabin should you choose? This article compares an AmaMagna balcony cabin to a suite with AmaWaterways.
AmaMagna is AmaWaterways’ only double-width river ship, offering plenty of space and only 20% more passengers than regular river ships. One of the huge perks of this larger river ship is its four dining venues available to all guests.
You can read the full guide to AmaMagna and why it’s the best ship for your first river cruise.
The ship was launched in May 2019 and we were invited to take a cruise from Vilshofen to Budapest in July 2019. My thoughts in this article are my own. Due to a noise issue in our AmaMagna balcony cabin, we transferred to a suite. I have created this article to compare the two options.
There are four main types of cabins onboard AmaMagna (8 categories):
- Window cabin
- Balcony cabin
- Owner’s suite
AmaMagna Balcony Tour
There are plenty of balcony cabins on AmaMagna, all situated on the Violin and Cello decks. This is a tour of cabin 343 on the upper deck (Violin) and category AA. This AmaMagna balcony is 252 sq. ft.
From my personal experience, I would recommend avoiding the balcony cabins in the aft. When the river ship was moving (mostly overnight), there was considerable noise and vibrations from the engines. Fortunately, we were offered a different cabin, which turned out to be a suite.
AmaMagna Suite Tour
Suites are also situated on the Violin and Cello decks. This a tour of cabin 302 on the upper deck (Violin) and category SA. This AmaMagna suite is 355 sq. ft. It’s situated mid-ship nearest the public areas, there was only one evening we heard any noise coming from the lounge.
AmaMagna Balcony vs Suite: Bathroom
The balcony cabin’s bathroom is a good size with a sink, large shower and toilet. In comparison, the suite has a separate toilet (without wash basin) alongside the bathroom with double sinks and slightly smaller shower.
Overall, I preferred the balcony cabin’s bathroom layout. The shower was a great size and was actually bigger than the suite’s. The separate toilet in the suite is a nice feature but did not have a wash basin. For hygiene, I’d have preferred a wash basin so that I didn’t need to go into the bathroom to wash my hands.
Having the double sinks in the suite bathroom is an excellent feature for getting ready in the mornings and evenings. I should also mention the magnifying mirror in both bathrooms, which are really handy for make-up and shaving but also quite scary!
AmaMagna Balcony vs Suite: Storage
There is a good amount of storage in both the balcony cabin and suite, with ample drawers and wardrobe space for a one week cruise.
There is additional space in the suite with much more wardrobe space and an extra unit under the television. These extra drawers are handy for keeping things like handbags, cameras and charging cables tidy.
Each cabin on AmaMagna, has a desk with an Apple Mac computer that can be used for browsing the internet, checking emails, staying in touch with friends and family or for work (if really necessary). All cabins also come with a control panel on the wall, which enables guests to adjust the temperature and lighting to suit.
AmaMagna Balcony vs Suite: Layout
There was a good amount of space in both the balcony cabin and the suite but the suite has the added luxury of a sofa and coffee table. This gives you somewhere else to sit other than the bed.
The suite has a door that divides the entrance, bathroom and toilet from the rest of the cabin. It’s probably worth keeping this door open so you don’t walk into it when you go to the bathroom during the night.
In both cabins the bed is adjacent to the balcony. One of the things I enjoyed about having a balcony, was being able to wake up in the mornings and watch the scenery go by from my bed. It’s not a bad way to start your day. It would have been even better if the bed had faced the balcony window – this is a feature of the Owner’s Suite. A nice design feature in the balcony cabin and suite is the slatted canopy over the bed, which acts as a dividing feature.
AmaMagna Balcony vs Suite: Balcony
One of the best features of AmaWaterways’ AmaMagna ship is the generously-sized balconies. Whilst on our cruise, we noticed that many of the other river ships only had Juliet balconies so the guests didn’t have the option to sit out on their balconies.
AmaMagna’s balconies have enough space for two chairs and a small table. You can enjoy the ever-changing riverscape whilst sipping your drink of choice. In the summer months, the weather on the Danube can be hot so the balcony is a very nice option to have.
AmaMagna Balcony vs Suite: What’s Included
A lot if things are included in your cruise fare with AmaWaterways regardless of the stateroom you choose:
- All meals
- Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks during meals
- 24-hour hot drinks
- Excursions in each port
- Fitness and wellness programme
It’s close to being all-inclusive, so you don’t need to produce a cruise card every five minutes or worry about trying to calculate additional costs. It creates less friction, so you can relax and enjoy the cruise however you like.
A suite does comes with a few extra perks that are not included for guests in a balcony room.
The suite’s fridge is stocked with soft drinks, juice and a mini bottle of local wine. The balcony cabin fridge is not stocked but you can, of course, store your own drinks in the fridge and bottled water is replenished on a daily basis.
Room service is only available to guests staying in a suite. You can order breakfast drinks and pastries using a card left outside your suite before you retire to bed.
A laundry service is offered to suite guests, with laundry bags available for room stewards to collect. If you’re not in a suite, there is a small laundry room located on the lower deck. This facility is free to use but you do have to do your own washing, drying and ironing!
Based on cruises on AmaMagna in 2022, there’s a price difference of £770 between a balcony cabin (AA) and suite (SA).
A balcony cabin of the grade I stayed in is priced at £5,160 versus a suite, which is £5,930. Both prices quoted are per person based on two people sharing.
It’s a very personal decision on whether you feel the additional features of a suite is worth the difference in price. You are paying for more space in the room and bathroom. There are also the additional perks such as breakfast room service, laundry and drinks in your fridge.
If you are celebrating a special occasion, you may want to splash out on a suite or even the Owner’s Suite for ultimate luxury. I do feel that there are minimal differences between the AmaMagna balcony and suite and it will depend on the amount of time you’re planning to spend in your cruise cabin.
The great thing about taking an AmaWaterways cruise, is the sheer amount of things that are included in the cruise fare, regardless of the grade of cabin.
One of the most valuable things included in your cruise fare are the excursions. You can choose from a variety of excursions, tailored to different interests. There are active excursions, walking tours, day trips to local cities and food tours.
Hopefully this comparison between a balcony and suite on AmaMagna is useful in helping you decide which cabin to choose for your next river cruise.
AmaMagna has some of the most spacious staterooms of any river ship and so whichever cabin you choose to book, space will never be an issue.
A suite does has a little more to offer in terms of space and perks but personally, I feel the balcony stateroom certainly feels spacious and luxurious all the same. Just choose the location of your balcony cabin wisely!