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One-of-a-kind AmaMagna is named in folksy Austrian festivities

amawaterways' kristin karst & amamagna godmother samantha brown
AmaWaterways' Kristin Karst, left, toasts AmaMagna's naming with the godmother, Samantha Brown PHOTO: Anne Kalosh
The grand, new double-wide Danube riverboat AmaMagna was named at festivities in Grein, Austria, by godmother Samantha Brown, the Emmy-Award-winning travel expert.

A brass band, 'Sound of Music' sing-along, alpine horns, waltzing to 'The Blue Danube' and dancing to 'Rock Me Amadeus' were some of the Austrian elements of the outdoor party. A beer tent served sausages and sauerkraut, and children in lederhosen passed out sweets.

A prince and a count

Even Prince Hubertus of Saxe-Coburg came down from his Greinburg Castle, overlooking the town, along with Count Carl Philip, the lord of Clam, from his own nearby schloß. AmaWaterways passengers can visit both castles during calls at Grein.

Godfather of river cruising

'It's wonderful for me to be back in Austria,' said the Vienna-born AmaWaterways President and Co-founder Rudi Schreiner. A video showed how he went from a youthful Amazon raft adventure 45 years ago to 'get the idea for river cruising,' he quipped, and went on to become known as the godfather of river cruising.

'I've had this unique ship on my mind for years,' Schreiner said of AmaMagna. It is twice the width of regular European river vessels but carries just 20% more passengers in extra-large suites with balconies. It has four dining venues, a cinema, wellness center and a drop-down water sports platform with a Sundowner boat.

It's all about the people

Introducing the godmother, AmaWaterways Co-founder and EVP Kristin Karst noted that 'love' is in the company's name ('ama') and in the name of the PBS series ‘Samantha Brown’s Places to Love,' which focuses on the people who make those places so special.

'The most important thing about travel is the people,' Brown said. 'We travel in order to feel like we belong in this world, and my favorite part is meeting the people. We are not just consumers. We are part of this travel community that makes the world a better place.'

Taking two swings, Brown smashed a magnum of Veuve Clicquot on AmaMagna's hull. Champagne flowed for the guests, and for townspeople who were welcomed on board for a tour, while AmaMagna's passengers climbed the hill for a tour of Greinburg Castle and more champagne there.

Acrobatics and fireworks

A drumming, juggling and aerial acrobatics show on AmaMagna's top deck and showers of fireworks across the Danube crowned the evening.