Offering 5-star luxury at a great value, this highly experienced Austria-based operator specializes in groups and wants to work with yours. Its U.S. office in the Chicagoland area is staffed by group specialists ready to help with inquiries, bookings and custom arrangements.

River cruising in Europe continues to be a hot ticket with American travelers, and the demand does not appear to be slowing anytime soon. Every year brings new ships, new itineraries and sold-out sailings.

Savvy group tour organizers have latched onto the trend and introduced their clients to this relaxing mode of travel. The joy of having to unpack only once makes these one- and two-week journeys the most stress-free kind of European vacation. After a morning or afternoon of sightseeing in Cologne or Vienna or Budapest, how nice it is to come back “home” to familiar surroundings and a friendly staff waiting to greet and serve you.

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Offering a carefree experience all wrapped up in a neat little bow, river cruising delivers a laid-back, kaleidoscopic adventure that no land tour can match. New discoveries unfold every day as you drift merrily along, sailing past castles on the Rhine, windmills in Holland or vineyards carpeting the slopes in Austria’s idyllic Wachau Valley. And as these sleek white vessels often dock in the center of town, tourist highlights lie just steps from the gangway.

Group planners who are new to river cruising—and those looking for fresh options—are taking a close look at Amadeus River Cruises. Lesser known to American audiences than other lines, this family-owned Austrian company—to the surprise of many on our side of the Atlantic—has been operating on Europe’s great waterways for more than 40 years. In fact, it was the first to offer overnight river cruises on the Continent, starting with the Danube.

Having hosted travelers in its own backyard for decades, Amadeus has earned a reputation for offering a superior product honed to perfection by travel experts who know Europe best.


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Amadeus River Cruises for Travel Groups

Th rivers of Europe offer a passing parade of scenic splendor. (All photos courtesy of Amadeus River Cruises)

The Amadeus Fleet

Though Amadeus has been around a while, the company boasts one of the youngest fleets on the rivers of Europe and continually invests in upgrades. It has introduced a brand-new ship every year since 2016. The newest entry is the 158-guest Amadeus Nova, which makes her debut later this spring. Equipped with the latest in passenger comforts and green technologies, the Amadeus Nova represents the company’s next-generation vessels. She will be sailing on the Rhine and Danube rivers.

The 17 ships in Amadeus’ modern fleet differ little from each other, a fact that makes the line appealing to group planners. As Executive Vice President Marcus Leskovar likes to say, Amadeus is “easy to learn, easy to sell.”

He explains, “All our vessels follow the same layout, design and features – if you know and understand one vessel you can confidently sell all of them.”

“All our ships feature an elegant contemporary European design,” Leskovar says. “The Amadeus Nova, like most of our vessels, is 443 feet in length and 37.5 feet wide, which is the maximum size for being able to navigate through locks and underneath bridges on the Rhine, Main and Danube waterways.”

Public areas on the Amadeus Nova and her fleetmates include the Panorama Restaurant, Panorama Bar and Lounge, Amadeus Club (coffee and tea available 24 hours a day), and Cafe Vienna for Viennese coffee specialties and confections. The Bar and Lounge, open all day for beverage service, provides the setting for early-riser and mid-morning continental breakfasts, a light lunch buffet and evening musical entertainment. With floor-to-ceiling windows offering expansive views, “Panorama” accurately describes the restaurant and bar. In front of the bar, the glass-shielded River Terrace is the perfect place to sip a drink and watch the scenery parade by.

In the elegant restaurant, a full breakfast buffet and multi-course lunches and dinners are a real highlight of cruising with Amadeus. Dishing up true tastes of Europe, chefs demonstrate their culinary artistry in preparing authentic dishes that reflect the cuisine of areas visited. This could be it’s German sauerbraten, Austrian wiener schnitzel or Hungarian goulash. Every meal is prepared with high-quality regional ingredients, much of which are locally sourced. Menus reflect the flavors of the season and take advantage of the best available market offerings. A special treat are the breads, rolls, pastries and desserts made fresh daily. And the chefs pull out all the stops for the Welcome Dinner, Farewell Dinner and Captain’s Gala Dinner. Wines from the best wine regions are served with every dinner.

The Nova’s Sun Deck has open areas, lounge chairs and awnings for shade, a bar, golf putting green, giant chess board, shuffleboard court and heated pool. Other facilities are a fitness room, massage room, hair salon and gift shop. Wi-Fi is available, and the ship is equipped with an elevator.

Amadeus River Cruise Suites

A suite on the Amadeus Cara with walk-out balcony

Amadeus River Cruises Cabin Comforts

Amadeus guests can expect generously proportioned outside cabins (starting at 172 square feet), most with a French balcony or panoramic drop-down window. Suites have a walk-out balcony. Connecting staterooms are available on the Nova and five other ships. Most staterooms include these amenities:

  • Choice of bed configuration: double or twin bed
  • Walk-in wardrobe
  • Flat-screen television
  • Individual climate control
  • Bathroom with walk-in shower
  • Hair dryer
  • Direct dial telephone
  • In-room safe
  • Mini-bar
Amadeus Club Indoor Pool

Indoor pool, Amadeus Queen

Latest Technologies on the Amadeus River Cruises

With the next-generation Amadeus Nova and future newbuilds, the company is upping its game through state-of-the-art technological innovations that lend themselves to enhanced safety and efficiencies while promoting energy conservation, a cleaner environment and the smoothest ride possible. The Nova is equipped with a hybrid diesel-electric drive and a powerful battery that ensures maximum engine power. The latest-generation engines not only significantly reduce emissions but almost completely eliminate the emission of pollutants thanks to in-house developed filters and catalysts. Moreover, solar panels feed electric energy into the ship’s circuit.

The ship also features innovative heat recovery systems that make the heat from the electric engine room and public areas reusable. Highly insulated glass minimizes heat loss in winter and heat penetration through widows and glazed areas in summer. Additionally, the use of autonomous control and positioning systems, as well as a semi-autonomous cruising option that aids the captain and increases safety and fuel efficiency, are trend-setting changes.

Sustainability initiatives extend to reduced use of plastics and water treatment plants that recycle water used onboard.

On Shore with Amadeus River Cruises

Groups have the option of including shore excursions in the cruise price or making their own on-shore arrangements. The unbundling of shore tours gives them the freedom to choose.

“Shore excursions are not automatically included in our cruise prices but available in different packages for clients that want to add them,” Leskovar said. “That means that passengers don’t have to pay for excursions they are not interested in, and group operators have the opportunity to customize their program and book/create their own excursions if they desire to do so.”

All guided excursions employ a digital audio system that makes it easy for even stragglers to hear every word of the tour guide’s commentary loud and clear. For independent exploration, passengers have complimentary use of bicycles (e-bikes on the Rhine and Danube).

Amadeus River Cruise Bar Night

Panorama Bar

Amadeus River Cruises Welcomes Groups

Amadeus can enhance the group experience in several ways. Groups, for example, can add open bar packages, custom receptions and dinner packages, customized shore excursions, entertainment options, airport ground transportation, and pre- or post-cruise hotel, excursion and transportation arrangements. Also, the ship’s public rooms can be transformed into meeting spaces.

Leskovar said, “The majority of our business is charter and group business and we are a specialist that works mainly with group leaders and tour operators. Some of the reasons that make us so attractive for groups is our relative brand neutrality, outstanding value and pricing that makes it easy to incorporate our product in a package, and our flexibility to work with groups as we offer different ways to book space.”

One way is a 90-day agreement that will guarantee cabins for the first three months of the promotional period. A deposit (10% of the cabin price) is only required for the confirmed passengers as they sign up, so there is no up-front money required on the part of the tour organizer. And there is no limit to how many empty cabins can be returned, with no penalty.

“The second type of group agreement we offer is our standard group agreement that will secure the cabins in the group block up to 120 days prior to arrival with only a 10% deposit (based on the whole group block) and final payment at 120 days prior,” Leskovar said. “With this option, up to 50% of the cabins can be returned without penalty (up to 120 days prior to departure).”

The all-inclusive pricing includes port taxes, gratuities and other fees.

Cosmopolitan Flair

As Amadeus cruises are marketed around the world, the clientele is truly international. This gives Americans a chance to get acquainted with people from homelands as diverse as Japan, Australia and South America, not to mention all corners of Europe. But the common language spoken on board is English, and Americans account for about 50 percent of guests.

Onboard enrichment programs include lectures and cooking demonstrations. Some evenings feature cultural performances by local music and dance groups.

Amadeus Cruise dining

Panorama Restaurant

Where Amadeus Cruise Ships Go

Amadeus River Cruises in 2024 will offer 19 itineraries in 13 countries. Cruises range from 5 to 16 days. Destinations include:

  • Rhine, Main and Moselle Rivers
  • Saar and Moselle Rivers (tributaries of the Moselle and Rhine, respectively)
  • Danube River
  • French Rivers (Rhone, Saone, Seine)
  • Dutch and Belgian Waterways

Special sailings on the Rhine and Danube are themed around Christmas, New Year’s and golf.

Group travel organizers wishing more information on Amadeus River Cruises may call the company’s U.S. office in suburban Chicago toll-free at 844-462-6727, email the sales team at or visit

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