Specifications of AmaMagdalena

Year of build2024 new ship
Ferry route / homeportsBarranquilla Colombia
Speed9 kn / 17 km/h / 10 mph
Length (LOA)68 m / 223 ft
Beam (width)13 m / 43 ft
Decks with cabins2
Christened bytba
OwnerMetropolitan Touring (Ecuador)
OperatorAMAwaterways Colombia

AmaMagdalena Review

Review of AmaMagdalena

The 2024-built AmaMagdalena ship cruises on the Magdalena River in Colombia (South America's north), with departures out of homeports Barranquilla and Cartagena de Indias. Her Colombian fleetmate is the sistership AmaMelodia.

Both riverboats are owned by Metropolitan Touring and operated under long-term charter by AmaWaterways. The vessels are Colombia-flagged (port of registry Buenaventura) and with max passenger capacity 60 (AmaMagdalena) and 64 (AmaMelodia). AmaWaterways' Colombian cruisetour itineraries (destinations/ports, land tours, bus transfers, hotels, flights) are also via Metropolitan Touring (1968-founded, Quito Ecuador-based travel company, tour operator and shipowner).

In July 2021, AmaWaterways announced the shipbuilding order for AmaMagdalena and that it will be the first major cruise travel brand to operate on Colombia's Rio Magdalena year-round. The unique itinerary program was initially scheduled to start in December 2023. The AmaWaterways-Metropolitan Touring deal was signed by Rudi Schreiner (AMA's President) and Paulina Burbano de Lara (Metropolitan Touring's CEO).

In February 2023 was ordered AmaMelodia, and in March were announced the debuts of both new riverboats. AmaMagdalena is currently scheduled for inauguration on March 30, 2024 (Maiden Voyage from Barranquilla to Cartagena) while AmaMelodia will be launched on June 19th (2024). The announcement was made by AmaWaterways' co-founders Rudi Schreiner (President) and Kristin Karst (Executive VP).

AmaMagdalena cruise ship (AMAwaterways Colombia, Magdalena River)

Magdalena is Colombia's main/largest river with length approx 1530 km (950 mi). It originates in the Andes Mountains and flows northward to empty into the Caribbean Sea. The waterway is named after Mary Magdalene (one of Jesus' followers) in 1501 by the Spanish conquistador Rodrigo de Bastidas (1465-1527). The river is navigable through its lower reaches, as far as Honda (Tolima department).

Rio Magdalena's basin is sized ~257,500 km2 (~99,400 mi2) or ~1/4th of Colombia's territory. The river's average discharge is 7200 m3/s (max 12000 m3/s). Rio Magdalena has several main tributaries - the rivers Paez, Saldana, La Miel, Nare, Cauca, and San Jorge (flowing from the left) and the rivers Cabrera, Bogota, Negro, Carare, Sogamoso, and Cesar (flowing from the right).

Decks and Cabins

AmaWaterways' boat AmaMagdalena has a total of 30 staterooms, all of which are double occupancy (max 60 passengers) and in 5 cabin grades. All passenger cabins are "Twin Balcony", each being fitted with a French Balcony (opening floor-ceiling windows) plus a small step-out veranda (sized 2 m2/20 ft2).

The boat has 3 decks, of which 2 are with cabins.

The majority of cabins (26) are sized 22 m2/235 ft2. The most premium accommodations are the two Grand Suites (forward on Deck 1 "Salsa"/sized 48 m2/515 ft2) and the two Luxury Suites (forward on Deck 2 "Cumbia"/sized 28 m2/305 ft2).

Standard cabin amenities include a Queen-size double bed with nightstands, mirrored vanity table/writing desk with chair, a small seating area by the French Balcony (two armchairs and a round table), wardrobe (with hangers and drawers), electronic safe box (in the closet), mini-fridge, smart HDTV (satellite reception/Internet), en-suite bathroom (washbasin/single-sink vanity, WC toilet, separate shower/glass cubicle), individually controlled airconditioning. The outside balcony is equipped with two deckchairs and a low table.

The Suites are larger-sized and additionally have bathtubs.

The Grand Suites are 2-room accommodations, with a separate Living Room (two-seater sofa, outside balcony access) and Bedroom (double bed with a large French Balcony). Each of the Grand Suites also features two full bathrooms (of which one has a bathtub) and two entry doors (hallway access from each room).

Shipboard facilities and amenities

Next are listed AmaMagdalena's public venues by deck.

Salsa Deck (deck 1) houses both passenger and staff/crew cabins (aft), including the two Grand Suites (positioned forward) as well as the ship's machinery rooms (engines, propulsion, electricity generators, water plant, etc).

Cumbia Deck (deck 2) houses the aft Restaurant (with an adjacent Galley/kitchen and storage rooms) where are served traditional Colombian and Latin American food along with international cuisine specialties. Aft-midship is the Lobby Hall with two ship entrances and the Reception Desk (providing 24-hour guest services/assistance, information, excursion booking, cashier). Forward is the Wheelhouse (aka Navigation Bridge) with the adjacent officers' quarters.

Luna Deck (deck 3) houses indoor and outdoor venues. Indoor facilities include the Bar & Lounge (with nightly live entertainment), a spacious Gym (aft-starboard Fitness Room) and the Spa complex (aft-portside) consisting of a massage room and a Beauty Salon (hair and nail studio). Midship is the roof-covered alfresco lounge (with comfortable seating, food and beverage service) and forward is the Sun Deck (sunbathing area) with a small swimming pool, sun loungers and deckchairs.

Colombian cuisine served onboard is based on locally-sourced ingredients from the region that the ship is cruising through as well as from the visited call port. Signature dishes include:

  • Butifarra (savory sausage) and chorizo (spicy pork sausage flavored with smoked paprika and garlic) served in Mompox
  • Tamarind balls (spiced fruit), coconut cake, sugared papaya, and cheeses sourced from the market stalls in Palenque
  • Posta Negra/aka Posta Cartagenera (beef roast/steak with herbs, onions, garlic, seared with butter and the meat's fat) served in Cartagena

Onboard is also served complimentary the famous Colombian coffee.

Magdalena River itineraries (Colombia)

Both AmaWaterways' boats AmaMagdalena and AmaMelodia operate two different 7-night/8-day voyages on the Magdalena River - "Magic of Colombia" (from Barranquilla to Cartagena) and the reverse "Wonders of Colombia" (from Cartagena to Barranquilla).

Next are listed the call ports/events part of the Wonders of Colombia cruisetour itinerary.

  • (DAY 1) Cartagena (EMBARKATION, tour of Getsemani neighborhood)
  • (DAY 2) San Basilio de Palenque and Calamar
  • (DAY 3) Santa Barbara de Pinto (walking tour) and Santa Cruz de Mompox (overnight)
  • (DAY 4) Mompox (Cienaga de Pijino lake expedition, walking tour) second overnight
  • (DAY 5) Mompox, cruising through La Mojana, El Banco (walking tour, ashore dinner and Cumbia musical and dance performance)
  • (DAY 6) Magangue (birdwatching tour or Cienega hiking tour), cruising to Nueva Venecia
  • (DAY 7) Nueva Venecia (tour to a stilt-house/lake village), cruising to Barranquilla (Carnaval de Barranquilla-themed small dockside event)
  • (DAY 8) Barranquilla (DISEMBARKATION)

When announced in 2023, AmaWaterways' Colombia voyages were priced from USD 3600 (EUR 3410 / GBP 3030) per person with double occupancy, or ~US$515 pp per night. The fares are inclusive of guided tours (walking, cycling) as well as wildlife/birdwatching land and boat expeditions.

Pre- and post-cruise programming (land tours/excursions, and hotel stays) are optional and cost extra.

AmaWaterways offers pre-cruise packages in Medellin (3-night) or Cartagena de Indias (2-night), or even a 5-night combo (both Medellin and Cartagena). These packages are combinable with a post-cruise/3-night package in Panama City (that includes a visit to Panama Canal's Gatun Lake/Miraflores locks and Chagres NP) to a 15-night vacation package.

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