(2 p.m. EDT) -- Amadeus River Cruises today christened its 14th river ship in Amsterdam today and revealed a revolutionary new design to deal with problems caused by high water levels.
The 162-passenger Amadeus Queen is 15 centimetres (5.9 inches) lower than other river cruise vessels to enable the ship to sail under bridges when heavy rainfall causes high water levels on European rivers. The rivership also features the line's first-ever indoor swimming pool.
It was built at the De Hoop shipyard in the Netherlands, which has constructed ships for the line for 20 years. "Amadeus Queen is a brand new design," shipyard president Patrick Janseens said. "In recent years, climate change has meant some very high water levels that have prevented ships from sailing under bridges.
"We have reduced the height of this vessel by 15 centimetres, the first time we have carried out such a design which had its challenges as it reduced the amount of room to install things such as electrical cables in ceilings. However, it means that in high water levels, this ship will be the last one still sailing and being able to pass under bridges and complete the voyage when other ships have to stop. It also features new technology to reduce noise and vibration."
Guests and local civic dignitaries gathered on the quayside to witness the launch of the latest ship in the expanding family-owned fleet. The Austrian-owned river cruise line was founded by Dr. Wolfgang Luftner and his wife, Martina, more than 20 years ago, and their daughter Corina is godmother of the latest vessel, and has christened four other ships in the past. Also involved in the day-to-day running of the line are her sisters, Anna and Lea.
The 443-foot ship has 69 staterooms ranging from 172 to 188 square feet, and twelve 284-square-foot suites with walk-out balconies. All cabins boast Amadeus River Cruises' trademark walk-in closets. A standout new feature on the vessel is an indoor pool with a retractable roof. At night, the pool is covered over and the area becomes a cinema.
Other features include three connecting cabins on the lower deck, a hair salon, gym and massage room.
Amadeus Queen will sail on the Danube, Rhine and Main rivers as well as the Dutch and Belgian waterways.
In 2019, the fleet will continue to grow with the launch of sister ship Amadeus Star, which will sail on the same rivers as Amadeus Queen.
--By Jeannine Williamson, Cruise Critic contributor