There’s a saying that goes, “Oceans take you to countries. Rivers take you through them.” A river cruise is a fantastic way to experience the rich culture, art and history of Europe. And if you’re looking to do it all in luxury, then traveling with AmaWaterways is definitely for you.
AmaWaterways always focuses on finding new ways to give our river cruise guests more — more experiences, more onboard amenities and more choices. As a family-owned and operated cruise line we are known for our innovative spirit, attention to even the smallest detail, and service that consistently goes above and beyond. Our proactive approach to exceeding expectations is a hallmark of the AmaWaterways experience. Since we have a higher staff-to-guest ratio on our ships, our team can fully dedicate themselves to providing each of our guests with the highest level of service. From the time you book your cruise to the time you board your flight home, you will be treated to an exceptional hospitality experience.
AmaWaterways was founded in 2002 by three families, but our river cruise story began well before that. President Rudi Schreiner was born in Vienna, at the heart of the Danube. His love of design drew him to architecture, but his even greater love of travel drew him to places far and wide. In 1975, he traveled to South America for a journalism assignment on the Amazon. It was here that he designed his first ship, using what he could find to build a raft that would take him up and down the river during the next 7 months. Soon thereafter he started working in travel, creating unique tour experiences in Europe.
When the Rhine-Main-Danube canal was built in 1992, Rudi realized the potential for touring as many as 13 European countries by river. He started the North American operations for many of today’s major river cruise companies, developing itineraries and ships that would become the templates for what we know river cruising to be today. After years of success as a driving force in the industry, Rudi decided to start his own venture — one that would provide guests with a higher standard of luxury travel by river. That’s when he teamed up with Kristin Karst and Jimmy Murphy to start AmaWaterways.
Kristin was born in Germany and brings extensive experience in travel, river cruising and customer service to the company in her role as Executive Vice President. Jimmy Murphy was a brilliant travel entrepreneur, having built Brendan Vacations, one of the most successful tour operators in the US. Jimmy’s son, Gary, who also played a major part at Brendan, is now Vice President of Sales at AmaWaterways.
In 2002, it was Rudi, Kristin and Jimmy working to make their dream of AmaWaterways come true. Now, we are an award-winning cruise line whose fleet will number 20 ships in 2016. Through it all, we have remained family-owned and operated, and the owners continue to have a hands-on approach to management. Rudi, who was recognized by travel agents nationwide as the “Most Innovative River Cruise Executive” in 2015 and again in 2016, directly oversees the design and construction of new ships every year. Kristin and Gary consistently lend their belief in building strong personal relationships and providing exceptional customer service. And together, they work to ensure that AmaWaterways is committed to offering the most exceptional river cruises in the industry.
Perhaps the first thing that attracts travelers to our river cruises is that shore excursions are offered in every port. In most cases, you will have a choice of activities, including Limited Edition Tours that provide unique opportunities to become immersed in local culture. See the brilliant architecture in Vienna, learn how to make goulash in Budapest, navigate the canals of Amsterdam – there are so many ways for you to not only discover, but also experience. Every tour is led by a local, English-speaking guide who is very knowledgeable in the culture and history of the place you are visiting. Needless to say, each day is packed full of excursions designed to make sure you see and do as much as you choose – and it’s all included in the cruise fare.
For those seeking something more active, AmaWaterways offers special hikes – imagine hiking up to castle ruins in Austria’s stunning Wachau Valley – and carries a fleet of bicycles on board. You can hop on and join a guided bike tour – how about one through the Dutch countryside, with a stop for cheese – or just go explore on your own alongside the locals. When you’re hiking or biking through Europe, there’s an overwhelming feeling that washes over you – it’s a feeling of connectedness. You’re discovering the local culture, natural beauty and history of a destination for the first time from a unique perspective, which makes for remarkable memories that you’ll share with family and friends for the rest of your life.
Our river cruises take you through grand capitals, like Paris and Amsterdam, as well as charming villages and towns. Unlike ocean cruises, the sightseeing doesn’t stop when you’re on board. You will pass by stunning landscapes, hilltop castles and more as you make your way to the next port. That’s why AmaWaterways pioneered the concept of twin-balcony staterooms – a French balcony and an outside balcony. Every feature in an AmaWaterways stateroom was thoughtfully conceived with the comfort of our guests in mind. Our staterooms start at 160 square feet, and suites can be as large as 350 square feet, giving you more space to sit back and relax in between meals and explorations. Artfully crafted to a first-class standard, each room is equipped with innovative designs, plush bedding, multi-jet showerheads, and many other special touches that make you feel like you’re getting the royal treatment.
With twin balconies, you can enjoy stunning panoramic views of the magnificent sights along the river’s edge. Your stateroom was designed to ensure that you travel in luxury from one stunning destination to the next. Set the climate control to your preference and slip into a terrycloth bathrobe as you unwind. Open your French or outside balcony (or both) and feel the soothing breeze come in off the river. Turn on our Entertainment on Demand system and put on a newly-released movie, or watch some TV. Switch your flat-screen monitor into computer mode and hop on the internet to post your adventures on Facebook or email friends and loved ones back home. Use the desk to write a special note on one of our postcards – we’ll mail it back for you free of charge. Your spacious stateroom is yours to relax in and enjoy as you see fit.
Your ship is a floating sanctuary with designs inspired by luxury yachts and an array of amenities creating more time for you. After a marvelous day of immersive shore excursions, return to the ship and treat yourself to a bit of pampering with a soothing massage. If you want to work off the delicious pastries you picked up as you strolled through town you can hit the treadmill or lift some weights in our fitness room while cruising to the next destination. Whether you’re getting ready for the captain’s special dinner or a night out on the town, you can complete your look by getting your hair styled in our onboard salon. And don’t forget to try the pool with a swim-up bar on the sun deck – after all, how often do you get to see castles go by while you’re taking a dip?
Perhaps the most decadent amenity of all is the cuisine offered on your cruise. AmaWaterways was invited to be a member of La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs – a prestigious international culinary society – and with good reason. The cruise line’s expert chefs craft menus that feature exquisite, locally-inspired cuisine as well as traditional Western offerings. At breakfast, sip sparkling wine as you partake of the buffet and fresh pastries, or opt for something made-to-order from the menu. Stop by the Main Lounge for a light lunch, or head to the restaurant for full menu service and high-quality regional wine or beer. Dinner is a delectable, multi-course affair with wine recommendations that accompany visually stunning, delicious dishes. Try local favorites — like bratwurst and sauerkraut after returning to the ship from Vienna, or Camembert cheese while on the Seine — or something more familiar, like pasta or a sandwich. AmaWaterways is the only river cruise line that has The Chef’s Table, an intimate specialty restaurant where you can watch the chef prepare a lavish dinner right in front of you. All onboard dining, as well as unlimited wine and beer with lunch and dinner, is included so you can indulge whenever and however you’d like.
If you want to delve even further into the many flavors of Europe, we invite you to sail on one of our unique Wine Cruises. Like our standard river cruises, guests have the opportunity to join tours that highlight the famous sights in each port of call. These special itineraries, however, offer guests a perfect blend of wine-related experiences and excursions in grand capitals and charming towns. You’ll taste local cuisine, discover how wine is made and, of course, partake in tastings – all at no additional cost. Whether you have a seasoned appreciation for fine wine, or simply indulge in a sip here and there, this is a wonderful way to uncork the traditions of the local culture and learn about the region you’re visiting.
For those seeking to walk the path less traveled, we developed the Exotics – river cruises in Africa, Myanmar, Vietnam and Cambodia. On these itineraries, you will have unique opportunities to not only see the sights, but also be immersed in the destination you are visiting. We have carefully selected excursions that will place you amidst the rich and colorful culture of the local inhabitants, rather than merely on the outskirts. Be an adventurer by day – explore the ruins of ancient temples, be blessed by monks in remote monasteries, and delve into the unexplored, untried and unfamiliar. These truly are journeys of a lifetime, and you are sure to return with photos and stories that you can share with friends and family for years to come. From safaris by boat in search of Africa’s “gentle giants” to a trishaw ride down the local streets of Vietnam, no matter which itinerary you choose, an adventure awaits you.
On an AmaWaterways river cruise, you don’t just pass through a destination – you experience it. Each one of our itineraries is crafted with a paramount goal in mind – connecting you to the essence of life in each place you visit. And with a variety of dining options, shore excursions and onboard amenities, you’ll always have the luxury of choosing how to enjoy your time – and the luxury of an unforgettable river cruise with AmaWaterways.
To learn more, visit www.AmaWaterways.com.