Despite what its printed 2015 River Cruise brochure says, popular river cruise line AmaWaterways has quietly scrapped its Russian river cruises for 2015 aboard AmaKatarina.
Few details are available at this time, but the destination and itinerary pages have been removed from the AmaWaterways website, as has the vessel profile for the AmaKatarina.
AmaWaterways has long been a strong supporter of Russian river cruising. The company’s 13-day Russian Waterways itinerary aboard the AmaKatarina operated from Moscow to St. Petersburg and included stops in Uglich, Yaroslavl, Goritsy, Kizhi and Sivorstroy.
Initially, AmaWaterways had scheduled departure dates for 2015 that ranged from May 10 to September 30. The change could have been made due to increasing tensions in the region as of late as well as passenger reluctance to travel to Russia.
At the moment, there is no indication whether Russia and the AmaKatarina will return to the river cruise line’s lineup for 2016 – but the 2015 season is definitely off. Again, AmaWaterways has been a strong supporter of Russian river cruising, and recently injected a substantial amount of money into refurbishing and heavily refitting the 210-guest AmaKatarina.
Viking River Cruises was forced to pull out of the Ukraine earlier this year due to the concerns and logistics of operating its highly popular voyages in the region, but – so far – Viking’s 2015 Russian voyages are scheduled to go ahead as planned. Other operators, including Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection and Scenic Tours still have Russia on the books for next year as well.
Only time will tell whether they follow AmaWaterways lead. Sadly, Russia appears on the brink of joining Egypt and the Ukraine in the ‘former river cruise destination’ category.
UPDATE: As of 11/2014, AmaWaterways has cancelled AmaKatarina’s 2015 season of Russian river cruises. However, CruceMundo will be operating the vessel under the name of Mstislav Rostropovich for the 2015 season. MS Mstislav Rostropovich is owned by Vodohod company and will be operating in season 2015 and beyond.
We’ll continue to update readers on the situation in Russia as it becomes available.