Family-owned and operated, AmaWaterways has been a passion project for its founders since its start in 2002. President Rudi Schreiner designed his first ship back in 1975 while sailing the Amazon for seven months. Since the completion of the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal in 1992, Rudi has been a driving force for river cruise travel — and for these efforts has been recognized as the “Most Innovative Cruise Executive” and has been presented the prestigious “Lifetime Achievement Award” by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). Making up the rest of the executive team that now runs AmaWaterways is Kristin Karst, executive vice president, co-founder and co-owner, and Gary Murphy, co-owner and vice president of sales.
AmaWaterways features a fleet of 23 modern river cruise ships, all but two operating in Europe. The only exceptions are AmaDara, which visits Cambodia and Vietnam, and Zambezi Queen, a 28-passenger ship that offers five different itineraries exploring Africa’s wildlife and wine.
In 2019, AmaWaterways unveiled its biggest ship to date, the 196-passenger AmaMagna. At almost twice the width of the line’s current ships, AmaMagna features bigger staterooms and more dining options than the traditional ship as well as a water sports platform. Ensuring an active river cruise is important for AmaWaterways, which was one of the first river cruise lines to offer complimentary bikes and hiking excursions ashore. My love of cycling is one of the reasons that I enjoy AmaWaterways so much, but it’s not the only reason.
Many of AmaWaterways’ innovative staterooms feature unique twin balconies that offer both a French balcony and an actual step-out balcony. Staterooms and suites are spacious and range from 160 square feet to 350 square feet, with most including these signature twin balconies.
There are also staterooms with connecting doors to accommodate more than two guests to better cater to families and groups who wish to travel together. Every stateroom features an Entertainment-on-Demand center, with complimentary Internet via an Apple iMac and other onboard amenities such as a sun deck, walking track, a well-equipped fitness room, a spa and hair salon, and a heated pool with swim-up bar.
All AmaWaterways’ ships in Europe are also members of the prestigious La Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, an international gastronomic society dedicated to fine cuisine. A variety of dining venues, including The Chef’s Table specialty restaurant, can be enjoyed at no additional charge. AmaWaterways also has some of the best vegetarian menus afloat.
AmaWaterways is a great option for multigenerational travelers and families. Its new ship, AmaMagna, will feature three-person suites, similar to what you may find on an ocean vessel. With some promotions, third travelers can sail for free, or at a discounted rate, typically 25 percent off. AmaKristina, AmaMora, AmaLea, AmaViola and AmaStella also have triple occupancy cabins.
AmaWaterways is a crowd-pleaser. The company’s core philosophy is to under-promise and over-deliver, and it does that cruise after cruise.
Check out my video, Riverside Chat: AmaWaterways Q&A and Magnificent Europe