Oceans will take you to the countries but rivers will take you through them. This is a great motive to choose river cruising, isn’t it? If you want to enjoy the best that river cruising has to offer, we need to do it right, with one of the best providers in the industry, AmaWaterways.
AmaWaterways is a family-owned and operated business. They are strictly a river cruise line, and the company was started by “the godfather of river cruising” himself, Mr. Rudi Schreiner.
They have the world’s largest river cruise ship, called the AmaMagna. This vessel is more like an ocean-going vessel with perfect multi-dining venues, five different bars on board, and lots of big suites.
In this article, we’ll summarize some of the great information shared at our Online Info Session from Travel Time TPI, where we heard from Sandra Gardiner, BDM for National Accounts for AmaWaterways. You will learn about all that AmaWaterways has to offer and all the details of their amazing experiences across rivers, as well as relevant information for traveling in this COVID era.
Scroll to the bottom of this post to watch a recording of the info session from October 2020, and check out the beautiful pictures that Sandra shared with us!
A bit about their beginnings
Being a family-owned and operated business, AmaWaterways takes a lot of pride in what they do, and the experience they create for their guests. Their history has a place that’s close to their heart.
Rudi Schreiner, his wife Kristin Karst, and Jimmy Murphy got together and they started up a river cruise company called Avalon Waterways and at the same time started up Amadeus. When they started Amadeus they operated for five years under that name and at that time they sold their interest in Avalon Waterways. Later, in 2006, they began building their very own luxurious ships.
Ama is a derivative of the word love, and it was truly Rudi, Kristin, and Jimmy’s love of the waterways that got them to where they are today. They really wanted to develop a river cruise line that they themselves would want to travel on.
They also wanted to have something where they would carry a low capacity of guests to afford people a luxury experience where they could offer more space and just a lot more opportunities to do things on board.
Their excellence in services and amenities
AmaWaterways is a global company that has a fleet boasting 24 ships. They service Europe but they can also take their guests into Egypt, into Asia, and into South Africa. Once you get started you can do one river at a time and you can really go and explore everywhere that this wonderful world has to offer.
In terms of innovations, AmaWaterways is at the forefront. They have luxury suites and staterooms such as:
- the indoor french balcony
- outdoor balconies
- triple and quad accommodation
- french balcony staterooms
- fixed window staterooms
Every stateroom is set up with satellite TV, first-run Hollywood movies, some great music to play while you’re preparing maybe for one of the great events, and also a complete computer system, so you can simply sit in the privacy of your stateroom and send out your emails to keep in touch with friends and family, to let them know how you’re doing.
Regarding onboard entertainment, they have set up their main lounge area so that it’s very safe for their guests to be able to come in. They have Plexiglas between the seating areas so that you can still sit in your common area and you can really enjoy everything that’s going on in the room.
They have local entertainment and they have found ways to bring that on board with the communities that they’re traveling through. Their entertainment chosen is pre-screened and everything needed to make them safe to come on board during the pandemic.
Then, they have onboard dining and there are various areas that the guests can enjoy their different meals. They have their main dining room with two private wine rooms on either side, they also have their specialty restaurant, The Chef’s Table, where you can experience the locally inspired cuisine.
They are part of a culinary organization called Chaine Des Rotisseurs so this ensures that you’re getting the highest quality of food. In fact, all of the food is locally sourced and it’s brought on every single port that they make a stop.
About their onboard services, the ships are equipped either with a hot tub on the french balcony ships or the swimming pools on the others. There are gyms, along with a spa and a hair salon. If you use the spa or the hair salon there is a very small charge for the services but the gym and the pool, of course, are completely free for all guests to use.
AmaWaterways have introduced a Sip & Sail program, this is the happy hour before dinner every day. If you’re wondering what’s included in terms of the adult beverages, they have their champagne breakfast and with every single lunch and dinner, they bring you free-flowing soft drinks, as well as beer and wine.
The wine served has been carefully selected by Rudi and Kristin themselves to ensure that you have top-notch wines coming from the regions that you’re traveling through on your itinerary.
There are many included shore excursions in every single port stop they make. These excursions are always traveled in small groups and they will continue with this kind of expedition in the future. You simply choose what it is that you want to do in the port that you’re coming into and you will go off with your guide. Your excursion is always at the pace that you choose as well since they offer active things such as biking and hiking and they have also more relaxed excursions for those who want to do things at a slower pace.
Wellness on board is a great program to help you stay fit and maintain your energy. Whether it’s doing core strengthening in the morning or maybe doing yoga or pilates in the afternoon on the sun deck or going for a walk or the bike ride, there are many options.
Innovations in this current situation
AmaWaterways was the first company to come out with the myAmaCruise app which eliminates paper on board for more safety. This way they’re able to send you the day’s itinerary directly to your phone through the app, and there are other features such as storing your pictures.
Regarding dining, something new coming in 2021 is that they will be eliminating buffets. Their meals will be a la carte, so you can order from the menu. There will be displays of the food and you’ll be able to order and be served.
They have also added their health and safety protocols and this has given them an opportunity to ensure that their guests really enjoy the experience on board.
These important enhancements to the health and safety protocols keep both you and their crew healthy throughout the journey. You will be warmly welcomed aboard: your pre-cruise health questionnaire will be updated and temperatures will be taken.
After that, they will sanitize your luggage before delivering it to your stateroom. They will also sanitize all public areas, exercise equipment, bicycles, and helmets.
When you’re walking in the spaces, of course, like most places right now, you have to wear a mask. Once you’re in your living space, in the main lounge area, the restaurant, the library, or wherever you may be on the ship you can then remove your mask.
They are also limiting the number of guests on board to allow for physical distancing regulations. Their crew will be happy to serve you at your table as well as provide you a delicious room service menu during meal times while you are relaxing on the sundeck and enjoying the breathtaking views.
Moving forward into 2021 and 2022, they have both of these years open and they’re taking a lot of bookings at this time, for that reason they’ve added some new wonderful itineraries, including the amazing opportunity in 2022 with Floriade, the world’s largest horticultural show, which takes place only once every 10 years! Travel Time – TPI has taken out group space for a Tulip Time sailing in April 2022, which will have a complimentary excursion available to visit Floriade.
It’s incredible that for next year they will have over 60 cruises available. Their most popular itineraries are definitely those that travel on the Danube or the Rhine where you have a lot to choose from. Keep in mind that when you’re traveling on the Danube you have the opportunity to sail through five different countries.
They offer stunning destinations in different lovely countries, and in each of them, you will experience different kinds of beauty and adventures. It has to be said that one of our favourite destinations are the Christmas markets. Travel Time – TPI has also taken out group space to offer incredible value on a Christmas Markets cruise at the end of November 2022.
A recommended product from them is called Travel Waiver Plus and this is something you can purchase to allow you the flexibility of a cancellation for any reason policy, allowing cancellation up to 24 hours prior to the beginning of your AmaWaterways services.
With this product, you will receive a full future cruise credit valid on any sales within 24 months of the date that you cancelled, so this just protects your interests and you’ll be protected from the moment that you book until you sail.
They are so in demand that they are going to be launching their 2023 program by the end of the year. Imagine how busy they are, as people are booking quite far in advance. As a piece of advice for those of you looking to book: the sooner you book, the better. It seems that a minimum of a year in advance is needed in order to get a good selection of itineraries, room categories, and the best pricing.
AmaWaterways also builds pre-land and post-land extensions. These could be anywhere, from two to four nights depending on where the cruise is and when you arrive at the airport. If you’re doing them, you would make your transfer to the hotel and once there, their cruise manager will stay with you all the time needed.
There you have it!
Don’t waste more time, Travel Time TPI has an amenity program and a block program and these will offer you added value when you make a booking with them. So take advantage and book with peace of mind!