Last week I met with AmaWaterways co-founders Kristin Karst and Rudi Schreiner to learn more about their elegant European river cruises.
While enjoying a three-course lunch at the new FARMHOUSE restaurant at the newly renovated Beverly Center, Karst remarked that Executive chef and farmer Nathan Peitso (second-generation farmer of Kenter Canyon Farm) menu was similar to the cuisine on their cruise ships. As Peitso works directly with his family farm and the region’s top farmers to grow, harvest, and create his fresh and flavorful dishes, AmaWaterways chefs work with their suppliers in the regions they visit, to provide guests with authentic food and wine experiences.
Here’s what I learned about AmaWaterways river cruise in Europe and beyond:
- Rudi Schreiner has been in the river cruise industry since 1992 starting at Uniworld. When the Danube canal opened, 3,000 miles of waterways, river cruises could visit over 10 countries from Amsterdam to the Ukraine. The first cruise in 1994 had 100 passengers. He met Karst at Viking Cruise Line in 2000. When his contract at Viking expired, he and Karst started their own cruise line and in 2002 Ama (means love) Waterways set sail. Today they operate 20 ships – 300 days out of the year. The ships range in size from 28 to 160 passengers.
- Not only does AmaWaterways ships cruise down European rivers that include Rhine river cruises, France and Portugal sailings, but they also have Asia and Africa river cruises for passengers to see the world in luxury and comfort.
- Passengers have the opportunity to discover local culture and sights on shore excursions included in every port of call.
- All dining on board starts with breakfast where guests wake up sipping sparkling wine while enjoying a buffet, fresh pastries, and made-to-order items from the menu. Stop by the Main Lounge for a light lunch, or head to the restaurant for full menu while sipping high-quality regional wine, beer or a soft drink. Dinner is a multi-course affair with wine recommendations that accompany visually stunning dishes. Try local favorites — goulash while cruising through Hungary, bratwurst and sauerkraut after returning from an excursion in Vienna, and Camembert cheese while sipping wine while cruising on the Seine. The Executive Chef, Primus Perchtold earned three gold medals at the European Championship of Culinary Art and oversees the menus aboard every cruise in Europe. Guests receive one of his recipes on their pillow each night to recreate his dishes at home.
- Each ship offers free internet access and Wi-Fi onboard.
- For an active adventure, ride a bike along the Danube. Each ship has 25 bicycles that you can use to explore on your own or join a guided bike tour.
- In 2018 AmaWaterways offers 64 Wine Theme cruises. They invite a dedicated wine host to share with guests their wine from small and medium US and Canadian wineries. Passengers get to taste Old and New World wines.
- During the winter season the ships visit the Magical Christmas Markets along the Danube. The 7 night cruise includes Nuremberg to Vienna. Cruises start Nov. 23 through Dec. 23, 2018.
- The new Wellness program offers multiple classes throughout the cruise on 6 different ships. Next year the will program will be offered across the fleet.
- The new AmaMagna ship defines contemporary elegance in river cruising. Rudi Schreiner designed this ship offering staterooms with windows or a full balcony. The Owners Suite is 710 sq. ft. There are multiple dining venues – all at no charge. Debuting in May 2019, the ship is twice the width of traditional European river cruise ships.
To reserve a cruise on AmaWaterway, contact your cruise specialist or travel agent or call (800)626-0126 – http://www.AmaWaterways.com.