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STARTING A RIVER CRUISE COMPANY

STARTING A RIVER CRUISE COMPANY

You’re enjoying a European river cruise, everything is perfect, you’re sailing the Rhine but then you suddenly wonder how it all began. How does a river cruise line get started? What does it take in terms of time, effort and vision to create a premium river cruise? In this week’s blog, we take a look at how AmaWaterways climbed that mountain.

Family-owned and operated, AmaWaterways was founded in 2002 by three families; however, the river cruise story began well before that. Co-Founder and 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 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 completed in 1992, Rudi was quick to envision a new tourism business developing around long-distance river cruising. The significance of the canal’s completion meant connecting two of Europe’s greatest rivers: the Rhine, via its tributary the Main, with the Danube, allowing travel from the North Sea all the way to the Black Sea. More than 800 years prior, Charlemagne dreamed of connecting these two rivers, so 1992 fulfilled his vision and created a new visionary in Rudi. 

Rudi 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 Co-Owners and Co-Founders Kristin Karst and Jimmy Murphy to start AmaWaterways.

In 2016, Rudi was inducted into the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Hall of Fame and was honored with their Lifetime Achievement Award for his years of devotion to the river cruising industry.

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 U.S. Jimmy’s son, Gary, who also played a major part at Brendan, is now Senior Vice President of Sales at AmaWaterways. Together with Rudi, a true team of pioneers emerged.

From the beginning, the goal was to create a river cruise company that the owners and founders themselves would enjoy. That meant the highest-quality, locally sourced food and wine; elegantly appointed ships with staterooms offering maximum views to enjoy the ever-changing countryside; and a crew who goes above and beyond, treating every guest like they are family.

With that in mind, AmaWaterways has been building one-of-a-kind ships with added comforts and conveniences ranging from revolutionary twin balconies with both a French balcony and an outside balcony to the one-and-only Chef’s Table specialty restaurant. In 2019, innovation continues with three new ships, including the extraordinary AmaMagna—a distinctive evolution of the line’s exceptional European river cruise fleet, offering the ultimate in luxury with even more space and more choices while sailing the legendary Danube.

Select Waterways are your river and small ship cruise insiders, specializing in European river cruises, including Danube River cruises, Rhine River cruises, wine cruises, Seine River cruises, as well as China river cruises with Yangtze river cruises, Vietnam river cruises with Mekong River cruises, Russia river cruises with Volga river cruises, Nile river cruises, Africa river cruises and Amazon river cruises. Naturally, we have American river cruises with Mississippi River cruises, Ohio River Cruises, Columbia River cruises, Illinois River cruises and Tennessee River cruises. We also offer expedition cruises and small ship cruises throughout the world, with polar cruises such as Arctic cruises and Antarctica cruises among the most popular. Whether it’s luxury river cruising, premium river cruising, expedition cruising or small ship cruising, we’ve got you covered. Visit our website at www.selectwaterways.com or give us a call at 1.844.SWCRUISE (1.844.792.7847). Be sure to join our Insider Club by clicking here and Like our Facebook page by clicking here.

THREE MORE NORWEGIAN EXPEDITION SHIPS ON TAP

THREE MORE NORWEGIAN EXPEDITION SHIPS ON TAP

Hurtigruten, the world leader in exploration travel, will begin refurbishing three of their cruise ships for advanced upgrades over the next few years. Equipped with battery packs and other green technology, each ship will operate year-round expedition cruises along the Norwegian coast from 2021 on yet-to-be-disclosed itineraries.

As they are transformed into fully-fledged premium expedition cruise ships, the current TrollfjordFinnmarken, and Midnatsol, will be renamed Maud, Otto Sverdrup, and Eirik Raude, respectively. Otto Sverdrup will have battery packs installed during a 2020 drydock, with a letter of intent for the same battery installation on Maud and Eirik Raude in 2021. The battery packs will support the ship engines, and drastically cut emissions.

The keel-to-mast upgrades will introduce several new features and venues on each of the ships. For example, using natural Scandinavian materials such as granite, oak, birch, and wool, all public areas will be redesigned to create a relaxed and stylish look and feel and add to the premium onboard experience. All cabins and suites will be completely refurbished, including several new suites with spectacular views. 

Hurtigruten’s signature Science Center will be added to each ship. Packed with state-of-the-art technology and high-tech gadgets such as touch screens, science equipment, and other interactive features, this edutainment area will also serve as the onboard headquarters for the ship’s Expedition Team.

Three brand-new restaurants will be added, matching Hurtigruten’s restaurant concepts for its growing fleet of expedition cruise ships. First, the main restaurants will be transformed into Aune; social and informal, with the use of natural elements in design and interiors, Aune will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner based on Scandinavian identity.

Restaurant Lindstrøm, a specialty eatery named after a favorite chef of Norwegian polar heroes, will be an upper premium fine dining restaurant with strong roots in traditional Norwegian cooking that are contrasted with modern cuisine.

The informal eatery Fredheim, named after a legendary 1920s hunting station in Svalbard that sheltered adventurers from around the world, will also be part of the refurbishment. In addition, a new outdoor grill venue will be added outdoor on the top decks.

Maud, the current Trollfjord, is named after one of the most famous polar vessels of all time, Roald Amundsen’s Maud from 1917. The original Maud got her name from the first Queen of modern-day Norway, who also had her namesake in Hurtigruten’s 1925 flagship Dronning Maud. 

Otto Sverdrup, the current Finnmarken, is named after one of Norway’s most notable polar heroes. Alongside Fridtjof Nansen, he was the first to ski across Greenland, a key contributor to several expeditions and captain on the legendary polar ship Fram. Sverdrup also has a close connection to Hurtigruten: Between the expeditions he was a captain on board Hurtigruten ships. 

Eirik Raude, the current Midnatsol, is named after one of the most famous Viking chiefs in history. Eirik Raude—also known as Eric the Red—got his name from his huge red beard, and is not only known for discovering Greenland, but also for giving the island its name.

Select Waterways are your river and small ship cruise insiders, specializing in European river cruises, including Danube River cruises, Rhine River cruises, wine cruises, Seine River cruises, as well as China river cruises with Yangtze river cruises, Vietnam river cruises with Mekong River cruises, Russia river cruises with Volga river cruises, Nile river cruises, Africa river cruises and Amazon river cruises. Naturally, we have American river cruises with Mississippi River cruises, Ohio River Cruises, Columbia River cruises, Illinois River cruises and Tennessee River cruises. We also offer expedition cruises and small ship cruises throughout the world, with polar cruises such as Arctic cruises and Antarctica cruises among the most popular. Whether it’s luxury river cruising, premium river cruising, expedition cruising or small ship cruising, we’ve got you covered. Visit our website at www.selectwaterways.com or give us a call at 1.844.SWCRUISE (1.844.792.7847). Be sure to join our Insider Club by clicking here and Like our Facebook page by clicking here.