AmaWaterways officially started at 12:01 am July 1, 2002! As we embark on our 18th year, it would only seem right to take a few moments to reflect on all the wonderful accomplishments, incredible people and remarkable support that have helped us become the strong company we are today.
Ama means love – love for our guests, our employees and our travel partners whose support has meant the world to us since we started AmaWaterways 18 years ago. While the events so far in 2020 are proving to be challenging, they have also made us even more appreciative of the long-term relationships and the trust that has continued to grow with our guests and travel partners. It is this trust, experience and love that will see us through the current challenges and position us strongly to take advantage of the rebound in the travel industry that we know will soon be coming.
Our 18-year history is full of heartfelt moments and remarkable achievements, but all these stories actually started thanks to one man’s love of nature and his curiosity to meet new people, experience different cultures and visit remarkable places in the world. That one man is, of course, our Co-Founder, President and “Godfather of River Cruising,” Rudi Schreiner, and his adventure on a research raft on the Amazon River planted the seeds that have blossomed into the successful company we are today.
So many people have poured their love, hard work and trust into AmaWaterways over the years and we were very happy to relive many of those moments during two special “virtual” 18th anniversary celebrations that Rudi, Gary and I hosted on July 1st. We also received many best wishes from surprise guests around the world as we walked through the timeline of major events taking us from July 1, 2002 to July 1, 2020.
Close to 2,000 travel advisors and guests joined us live for the two sessions and many more have watched the recorded version. Our people – on shore and on our ships - make AmaWaterways special, so I hope you are able to find some time to watch the 18th Anniversary Celebration Video as there are some heartwarming stories from our past that you might enjoy.
During the interactive events last week, many guests shared with us their favorite Ama memories, their own July 1 birthdays and wedding anniversary celebrations, as well as best wishes for the future. One special toast came from a past guest - she wished us “chai” on our 18th year! She explained that the Hebrew word “chai” meant “life” but that it has also become a symbol of good luck in the Jewish faith as “chai” is spelled with the Hebrew letters “chet” and “yud” which together add up to 18. Appropriately, the number 18 has also come to represent long life and good luck.
As we embark on our 18th year of this marvelous journey together, I wish everyone “chai” as Rudi, Gary and I know that there are many more wonderful adventures in store for all of us in the months and years ahead!