Discover Where AmaWaterways Finds Its Sparkle

Wade Korzan and Leo Starico head up AmaWaterways’ European Office in Basel, Switzerland, and are responsible for hiring our exceptionally hard-working Cruise Managers (or as we call them, our AmaWaterways Brand Ambassadors). We sat down with Wade and Leo while they were visiting the U.S. office to hear exactly how these extraordinary individuals are selected.

How many people apply to become Cruise Managers with AmaWaterways?

We receive hundreds of resumes. Approximately between 8-12 are hired each year, depending on our needs for the season.

Are all of AmaWaterways’ Cruise Managers from Europe?

We have a very diverse team from all over the world, encompassing different nationalities, backgrounds and even ages. Some are in their 20s, some are almost in their 70s. We believe it makes our cruises richer for our guests. In fact, our Basel office is also comprised of people of different backgrounds: German, American, Argentinian, Spanish, Swiss, Albanian, Dutch, Polish, Serbian, Romanian and Dutch! It’s all about finding people that connect with each other who can, in turn, connect with our guests.

Describe the interview process.

It’s quite extensive! I started interviewing candidates for 2025 in November of 2023! Candidates first submit their resumes and an introduction video to me, and if we can see their sparkle in their video, we will invite them for an online interview. All going well, this will be followed by two, three, or four more online meetings with me before we would move on to the next step.

Define “sparkle.”

It’s a quality that isn’t tangible. It can’t be defined. You can see it in their eyes and feel an overwhelming positive energy radiating from that person.

What else do you look for in candidates?

Creativity and resourcefulness. We also have a concept we cover in training called “FLEPS”: Family, Love, Enthusiasm, Passion and Sparkle.

If a potential Cruise Manager has these qualities, what happens next?

In the second stage of the interview process, candidates are invited to take part in one of our river cruises. They will attend every information briefing, destination presentation and onboard event, and they will also go on daily excursions. As you can imagine, for us to bring someone on a cruise, we have to be very confident in their potential. After a week onboard, we get feedback from the crew and Cruise Manager on their ship and if all is overwhelmingly positive, I meet with the candidate again to get their feedback, to see how quickly they learned and to understand how much they absorbed. Taking all of this into consideration as well as their “sparkle,” they will be invited to take part in our training and preparation for the Cruise Manager position. The training takes place each January and February and lasts for six weeks. All new team members must pass the training and final exam in order to proceed. The training also involves going on two more of our cruises to ensure they are experts on the itineraries to which they are assigned.

No matter what time of day it is, Cruise Managers always seem to be welcoming guests back on board, signing people up for excursions, handling last-minute change, etc. How do they do it all?

We teach them techniques for “being everywhere all the time” and for being as visible, accessible and approachable as possible during your cruise. And they’re happy to do so because their primary goal is to ensure that guests have the most memorable river cruise experience.

During your river cruise and throughout your pre/post-river cruise land programs, AmaWaterways’ Cruise Managers are there to support you, share their expertise and ensure you have a memorable experience.

We are delighted to announce the beloved Cruise Managers who will be on board select European river cruises departing later this year. Join one of your favorites for another unforgettable experience – or perhaps meet another exceptional Cruise Manager who many loyal guests hold dear.

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