Sustainability & Global Impact

With AmaWaterways

As we cruise along storied waterways and immerse ourselves in culture throughout Europe, Asia, Africa and South America, it is of utmost importance to us that we not only support the local communities, but that we also minimize our impact on the environment and the precious natural ecosystems we sail through. Here are a few of the ways we are accomplishing our mission of making a positive impact on the world.

At AmaWaterways, we celebrate Earth Day every day and are delighted to walk you through some of the sustainable features on board our award-winning AmaMagna as well as the environmentally measures we are taking fleetwide to reduce our carbon footprint.


Green Award Certification

In early 2020, our award-winning AmaKristina became the first river cruise ship in the industry to be honored with the prestigious Green Award* certification for industry-leading safety, quality and environmental performance. Soon after, 19 additional ships in our European fleet were also recognized. To earn this award, our river cruise ships were evaluated on the environmental impact of such things as our engines, fuel consumption, waste and maintenance, pollution prevention.

Environmentally-Friendly Ship Design
Environmentally-Friendly Ship Design

Our river cruise fleet has been thoughtfully designed with eco-friendly elements. These include energy-saving LED lights, special insulated windows that reduce energy needs for heating and cooling, power locks to plug into a port’s power supply instead of running generators, solar heating systems, water treatment plants that provide microfiltration and recycling of all water used on board. AmaMagna also has an innovative 10-engine configuration designed to reduce fuel consumption and solar panels have been installed on all stateroom balconies. In addition, the Zambezi Queen uses a water jet propulsion system that protects the Chobe riverbed, water-saving taps and showers, biodegradable detergents and soaps, and a five-stage water purification plant.

A Greener Onboard Experience

To reduce overall plastic consumption, we use paper straws (upon request), refillable glass water bottles in all staterooms, and hand out recyclable tetra-pak water containers for excursions across the fleet (where available). We have lessened unnecessary food waste from large-scale buffets by serving a la carte lunches on board our European fleet. For our personal audio devices used on excursions, we are proud to partner with Quietvox, which utilizes biodegradable rice paper bags and rechargeable batteries. In addition, our luggage tags and handy travel wallets are both made from recycled plastic bottle material and are now delivered to guest staterooms on board our ships in Europe, reducing our carbon footprint. The usage of our innovative myAmaCruise app and electronic travel documents has also significantly reduced paper consumption both pre-cruise and on board.

Chef preparing food
The Greenest Cities in the World

Take responsible tourism to the next level by learning about the sustainable cities you can visit during our river cruise and land journeys!

We are proud to partner with and visit many cities on our river cruise and land journeys that share our commitment to protecting the natural ecosystems we cruise through.

Here are 11 incredible destinations that are doing their part to reduce their carbon footprint and are considered some of the “Greenest Cities in the World.”

Vienna, Austria

Famous for its sprawling parks that encompass half the city, incredible air quality and excellent public transportation, Vienna earned first place in the ranking of the World’s 10 Greenest Cities in 2020. It also boasts the Kunst Haus Wien, which in 2018 was the first museum awarded the Austrian Eco-Label for its commitment to environmental protection and quality.

Visit Vienna on many of our Danube River itineraries including Romantic Danube, Magna on the Danube and our new Celebration of Music.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Renowned for its 300+ miles of regularly used bike paths, plentiful green spaces and electric canal boats, Amsterdam aims to be a fully emission-free city by 2030. The city is also working to ensure that 80% of all households utilize power generated by solar and wind energy – putting the country’s iconic windmills to good use!

Visit Amsterdam during many of our Rhine River itineraries such as Captivating Rhine and Rhine Castles & Swiss Alps and on our Tulip Time and Best of Holland & Belgium cruises.

Freiburg, Germany

Known as Europe’s “Solar City,” Freiburg aims to utilize 100% renewable energy sources by 2035. This beautiful city experiences 1,800 hours of sunshine a year, and you can count an astounding 800 solar panels on the facade of its city hall. In addition, one in three Freiburg residents uses bicycles as their main form of transport.

An excursion to Freiburg is available while your ship is docked nearby in Breisach on select Rhine River itineraries, including Enchanting Rhine, Swiss Alps & Rhine Castles and Rhine & Moselle Delights.

Paris, France

The “City of Light” is home to one of the most efficient public transportation networks in the world. Over the past two decades, it has also amassed hundreds of bike lanes to encourage sustainable transit and has debuted several car-free areas in popular tourist locations. The city is also creating more green spaces and “cool spots” to reduce heat ahead of the Paris Olympics.

Visit Paris during our Paris & Normandy itinerary or add an optional pre- or post-cruise land package in Paris to itineraries such as Colors of Provence and Flavors of Burgundy.

Zurich, Switzerland

Voted “Most Sustainable City in the World” in 2016 and the greenest city in Switzerland, Zurich has made a commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 0 by the year 2040. Approximately 50% of the city’s hotels have been awarded a sustainability label and 90% of the city’s power grid is run on renewable energy such as solar power. Zurich also recycles 43% of its waste.

Revel in this climate-friendly city during our optional 4-night land package in Switzerland on select Rhine itineraries, including Rhine & Moselle Fairytales and Rhine & Moselle Splendors.

Madrid, Spain

Named a “Tree City of the World” by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Madrid has trees lining more than half of its streets. The use of electric bicycles is encouraged with ample docking stations to recharge throughout the city. Madrid is also renowned for its sustainable gastronomy with two restaurants boasting MICHELIN Green Stars for their eco-friendly and ethical practices.

Zoom through Madrid by electric bicycle or sample the city’s green cuisine when you extend your 7-night Flavors of Portugal & Spain itinerary with our 3-night Madrid land package.

Munich, Germany

Munich has committed to using 100% clean energy by 2025 and has made significant investments in green projects such as a hydro power plant, wind turbines and a solar plant located in Spain. In 2021, Munich also began using sustainable fuel, known as “green kerosene” to refuel aircraft, making more climate-friendly international air travel possible.

Fly into Munich, revel in the clean air and grab a beer as part of our 2-night land package before your Romantic Danube, Magna on the Danube or Grand Danube river cruise.

Lisbon, Portugal

Honored in 2020 as the “European Green Capital” for significantly reducing carbon emissions as well as both energy and water consumption, Lisbon also has an expansive public transportation system that includes a network of buses, colorful trams and subways.

Take an eco-friendly ride during your optional 3-night land package in Lisbon as part of your Flavors of Portugal & Spain or Enticing Douro river cruise itinerary.

Cape Town, South Africa

Considered the most sustainable city in the continent, Cape Town boasts the first commercial wind farm in South Africa and has invested in public transport including a network of cycling lanes. Farmer’s markets selling locally grown produce are abundant and its FYN restaurant won the first Green Philosophy Plate award for its focus on sustainable seafood and culinary transparency.

Explore the beauty and wonders of Cape Town and beyond during our Discover Africa, Rivers & Rails of Africa and Stars of South Africa itineraries.

Medellín, Colombia

Medellín has consciously developed “green corridors” by planting flora that simulate the natural forest, provide shade and reduce the local temperature, actively fighting back against climate change. In fact, the facade of its city hall is carpeted in more than 100,000 plants and 12 species, making it a unique living structure that supports biodiversity and even combats air pollution.

Explore Medellín and even sample its sustainably grown coffee when you add our 3-night pre-cruise land package to your Magic of Colombia or Wonders of Colombia river cruise.

Utrecht, Netherlands

This eclectic city restored one of its central canals, eliminated an unnecessary motorway, and added an award-winning recreational green space nurturing biodiversity. Utrecht’s university is renowned for its sustainability degrees and the city has become the first in the world to implement a system of shared electric cars with solar-powered charging stations.

Explore Utrecht on our Best of Holland & Belgium itinerary and, beginning in 2026, on our Captivating Rhine and Enchanting Rhine itineraries. From Lyon, with its focus on electric transportation, to Bordeaux, with its plentiful eco-certified vineyards, there are many more cities you can explore with AmaWaterways that are making great strides to protect and care for our environment. Discover all of our wonderful river cruise destinations here.

Learn more about our mission as well as our story, and start planning your river cruise today.