“Ama” Means Love

And love is at the heart of everything we do, including our name. When AmaWaterways was founded in 2002 by three families, our goal was to create a river cruise company we ourselves would love. To us that meant excellent food and wine; ample space in which to relax and staterooms with maximum views to enjoy the ever-changing countryside; and a crew who goes above and beyond, treating every guest like they are part of OUR family. While on shore, we developed culturally immersive, small group excursions; Special Interest Tours, focusing on the local flavors; and biking and hiking adventures for those guests who wish to experience a destination from a different vantage point.

But OUR story began long before 2002.

Co-founder, Co-owner and President Rudi Schreiner was born in Vienna, Austria at the heart of the Danube River. His love of design drew him to architecture, but his even greater love of travel drew him to places far and wide. In 1975, as part of a journalism assignment, he designed his first ship, a raft he took along the Amazon River. Soon thereafter he started working in travel, creating unique tour experiences in Europe. When the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal was built in 1992, Rudi became a driving force in the river cruising industry. He later teamed up with his fellow Co-founders and Co-owners, Kristin Karst and Jimmy Murphy, to start AmaWaterways.

Born in Germany, Kristin brings extensive experience in travel, river cruising and customer service in her role as Executive Vice President. Rudi and Kristin partnered with Jimmy Murphy, a brilliant travel entrepreneur who built Brendan Vacations. His son, Gary, now carries on his father’s legacy in his role as Senior Vice President of Sales.

The Beauty of River Cruising: Oceans take you to countries, rivers take you through them

The rivers are the arteries that feed the heart and soul of each destination we visit. And our carefully crafted itineraries are the lifeblood that takes you there. Whether you wish to see the grand European capitals along the Danube River, the fairytale castles and fabled towns of the Rhine, the peaceful rural villages lining the banks of the Mekong in Vietnam and Cambodia; or the animal-rich shores of Africa’s Chobe River, you’ll get insider access to destinations only the river provides.

We personally hand-select the excursions on every itinerary based on our experience ensuring you get the most each destination offers. Watch how an Austrian winegrower prunes his grape leaves with care before sampling the grapes and then the wine; or how a Belgian chocolatier stirs her secret truffle recipe before wrapping it up in a pretty package for you to take home. Marvel at the way the sun kisses the slopes of the Moselle River Valley as you hike through its timeless vineyards; or how the gentle touch of a breeze caresses your cheeks while biking through Bordeaux to an exclusive festival in Bourg.

Whenever we discover a new opportunity that makes our heart skip a beat, we do everything in our power to make it a memorable and transformative experience available to you, such as when we went hiking in Rwanda to see the gorillas in the mist. This adventure is now part of a post-cruise land extension on our Africa itineraries.

The Heart of AmaWaterways—OUR People

Traveling with AmaWaterways isn’t just about the wonderful places you’ll go; it’s very much about the people you will meet. Fellow guests become lifelong friends as our genuinely warm and welcoming crew goes above and beyond to ensure your journey is as memorable as possible. It is the people who truly make your experience worthwhile.

From the Cruise Manager who drove a beloved teddy bear to the airport to meet his grateful young owner to the Hotel Receptionist who biked into town to retrieve a cherished purchase left behind, AmaWaterways’ crew is more than just highly trained – they “sparkle.” As our own Captain Geoffrey so eloquently stated, “In the end, a ship is just material. The crew gives the ship a heart.”

No matter what you experience with AmaWaterways on board or on shore, you can be sure that it was born from passion. For us, river cruising is truly a labor of love and we can’t wait to take you within our ships’ warm embrace and show you the world.

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