In July 2002, our Co-Founders Rudi Schreiner, Kristin Karst and the late Jimmy Murphy sat together in a one-room office. With passion in their hearts and a vision to show people the world one river at a time, they formed their river cruise company. "Our roles were clearly defined," said Kristin. "Rudi would design and build the ships, I would fill them, and Jimmy would provide both of us the guidance and wisdom we would need to turn this dream into a reality."
From the beginning, our dynamic leaders wanted to create a river cruise experience they, themselves, would love. That meant excellent food and wine, comfortable and tasteful decor, ample space in which to relax, and staterooms with maximum views to enjoy the ever-changing countryside.
Similarly, it meant listening to guest feedback and taking it to heart, creating enhancements and innovations, from a fleet of complimentary bicycles to The Chef’s Table specialty restaurant.
Timeline: A Trio Grows
By 2005, AmaWaterways opened another office in Vienna, Austria, to handle our operations; and in 2006, we had our first fully-owned and operated ship, the AmaDagio, designed by Rudi, whose previous ship design credits included the raft he sailed down the Amazon River some three decades earlier. “It was the realization of a lifelong dream to both build my own river ship and show people the world from a unique perspective,” said Rudi.
AmaWaterways started to gain a following. With a small group of employees in our intimate office in Chatsworth, California, Rudi, Kristin and Jimmy recognized the need to expand accommodations for growth, so in 2013, we moved to the top floor of our current office in Calabasas.
A Legacy of Love
Jimmy, known lovingly around the California office as Mr. Murphy, passed away in 2014. The legacy he left was one of greatness, and although the heart of the AmaWaterways family mourned, it also continued to grow in his memory. With the help of Jimmy’s son, Gary Murphy, who now finds success in his role as Senior Vice President of Sales, the U.S. team expanded, taking over the entire Calabasas office building by 2017 and accounting for approximately 300 employees worldwide. "It’s been inspiring to see employees who worked with Dad at the very beginning still working with AmaWaterways and continuing on his legacy today. He would be touched that so many of them are still a part of our AmaWaterways family," said Gary.
Though oceans separate AmaWaterways’ teams in Europe and the U.S., our leaders maintain a close connection with the people who make up our diverse family-owned and-operated company. "Dining aboard the new AmaMagna with Rudi and Kristin was deeply moving to me," said Leo Starico, Manager of European Operations. "It made me remember dining together in 2005 and that we are still as much a family company today as we were back then."
"Working for AmaWaterways since 2003 has meant the world to me," said Wade Korzan, Director of European Operations. "It’s changed and shaped my life in so many ways and my enthusiasm and passion only grow each season."