Best Onboard Dining. Best Theme Cruise. Best New Ship.

After an amazing evening at the TravelAge West Wave Awards Gala last week, we were honored to receive the top prize in these categories. Since the winners are chosen by travel agents in the Western US, it makes the recognition even more meaningful.

Their opinion matters, especially to us. Travel agents are experts, and our true partners in getting the word out about our river cruises. Their experience and knowledge are valued by our guests, and we know that listening to their feedback has played a huge part in our success. In return for their support, we work very hard to keep our promise to deliver the best river cruise experience to them and their guests.

The AmaWaterways river cruise experience doesn’t just begin when a guest steps onboard. It starts with the agent’s recommendation, and together with the help of our team in Calabasas, as well as the Cruise Manager and crew onboard, we are able to make each guest’s ideal river cruise vacation a reality. Once guests return home, they will share their experience with their travel agent, plan their next river cruise and the whole journey begins anew. As a key part in this process, we consider our relationship with our travel agent partners an essential part of this “team effort.” This is why travel agents, and their opinions, matter so much to us.

These opinions also inform our decisions on future ship innovations, and even the food.

Yes, the food. Great cuisine is an important component of the cruise experience, so receiving the award for “Best Onboard Dining” is something we are certainly proud of. Not only are we part of Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, our passion for quality is even described in the Berlitz Guide on River Cruising in Europe (1st Edition), which noted that we “spend more on food and wine and foodservice training than almost any other river cruise line company.” To complement the cuisine, we also serve fine local wines, so you can enjoy German Riesling and Austrian Grüner Veltliner as you cruise the Danube, taste Port on the Douro in Portugal, and drink delicate Rosé while on the Rhone in Southern France. Such is our love of wine that we are adding a Bordeaux cruise in 2016, France’s largest wine region, famous for producing some of world’s most loved and prestigious red wines.

We really can’t say enough about how much we appreciate the support from our travel agents, and it is only right that we should sing them our praises in return. A great big thank you to them and, of course, all of our wonderful guests that tell their agents and others about their river cruise with us!

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