One of the major river cruise suppliers is California-based AmaWaterways. The company was founded in 2002 and has seen steady growth over the past 12 years with a couple of new ships being added each year. The company has also entered some markets that are not represented by other river cruise suppliers, such as Myanmar and South Africa.
Most of AmaWaterway’s European vessels most range in size from 360 feet to 443 feet in length and carry up to 164 passengers. All ships built since 2010 are 443 feet long, except one. The AmaVida, which sails the Douro River in Portugal, was built in 2013. It’s 260 feet long and carries up to 106 passengers.
The smallest ships in terms of length and passenger capacity are found on the Chobe and Irrawaddy (or Ayeyarwady) Rivers. And the largest ship in terms of passenger capacity sails on the Volga River in Russia.
In general the European market tends to be the most popular market for river cruise travelers and suppliers. AmaWaterways is no exception. Nearly 75% of its itineraries are on European rivers and canals with the highest concentration being exclusively on the Danube River.
Over half of AmaWaterway’s European fleet has at least two sailings that are reserved for just the Danube River. And the AmaVerde sails exclusively on this waterway.
Parliament Building on the Danube River in Budapest, Hungary
A few other rivers commonly featured on European river cruises include the Main and Rhine and sometimes the Moselle. AmaWaterways has six of its fourteen ships sailing on these popular waterways. An itinerary that is combined with the Moselle River often includes a visit to Luxembourg, which isn’t offered by most other river cruise lines.
During the spring, many river cruise suppliers have itineraries that travel the Dutch & Belgian Waterways. AmaWaterways also has these packages. However, they don’t limit it to only the spring. They travel the canals and rivers of Belgium and the Netherlands year-round. In 2015 they will be adding an additional four itineraries with their new ship that will set sail next year – the AmaSerena.
River cruises in Russia are fairly common among suppliers. Traveling between Moscow and St. Petersburg on the Volga-Baltic Waterway, this cruise takes place on the AmaKatarina. It’s an older ship that was acquired by AmaWaterways a few years ago and was completely rebuilt.
The 13-day itinerary includes six different waterways! These include the Moskva River, Moscow Canal, Volga River, Lake Onega, Svir River and Neva River.
In 2012 AMA Waterways entered the market in Africa adding the Chobe River to its list. They are one of the only major river cruise suppliers that feature cruises on this river.
Itineraries range in length from 12 to 18 days.
Travel is between Cape Town and Johannesburg or Johannesburg and Nairobi and includes a visit to all or some of these destinations - Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Tanzania.
While most of the journey will be on land, you’ll spend 4 nights onboard a luxurious and award-winning cruise ship - the Zambezi Queen. The ship was built in 2009 and was acquired by the Mantis Group in 2012.
The Zambezi Queen is a very small ship. It’s 150 feet long and has a passenger capacity of only 28. It’s the smallest ship for AmaWaterways’ river cruises.
Available cruises on the Zambezi Queen.
Myanmar is a relatively new market for river cruise suppliers. Only a couple of companies have expanded to this part of Asia. AmaWaterways just happens to be one of them.
In Myanmar the company offers three different itineraries for cruises on the Irrawaddy or Ayeyarwady River. The packages are between 14 and 16 days and travel roundtrip from Yangon.
The AmaPura was custom-built in 2014 to sail the Irrawaddy River. It’s the smallest ship that AmaWaterways owns measuring 188 feet in length and carrying up to 56 passengers. The AmaPura is not small when it comes to stateroom size, though. All staterooms are suites and are between 285 sq. ft. and 420 sq. ft!
Available cruises on the Irrawaddy River in Myanmar.
AmaWaterways also offers river cruise packages on the Mekong River. Although, there is only one 16-day itinerary, Ama has two ships that sail this river. The AmaLotus was built in 2011. It’s 302 feet long and 42 feet wide, which is about 4 feet wider than most European vessels. Traveling between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, the AmaLotus accommodates up to 124 passengers.
The La Marguerite is a smaller ship. It is 235 feet long with a guest capacity of 92. Either ship will give you an opportunity to experience the Mekong in style!
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