AmaLyra on the Danube

(1:50 p.m. EDT) -- New programs -- and ships -- are on the horizon for river cruise line AmaWaterways.

In an interview with Cruise Critic at the Seatrade Global conference in Fort Lauderdale, Co-Owner and Founder Kirsten Karst outlined a host of additions and news coming up for the line. Among the items:

Wellness Instructors

Starting with the 2017 season, AmaWaterways will add a wellness instructor to AmaLyra, its ship on the Seine that sails between Paris and Normandy. The wellness instructor will lead classes featuring a variety of activities: yoga, mediation, Zumba and Pilates. On days with shore excursions, the classes will take place in the morning before breakfast; on scenic sailing days, another class will be added later in the morning.

In addition, the line will supplement its active excursions with a guided run off the ship in the morning. Right now, passengers can't run on the walking track until after 8 a.m. because the track is above cabins, Karst said.

If the trial is successful, the line will add wellness instructors on its other ships in 2018. It's all a continuation of AmaWaterways' dedication to more active travelers; the line already has bikes onboard and offers an active excursion, such as a hike or bike ride, in most ports.

Sip and Sail

Beginning 2018, AmaWaterways will include drinks during happy hour in its fare. The line already includes beer and wine at lunch and dinner, but passengers tend to congregate in the bar most often before the evening meal, Karst said. "With us, the guests should never feel nickel and dimed."

Changes in Myanmar

At the end of March, AmaWaterways will retire its ship that sails the Irrawaddy in Myanmar (Burma), AmaPura. The company plans to build a brand-new ship for the river that will debut late 2018 or early 2019.


AmaWaterways is continuing to work on putting a ship in India; after Seatrade, Karst along with her husband and fellow co-owner, Rudi Schreiner, are flying to the country to study itineraries. When it does happen, the itinerary is likely to go round-trip from Kolkata, on the lower Ganges, she said. 

2019 Ships

AmaWaterways is debuting AmaKristina this year, with a christening set for May, and has already announced that AmaLea is coming in 2018. But the company is planning new builds even further ahead, with two new ships for Europe scheduled for 2019.

Karst was coy on details for the 2019 ships. One of them will have the same layout as the most recent ships, with the connecting cabins that appeal to families and fulfill Ama's partnership with Adventures by Disney (which is expanding in 2018). The other one will be "very different," she said. Stay tuned.

--By Chris Gray Faust, Senior Editor