Proudly celebrating more than 21 years on the river, family-owned and operated AmaWaterways was founded in 2002 by three families; however, our river cruise story began well before that. Co-Founder and President Rudi Schreiner was born in Vienna, at the heart of the Danube. His love of design drew him to architecture, but his even greater love of travel drew him to places far and wide. In 1975, he traveled to South America for a journalism assignment on the Amazon. It was here he designed his first ship, using what he could find to build a raft that would take him up and down the river during the next 7 months. Soon thereafter, he started working in travel, creating unique tour experiences in Europe.
A Turning Point
Rudi started the North American operations for many of today’s major river cruise companies, developing
itineraries and ships that would become the templates for what we know river cruising to be today.
After years of success as a driving force in the industry, Rudi decided to start his own venture — one
that would provide guests with a higher standard of luxury travel by river. That’s when he teamed up
with Co-Owners and Co-Founders Kristin Karst and Jimmy Murphy to start AmaWaterways.
In 2016, Rudi was inducted into the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Hall of Fame and was honored with their Lifetime Achievement Award for his years of devotion to the river cruising industry.
A Team of Pioneers
Kristin was born in Germany and brings extensive experience in travel, river cruising and customer service to the company in her role as Executive Vice President. Jimmy Murphy was a brilliant travel entrepreneur, having built Brendan Vacations, one of the most successful tour operators in the U.S. Jimmy’s son, Gary, who also played a major part at Brendan, took on an executive sales role at AmaWaterways. Together with Rudi, a true team of pioneers emerged.
Watch our First-ever TV Commercial
Watch our Music Video, Ama Means Love (Family), featuring David Onka. Click here to download.
The Story Continues
From the beginning, our goal was to create a river cruise company that we ourselves would enjoy.
To us, that meant the highest-quality, locally sourced food and wine; elegantly appointed ships with
staterooms offering 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.
With that in mind, for two wonderful decades, we have been building one-of-a-kind ships with added comforts and conveniences ranging from our signature view-enhancing twin balconies to the Chef’s Table specialty restaurant to our award-winning AmaMagna – redefining the river cruise experience. We continue to lead the way in innovation, pioneering the first sailings on Colombia’s Magdalena River in 2024. As we look ahead to the future, we are more committed than ever to offering innovative and sustainable ways for our guests to experience the rich culture and history found along the banks of the world’s most iconic rivers.