With new partnerships with Disney and Backroads, river cruising just got a lot more interesting.
AmaWaterways recently announced innovative partnerships with two respected guided-tour operators, Adventures by Disney and Backroads.
“Both initiatives are designed to attract new types of travelers to river cruising,” said Kristin Karst, co-owner and executive vice president of AmaWaterways.
On sailings beginning May 26, guests can book seven night/eight-day cruises through Backroads, which will allow them to explore scenic cities and towns along the Danube by bike before returning to the ship each evening. Backroads has been a leader in immersive hiking, biking and walking vacations for more than 35 years.
While AmaWaterways previously offered complimentary bicycles and helmets for leisure cyclists, the 20 Backroads sailings will provide custom titanium bikes, van support, expert trip leaders, and challenging daylong itineraries geared to active cyclists of various ability levels. These guests will have the convenience of unpacking and packing only once and enjoy the same gourmet meals and luxury amenities offered across AmaWaterways’ modern fleet.
Backroads cycling itineraries will be available on 20 AmaWaterways Danube sailings in 2015. Tours will be introduced along the Rhine, Rhone, Seine, Douro, Garonne and Mekong rivers in 2016.
Starting in 2016, Adventures by Disney will offer four eight-day/seven-night summer Danube cruises for families and multigenerational groups, as well as a December holiday-themed cruise. Booked through Adventures by Disney, passengers will sail aboard the new 170-passenger AmaViola, configured to be family-friendly with connecting staterooms, and three- and four-person rooms/suites.
Shore excursions will be tailored to the interests of teens, tweens and young adults, including visits to a salt mine in Austria, horse show in Hungary and a private marionette performance and strudel-making demo at Schonbrunn Palace in Austria. Onboard programs will include movies, karaoke, relay games, video games and themed nights.
The rapid growth of river cruising shows no signs of abating. Cruise lines are offering more amenities than ever before, more inclusive pricing, and expanded itineraries. “I see a rising demand for more ships, charters and partnerships in the future,” comments Douglas Ward, author of Berlitz River Cruising in Europe.
[A version of this article by Irene S. Levine was published in the Chicago Tribune Travel section on April 27, 2015.]