AmaWaterways introduces enhanced hiking, biking excursions

AmaWaterways is beefing up its biking and hiking tour options for its 2016 Europe river cruises, in response to customer demand.

“Over the past two seasons, we have seen steadily increasing demand from our passengers for more active excursions,” Kristin Karst, executive vice president and co-owner of AmaWaterways, said in a release. “While we have always maintained a commitment to healthy and active travel, we decided to start the New Year by kicking it up a notch.”

The company introduced an array of new tours that will debut in the upcoming season. AmaWaterways has been carrying a fleet of bicycles onboard its vessels for passengers to use for several years now, but for 2016 it is introducing several new escorted bike tours. They include:

  • A tour of the historic waterfront town of Willemstad, the Netherlands;
  • Cycling along the Sava River and through Kalemegdan Park in Belgrade, Serbia;
  • A ride through the Belgian town of Antwerp;
  • Tours of the Wachau Valley along the Danube;
  • A ride through the historic town of Bamberg, Germany;
  • A tour along the Inn River in Passau, Germany

Additionally, in 2016, there will be new hiking tours in 12 port cities. They include:

  • A hike to the castle ruins in Durnstein, Austria, which includes two wine tasting options;
  • A hike up Fourviere Hill in Lyon, France;
  • A Passau Castle hike in Passau, Germany;
  • A hike up Mount Pipet in Vienna, Austria;
  • A hike to Chateau Gaillard in Les Andelys, France;
  • A hike to the Dom Luis Bridge, Old Harbor Quarter and the cathedral in Porto, Portugal

The new guided biking and hiking tours are included in the cruise fare in addition to AmaWaterways’ standard excursions that are often offered at a variety of paces, including gentle, regular and active.

Last year, AmaWaterways developed a partnership with tour operator Backroads to create a series of river cruises that include Backroads-led biking, walking and hiking excursions, which will have their first departures this year. More information about the Backroads Danube river cruise departures can be found on the Backroads website.

AmaWaterways christens AmaSerena in Germany

From left: AmaWaterways’ Kristin Karst and Rudi Schreiner; Cruise Planners’ Michelle Fee; Vilshofen Mayor Florian Gams; and 2nd County Commissioner Rainmund Kneidinger.

Michelle Fee, co-founder and CEO of Cruise Planners, served as the godmother for the christening of AmaWaterways’ newest 164-passenger vessel AmaSerena, which took place this week in Vilshofen, Germany.

Fee was joined by Ama co-founders Rudi Schreiner and Kristin Karst.

The launch of AmaSerena brings the company’s 2015 fleet size to 16 vessels, with two additional launches planned for next year — the 158-passenger sister ships AmaViola and AmaStella.

The AmaSerena features the line’s first-ever connecting staterooms, designed to better accommodate families and groups traveling together. The majority of the staterooms on the vessel’s upper two decks have been outfitted with Ama’s signature twin balcony concept (an adjoining indoor and outdoor balcony). The AmaSerena also features salon and spa services; a sun deck; multiple dining venues, including The Chef’s Table restaurant; an intimate wine room; a fitness room; and a heated swimming pool with swim-up bar on the sun deck.

Future itineraries for the AmaSerena include the Enchanting Rhine, Magnificent Europe and the Romantic Danube.