Get personal insight into all things river cruising from our Co-owner and Executive Vice President Kristin Karst
An AmaWaterways river cruise is about more than just the destination – it’s the journey. Our ships are inspired by luxury yachts so that you can enjoy an array of great features as you cruise along from one stunning place to the next. Because it’s not just about where you go. It’s how you get there that matters.
Executive Vice President and Co-owner Kristin Karst talks about what makes AmaWaterways river cruises so special.
Every year, eager travelers journey to Europe to experience the yuletide season at its very best. With the backdrop of winter white hilltops, twinkling lights and extravagantly decorated cities, you'll undoubtedly get swept up in the enchantment and wonder that's in the air.
Our Wine Cruises are a unique and immersive way to combine all the wonder of Europe's famed regions with the rich history of winemaking and epicurean treasures found along its wondrous rivers.
Immerse yourself in the many flavors of Europe on one of our unique Wine Cruises, which let you add a unique,
epicurean dimension to one of our European itineraries. Like our standard river cruises, guests have the opportunity
to join tours that highlight the famous sights in each port of call. These special itineraries, however, offer
guests a perfect blend of wine-related experiences and excursions in grand capitals and charming towns. You’ll
taste local cuisine, discover how wine is made and, of course, partake in tastings — all at no additional cost.
Whether you have a seasoned appreciation for fine wine, or simply indulge in a sip here and there, this is a
wonderful way to uncork the traditions of the local culture and learn about the region you’re visiting.
Delectable cuisine and fine wine abound on these special cruises, both on board and ashore. While on the ship, you’ll
enjoy wine tastings led by a wine expert. You’ll also indulge in award-winning cuisine paired with hand-selected, premium wines.
There are plenty of varieties, and you’ll have the opportunity to try different selections every day. And then, of course,
there are exclusive excursions designed to bring the rich wine history and culture of Europe to life. You’ll visit private
cellars, renowned wineries and stunning vineyards where more tastings and pairings await. All this while discovering all
the wonderous sights and landmarks along the way.
Each Wine Cruise is hosted by a qualified wine expert, who usually brings hand-selected wines on board that are served during meals and at tastings.
Some wines come from the expert’s own winery and other varieties are sourced from local wineries located along the cruise itinerary.
The wine expert will recommend food and wine pairings, lead discussions and hold tastings during your cruise. They will talk all things
wine and provide insight into different varieties.
In the corner of southwestern France, the Garonne and Dordogne rivers merge together to form the Gironde Estuary that naturally
divides the famous Bordeaux region into Left and Right banks. Our Taste of Bordeaux itinerary takes you to experience the most
impressive winegrowing areas and their signature blends.
Bordeaux is the largest controlled wine region in France, made up of several subregions. Each subregion has its own strictly
governed appellation, unique climate, and terroir that define it. Unlike most wines around the world, the quality of Bordeaux
wine is determined by these factors rather than the grape varietal. Producers combine many grape types together to create
food-loving blends. While Bordeaux is acclaimed for its legendary red blends, the small percentage of white blends from
this region also make a big impression. The left and right banks of the river have different soil types that bring these
exceptional blends to life.
The curvy nature of the Seine River can be disorienting when you’re in Paris. Not to worry, just remember to face downstream
so you can tell the Left bank from the Right. Our Paris & Normandy cruise itinerary is about as romantic as it gets, beginning
with views of the art-inspiring “City of Light” that morph into lush countryside and historic Normandy beaches. With countless
vineyards close by, France’s second largest waterway allows us to sample some of the country’s most renowned wines and ciders.
The wine variety that instantly characterizes northern France comes from the Champagne region, about 90 miles east of Paris.
Stemming from chalky soils and cool temperatures, these sparkling varieties produce a sweet effervescence and unparalleled
quality that merit exclusive classification as the one-and-only wine known as “Champagne.”
Another specialty drink is found closer to the English Channel. Normandy’s fruit-filled orchards are picked and pressed into
a rich cider brandy called Calvados. Made from over 170 apple and pear varieties, this rustic spirit is distilled twice and
barrel-aged for at least two years before bottling. The result is a palate-pleasing liqueur bursting with complex apple elements
and hints of cinnamon spice.
The Rhone River makes its first appearance in the Swiss Alps and then runs through the heart of France to join the Mediterranean Sea.
Besides providing captivating views of medieval towns and colorful landscapes, it connects the dots between thousands of vineyards
from Lyon to Avignon. Our Provence & Spain itinerary takes you through this prized wine-producing region in southeastern France,
known across the globe as the Rhone Valley.
The valley traces the path of the river for almost 150 miles, hypnotizing travelers with grape-covered vines gripping to its steep sides.
Since it’s so large, the climates vary greatly from north to south – as does the soil and wine quality. Thus, the Rhone is divided at the
town of Valence into two worlds of wine: the Northern Rhone and the Southern Rhone.
Land near a river, and naturally protected by mountain ranges, inspired winemakers to plant vineyards along the Douro,
but wild landscapes and nutrient-poor soil made this an extremely difficult task. The birthplace of port wine would
simply not exist today if it hadn’t been for the centuries of determined winegrowers who laboriously carved rows of
vines into the steep, dramatic terrain.
Their efforts proved worthwhile. Angled, rocky terrain just so happens to be ideal for the growth of grapes. Over the years,
the magnitude of the Douro Valley wine region has grown remarkably and it is now divided into three parts. Our Enticing Douro
itinerary cruises through all three sub-regions, giving you a taste of Northern Portugal’s famous ports and table wines.
Europe’s second largest river begins in Germany and touches ten countries before emptying into the Black Sea.
Brilliant architectural masterpieces and vine-strung hillsides on the Danube River have inspired artistic creations
for hundreds of years. The Romantic Danube and Melodies of the Danube itineraries journey through Germany, Austria,
Slovakia and Hungary so our guests can experience some of the most celebrated wines and sights in the heartland of Europe.
Historic villages, medieval mansions, and towering hillsides wrapped in vineyards are just a few of the amazing things that overlook the river’s edge
from Nuremberg to Luxembourg. Our Europe’s Rivers & Castles itinerary takes you through the Mosel, Rhine and Main rivers to discover some of Europe’s
most fascinating scenery while dabbling in the remarkable wines grown in Germany.
For over one thousand years, a wide variety of tantalizing wines have been surfacing from the special soils of the Franconia region, alongside the
Main River in Eastern Germany. These grapevines benefit from a continental climate with a Mediterranean influence, which is ideal for growing grapes.
Both dry, fruity white wines and rare, decadent reds are made with superb quality here.
Castles from ancient empires and steep vineyards sprout up from every angle, which makes cruising on the Rhine River feel like entering a
scene out of a storybook. Actually, there are more charming castles along this river than any other in the world. The Enchanting Rhine
itinerary winds through the Netherlands, Germany, France and Switzerland, diving deep into the history and wine regions of this vital waterway.
Prepare to be amazed by the white grapevines that coat the vertical surfaces of the Rhine Gorge in Germany, also known as the Upper Middle Rhine Valley.
Famous for maintaining a quality focus, and grape-growing traditions dating back to Roman times, this area yields some of the country’s best wines.
The quality of their distinctly elegant Rieslings and fine, subtle reds are a result of the region’s unique, slate-based soils and semi-continental climate.
When you take a look at the wine labels here, something seems to be missing - the type of grape. That’s because,
in Bordeaux, blends rule the world and the grape variety simply isn’t as important as where the grapes are grown.
So, rather than being named “Cabernet Sauvignon” or “Merlot,” you will find that these wines are named after the
château and appellation they come from.
Contrary to popular myth, the Benedictine monk Dom Pérignon did not invent the “champagne method” for making
sparkling wine. A cellar master at the Abbey in Hautvillers in northeastern France, Dom Pérignon was the
first to blend grapes in such a way as to improve the quality of wines. His legacy endures in the form of a
prestigious Champagne from Moët & Chandon that bears his name.
Calvados is an apple brandy from the Normandy region of France with a long history dating back to the mid-1500s.
Calvados producers often use over one hundred specially grown and selected varieties of apples and pears, which
are harvested, pressed into juice and fermented into a dry cider. The liquid is aged in barrels for two years,
resulting in a potent liquor with nearly forty percent alcohol content.
From 1308 until 1388, the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church was relocated from Rome to Avignon. During that time,
the papal courts developed a taste for the local wine and promoted viticulture throughout the region. Wines from this
region came to be known first as Vin du Pape and later as Châteauneuf-du-Pape. To this day, the papal symbol of crossed
keys can be found on every bottle produced there.
The process used to make Port wine depends on brandy being added to partially fermented grape must – the juice that
contains the fruit, seeds and stems. This halts fermentation, leaving sugar in the mixture and results in a sweeter
wine with a higher alcohol content. This vinification process was discovered in 1678 and is still used to this day.
Ruby, Tawny and Vintage are three of the most prevalent styles produced.
One of northern Portugal’s most famous wines is called Vinho Verde, which translates as “young wine.” Intended to be
enjoyed within a year of bottling, these distinct wines are created from several local grape varieties. While the
unique, aromatic and effervescent whites are wildly popular, the fresh and fruity rosés, and rich reds, are also a delight.
“Wine Legs,” “Tears of Wine” and “Church Windows” are all charming descriptions of the droplets that form in a ring near
the top of a glass of wine. The drops continuously form and fall in rivulets back into the liquid, a phenomenon
indicative of the alcohol content in the wine. Some people believe these rivulets can be interpreted much as a
fortuneteller might read tea leaves.
The Wachau Valley has gained world-wide recognition for their Grüner Veltliner white grape variety. Planted throughout
Austria’s vineyards, these coveted vines bring yellow-green berries to fruition. These wines achieve many levels of
quality and taste, ranging from acidic and zesty in their youth to complex and nutty as they age. One thing that
these varieties have in common is their ability to compliment meals.
In English, Rauchbier means “smoked beer.” This traditional German beverage achieves a deliciously distinct and smoky flavor. For
centuries, brewers have been drying malted barley over an open flame to create this unique taste. Bamberg, Germany is recognized for
producing the best smoked beers in Europe.
One of the world’s most acclaimed grapes, Riesling has a strong personality, high acidity and ranges from dry to intensely
sweet. The fruit thrives in Germany and Austria’s cooler climates and is susceptible to “noble rot,” a fungus that
attacks certain ripe grapes and dehydrates them, giving the wine immense richness and sweetness.
Along with Germany and Austria, the Alsace region in France produces noteworthy dry Rieslings as well as highly
aromatic Gewürztraminer wines and Crémant d’Alsace, a sparkling wine that has been gaining in popularity. Alsation
wine is very much about aroma and distinct hints of peaches and flowers abound. Oak aging is not used in this region –
rather, producers rely on ripeness and alcohol to enrich the texture and flavor.