Discover Where AmaWaterways Finds Its Sparkle

Wade Korzan and Leo Starico head up AmaWaterways’ European Office in Basel, Switzerland, and are responsible for hiring our exceptionally hard-working Cruise Managers (or as we call them, our AmaWaterways Brand Ambassadors). We sat down with Wade and Leo while they were visiting the U.S. office to hear exactly how these extraordinary individuals are selected.

How many people apply to become Cruise Managers with AmaWaterways?

We receive hundreds of resumes. Approximately between 8-12 are hired each year, depending on our needs for the season.

Are all of AmaWaterways’ Cruise Managers from Europe?

We have a very diverse team from all over the world, encompassing different nationalities, backgrounds and even ages. Some are in their 20s, some are almost in their 70s. We believe it makes our cruises richer for our guests. In fact, our Basel office is also comprised of people of different backgrounds: German, American, Argentinian, Spanish, Swiss, Italian, Polish, Serbian, Romanian and Dutch! It’s all about finding people that connect with each other who can, in turn, connect with our guests.

Describe the interview process.

It’s quite long. First candidates are interviewed by two staff members at our office in Basel. If it’s a “yes” from our colleagues, the candidate then makes a presentation – yes, during their first interview, and they are prepared to do so – to all available staff in the office. It can be about anything they want to talk about and we have had some of the most bizarre topics! All we’re looking for is to see if they can convey a message with sparkle. A candidate could know everything there is to know about our European destinations and have years of experience in this type of role, but if they don’t sparkle, they won’t be hired.

Define “sparkle.”

It’s a quality that isn’t tangible. It can’t be defined. You can see it in their eyes and feel an overwhelming positive energy radiating from that person.

What else do you look for in candidates?

Creativity and resourcefulness. We also have a concept we cover in training called “FLEPS”: Family, Love, Enthusiasm, Passion and Sparkle.

If a potential Cruise Manager has these qualities, what happens next?

The whole staff must agree to move forward after the candidate’s presentation. In the second stage of the interview process, candidates are invited to take part in one of our river cruises. They will attend every informational briefing, destination presentation and cocktail event and will also go on daily excursions. As you can imagine, for us to bring someone on a cruise, we have to be very confident in their potential. Afterward, they are asked to write a report and do another presentation in our Basel office – one similar to the destination presentations held for our guests. And again, it must be a unanimous decision before a Cruise Manager gets hired.

No matter what time of day it is, Cruise Managers always seem to be welcoming guests back on board, signing people up for excursions, handling last-minute change, etc. How do they do it all?

We teach them techniques for “being everywhere all the time” and for being as visible, accessible and approachable as possible during your cruise. And they’re happy to do so because their primary goal is to ensure that guests have the most memorable river cruise experience.

During your river cruise and throughout your pre/post-river cruise land programs, AmaWaterways’ Cruise Managers are there to support you, share their expertise and ensure you have a memorable experience.

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