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In just one year from now, AmaWaterways will have not just one but two new 60-passenger luxury river cruise ships plying the waters of the magnificent Magdalena River in Colombia.

In a “Sip and Sail” webinar offered on March 2, AmaWaterways’ Rudi Schreiner, president and CEO, Kristin Karst, co-founder and executive vice president, and Janet Bava, chief marketing officer, were joined by other company executives and Colombian tourism officials to reveal the details of their foray into this exciting new market with gorgeous itineraries and two sister ships, AmaMagdalena and AmaMelodia, both debuting in 2024.

It should be noted that bookings are already open for the Colombia cruises. AmaWaterways currently offers a 10 percent commission on the river cruise fare, a 12 percent commission on pre-and post-cruise land packages, a 10 percent commission on extra nights, a 10 percent on the cruise protection plan and a 5 percent commission on contracted air. Cruises will be available year-round except for September and October.

The project was five years in the making, shared Schreiner, the “Godfather of River Cruising.” Now, after numerous delays due to the pandemic, it’s finally full steam ahead. During the webinar titled “Uncover the Wonders of Colombia & the Magdalena River,” the team proceeded to the details of the new ships and the itineraries.

Details of AmaWaterways’ Colombian Adventure

Schreiner fell in love with the area on a youthful visit in the 70s, and these itineraries were inspired by a 500-mile journey he undertook with Karst in 2021. “We went from Cartagena up the Magdalena, all the way up to El Banco, Mompox and back down to Barranquilla, so we did the entire itinerary. What’s so great about the Magdalena River is that it’s a mix between culture and wildlife and birdlife,” said Schreiner. The cruise visits five UNESCO World Heritage Sites as well, and your clients will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the “heart of Colombia” and the colorful musical and culinary culture of the land. In addition, cruise-goers on either ship will enjoy a mini Carnaval experience in an homage to the magnificent Carnaval that goes on every year in Barranquilla.

The two ships will sail on two similar 7-day itineraries—Magic of Colombia and Wonders of Colombia between Barranquilla and Cartagena—both along the Magdalena River. Stops along the way include Nueva Venecia, Calamar, Santa Barbara de Pinto, Mompox, El Banco, Magangue and Palenque. Each destination was chosen for its historical or cultural attractions, and your clients can enjoy different tours and special events depending on how active they want to be. In Mompox, for example, they can hike the Cienaga de Pijiño, take a walking tour of the city or hop on a tuk-tuk—their choice. Events include an onshore dinner with a live cumbia musical performance in El Banco, a musical performance in Palenque and the aforementioned Carnaval celebration in Barranquilla.

There will also be pre-cruise and post-cruise tours available. Cruisers departing from Cartagena con opt for a two-night tour or a longer one combining Cartagena and Medellin. Travelers departing from Barranquilla can add on a three-night Medellin tour. And those on either itinerary can take the post-cruise tour available to Panama, which includes flights, a walking tour of the Old City, a Panama Canal experience and a visit to Chagres National Park.

The sister ships—currently under construction—are being purpose-built for the Magdalena River, and while they are in some respects different from their European counterparts—for example, they’re wider and shorter—they sill have the familiar three decks with every stateroom facing the water and the line’s signature twin balconies. The vessels are being designed by renowned Colombian architect Camilo Restrepo using rich native woods, fabrics, ceramics and local artwork, all inspired by the Botanical Garden of Medellin.

The AmaMagdalena, whose inaugural voyage of the 7-night Wonders of Colombia itinerary will be on March 30, 2024, will have 30 staterooms, with five categories spread over two decks. The AmaMelodia will sail its inaugural 7-night Magic of Colombia itinerary on April 6, 2024, with 32 staterooms. Both ships will have a pool on the top deck, a main restaurant on the Cumbia deck, fitness and massage rooms, a beauty salon and a main lounge.

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