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AmaWaterways is heading to Colombia sailing the Magdalena River, also known as “The Caribbean River.” Today the cruise line announced a new partnership with Metropolitan Touring to introduce a new river cruise experience in Colombia, as the first luxury river cruise line to sail the Magdalena River.

The new itineraries will start in December 2023, as guests will be immersed in unique experiences on shore as well as on board a new custom-built, all-suite, eco-friendly river cruise ship. During a virtual press conference, Rudi Schreiner, president and co-founder of AmaWaterways, announced that the name of the new ship will be the AmaMagdalena, an ode to the river she will exploring.

The new ship he noted will host under 100 guests—probably around 80—and will feature all suites with balconies. But that’s all that Schreiner was able to share with us for now regarding the upcoming ship.

“Not since my early university days of exploring the Amazon River have I felt the excitement of discovering a new destination that is so rich in biodiversity and culture, as I found on the Magdalena River in Colombia,” said Schreiner in a press statement. “I’m absolutely captivated by the rich history, wildlife and friendly welcome that awaits our guests when our intimate, all-suite ship sets sail in December 2023.”

Both Schreiner and Kristin Karst, executive vice president and co-founder of AmaWaterways traveled to Colombia this past spring with a group of 10 to explore the Magdalena River. Of her experience, Karst said, “I had never been to Colombia, but I’m a good traveler…post COVID, we wanted to go and explore the world again. We felt the most generous hospitality [upon arrival]. They welcomed us with open arms and never ever did I feel unsafe. It was so much better than I could have ever dreamed.” Adding that, “Colombia is such a thriving country; there is so much happening. It’s about the colorful rich history, the artistic background, the wildlife, the mouth-watering food, the great wines we shared, wonderful coffee. It is about the genuine people; their smiles, how they welcome you. This is so touching and we believe our guests will so much enjoy the destination.”

Schreiner added of his experience, “It was very pleasant on the river, the cities are beautiful; Cartagena is stunning, the carnival in Barranquilla was fantastic, and we had some incredible experiences in between.”

Karst noted that Colombia is “very close from Florida , only 2-3 hours of flying time. It’s very easy access with great airline connections. We really can’t wait to show this rich destination to all our guests.”

When asked why AmaWaterways chose Colombia as its first Latin America destination, Shreiner says, “because I feel it is the prime river in Latin America, which combines culture and nature. You need to find a place where everyday you have something exciting, something different.” He also noted that he’s been thinking about adding Colombia for a few years, even before they got together with Metropolitan Touring for this new partnership. “I’m looking at all the rivers around the world,” he noted, “looking at the political situations, environmental situations…Colombia was always in our eye.”

“I’m moved when I think about the impact that this cruise will have for the people who live along the river,” said Camilo Calderon, managing director, Colombia during the virtual press conference.

“Colombia has always been a country close to my heart and every trip I’ve made to the Magdalena over many years has been full of amazing, life-affirming experiences that touched my soul. Finding the right partner to develop the first-ever eco-friendly river cruise experience for Colombia was therefore of utmost importance to me and our company,” said Paulina Burbano de Lara, chief executive officer of Metropolitan Touring, in a press statement. “We know that Rudi, Kristin and all the AmaWaterways team share our passion for the River Magdalena and we’re delighted that together we will create innovative and enriching experiences for guests.”

Itineraries & The Perfect Guest
Guests will be able to choose between two 7-night itineraries with pre- and post-cruise land programs exploring the magnificent Magdalena River and delving into Colombia’s vibrant cultural and natural heritage. Accompanied by a skilled team, which will include a wellness manager on-board, travelers on the Magdalena River will enjoy in-depth connections with local nature, wildlife, culture, flavors and people, as well as activities such as kayaking, hiking and birdwatching.

“Drawing on each company’s expertise, AmaWaterways and Metropolitan Touring have together created a unique river cruise and land program that will immerse travelers in the beauty of the “River of a Thousand Rhythms,” says Calderon in a press statement. “Our guests will enjoy the modern comforts of an upscale river cruise ship, with exclusive experiences and unparalleled service, hallmarks of both companies, to the very heart of Colombia’s soul.”

As for who is the perfect traveler for advisors to book on this new itinerary and destination, Karst said “anyone who wants to explore the world, who wants to see more of the globe, who is a little adventurous—an active traveler.” However, she adds that age doesn’t really matter as everything can be accommodated for those who are “8 years old to 80 years old. You have to be open to the world.”

“It is incredibly exciting to be able to launch a new river cruise destination like Colombia, with such a colorful history and artistic background,” says Karst, in a press statement. “We are celebrating 19 years of creating authentic river cruise experiences in Europe, Asia and Africa and now, with our world-recognized destination partner, Metropolitan Touring, we will be able to offer our guests an opportunity to explore a fourth continent while discovering the hidden gems of Colombia along the majestic Magdalena River.”

The itineraries are currently in the works, so stay tuned for more information soon. This itinerary is expected to be open for sale in late fall, sometime in October or November 2021.

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