TORONTO — AmaWaterways will have not one but two ships – AmaMagdalena and AmaMelodia – sailing Colombia’s Magdalena River, with the first voyage debuting March 30, 2024.
Agents heard the latest news yesterday during an AmaWaterways webinar.
AmaWaterways’ entry into Latin America and specifically Colombia has been in the works for more than five years, with an unexpected delay due to the pandemic.
Now with two new ships on the way, and interest in travel in Colombia on the rise, the river cruise company’s executive team is sharing the excitement about the new offerings.
“We can’t wait to show you the beauty of Colombia,” Kristin Karst, co-founder and Executive Vice-President of AmaWaterways, told agents. “We are opening the next pages of our storybook,” she added.
Part of the cruise line’s popular ‘Webinar Wednesdays’ series, the presentation, titled ‘Uncover the Wonders of Colombia & the Magdalena River’, showcased early details about the two new ships, itinerary info and special offers for group bookings.
“We want to offer you, our travel partners, our friends, more to sell,” said Karst. “As I’ve always said, oceans take you to countries, and rivers take you through them. We knew from the beginning that river cruising would become a very popular way for travellers to experience the world in an authentic and intimate way.”
She added: “For AmaWaterways, this is continent number four. This project is really something that’s driving us forward. Colombia has changed. From the moment I arrived there, I felt extremely safe. The country deserves it, and its people have been waiting for so long.”
Colombia’s highlights include UNESCO World Heritage Sites, nature and birdlife, music and culture, and especially “coffee, chocolate and cuisine,” said Karst with a smile.
The new Latin America offering brings Rudi Schreiner, AmaWaterways’ co-founder and President, full circle. In 1974, Schreiner was 22 years old and exploring the upper Peruvian Amazon region for five months on a raft. “That’s how river cruises started for me,” he said yesterday, only half-joking. “We’re totally, totally excited about these new cruises.”
The first ship to sail the Magdalena River for AmaWaterways, the newly designed AmaMagdalena, is an intimate 60-passenger vessel offering the luxury of space and sweeping views.
The ship will feature a pool on the Sun Deck, a spacious fitness room, a Main Restaurant serving regionally inspired Latin American cuisine and Western favourites, and an intimate al fresco specialty dining experience.
Each stateroom features AmaWaterways’ signature twin-balcony staterooms, with both a French balcony and an outside balcony. Each stateroom will also include a safe, mini-fridge, separate sitting area, desk, bathroom with shower, Entertainment-on-Demand and individually controlled air conditioning. Suites will also feature a bathtub.
Schreiner added that the two ships will be slightly wider than AmaWaterways’ European vessels, and the staterooms will be slightly larger. During the webinar, one agent asked about water depth issues. “Not on the Magdalena,” said Schreiner. “Also these ships have extra low draft, so no concerns in that department for our ships.”
Schreiner also told agents that AmaWaterways’ product in Colombia will be completely managed and operated by AmaWaterways.
AmaWaterways will be offering two itineraries on the Magdalena. Both are seven days in duration and start from Cdn$4,855.
‘Magic of Colombia’, sailing from Barranquilla, visits Nueva Venicia, Santa Barbara de Pinto, Mompox, El Banco, Magangue, Calamar and Cartagena.
‘Wonders of Colombia’ sails the reverse direction, from Cartagena to Barranquilla and visits all the same destinations, plus Gambote-Palenque.
Both the AmaMagdalena and AmaMelodia will sail both of these itineraries nearly year-round.
Clients can add on optional land programs too, including multi-night stays in Medellin, Cartagena and Panama City.
GREAT FOR GROUPS
Karst said the 60-passenger size of the new ships is “just right” for this destination, adding that she’s already had charter requests.
“This is going to be a race for space,” added AmaWaterways’ Senior VP, Sales, Alex Pinelo. “Our Groups Department is ready.”
The cruise line’s Colombia Group Sales discount is Cdn$600 per stateroom ($300 per person) for seven-night cruises.
Plus, agents can earn enhanced commissions for group bookings: up to 18% group commission on the cruise fare; 12% commission on pre- and post-land packages; 5% commission on contracted air packages; and 10% commission on insurance and extra nights.
There’s also the chance to earn one tour conductor (TC) credit for every nine full-fare (double occupancy) paying guests (cruise only), with the value applying to the 10th guest.
The minimum group requirement is five staterooms / 10 guests. A fully refundable Cdn$70 per stateroom group deposit is required.
AmaWaterways is fully onboard with helping its travel advisor partners get group business. The cruise line assigns the group a dedicated Group Coordinator, plus BDMs can assist with Cruise Nights and Consumer Seminars. Marketing Support includes a complimentary personalized group flyer and brochures. And AmaWaterways’ 24-Hour online booking engine provides instant and easy access to group booking details.
For more details check out amawaterways.ca/agent-home and amawaterways.ca/colombia.