Jennie Carr talks to the man at the helm
Take a trained accountant, from a manufacturing family, with an interest in leisure, move forward a couple of decades and what do you have? The Managing Director of AmaWaterways, arriving there via stints with Seabourn and Cunard.
What immediately strikes me about Stuart Perl is his passion for and dedication to AmaWaterways; he is immensely proud to be part of a company that’s at the forefront of river cruising, which he tells me has a reputation second to none on European rivers.
He defines river cruising as taking you through a country, rather than to a country which ocean cruising does. A noticeable difference then. River ships are quieter, more serene, aiming to be comfortable and relaxed. Guests are cosmopolitan and sophisticated, not wanting razzmatazz but exceptional quality, especially when it comes to dining. He mentions that the entire AmaWaterways fleet has been admitted to Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, the respected gastronomic society, a first for the industry and rather an honour. Food is superb onboard, no question!
Rudi Schreiner, the late Jimmy Murphy and Kristin Karst co-founded AmaWaterways: innovation leading the way. Rudi’s known as ‘the godfather’ of river cruising – he and Kristin have guest satisfaction as their number one priority: the ships exist to serve this. It seems they do it rather well, with Berlitz giving AmaWaterways the highest ratings in all their categories. Innovations include a shallow draft to the vessels so low river levels are not a problem, the double balcony staterooms, WiFi across the ships, bicycle excursions and something that really appeals to me, Wellness cruises in 2018, with a Wellness host on board offering yoga, jogging and stretching classes along with delicious healthy eating options! Themed cruises are in abundance and good, this is truly wonderful.
And 2019 sees the arrival of AmaMagna, Europe’s most innovative river cruise ship, on the Danube, with cabins of 300 square feet on average, full balconies for all, multiple dining options, a watersports platform and it is double the normal width. Stuart is thrilled with this development.
I ask about his favourite river cruise, which is on the Mekong, as it reaches places not accessible by land and is an opportunity to experience a totally different culture, whilst onboard the colonial-style AmaDara. A world away from the UK and number crunching!
To enjoy one of these marvellous cruises, (take loose clothing) go to www.amawaterways.co.uk