AmaWaterways launches new AmaDouro in Portugal

AmaWaterways launches new AmaDouro in Portugal
AmaDouro was christened during a riverside ceremony in Porto (Image: AmaWaterways)

Advantage Travel Partnership CEO Julia Lo Bue-Said helped AmaWaterways to welcome its newest ship, AmaDouro, to its European river cruise fleet during a christening ceremony in Porto, Portugal on 12 April.

Bue-Said, who is the line’s first British godmother, officially named the 102-guest AmaDouro by breaking a champagne bottle against her hull to bring good luck to all her future guests and crew. She was joined by AmaWaterways’ co-founders Kristin Karst and Rudi Schreiner, as well as the ship’s captain, Pedro Sardo. A local priest also blessed the vessel.

“I’m very honoured to be godmother of this incredible ship,” said Lo Bue-Said. “AmaDouro has truly exceeded my expectations of river cruising, from the ship herself to the unparalleled guest service and curated shore excursions. Traveling through Portugal and welcoming this ship with my family has been an unforgettable experience, and I am honoured to help officially welcome AmaDouro to AmaWaterways’ extraordinary fleet.”

Schreiner, Karst and Lo Bue-Said also gave speeches during the christening celebrations. Other highlights of the festivities included performances from folk dancers and fado singers, the chance for guests to sample regionally inspired cocktails and enjoy a gala dinner.

“The arrival of every new ship is exciting for us at AmaWaterways, but we are particularly thrilled to be adding AmaDouro to this spectacular region that we proudly helped introduce when sister ship AmaVida was first launched in 2013,” said Schreiner. “We are very happy to have our friends and partners join us here today as this 21st addition to our fleet marks the beginning of a banner year for our company.”

To showcase the line’s “AmaFamily” values, Schreiner and Karst surprised Lo Bue-Said by secretly flying in her eldest son to join her husband and youngest son for the ceremony.

“We are very happy to have Julia officially welcome this new addition to our family,” said Karst. “It is our way of celebrating the incredible growth and our strong commitment to the UK travel advisor community, as we work together to bring more guests from around the world to this unspoiled region of Europe.”

Michele Witthaus, who attended the christening on behalf of ICFR, said: “The christening of the AmaDouro, in keeping with the AmaWaterways ethos, was relaxed and friendly with the emphasis on culture. Guests of the ship’s maiden voyage and others invited to the event enjoyed an evening of traditional Portuguese entertainment, including a session of authentic fado music, which drew enthusiastic participation and applause from the ship’s crew, who lined up on deck to watch. Technical teething troubles that had delayed AmaDouro’s departure for her first cruise up the Douro earlier in the week were soon forgotten as the new ship was welcomed into the fleet and the celebration got underway.”

Designed specifically to operate on Portugal’s UNESCO-designated Douro River Valley, AmaDouro offers 51 staterooms, a Panoramic Lounge for nightly entertainment, a heated Sun Deck swimming pool, fitness room, massage room and the Main Restaurant, which will serve regionally inspired dishes and hand-selected wines. The vessel will sail seven-night roundtrips from Porto that include a three-night pre-cruise land programme in Lisbon.

AmaDouro is the first of three new ships that will be added to AmaWaterways’ fleet this year. Other new ships making their debut include AmaMora and AmaMagna, which will sail on the Rhine and Danube respectively.

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Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson
Tuesday, April 16, 2019