I found this video from a Christmas markets story I posted on December 27, 2006. The reason I thought I would repost it today was not because of the Christmas markets, which are fabulous, but because of the people in the photo.
From the left is Kristin Karst and beside her is Rudi Schreiner. That’s a much younger me to the right.
At the time, Rudi and Kristin were president (Rudi) and vice president of sales (Kristin) for Amadeus Waterways, a company they had founded, along with the late Jimmy Murphy, in 2002. Amadeus you ask? Yes, that was the original name. In 2008, they changed the name to AmaWaterways, keeping the Latin root word for love (Ama, think Amor) to make AmaWaterways.
What struck me when browsing through River Cruise Advisor’s archives, aside from the fact that Rudi and I are now both gray-haired while Kristin has not changed at all, was how long we’ve had the pleasure of knowing one another and being in this business.
When I produced this video (and doesn’t it look ancient now?), AmaWaterways had just emerged from its toddler years – and we all know what it’s like to raise toddlers. Fast forward to today and AmaWaterways is a young adult, and a fine one at that. Good parenting certainly played a role, and you can see that the company’s “personality traits” trickled down from Kristin and Rudi (as well as the late Jimmy Murphy and his children).
It sounds a little mushy to say that AmaWaterways is about love and family, which is how the company bills itself. And while that may sound like a good idea for marketing, it’s actually the way the company operates. All river cruise companies have their own personalities, and that’s something I’ll be exploring here on River Cruise Advisor in the weeks and months to come.
With AmaWaterways, it’s about making guests feel more than welcome. It’s about making them feel as if they are part of an extended family on an adventure along the river.
Britton and I have been fortunate to have traveled with AmaWaterways, as guests of the company, countless times. We’ve often cruised with Rudi and Kristin. They are warm and wonderful and kind people. And that warmth extends to the staff on AmaWaterways’ ships. I can’t imagine a better way of showing that than in the photo below. We were at the end of a 15-day cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest. The cruise manager, Madalina (Maddy) Caldaruse, had stolen everyone’s hearts. She is as warm a person as you’d ever meet. Her laugh is infectious, and her charm is endearing. You can read about her story of growing up along the Danube here.
I suppose a lot of river cruises end with hugs, as in the photo below. River cruising is much more than just seeing beautiful sights along the way. It’s about the people you meet, and the people who make our experiences on the rivers so special. That old video at the top of this post reminded me that we encounter many such people during our journeys on the rivers – and as we meander through life.