PAX was on location at an intimate ceremony held in Lahnstein, Germany, over the weekend (Aug. 29) to partake in the christening celebration of AmaWaterways' twenty-fourth river cruise ship, the AmaSiena.
Industry friends, family and international media joined AmaWaterways’ president and co-owner Rudi Schreiner; Co-Founder & Executive Vice President, Kristin Karst, various executive team members, and AmaSiena godmother, Debbie Fiorino, Senior Vice President and COO of Owned Brands for World Travel Holdings.
Despite the fact that COVID-19 delayed the ceremony shortly after the delivery of the AmaSiena in 2020, the celebration was a momentous occasion for AmaWaterways.
Guests also expressed a similar sense of excitement to finally come together following more than 18 months of COVID-19 restrictions and battering effects on the travel industry,
“As long as we are here, I think we should really enjoy being able to travel, being on the ship, and in a safe environment,” said Rudi Schreider.
The special occasion featured a religious blessing, local entertainment and concluded with a surprise fireworks display.
According to tradition, a ship's godmother christens it to ensure good fortune, safe travels, and contented guests. For this special honour, AmaWaterways chooses its godmothers in a very careful way.
“The majority of our godmothers come from the travel industry, and as Debbie (Fiorino) clearly shows, our godmothers have made remarkable contributions to the travel industry, the cruise industry in general, river cruising and to AmaWaterways. We consider our godmothers as part of our family and they proudly act as our life-long ambassadors," shared Kristin Karst.
Fiorino praised AmaWaterways for delivering the highest integrity, innovation, and providing a caring culture to crew, guests, and travel partners.
“To be named godmother of a ship, there truly are no words to express what an honour this is,” said Fiorino. “To be named an AmaWaterways godmother, what comes to mind is love, family and gratitude.”
No sleep lost
A major influence in river cruising, Schreiner and his team remain optimistic for the industry's future, with the Godfather of river cruising telling guests that despite the pandemic, he has not lost any sleep.
Since 1992, Schreiner has been involved in river cruising and in the travel industry since 1982, experiencing "many ups and downs," from terrorism to civil war.
Amawaterways takes a conservative approach to manage its financial position to make sure that the company remains operational in any situation. Schreiner shared that "we always prepare the company for a year with no cruising."
The 156-passenger AmaSiena will continue to sail seven-night cruises on the Rhine River during the summer and fall. For more information on the AmaSiena, visit here.