The "first luxury river cruise experience" on Colombia’s Magdalena river will be offered in 2023 through a partnership between AmaWaterways and Metropolitan Touring.
The river line and the South American specialist operator have announced plans to build an “all-suite, eco-friendly” vessel and run a collection of “unique” shore activities.
Revealing the partnership on Thursday (8 July), the companies said the new programme, launching in December 2023, would incorporate each side’s experience – with the river ship design pedigree of AmaWaterways president and co-founder Rudi Schreiner and Metropolitan Touring’s expertise in expedition cruising in the Galapagos.
Guests will be able to choose between two seven-night itineraries with pre- and post-cruise land programmes exploring the Magdalena and “delving into Colombia’s vibrant cultural and natural heritage”.
“Not since my early university days of exploring the Amazon have I felt the excitement of discovering a new destination that is so rich in biodiversity and culture, as I found on the Magdalena in Colombia,” said Schreiner.
“I’m absolutely captivated by the rich history, wildlife and friendly welcome that awaits our guests when our intimate, all-suite ship sets sail in December 2023.”
Metropolitan Touring chief executive, Paulina Burbano de Lara, said: “Colombia has always been a country close to my heart and every trip I’ve made to the Magdalena over many years has been full of spectacular, life-affirming experiences that touched my soul. Finding the right partner to develop the first-ever eco-friendly river cruise experience for Colombia was therefore of utmost importance to me and our company.
“We know that Rudi, Kristin and all the AmaWaterways team share our passion for the Magdalena and we’re delighted that together we will create innovative and enriching experiences for guests.”
Accompanied by a skilled team, which will include an onboard wellness manager, river cruise travellers on the Magdalena will enjoy connections with local nature, wildlife, culture, flavours and people, as well as activities such as kayaking, hiking and birdwatching.
Specific itineraries are currently being developed with more details anticipated in the coming weeks.
Camilo Calderon, general manager of Metropolitan Touring Colombia, said: “Drawing on each company’s expertise, AmaWaterways and Metropolitan Touring have together created a unique river cruise and land programme that will immerse travellers in the beauty of the ‘River of a Thousand Rhythms’.
“Our guests will enjoy the modern comforts of an upscale river cruise ship, with exclusive experiences and unparalleled service, hallmarks of both companies, to the very heart of Colombia’s soul.”
“It is incredibly exciting to be able to launch a new river cruise destination like Colombia, with such a colourful history and artistic background,” added Kristin Karst, executive vice-president and co-founder of AmaWaterways.
“We are celebrating 19 years of creating authentic river cruise experiences in Europe, Asia and Africa and now, with our world-recognised destination partner, Metropolitan Touring, we will be able to offer our guests an opportunity to explore a fourth continent while discovering the hidden gems of Colombia along the majestic Magdalena.”