New River Cruise Company Will Target Groups

Amadeus Waterways sets up shop in Westlake Village, Calif.; maiden voyage scheduled for April 2003

By: Theresa Norton Masek

European river cruise executive Rudi Schreiner, a veteran of both Uniworld and Viking River Cruises, has formed a new company called Amadeus Waterways.

Amadeus will kick off operations in April with the new 146-passenger Amadeus Symphony, now under construction in The Netherlands.

Schreiner, who opened an office in Westlake Village, Calif., said there is room in the industry for another river cruise company.

“There is tremendous potential right now,” said Schreiner, who plans to position his new company differently from Uniworld and Viking River, both also headquartered in Los Angeles. “Our focus will be mainly alumni, nonprofit and the group market in general,” he said. “I don’t even go after FITs.”

Schreiner is starting with one vessel and plans to add more but not too many.

“I would like to keep it as a niche market with a few ships with high-quality service,” he said. “I really don’t have the intention of competing with Viking River and Uniworld.”

About half of Schreiner’s 2003 capacity will be sold by Los Angeles-based Brendan Worldwide Vacations.

Other tour operators also are selling space on the Amadeus Symphony, including Maupintour and Sunny Land Tours.

Schreiner said the Amadeus Symphony is one of seven vessels owned by W. Luftner Reisen GmbH. Four ships carry the Amadeus name the Amadeus, the Amadeus Rhapsody (also known as Amadeus II), the Amadeus Classic and the Amadeus Symphony.

“They have a good name in the United States,” he said. “One primary feature of the ships is the focus on enjoying the scenery. The restaurant in the back has three totally glass sides with no obstructions in the middle. Even if you sit on one side, you can see the shores on the other side.”

The ship will have two lounges the main lounge and a 50-person Club Lounge that can be used for meetings for groups. The 69 cabins are 161 square feet in size with 90-by-42-inch windows. Four suites measure 236 square feet and have two 75-by-42-inch windows.

Bathrooms have showers only but are enclosed by a sliding glass door. Suites have full bathtubs.

The Amadeus Symphony will have a physician onboard. Other features include a 100-meter walking track and a large hot tub on the top deck, a small gym and a salon with hair services, massage, manicures and pedicures.

Wine will be included with dinner. Schreiner hopes to add nightly entertainment of local musicians, and artists.

All shore excursions are included. Groups of 25 or more can arrange for their own motorcoach for shore excursions, including deviations from the set schedule, at no extra cost, Schreiner said.

A range of itineraries are offered in 2003, including seven-night Tulip Time cruises in the Netherlands and Belgium, a Rhine and Moselle cruise with Munich, a seven-night Danube cruise with two nights in Prague, and a 14-night journey from Amsterdam to Budapest. Prices range from $1,498 to $2,898 (not including air).

Call 800-626-0126. A Web site is under development at www.amadeuswater