GalleryPhotos from the trip

AmaWaterways hosted almost 100 agents to see its new ship AmaKristina on a three-day fam trip. Harry Kemble reports from Amsterdam

AmaWaterways has achieved its 2018 target by doubling the number of travel partners it works with in just three months.

UK managing director Stuart Perl said the river cruise line had made “the most unbelievable progress” and had increased its distribution to about 180 agents.

Business is currently up 45% compared with this time last year, Perl said. Speaking on board AmaKristina last week in Amsterdam, where the line hosted its annual fam trip for nearly 100 agents, he said: “We are working with twice the number of agents that we were working with last year.

“The greatest thing about all this, in achieving our growth, is we are increasing our yield and that is what it is all about.”

Perl said AmaWaterways’ success was “a combination of everything” but admitted featuring on Channel 5’s Cruising with Jane McDonald in February had boosted interest in the line.

McDonald sailed on AmaDara on the Mekong River in the latest series. “We have been experiencing record call volume and bookings,” Perl said, revealing 98% of AmaWaterways sailings are sold through the trade.

“We know that the product will do the talking for us,” he added.

AmaWaterways will officially launch its 2019 programme, featuring new ship AmaMagna, at the end of May.

The 2019 programme is already available on the line’s website after a soft launch last year.

“It is people buying it, rather than us selling it,” Perl said. “We are still focused on where we have got pockets left to sell.”

The 196-passenger AmaMagna, which will be almost twice the width of traditional river cruise vessels, will launch in May 2019.

“There is an enormous increase in the passenger-to-space ratio,” Perl said. “There will be more public space than any other river cruise vessel.”

Gallery: Photos from the trip

What the agents said

felicity200“AmaKristina is really impressive. I am pleasantly surprised. I have never been on a river cruise before. I like the double balconies so that you can let some air in to your cabin.”
Felicity Ralfs, Butterfly Travel

geoff200“Although it launched last year it still feels very new and up to date. It is modern and not opulent and over the top. It is very well refined and you can chill [on board]. I have not sold any Ama yet, but it is still relatively new to the UK.”
Geoff Pook, Global Independent Travel

julie200“AmaKristina is clean, fresh, inviting and warm. The waiter service is very personable. I am quite a fussy eater but they will let you go off the menu.”
Julie Collings, Thornton’s Travel