Thursday, 6 November 2014

AmaWaterways suspends Russia river cruises for 2015

AmaWaterways suspends Russia river cruises for 2015

By Michelle Baran

AmaWaterways will not operate its 212-passenger Amakatarina on Russia’s Volga River for 2015.

“Russia has been a strong product for AmaWaterways,” said President Rudi Schreiner. “However, due to what has been taking place in Russia and Ukraine, the AmaWaterways senior leadership team has given careful thought to how to best handle, in order to ensure the best possible experiences for our guests. At this time, we have decided not to operate cruises aboard the AmaKatarina in 2015.”

In 2011, AmaWaterways launched the Amakatarina, a ship that was originally built in the 1980s but was redesigned and rebuilt from the hull. It was converted to accommodate 212 passengers, down from 400.

Ama contributed capital to the refurbishment, and signed a five-year lease with the ship’s owner, Russian company Vodohod, with the option to renew.

The decision to suspend Russia river cruises comes just as the results of elections held in two eastern Ukraine states on Monday put support behind rebel separatist leaders, an outcome supported by Russia and denounced by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Western countries, news media reported.

Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in March.

River cruise and tour operators have reported softness in Russia bookings throughout much of 2014.