CALABASAS, Calif., Aug. 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Award-winning river cruise line AmaWaterways christened its newest ship in Vilshofen, Germany today, amid great fanfare provided by dancers, singers, musicians, stilt walkers and other local performers. The highlight of the event was the traditional christening of the AmaPrima by its honorary godmother, Valerie Wilson, founder, chairman and CEO of NYC-based Valerie Wilson Travel, Inc.
"Almost everyone in Vilshofen played some kind of role in the AmaPrima's christening ceremony today," noted Kristin Karst, AmaWaterways' executive vice president and co-owner. "We couldn't have asked for a more supportive or festive atmosphere, or for a warmer welcome for our godmother, Valerie Wilson. It's been a simply wonderful day for all involved."
The afternoon festivities kicked off with rousing oom-pah music performed by a local band, and costumed stilt walkers who moved amongst the crowd gathered along the banks of the Danube River. As the AmaPrima cruised into port, the Triumphal March from Verdi's opera "Aida" played over loudspeakers and artillery experts shot ceremonial gun salutes from the top deck of the ship. AmaWaterways' Manager of European Operations, Wade Korzan, served as Master of Ceremonies and greeted the enthusiastic onlookers, local dignitaries, river cruise executives, journalists and passengers. Kristin Karst and AmaWaterways' president and co-owner President Rudi Schreiner made speeches, as did Valerie Wilson and Vilshofen Mayor Georg Krenn.
Wilson christened the AmaPrima in the time-honored tradition, breaking a bottle of Champagne against the ship's hull. Amid a chorus of cheers and applause, doves were released into the sky as the Vilshofen Fire Department sprayed a plume of water high over the river.
Other highlights included a special blessing of the ship by a local pastor, songs by soprano Heidlinde Schmid and an Indiana Jones-like whipcracking demonstration (a Bavarian tradition). Children from a folkloric club performed traditional dances and presented the Vilshofen flag to the AmaPrima's captain, Jan de Bruin, who also signed the town's ceremonial "Golden Book" along with other VIPs in attendance.
The tradition of christening a ship originated more than 4,000 years ago. A respected and well-known woman is selected to serve as a new ship's honorary "godmother," entrusted with blessing the vessel to ensure the safety of its passengers and crew. The AmaPrima's godmother, Valerie Wilson, heads one of the largest privately owned and family-managed travel agencies in the United States. She has been honored with many prestigious awards, serves on numerous advisory boards and has shared her expertise with readers of The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Town & Country and Travel + Leisure, among others. She is also the author of "Valerie Wilson's World...The Top Hotels & Resorts."
The AmaPrima, a sister ship to the award-winning AmaCerto (2012), is a deluxe 164-feet passenger vessel that incorporates such innovative design features as Twin Balconies (an AmaWaterways exclusive) and spacious staterooms that measure up to 350 sq. feet. Guests also enjoy Chaine des Rotisseurs culinary creations with unlimited fine wine and beer, a choice of dining venues, a heated pool with swim-up bar, massage and beauty salon, fitness studio, and complimentary in-room Internet, Infotainment and Wi-Fi. The AmaPrima even carries a fleet of bicycles on board so guests can enjoy Europe's scenic riverside bike paths on their own.
The AmaPrima will serve the Dutch and Belgium Waterways and the Danube and Rhine Rivers on 10 itineraries: Tulip Time Cruise; The Romantic Danube; Melodies of the Danube; The Legendary Danube; Blue Danube Discovery; Black Sea Voyage; Magnificent Europe; Grand Danube Cruise; Christmas Time Cruise; and Great Capitals & Vintages of the Danube.
For more information on AmaWaterways, please visit www.amawaterways.com. To book a cruise, please contact a travel professional or visit www.amawaterways.com. You may also Like Us on Facebook and Follow Us on Twitter.
AmaWaterways' European fleet includes AmaReina (2014); AmaSonata (2014); AmaPrima (2013); AmaCerto (2012); AmaVerde (2011); AmaBella (2010); AmaLyra (2009); AmaDolce (2009); AmaCello (2008), AmaDante (2008); AmaLegro (2007) and AmaDagio (2006). The line's newest ships feature Twin Balcony Staterooms, multiple dining venues, complimentary in-room Internet and Infotainment, a heated swimming pool or whirlpool, plus many more unique design elements. The company's AmaVoyages division has a fleet of five ships: AmaVida (2013) on the Douro River in Portugal; AmaLotus (2011) and La Marguerite (2009) on the Mekong in Vietnam and Cambodia; AmaKatarina (rebuilt 2011) on the Volga in Russia; and the Zambezi Queen (2009) on the Chobe in Botswana.