AmaWaterways explores Black heritage and culture | Travel Research Online


AmaWaterways explores Black heritage and culture


If you search “river cruising + Black” results might return the Black Sea or the Black Forest — but very rarely are Black travelers represented in river cruising. AmaWaterways is taking a step toward inclusivity with its “Soulful Epicurean Experience,” a first-of-its-kind sailing that will focus its Rhone River voyage in the South of France through the lens of Black history.

The seven-night “Colors of Provence” itinerary aboard AmaKristina is followed by a three-night post-cruise land package in Paris, which offers guests a more immersive experience that will focus on the city’s Black history and culture. Day one of the cruise there is a full-day Black heritage tour of Marseilles on offer, while the land tour portion includes an exclusive excursion honoring Josephine Baker, the first Black woman inducted into France’s Pantheon mausoleum, as well as a “Black History of Paris” city tour.

The epicurean piece comes into play with guided tours that showcase Provence’s world-famous food and wine, such as an excursion to a truffle farm in Viviers or a tour of the Beaujolais winery.

“Following ongoing dialogue between the AmaWaterways leadership team and our valued travel advisor partners in recent years, we identified significant demand for a curated experience that connects Black travelers both to each other and to international destinations rich with African-American history,” Jazzmine Douse, director of national accounts at AmaWaterways and member of Northstar Travel Group’s Black Advisory Board, said in a news release.

In an interview, Janet Bava, Chief Marketing Officer of AmaWaterways, told Travel Research Online that the brand chose Juneteenth as an ideal time to launch the cruise and land program “to further continue the conversation and shed light on Black history around the world.”

“As we continue to innovate our offerings, we remain focused on providing memorable experiences that shine a light on the incredible diversity and cultural experiences that await along the destinations we sail through, Bava told us. “We will also continue to enhance the diversity represented in our marketing material and encourage guests of all cultures to embark on a river cruise with us.”

The landing page for AmaWaterways’ “Soulful Epicurean Experience” cruise, which sets sail August 24, 2023, is the first time I can recall that I’ve seen Black guests represented in river cruise marketing materials.

When asked if there are plans to expand these special sailings, Brava told us, “Our goal is to introduce additional sail dates for the ‘Soulful Epicurean Experience on the River’ cruise, as well as incorporate additional cultural immersion sailing opportunities into our offerings.”

Clients who are booked by September 30, 2022 receive savings of $1,180 per person for the 10-night cruise tour, which is priced at $4,499 per person.

In February, Norway-based cruise line Hurtigruten established a Black Traveler Advisory Board. In March, Celebrity Cruises launched a new marketing campaign aimed at diversifying the brand’s images to be inclusive of more travelers, including the Black community.

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