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River cruising takes you through destinations, offering an abundance of unique and awe-inspiring experiences that some other forms of travel may not. 

If you’re looking for a river cruise operator that cares for its guests, the memory-making experiences river cruising offers, and the environment and communities it sails through, AmaWaterways should be on your list.

Here are just 7 incredible destinations on AmaWaterways itineraries that prioritise sustainability for its visitors.  

  1. Vienna, Austria  

Sprawling parks that encompass much of the city, high air quality and excellent public transportation are just the beginning of why Vienna makes this list. In 2020, the Austrian capital earned first place in the ranking of the World’s 10 Greenest Cities. It also boasts the Kunst Haus Wien, which in 2018 was the first museum awarded the Austrian Eco-Label for its commitment to environmental protection and quality.  

  1. Amsterdam, The Netherlands 

It’s a lofty goal but Amsterdam aims to be emission-free by 2030. With its 300+ miles of bike paths used by a significant number of residents (and brave visitors!), wonderful green spaces around many corners and electric canal boats, this is a future-looking city. Amsterdam is also working to ensure that 80% of all households utilise power generated by solar and wind energy – putting the country’s iconic windmills to good use!  

  1. Paris, France 

Not to be outdone, Paris is home to one of the most efficient public transportation networks in the world. It has also amassed hundreds of bike lanes to encourage sustainable transit and debuted several car-free areas in popular tourist locations. Visitors to Paris now benefit from the additional green spaces and “cool spots” (that reduce heat) as the city gears up to host the 2024 Olympics. 

  1. Zurich, Switzerland 

A standing ovation for a city that recycles 43% of its waste! Voted the 2016 “Most Sustainable City in the World” and Switzerland’s greenest city, Zurich has committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions to 0 by the year 2040. Plus, 50% of the city’s hotels have been awarded a sustainability label and 90% of the city’s power grid is run on renewable energy such as solar power. 

  1. Madrid, Spain 

Visitors to the Spanish capital should notice the trees that line more than half of its streets. Madrid is a “Tree City of the World” (Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations), plus there are ample docking stations littered throughout the city for electric bicycles. Foodies rejoice! Madrid is also renowned for its sustainable gastronomy with two restaurants boasting MICHELIN Green Stars for their eco-friendly and ethical practices. 

  1. Cape Town, South Africa 

Considered the most sustainable city on the African continent, Cape Town boasts the first commercial wind farm in South Africa and has invested in public transport including a network of cycling lanes. And, its FYN restaurant won the first Green Philosophy Plate award for its focus on sustainable seafood and culinary transparency. 

  1. Medellín, Colombia 

Medellín has consciously developed what’s known as “green corridors” by planting flora that simulate the natural forest, provide shade, and reduce the temperature, actively fighting back against climate change. Be sure to check out the Medellin city hall – it’s carpeted with more than 100,000 plants supporting biodiversity and combating air pollution. 

Looking for other cities to add to your sustainable travel list? Consider Utrecht or Lyon for their focus on electric transportation, Europe’s Green Capital of 2020 Lisbon, Bordeaux for its eco-certified vineyards or Germany’s Munich for its green kerosene program making air travel more sustainable and Freiburg for the 800 solar panels on its city hall.

Green Awards, Eco-Friendly Ship Design, and A Greener Onboard Experience

While cruising the storied waterways of Europe, Asia, Africa and South America, AmaWaterways continues to pay particular attention to minimising the impact it has on the local environment and community. 

In 2020, the AmaKristina became the first river cruise ship in the industry to be honoured with the prestigious Green Award certification for industry-leading safety, quality, and environmental performance. All 20 ships in the AmaWaterways European fleet now have the Green Award that meets the highest standard for the environmental impact of the engines and fuel consumption, waste, maintenance, and pollution prevention.

River ships can be beautifully designed and have eco-friendly elements. Think energy-saving LED lights, insulated windows that reduce energy needs for heating and cooling, power locks to plug into a port’s power supply instead of running generators, solar heating systems, and water treatment plants that provide microfiltration and recycling of all water used on board. There’s even a water jet propulsion system used on the Zambezi Queen that protects the Chobe riverbed, and biodegradable detergents and soaps.

The guest experience also contributes to AmaWaterways’ sustainability efforts. Everything from paper straws, refillable glass water bottles in all staterooms, reducing food waste from large-scale buffets, down to the packaging of the personal audio devices used on excursions being biodegradable. Very deliberate decisions are made to protect our earth.

When you explore the world’s rivers with AmaWaterways, rest assured you are supporting the protection of the precious natural ecosystems you sail through, so guests can immerse themselves in the richness of other cultures for many generations to come.

Check another item off the travel bucket list with AmaWaterways.

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