Amawaterways Co-Founder Kristin Karst Named To Inc.’S Prestigious “Female Founders 100” List

Friday, Oct 15, 2021 0

The Only Travel Industry Executive Recognized, Karst is Honored for Personalizing River Cruising on List of Female Entrepreneurs Transforming Every Industry in America
AmaWaterways today proudly announced Co-Founder and Executive Vice President Kristin Karst has earned a coveted spot on Inc.’s 2020 “Female Founders 100” list. The list, now in its third year, honors an influential, ambitious and diverse group of 100 women annually who are building America’s most inspiring businesses. As a pioneer in river cruising and one of the travel industry’s leading executives, Karst joins the list of remarkable women who are leading innovative companies in a vast range of global industries.

“I am honored and truly humbled to be named to this year’s Inc. Female Founders 100 list,” said Karst. “Ama means love, and the journey of creating and growing AmaWaterways has been a true labor of love. Since co-founding the company more than 18 years ago, I have remained passionate about sharing that spirit of love with everyone who sails on an AmaWaterways river cruise or works as part of our global team in our offices and on board our ships. I am so proud of how far the company has come – from one ship to now 25 ships sailing the world’s most iconic rivers – and it has been a team effort all along the way. This year has been particularly hard on the travel industry and challenged us as leaders to stay on a positive path, open to new ideas and supporting our travel advisor partners while creating inspirational messages to keep our guests dreaming about future river cruise experiences.”

Originally from Dresden, Germany, Karst developed a love for travel early on, working during her school breaks for a travel agency. After earning a degree in Hospitality Management followed by an MBA from the University of Dresden, she worked for American Express in Germany and Switzerland for eight years before moving to the United States in 1999. She began working for a river cruise line and three years later founded AmaWaterways with entrepreneurial partners Rudi Schreiner and the late Jimmy Murphy. Today, the leading river cruise line owns and operates 25 river cruise ships in Europe, Asia and Africa and has become the recognized leader in river cruising innovation and customer service.

As executive vice president and co-founder, Karst focuses on bringing fresh, innovative ideas to the company while leveraging her European heritage, commitment to personalized customer service and passion for health and wellness. Innovations such as bicycles on board, dedicated Wellness Hosts and hosted wine themed cruises are examples of successful trends that Karst has pioneered. She has been a role model for women within the travel industry and contributed to AmaWaterways’ reputation for unwavering support of the travel advisor community.

“Our team vetted thousands of applications to find the 100 women highlighted on this list. It’s the most inspiring work we do all year, and we’re so thrilled to be able to feature these fierce, accomplished entrepreneurs and start to give them the recognition they deserve,” said Inc. editor-at-large Kimberly Weisul.

Introduced in 2018, the Female Founders 100 list was quickly established as one of Inc.’s most esteemed franchisees. Inc. editors and writers spent the past year researching candidates for the list, considering a wealth of exciting and accomplished candidates. The final list recognizes entrepreneurs of every age, background and geography-from early-stage founders with world-changing ideas to women who have taken companies public, sold them to big buyers or spent decades building and running their businesses. Each of the chosen founders has left her mark on her industry in the past year, setting audacious goals or achieving business milestones.

“We are extremely proud that Kristin has been recognized with this award, ” said Rudi Schreiner co-founder and president. “Her positivity, influence and entrepreneurial spirit can be seen and felt in all areas of our business, including in the young team members she personally mentors to ensure AmaWaterways continues to have a strong, well-rounded and diverse leadership team to successfully navigate unforeseen obstacles now and in the future.”

Inc.’s Female Founders 100 issue (November 2020) is available online now at and on newsstands beginning October 27. Join the Female Founders 100 conversation using #FemaleFounders.

To book any AmaWaterways river cruise, contact your preferred Travel Advisor, call 1.800.626.0126 or visit Follow AmaWaterways on Facebook at, Instagram @AmaWaterways, Twitter @AmaWaterways, and YouTube at

Learn more about Ama Waterways

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