AmaWaterways has today announced that Certares LP, the majority owner of US travel agency network Travel Leaders, will become a fourth share holder in the company.

AmaWaterways president Rudi Schreiner made the announcement on board the line’s newest ship, AmaKristina, last night (Friday).

The luxury river cruise line, which was set-up in 2002, is currently owned by Schreiner and his wife, executive vice president Kristin Karst, vice president, sales Gary Murphy, and tour operator, APT.

Certares, a New York based investment firm focused on the travel and hospitality sectors, also has investments in American Express Global Business Travel.

The company would not disclose details of the deal including how much it was investing and how much its share represented.

President of AmaWaterways, Rudi Schreiner, said: “We are happy to welcome Certares as a partner in AmaWaterways. We look forward to continuing our growth in the river cruising market with the support of our new partners and our family partners.

“We are proud of the company we have built over the last 15 years, the privilege we have of hosting our guests onboard every day and the opportunities we see ahead of us.”

Managing partner of Certares, Colin Farmer, said “We are extremely excited to be joining the three family shareholders of AmaWaterways.

“Rudi, Kristin, the Murphys and the McGearys have built the leading luxury river cruising company in the industry and we are honoured to join them in support of this next chapter of the company’s development. We are partnering with an exceptional team who have an incredible track record of customer service and product innovation.”

This week AmaWaterways also announced that it would be launching Europe’s ‘biggest ever river cruise ship’ in 2019.

AmaMagna will be twice the width of regular river cruise vessels, offering larger communal areas and bigger cabins and will sail itineraries on the Danube.

AmaWaterways has 20 ships and is expected to launch another five more by 2019. It runs cruises around the world, including Europe, Asia and Africa.