Kelly Ranson speaks to Tiago Monteiro, wellness host on board AmaWaterways’ AmaMagna.
Q. How did you end up working for AmaWaterways?
A. I always practised sports in Portugal and after gaining a sports science degree I worked as a fitness trainer. I saw the job as an opportunity to do something different with my life. After training on a ship and seeing what life was like on board and what the guests were interested in, I was 100% sure it was the job for me. I started on AmaSonata in 2018 and moved to AmaMagna when it launched in May 2019.
Q. What does your typical day look like?
A. I’m a morning person so I have a coffee and then I normally put on my first class between 7am and 8am. Sometimes I will do an earlier spin class as AmaMagna has five spin bikes at the aft of the ship. After the classes, I have bike tours on shore. On every bike tour we have a local guide who decides on the tour highlights, but I will always stay at the back of the group. Later in the day I put on a post-excursion stretch, especially after a long hike. Then I have lunch and teach another class or two in the afternoon – our wellness programme includes at least five classes per day.
Q. How important is exercise to AmaWaterways?
A. It’s hugely important. AmaWaterways started the wellness team with one host and then it grew to six in the past year and now we are up to 15. We have such a variety of classes on board – yoga, Pilates, circuit training and more – plus a line dance class that I created. In Portugal I was also a Zumba teacher and I knew that many of our guests like line dancing, so I combined the music from Zumba and steps from line dancing, and it has been a real success – easy moves and it’s a class for everyone from eight to 80!
Q. How do guests react to the wellness programme?
A. Sometimes they are really shy. If I have a class on the deck, we normally start with 10 guests, and finish with 15. They watch at first, and then join in. When a guest tells me they have been sedentary for years, but post-cruise they plan to exercise more, it’s great to hear. I am a people person so I like to feel I can change their mentalities.
River cruises are an easy way to get active – even clients who haven’t exercised in years can walk or cycle at each port of call, or have a go at spinning, stretching or a new wellness class.
Q. Where is your favourite place to exercise on the ship?
A. I love to be on the sun deck as I am an outdoor person. When we are sailing and we have a class on the sun deck, it’s beautiful and the view is always changing. The guests really love it.
Q. What do you do to relax?
A. If we are docked in a port overnight, I will take my bike and just cycle. I did this in Vienna recently and it was very relaxing.
Q. What is your most memorable onboard experience?
A. Last year I had a 70-year-old lady from Hawaii on board and she did all my bike tours, but always stayed at the back. At the end of the cruise she came to me and said: “Thank you, you have helped me so much. My husband died two years ago and we always rode our bikes whenever we travelled. Since he died, I stopped cycling, but this year I am going to Amsterdam and I will cross the Netherlands for 10 days on a bike.” It turned out the week with me had been a training week, and it felt very rewarding to help her.