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AmaWaterways officially opens its Australian office

AmaWaterways has officially opened the doors of its new Australian office in the heart of Sydney's CBD, sending a strong signal that it means business. Karryon attends the welcome party.

AmaWaterways has officially opened the doors of its new Australian office in the heart of Sydney’s CBD, sending a strong signal that it means business. Karryon attends the welcome party.

Steve Richards, AmaWaterways Managing Director Australia and New Zealand, along with AmaWaterways co-owner, Gary Murphy, who was out from his base in Los Angeles, welcomed key trade partners and media to their sleek new office on Level  30, 25 Bligh Street. The team moved into the space six weeks ago. 

After an Acknowledgement of Country, Steve Richards addressed guests. 

“It was August last year when Gary Murphy made the announcement that AmaWaterways, was going to break away from its GSA arrangements in Australia and go on its own course and direction. Nine months later, here we are now in this office,” said Steve. 

Steve joined the team in October, stating that Gary’s first instruction was to “find the team and find the office.”

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Christine Oliver, Sales Manager Qld, WA and NT; and Angela Smith, Head of Marketing, AU/NZ.

They pounded the streets of Sydney inspecting more than 33 office spaces, looking for the perfect space. 

“I wanted to be in the heartbeat of Sydney where I could bring the best talent easily to work on public transport and I wanted it to be a fun, great place to work where we could feel this vision and passion for cruise come alive. We saw lots of offices that were just bland and boring. I thought ‘we’re not a legal firm or an accounting firm’! They were just boring,” said Steve.

Upon finding the Bligh Street space, he said the pops of colour jumped out straight away and reminded him of the interiors of the AmaWaterways ships.

“And this kitchen is like a bar and it’s like on board the ships. Every night, one hour before dinner on our beautiful cruises we have a sip and sail cocktail hour where it’s an open bar and the guests can have drinks and cocktails. My vision was that my staff are going to have a town hall meeting once a month where we celebrate our success and we can have our own sip and sail, just like on board, right here in the office. The space is small but it suits the size that we’re in, and I think everyone’s really really happy here,” he said.

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Steve Richards and Gary Murphy cut the red ribbon.

The office space, while mostly open plan, includes two enclosed meeting room spaces – the larger room titled ‘Danube’ and the smaller titled ‘Douro’. Steve said that he loves working in the open-plan environment alongside his team and hearing the phones ring and being amid the buzz. 

Gary Murphy was thrilled to be in Sydney and meeting the new Australian team. 

“We started AmaWaterways from these very humble beginnings. I was sharing with the team today my  immigrant story of my parents moving from Ireland…. and just with optimism, opportunity and when you put them together, you can create wonderful things and deliver wonderful experiences to clients,” said Gary.

“It’s important for all of us at Ama that not only the clients enjoy their vacation time, but also that we all enjoy working together – and I get that feeling here. It’s so funny, I was actually starting to look at apartments in Sydney and I thought wait, what am I doing? I love this country and everything it has to offer. Just give me a reason to come down here!” he said.

AMA WAterways Christine Oliver sales manager Queensland, WEstern Australia and Northern Territory
Christine Oliver, AmaWaterways Sales Manager Queensland, Western Australia and Northern Territory.

Before cutting a ‘red ribbon’ with a fun, giant pair of scissors, Gary shared a handshake with Steve, stating: “Let’s build a wonderful business together in Australia, Steve, okay?”

Introduced as a special guest on the evening was Barbara Gross, Managing Director of Sabra Travel in Bondi, who was responsible for the first AmaWaterways booking in Australia right after reservations opened on a Monday morning. 

Speaking to Karryon, Barbara said she upsold her client to a suite.

“It was a back-to-back cruise and the cost was just under $50,000 for the booking. I knew of AmaWaterways and I wanted to sell on it. When my client had friends going on it, it was easy. Now, every cruise that I sell we look first at AMA to try and see if we can fit an itinerary through to the dates. They are so professional to deal with and so lovely, and it’s personal – you get someone you can talk to and build the relationship with,” said Barbara. 

In September last year, AmaWaterways announced it would be joining the Virtuoso network in Australia and New Zealand.

For more information, visit amawaterways.au