Making a wave: River cruise bookings soar 40% in 2016
River cruising is making a big wave within the travel industry, with leading retailer CruiseDeals.co.uk reporting that its operators, among them Avalon Waterways and Fred. Olsen, have seen sales grow by as much as 40 per cent so far in 2016.
And there looks to be no sign of a slow down, as the Cruise Lines International Association recently revealed that 18 new river cruise ships are to be launched this year alone - an overall increase of more than 10 per cent.
Guests on Avalon Myanmar enjoy stunning views from its scenic open-air lounge
“It’s rare to find a trend within the cruise industry that is as popular with first timers as it is with cruising veterans,” explains CruiseDeals’ marketing manager Ian Crawford.
“River cruising is ideal for first time cruisers that are wary of trying one of the larger, ocean-bound ships. What’s more, it’s also the perfect choice for more experienced cruisers who are eager to try something new and experience a different kind of itinerary”.
Popular itineraries include trips along the Rhine and the Danube rivers, offering guests the chance to explore Cologne, Vienna, Budapest and other historic European cities. With rivers spanning almost every corner of the globe, including exotic locations such as Myanmar’s Yangon River, there are endless opportunities for cruise lines to cash in on the trend.
River cruise ships have a tendency to be much smaller than the ocean-bound vessels that many of us are used to. However, what they are lacking in size, they more than make up for with the impressive range of facilities on board. In fact many cruisers are drawn to the more personal feel.
“These smaller cruise ships offer a greater level of intimacy,” Crawford explains. “Their size also makes them incredibly versatile, allowing river cruises to explore corners of the world that have otherwise been unreachable by cruise ship.”
The most impressive vessels include Viking’s Viking Rinda, carrying 190 guests and featuring an observation lounge, organic herb gardens and an on-deck putting green. On board Avalon’s Avalon Myanmar, a maximum of 36 guests can experience floor-to-ceiling windows in each of the bedrooms, alongside a scenic open-air lounge.
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14 September 2016
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