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UK bookings on the up as river cruising continues to grow in popularity

While the popularity of ocean cruising has taken a step back, river cruises continues to move in the right direction, with the number of UK passengers cruising the waterways in Europe and further afield growing by 6 per cent in 2014.

According to figures released by CLIA UK & Ireland, the number of British travellers taking a river cruise grew by almost 8,000, taking the total to 139,400.

Europe remains by far the most popular region for UK travellers to take a river cruise accounting for 86 per cent of all passengers. Within the Continent, the River Danube’s popularity continued to soar, growing 41 per cent, while cruises taking in the Danube and Rhine rivers grew 37 per cent.

River Beatrice
Uniworld’s River Beatrice is one of the new breed of larger ships cruising the Danube in 2015

Cruises on Russia’s rivers grew in popularity too, climbing 15 per cent, while further afield, cruises on rivers such as the Mekong are up 55 per cent, and in India, rivers including the Ganges and Brahmaputra are up 24 per cent.

A key reason for the growth in river cruising is the arrival of new, larger ships with greater on board amenities. A third of European river cruise ships have been built within the last ten years, a quarter within the last five. These offer the kind of multiple dining venues, spa facilities and range of cabins with balconies which have already combined to transform the experience offered on many ocean cruise ships.

The cruise industry’s investment in new ships is set to continue with 16 CLIA member river vessels due to be launched in 2015 alone.

Andy Harmer, Director of CLIA UK & Ireland, says: “With the continued investment in new, more innovative ships and the ever-increasing choice and diversity of itineraries in Europe and further afield, it’s no surprise that more UK passengers than ever are opting for river cruises as their holiday choice.”

Later this week, CLIA UK & Ireland will launch its first ever River Cruise Weekend. Running from 26 to 30 March,  it has been created to raise the profile of river cruise holidays and the diversity of great destinations available.

Some of the world’s leading river cruise lines are offering a host of exclusive deals and added-value offers on a range of 2015 and 2016 cruises.

Further information on the CLIA River Cruise Weekend can be found at

Posted on 25th March 2015 at 09:08 am in CLIA | Cruise News | Cruise Lines | Croisieurope | Titan |

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