It’s that time of the year again when we start to look forward to what we could see happening in the industry over the next 12 months. This time last year we predicted, among other things, an increase in trips to India and the establishment of more personalised shore excursions. These are two things which have either come to fruition for many cruise lines or are on the horizon with a view becoming a reality in the near future.
So, what can we expect to see happening in 2017?
As we mentioned above, India river cruises were tipped to be at the forefront during 2016 and it was certainly somewhere for which we saw a rise in interest. This is set to continue next year with the introduction of more exotic locations which offer a more adventurous river cruise than your typical trip along the Danube or Rhine. We recently talked about Pandaw’s new itineraries in Borneo and this could be the start of operators venturing into previously unvisited lands. This would definitely be welcomed by experienced travellers who have already completed the more ‘orthodox’ trips.
A Younger Crowd
In recent times, operators have made a move to try and encourage a younger crowd onto their ships. AmaWaterways have teamed up with Adventures by Disney, Tauck have their ‘Bridges’ itineraries aimed at families and Uniworld have just announced that they plan to launch a new brand called ‘U’ which will be targeted at travellers between the age of 18 and 40. All this points to a desire to get more millennials on board, something that will be achieved by offering a bigger range of active and immersive activities, new facilities on the ships and exciting new destinations that may appeal to a younger crowd.
Oceans Ships Coming Inland
Last year we suggested that more ocean cruisers would take the leap into the world of river cruises for the first time and we are already starting to see the ocean cruise industry’s reaction to this. Operators of smaller ships, such as Fred. Olsen Cruises Lines, are beginning to offer itineraries which visit river destinations but that take place on an ocean ship. Rivers such as the Seine, Weser and Elbe are navigable up to a certain point for these vessels and so it seems like a good way for the cruise lines to offer something different to those travellers looking for a taste of the river lifestyle. Don’t be surprised to see more ocean operators providing similar opportunities in 2017.
More Inclusive Sailings
River cruises have always been more inclusive than most sailings on the ocean, but it seems that more and more operators are moving to a completely all-inclusive product. As guests increasingly look for ways to add value to their holiday, this looks to be a shrewd move. Extras such as drinks, Wi-Fi and gratuities are being bundled into the initial cruise fare to offer a much more appealing package and this is something that is sure to continue. Operators such as AmaWaterways have chosen to take a different route by launching a happy hour immediately before the evening meal. So, whichever way you look at it, cruise lines are finding new ways to provide increased worth.
The Endearing Douro
This year’s must visit river destination has been the Douro. There has been no end to Portugal’s popularity in 2016 and this doesn’t show signs of slowing down next year either. As we discussed in this earlier blog post, there are many reasons why travellers have been enjoying the delights of the Douro Valley and we predict plenty more will follow in 2017.
If you are looking for the perfect 2017 river cruise, contact our friendly team today and we’ll help you find your ideal itinerary.