As 2014 ticks towards its final days, it’s time to start thinking about what we can expect from the industry next year. The last twelve months have been great for river cruising with more operators, ships and holidaymakers turning to this style of travel.
Whether this year was the first time you embarked on a river cruise or the 20th anniversary of your first adventure along one of the world’s waterways; we’re sure, like us, you will be excited to see what we can expect in the future. So let’s take a look.
New Ships, New Routes, New Operators
With operators such as AmaWaterways, Uniworld, Avalon and Tauck all set to launch new ships in 2015, it is sure to be a bumper year for river cruises. Ama will debut AmaDara which will join AmaLotus in sailing the Mekong, whilst Uniworld is set to launch a brand new “super ship” – the S.S. Maria Theresa.
With this influx of new vessels, you may be starting to wonder where we are going to fit them all, but this is helped by the fact that many will be sailing new or seldom travelled routes in 2015. Infamous rivers such as the Ganges will be explored by APT and Uniworld (among others), whilst smaller routes such as Germany’s Elbe will receive an influx of traffic thanks to two new Viking ships which will debut there. Also, with Viking launching their assault on the oceans and Virgin announcing their own cruise venture recently, who’s to say that we won’t see some brand new operators joining the industry during the next 12 months?
Innovation doesn’t just come in the form of exciting new vessels which boast ‘first for river cruising’ facilities; it can also be found in the types of travel options that are offered. This year saw the first ever ‘pay what you want’ river cruise from Luftner Cruises in partnership with Kreuzfahrthammer Gmbh, and so we are likely to see more operators experiment with itineraries like this.
A Thirst For Adventure
Whilst Europe still remains the most popular river cruising region, there is a growing trend towards itineraries which provide a more exotic adventure. The Asian market is definitely growing, with more operators allows travellers to explore rivers like the Mekong and the Irrawaddy, but it doesn’t stop there.
Destinations further afield are likely to receive strong interest in 2015 as cruisers search for something unique and that offers a once in a lifetime experience. Africa river cruises, as well as those that take people further into the Amazon than ever before, have already attracted those with a keen eye for adventure and, along with new experiences, will continue to do so.
As we discussed in a previous blog post, themed river cruises are definitely on the rise. So far we have seen the introduction of those centred on wine, beer, chocolate, Christmas, religion and many more topics. There is sure to be even more of these popular itineraries announced in 2015 with more and more exciting ideas being brought to the table.
AmaWaterways, in particular, has some art and jazz-themed cruises planned, whilst the American Queen Steamboat Company will set sail on itineraries that focus on America’s southern culture and the Delta Blues. These trips are great as they attract like-minded enthusiasts who know exactly what they are getting.
If you would like to book your 2015 river cruise with Fred.\ then our team will be more than happy to help. Simply call us today or enquire online for more details.