River cruising is expanding, with many trends taking hold and setting sail alongside new ships, destinations and passengers. Using data from the CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) 2018 Consumer Outlook and State of the Industry reports, we have investigated how the river cruise industry is developing and what we expect will occur throughout 2018.
As of 2018, river cruisers can expect several new additions to fleets, including Amawaterways’ MS AmaLea and Avalon’s Saigon, both rich in luxurious settings and offering distinctive river cruise experiences. Crystal Cruise’s dual-launch of Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel comes following the ocean brand’s 2016 launch of Crystal River Cruises, showing just how successful the line has been on the world’s waterways.
CLIA data shows that 57 per cent of those interviewed in a web-based survey believe cruising offers a high-value experience for the price, with cruisers from younger generations looking to become more interested in cruising. This has already been capitalised on by Uniworld, who have launched U by Uniworld specifically for 21 – 45-year olds. The brand is much more flexible with a lower pricing structure and more free time to spend at your leisure, something which will appeal to a younger audience.
Healthier options and active excursions
The addition of more flexible and fresh on-board dining options and more active excursions are also pushing the market to newer boundaries. Gone are the deep-fried buffets and typically western foods; in come the specially designed and all-inclusive nutritious cuisines. Healthy and organic options are growing in popularity, with plenty of upscale fine dining options including menus partnered with famed vegan chefs and locally-sourced produce.
More cruise lines are also including excursions that feature jogging tours and bike rental, many of which come at no extra charge and mean you can get your blood pumping every day – keeping adventure seekers happy.
CLIA states that passenger capacity for overall cruises to Asia has tripled since 2013, reaching 4.24 million passenger visits to the region in 2017. The destination is already seeing a 53 per cent increase in cruise ships deployed here since 2013, as it is fast-becoming one of the most popular destinations for cruise travel.
This increasing trend has been pre-empted by many cruise lines, as Asian exploration is becoming more attractive – perfect for river cruising as you visit several ports along the banks.
It seems that river cruising has developed its own trends within the market, as more people are looking to sail along the world’s waterways more often, and at a younger age. We are already seeing cruise lines responding to these changes, with many more new reveals expected throughout 2018. We can’t wait to see what the year brings – can you?