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The ever increasing popularity of river cruising


notamermaid
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Special on-off sailings I have mentioned before in connection with the author Diana Gabaldon. Here is another one, this time the theme is photography on Emerald Waterways with a a special host: http://www.travelweekly.com/River-Cruising/Emerald-Waterways-adds-smartphone-photo-workshop?ct=river

 

notamermaid

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  • 4 weeks later...

The Christmas market season is nearly over but here is an article on AmaWaterways' Rhine market cruise. From travel market report website: http://www.travelmarketreport.com/articles/Exploring-Europes-Christmas-Markets-on-an-AmaWaterways-River-Cruise

 

One note: strictly speaking the guests did not receive a gift from Santa in their shoes, it was St Nicolas who did it.

 

notamermaid

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The river cruising season in Europe is drawing to a close with the last few ships making their way into winter harbours (one or two might have got stranded on the Rhine as the river is closed due to flooding in parts but the situation is likely to improve quickly again). But I am already looking ahead towards the next season and will post one or two articles on what river cruise companies are offering in 2018. Ok, one thing is already certain: more ships!

 

On my travels around the German river cruising websites I found an itinerary that is so far off the beaten track I post it here more as a curiosity, but perhaps someone might like to keep it in the back of their mind.

 

Sailing the Sava river

 

First of all, this not so well known river is actually longer than one might think. It flows for 990km through several Southeastern European countries (the Balkan states), one notable city being Belgrad for example and is the largest tributary to the Danube as regards volume of water. If the river is deep enough it makes perfect sense that river cruises on it should be possible. Admittedly I had never heard of the possibility. A Swiss company called Thurgau Travel offers river cruises on the refurbished ship called Prinzessin Sisi. The website is in German and French only but for fun, here is the itinerary: https://www.thurgautravel.ch/reisen/prinz-sisi-die-save-ein-naturjuwel-bel-zag/

 

Having been to the old Yugoslav state, i.e. before the political split, I can say that I do like the idea of an itinerary in that area. The landscape is very appealing and the history of the area, European with its own distinct events that both link it and set it apart from western Europe, is very interesting.

 

notamermaid

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What is new in 2018?

 

Here are two articles from "Travel Weekly". First a look in general at itineraries, ships and amenities: http://www.travelweekly.com/River-Cruising/Insights/River-cruise-news-to-watch-in-2018

 

Second a cruise on the Seine and Petite-Seine from a different perspective by CroisiEurope: http://www.travelweekly.com/River-Cruising/CroisiEurope-creates-new-Petite-Seine-cruise

 

notamermaid

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The ever increasing popularity of Christmas market cruises...

 

...has prompted Riviera Travel UK to add precisely such dates to their catalogue for 2018: http://www.travelweekly.com/River-Cruising/Riviera-adds-Christmas-market-cruises-for-2018

 

Admittedly, a five-day or six-day cruise does not sound worthwhile making it over the great pond for. But while actual cruising is short you can use the opportunity to throw in a few pre- or post-cruise time for markets that you will not see on the itineraries. Cologne as a port on this roundtrip is perfect for non-flyers from Britain, but can also be used like this: US/Canada to London, London to Brussels by train, overnight stay, Brussels to Aachen for a short trip to the market and cathedral, then by train to Cologne. Or vice versa. The Danube cruise might lend itself to adding a stopover in Munich if you prefer that to a direct flight to Budapest. Or the real fans (with a bit of money to spare) could even do both trips!

 

notamermaid

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  • 3 weeks later...

While river cruisers are looking forward to their cruises in the coming season, river cruise companies are obviously looking ahead and the 2019 itineraries and catalogues are in the making (if not already completed). Here is an article on what new things Uniworld will offer in 2019: http://www.travelmarketreport.com/articles/Whats-Coming-to-Uniworld-Boutique-River-Cruises-in-2019

 

As regards the new itinerary Magnificent Moselle & Rhine I find interesting that they bus from Frankfurt airport to the port of Cologne. If it is to replace the 2018 version of this trip then in 2019 it looks as if they will miss out the stretch from Cologne to Amsterdam. You may dread going on a coach but I am sure it will not be as bad as you might think. Vantage is doing it this year from Frankfurt to Bonn (nearby Cologne) and makes sense if you want to focus more on the Moselle and the scenic sections of the Rhine. I quite like the idea. Added: if you wanted to arrange your own airfare - it is easy by fast train to get from Frankfurt airport to Cologne main station which is very close to the river ship docks (not all of them though).

 

The page of that itinerary on the Uniworld website currently is not working.

 

Sailing from Amsterdam to Vienna rather than to Budapest seems a bold move, interestingly by customer demand, I would be interested to see how well that sells.

 

 

Added: this is the corresponding article here on Cruisecritic: https://www.cruisecritic.com/news/news.cfm?ID=8395

 

notamermaid

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Hi notamermaid! You're always on top of the River World News.

The Passion Play is such a special event, and an entire decade is spent preparing, planning, and anticipating it's return. Not only have we already launched our Danube Cruises with prime Passion Play tickets, but we are already nearing capacity!

Thanks for checking in!

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Looking further ahead into 2020 the famous Oberammergau Passion Play is coming up. CroisiEurope is already promoting its sailings: http://www.travelweekly.com/For-Travel-Agents/Travel-Product-News/CroisiEurope-promotes-2020-Oberammergau-Passion-Play-Danube-cruise?ct=river

 

notamermaid

We lived in Germany back in 87-91 and saw the Passion Play. It is amazing.

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  • 3 weeks later...

The ITB in Berlin, the largest tourism trade fair in the world is drawing to a close and I am eagerly awaiting any interesting news to be reported in the media in the next few days. One announcement has already been made by a Russian river cruise company - hostjazzbeau has kindly put this onto the board here - and I am sure the statistics will prove interesting again this year. I think we can all imagine a rise in popularity will be reported, no surprise there!

 

Meanwhile as this, due to an understandable language barrier, is not easy to find, I would like to give you a sample river cruise of a lesser known company based in Cologne, Germany. It is called 1AVista Reisen: https://www.1avista.de/flussreisen/rhein/ms-vistaexplorer-nordsee-donau-flusskreuzfahrt.html?suchartfrom=landingpage

 

A trip from Cologne to the Netherlands in a loop, then return to Cologne from where the cruise takes you upstream and along the Main and Main Danube Canal to Passau. That is sort of uncommon. The stops are also a little different in parts. Königswinter for example will be featured in my thread on Rhine ports.

 

The last column gives you excursions and their prices.

 

notamermaid

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Signed...

 

during the ITB in Berlin was the contract between Scylla and Phoenix Reisen for building two new ships to join the fleet of the company based in Bonn, Germany in 2019 and 2020. They will be sister ships to the pictured Anesha: http://www.schiffsjournal.de/phoenix-reisen-itb-news-vertrag-ueber-zwei-neubauten-mit-scylla-ag-abgeschlossen/

 

and delivered...

 

or "handed over" was the Crystal Debussy on 8 March in Wismar: https://www.cruiseindustrynews.com/cruise-news/18685-crystal-introduces-new-river-vessel-to-its-fleet.html Her maiden voyage will be a round trip from Amsterdam on 9 April.

 

notamermaid

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Germans like to travel... also on river cruise ships - and some interesting statistics

 

in this article on the river cruising market in 2017: http://www.seatrade-cruise.com/news/news-headlines/german-market-growth-fueled-european-river-cruising-in-2017.html

 

Uniworld's recent anouncement to open up the "U" ships to all age ranges still ringing in my ear, this statement stands out for me: quote from article above: "Somewhat alarmingly, the number of passengers 41 to 65 fell 9.9% year over year. That means attracting younger customers—probably including families—will remain a key challenge for the industry." The German market is hardly different from the US-American market in that river cruising is still not really attractive to a young audience. It makes Viking's recent announcement of putting even more of their tried and tested ships on the rivers seem even more reasonable. Why go for a new market segment - i.e. millenials - when the age range dominating the market can be served so well? After all, the 40+ will be the 50+ in ten years' time, and so on...

 

notamermaid

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Notamerimaid;

 

What I don’t understand is Uniworld’s decision to pull the plug so quickly on the original U concept? They only rolled it out a few months ago and have pulled out already. Normally, bringing a new product or concept requires more than a couple of months kickoff!

 

From what I hear, river cruise boats are considered floating nursing home by most of the under 50 set. There are ocean cruise lines that cater to that younger set of cruisers, while others cater to the over 65ers, but there are options for both. Those options don’t exist currently with river boat companies. Uniworld seemed to address that, but quickly retreated. A lot of younger cruisers don’t want to be on ships or boats with passengers primarily their parents age.

 

FWIW, I ran into a younger couple this last week that had signed up for a U cruise. They are now attempting to cancel and get their money back. Their claim is by changing the age restrictions, Uniworld is no longer providing the cruise as originally advertised when they signed up. Uniworld probably lost them forever, they are not happy campers!

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Note that Emerald River Cruises are aimed at a younger demographic. Scenic is teaming up with cycle companies and moving into a more energetic experience although they are one of the few companies who carry cycles that can be used on request. One thing about aiming at a younger customer base is the amount of time available from a holiday allowance to indulge in river cruising. Maybe this is what Uniworld has discovered.

By the way I have yet to feel that I am spending time in a nursing home whilst cruising the rivers of Europe. CA

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pinotlover,

 

I was also puzzled by Uniworld's decision. I found the cut-off point of 45 years quite restricting and was wondering if they had been better off choosing 55, which is beside the point at the moment. Who should have put so much pressure on Uniworld, 75-year-olds who want to attend a concert at 9pm? Or 60-year-old mothers who want to travel with their daughters? I don't know, all a bit odd really... I thought it was a good move towards a younger crowd. Just a few things, the focus on social media influencers and so on, needed "adjusting" I thought.

 

I can fully understand that young couple wanting their money back. It is not the product they originally bought.

 

notamermaid

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I've not heard younger people refer to river cruises as floating nursing homes. The issue is the price, plus airfare, that's puts in out of the reach of most of those in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. They're paying off student loans, buying homes, starting families, etc. Vacations are more likely to be camping trips, a 1-wk. cottage rental at the beach, or an inexpensive ocean cruise out of Florida.

 

Roz

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Ritz;

 

You’re generalizing to much . Currently in Beaver Creek, CO skiing with my daughter, SIL, and grandkids over their Spring Break. The slopes are full of under 45ers spending a lot of money to ski for a week between here and Vail just up the road. My wife and I are late 60s , and we’re probably 1%ers on the slopes. Very few over 60 to be seen!

 

My SIL is a Dr and my daughter is a mgr for a large national insurance firm. Having the expendable funds isn’t the issue. They prefer spending that time,and those resources, doing things with their own peers. Thirty years ago I could go out drinking, and dancing, after a day of skiing like they are doing now. Not anymore, now I might be asleep on the couch faster than the grandkids! I sure they are glad the mountain/resort is 95% plus 60 year olds, but predominantly their ages!

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  • 2 weeks later...

The size of river cruise ships is determined by what authorities will allow onto the river and of course the lock size. The standard largest size for ships these days is approx. 135m by 11.5m on European rivers, i.e. ships do not come bigger than that. Normally... However, as we know, the Crystal Mozart is much wider. She can only sail the Danube on a stretch where the locks are large enough. Does it makes sense to operate a ship that is limited thus? Crystal certainly thinks so and AMAWaterways is heading in the same direction with the AmaMagna to be launched in May 2019. Here she is (in a computer rendering): http://www.travelweekly.com/River-Cruising/AmaWaterways-mega-ship-arriving-May-2019?ct=river

 

notamermaid

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

They might not be on everyone's radar yet so here is an article on the increasing number of European lines offering their services on the North-American market: http://www.travelweekly.com/River-Cruising/Insights/European-lines-bringing-value-proposition-to-the-rivers

 

I would add the lesser-known Arosa from Germany to the list. And if, on top of feeling comfortable in a crowd of non-native English speaking passengers, you can also live with unusual food options for breakfast (and lunch and dinner) for a week then such companies are definitely worth looking into! :)

 

 

notamermaid

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