River cruise demand trebles as passengers head back to the water
By Claire Benktander | 19 Apr 2022
There has been a huge three-fold increase in river cruise bookings since the start of the year, compared to 2019.
Cruise specialist cruise.co.uk reported the increase, with the most popular destination for bookings being the River Rhine, the longest river in Germany, which flows into countries including Switzerland, France and the Netherlands.
A survey of 1,200 cruise.co.uk customers revealed that, prior to 2020, just over half had sailed on or considered a river cruise; that figure has now leapt to 83%.
The ideal destination for those planning a future river cruise is the Danube, as voted for by 29% of respondents. The Rhine is set to remain popular, as it received 25% of the vote, followed by the Douro with 15%. Following the ease of Covid restrictions across Europe, river cruise lines are now back on the water, with several new ships launching this year.
River cruises take place on smaller ships than ocean cruises, and have around 100-200 guests onboard. They travel along many of the major rivers in Europe and across the world, and are generally for a week or longer.
Tony Andrews, cruise.co.uk’s Deputy Managing Director, said: “The advantages of sailing on a river cruise have unquestionably led to a steep increase in demand, with UK guests now much more likely to consider smaller ships for their holidays.
“With fewer people onboard and the opportunity to travel right into the heart of multiple eye-catching destinations, river cruises are a fantastic option. We’re anticipating their popularity will continue to grow with UK holidaymakers this year and beyond.”
Top river cruise deal to book now
5* Romantic Rhine With Amsterdam & Strasbourg with Avalon Waterways.
Departure date: July 10, 2022 – 7 nights
Price: Deluxe stateroom from £1,159 pp, was £2,871 pp. Panorama Suite from £1,449pp, was £3,770 pp
Calls at: Cologne, Rhine Gorge (Rudesheim), Mainz (Heidelberg), Strasbourg, Breisach, Basel
What’s included: Full board and drinks with all meals; return flights with regional airport options available; transfers; shore excursion in every port; tips; WiFi
For more on river cruising, pick up a copy of the May/June issue of Cruise International, on sale from April 22.