Aside from the disastrously boring title of this post, and the fact instead of ‘three a week/two if slow’ policy on blogs I have been busy (and hurt my finger) so this week is a pretty bad week. I do hope this interests you however.
I think River Cruising is going to be huge, I have a feeling that it’s just like cruising in the 80’s on the verge of explosion. i believe four main ponts are causing this growth, The new ships coming on stream, the development of industry brands, the international possibilities of a river cruise and the changing demographics of the population.
Several new river cruise vessels are being delivered this year, however the new ‘Viking Longships’ project by Viking River Cruises has interested me most. These vessels where pointed out to me in an excellent #cruisechat on twitter (it happens at 7pm GMT every Tuesday, just search #cruisechat!). These vessels look great, they are very modern river cruise ships with full balconies (most have french balconies). An excellent interiors (below)
These ships have taken River Cruising to the next level, in the way Grand Princess was so different to anything before, I believe these ships will change the idea of River cruising for many, as they look like floating boutique hotels. Four are planned for delivery in 2012. They also have a great luxury pedigree having been designed by Yran & Storbraaten, who have previously designed for Seabourn.
The largest river cruise operator is Viking River Cruises, they started in 1997 and have, in that short time grew to a fleet of 19 ships. I believe it is the growth of the companies, including tauck, Ama waterways and a few others which due to investment in the product, and marketing will allow a huge growth in the market. Viking is clearly committed with a huge new building order book. Interestingly the opposite appears to be happening in the Ocean Cruise market, with the lines having slowed growth from the speed of the mid 2000’s.
There has been an amazing growth in international markets with the opening up of china allowing a development of river cruising there. In addition river cruises have been operating on the Nile, in Spain and Portugal as well as Russia and traditional northern european rivers like the Rhine and Seine.
Also with an aging population, who doesn’t like to been seen as aging, the baby boomers as they are known, don’t want to sit back and relax, however as with old age mobility can be limited and the smaller vessels with the luxuries as well as the different ports everyday will appeal to them. You only have to unpack once.
Cruise Log New Vessels for 2011 Guide
Viking River Cruises New Longships