Guests are prioritising off-season travel, sustainability, experiential travel, culinary and wine experiences, wellness and personalisation when choosing river cruises, according to a report from cruise operator AmaWaterways.
Insights from AmaWaterways suggest these six key trends will shape the river cruise industry in 2024 and beyond. The brand’s research indicates that guests want to sail on environmentally sustainable ships, travel in off-peak seasons to benefit from fewer crowds and reduced air fares, and enjoy longer, immersive and authentic experiences. They are also seeking itineraries that offer the opportunity to explore regional cuisine or participate in activities designed to “foster physical, mental and emotional wellbeing”. Plus, travellers want to personalise their cruise experience, for example by tailoring their shore excursions to their own interests.
AmaWaterways, which achieved record results in 2023, will continue to tailor its offering to cater to these six demands in 2024 and beyond. For example, it will begin its 2024 European river cruising season early, with both AmaMagna and AmaLucia starting sailings on the Danube and Rhine rivers from 11 February.
The brand is also working with local communities to offer guests onshore activities that are “respectful of the culture and environment and showcase local talents and traditions”, and debuting culinary and wine experiences onboard and onshore. In addition, it is offers guests the choice of up to 23 included shore excursions during a seven-night cruise, as well as onboard wellness programmes and fitness-based shore excursions.
The brand has also implemented several measures to minimise its environmental impact. For example, solar panels have been installed on flagship AmaMagna, and it is extending the use of the River Track Pilot Navigation System to improve fuel efficiency.
“Our goal has always been to exceed our guests’ expectations and cruising with AmaWaterways will more than satisfy these new trends identified for 2024,” said Rudi Schreiner, co-founder and president of AmaWaterways. “We have an ongoing commitment to implementing eco-friendly practices, and offer an early season start for those seeking more intimate experiences. We are enhancing our already robust wellness programme and offer an extensive choice of included excursions and themed cruises. We are excited to see travellers of all ages and those with special interests are driving a record level of river cruise bookings for the year ahead.”