Cruise & Ferry Review - Spring/Summer 2022

5 7 CroisiEurope’s Renoir sailing on the Seine in Paris, France disembark and explore independently, or as part of an organised excursion. We sailed successfully in both 2020 and 2021 using extensive protocols, and feedback was excellent. What new routes are you focusing on for 2022? JF: We’re focusing on a four-night ‘Romantic German Sites &The Charming Neckar Valley’ cruise from Strasbourg, France, to Stuttgart, Germany, as well as a six-day ‘Best of the Netherlands’ roundtrip from Amsterdam, Netherlands. We’ll also sail a six-day ‘2022 Floriade Expo’ roundtrip from the Dutch cities of Amsterdam, Lemmer, Urk or Kampen, which includes a visit to the Floriade Expo. Another highlight will be the eight-day Aegean itinerary which takes guests through the cradle of western civilisation to Delos, Mykonos, Kos, Rhodes, Santorini and Paros in Greece. PM: Small-ship sailing in Croatia has already been an incredible seller and we’ve responded to demand by quadrupling capacity. When our maiden voyages set sail in April, guests will be able to choose from two yachts on the Adriatic coast. When our Travelmarvel Contemporary Class River Ships set sail in March, their signature ‘European Gems’ itinerary will be a big focus. We’re also thrilled to have launched four 2022–2023 Mekong River cruises, serviced by two new ships in Vietnam and Cambodia. LR: New options include the opportunity to combine a river cruise with the Floriade Expo, as well as a ‘Rhine in Flames’ sailing in St Goar, Germany, where guests on A-ROSA Aqua will have the chance to be part of a flotilla during a pyrotechnic spectacular. A-ROSA Sena, which will sail on the Northern Rhine in May 2022, has been designed with families in mind, so we’ll continue to show how a river cruise is perfect for a family and/or a multigenerational holiday. The ship will visit a new port of call for us – Dordrecht, Netherlands. And, of course, our ships will become international in 2022, meaning British guests have access to more departure dates and itineraries than ever before. Looking ahead, what do you believe are the greatest opportunities for river cruising? JF: A return to pre-pandemic growth levels is key. I believe we can achieve this through an increased focus on the longhaul market, as well as multigenerational groups, cultural immersion and experiential discovery, enrichment and sustainable tourism. CH: Recent market growth means there is continued demand for river cruise operators to tap into. They appeal to older travellers (who are a growing population), but also allow us to reach out to younger audiences. In addition, we’ve seen a real trend in solo travellers, so much so that we added more solo cabins. PM: Europe continues to be a huge focus – destinations closer to home will represent the largest sales opportunity in the immediate term. As normality returns, the pent-up demand for bucket list travel will be realised. Customers have sat on their money for two years now, and don’t want to put off their dream holidays a moment longer. We’re seeing strong interest in Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Canada in late 2022 and 2023; longer term, these will present the biggest, most profitable opportunities. LR: It is imperative that the travel trade is aware of what river cruising has to offer. It is evolving and attracting different markets, perhaps those that traditionally might not have been top of mind when selling river cruises. This is a profitable sector but needs a good, sound knowledge of how it all fits together to be able to sell it. CFR