River Cruise Débuts Outnumber Ocean
Next year, twice as many river cruise vessels than ocean liners will be launched around the world. At least 13 new river-cruising ships are on the way in 2012, compared to only 7 new ocean liners - the first time that the balance has tipped in the favour of river cruising.
In January, Uniworld will enter Asia with the River Saigon debuting on the Mekong River. Avalon Waterways will also add a ship on the Mekong, the Angkor, as well as the Vista and Visionary in Europe, and in March, Viking River Cruises is set to unleash six longships in Europe.
April will see the launch of APT's AmaCerto and Scenic Tours' Scenic Crystal. And in the US, American Cruise Line's Queen of the Mississippi is due in August.
Teresia Fors, Viking's managing director says that the growth of river cruising shows that is has now been established as a mainstream cruise category, which also reaches out to people who have never cruised. "I am absolutely certain that for many travellers currently not cruising, river cruising will become the first stepping stone on their path to becoming cruisers," she said.
John Molinaro, Uniworld's general manager Australia, said that there was "no doubt" that river cruising would be more popular in 2012, especially among couples and multi-generational families. "This type of holiday experience is clearly on the radar of more travellers than ever, and I think we will all see significantly positive results of that in the next 12 months," he said.
However, Fors warned Australians not to be too assured by the record level of capacity. "Booking early is still critical," she said. "Secure your stateroom first, then worry about the earlybird airfares when they come out. So many people that I have been in touch with for the past 3 to 4 months were missing out because they had left it too late," she added.
Source: Cruise Weekly, Tuesday 15 November 2011