The future of river cruising

From the height of luxury to high value river cruises in Europe, river cruises are catering for a whole new variety of tastes and pockets. Guests can travel to new and exciting destinations, and the cruise ship is no longer just a vessel; it is a deluxe entertainment facility complete with pool and cinema, and so much more.

Here we ask industry experts and professional cruise bloggers what they see in store for the future of river cruising.

“River cruising will see continued growth as the population ages and mega-ship cruise vacationers seek less hectic-paced, diverse and cultural cruise experiences. Not only will there be more river ships plying the waterways in Europe and the USA, but also expansion in the more exotic regions of the globe. However, once the market is saturated with river ships that hit max capacity in terms of passengers load, I think we’ll see a return to more luxurious, spacious and all-inclusive river vessels with fewer passengers.  Watch for expansion into France and Portugal as well as the British Isles, including Scotland.” 

     -  Sherry Kennedy, Cruise Maven 

Cruise Maven is the award-winning cruise reviews, news and travel tips site that offers a comprehensive resource to those travelling the world by ship or by train, but never plane. The travel and cruise writer hasn’t set foot on an aeroplane since 1995, but has since travelled the world, putting her in a great position to answer any questions the public may have on the exciting future of river cruising. Her prediction of a future for all-inclusive cruises is one that many are hoping will come true as more cruise lines offer flights, accommodation, transfers, excursions and much more included in the price of an exceptional value cruise.

“At Porthole Cruise Magazine, we've been seeing an increase in river cruising for years, almost exponentially. The river lines have been quick to build new river boats and add new itineraries in order to keep up with growing interest and demand. As travelers continue to spread the word about river cruising, it's likely that those who have cruised the ocean, will add a river cruise to their list as well.”

     -  Jodi Ornstein, Porthole Cruise Magazine 

Cruise and travel editorial magazine Porthole Cruise Magazine is popular both online and in print, offering all of the latest news and cruise reviews in one place. Covering a range of cruise topics from invitations to dine with the ship captain to a variety of locations including the best Danube river cruises and those to private islands and the states. Their prediction of cruisers who traditionally travel by sea venturing into river cruising is an interesting thought and one that many experienced travellers are agreeing with.

“I have not seen any signs that the growth in river cruising is slowing down. I expect to see more and more destinations in more and more parts of the globe being serviced by river cruises. I think a lot of people, after they have tried the smaller boat experience and the convenience of river cruises, won’t want to go back to the big ships.” 

     -  Chris Christensen, Amateur Traveler 

Chris Christensen of the Amateur Traveler blog has provided his expert opinion on a number of past articles, including 11 tips that will change the way you travel and Our travel heroes. His weekly audio travel podcast, video travel podcast and blog are a regular source of information for travellers and his cruise reviews come highly commended. By the ‘convenience of river cruises’ Christensen could be talking about any manner of conveniences that come with river cruising, from the ability to see so many destinations without having to unpack more than once to your itinerary being readily arranged and researched, river cruising is showing the future of travel.

“We believe river cruising has a very bright and exciting future. It gives tourists the opportunity to discover multiple destinations and fully enjoy wide variety of cultures and architecture styles during one single trip.”

     -  Ania and Jon, Hitch-Hikers Handbook 

Similarly, Ania & Jon and their Hitch-Hikers Handbook blog are a regular feature in our articles and for good reason; their experience travelling the world puts them in good stead to recommend the best of the best to fellow travellers. In regards to the future of river cruising they are not wrong, as the ability to see so many different cultures and landmarks is certainly a draw for many and is one of the reasons that the industry has boomed in recent years and is showing no signs of slowing yet.

“River cruising is booming and we think this type of travel will continue to grow in the near future. Why? Because river cruising has much to offer to the modern traveler. First of all: river cruising is simply the best choice if you want to discover multiple destinations in a relaxed and unique way: the ships are smaller, intimate and luxurious, life on board is relaxed and going on an excursion is completely hassle-free. Most of the time the ships docks right in the heart of the city or a village, making it very easy to discover your destination: simply walk off the ship and you’re ready to go. And even when you decide to stay on board, you’ll get to feel the buzz and atmosphere of the city.

Today it has become trendy and hip to go on a river cruise so if you still thought this kind of cruise is only for the somewhat older people: you’re wrong! River cruising attracts people from all ages, and that shouldn’t be hard to believe: there are more – and new – itineraries to choose from:  far away or close by, luxurious or super luxurious, river cruises with a specific theme...just pick the one that’s right for you.

For us personally one of the great benefits of a river cruise is that you don’t get to waste any time. Our holidays are precious to us and we want to make the most of every day: river cruising means there are no boring and time-wasting bus or train rides to go from one place to another. Instead we’ll get to enjoy an always changing scenery in an elegant and comfortable way. Love it!”

     -  Nina, Travelboulevard

Travel is a passion for Belgian native Nina of Travelboulevard and one that is evident in her travel writing. The relaxing element of river cruising is one that speaks to many travellers who don’t want their holiday to be bogged down by the stress of planning multiple stops and not a moment is uncomfortably wasted, as even when travelling guests can enjoy the host of culinary delights and entertainment facilities on board.

“River cruising has unlimited potential, and with new lines, new ship designs throughout many fleets, and ever-more creative approaches to creating river itineraries, it’s only going to get more popular as time goes on.”

     -  Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief, Cruise Critic 

Cruise Critic is one of the most recognised and established cruise review sites on the web and as such, know a thing or two about predicting the future of river cruise travel. New ship designs are one of the things that most regular cruise guests will agree has transformed the most in recent years, with guests now accustomed to more room, swimming pools on board and a whole host of exciting amenities that would have only been a dream a decade ago, and it’s only going to get better with new ships being launched all the time.

“Hopefully towards a more adventurous nature as well as the luxury side of things.  When I think of river cruising, I'd love to go back to those old school style Amazon River Cruises.  I hope it goes back in that direction.”

     -  Brendan van Son, Brendan’s Adventures

Travel photographer and journalist Brendan van Son of Brendan’s Adventures is another regular to these articles and his vast experience in travelling the world gives him an interesting and well-versed perspective on the future of river cruising and other such travel trends. His prediction is well founded with more and more cruises adopting a more interactive itinerary and approach to travel, such as hosted evenings with local families and cooking demonstrations next to traditional guided tours of the various cities and destinations.

What’s your prediction for the future of river cruising? Share your view on the Emerald Cruises Twitter and Facebook pages.

Image Credit: Mike Licht ( This image was adapted from the original.

This content was written by Angela Sloan. Please feel free to visit my Google+ Profile to read more stories.