River Cruising - March 2015
“The new additions to riverboat fleets (with more ships on the drawing board) have widened the customer base for river-cruise holidays, which, if current trends continue, will increase exponentially, throughout the coming decade.”
- Jessica Kelly, Senior Tourism Analyst
This report looks at the following areas:
- Why are European river cruises so popular with Americans?
- What differentiates German riverboats from those operated by North American companies?
- How are travel agents still able to profit from river cruises?
- Why do younger cruisers prefer short cruises and how are riverboat operators responding to their needs?
- Why are Egypt and Russia – two of the world’s political hotspots – impacting the demand for river cruises?
River cruises represent a tiny percentage of the overall cruise industry, but the market is expanding rapidly, and increasing, according to some sources, by double-digit percentages, year on year. There are a number of reasons for this sudden spurt in river cruises – the surging number of Baby Boomers (those born between 1946-64) who are entering (or have entered) their retirement years, the upgrading of ships and the launch of new ones (particularly those sailing the rivers of Europe) and an overhaul of the way in which the river-cruise industry is run.
Every aspect of river cruising – from management to marketing – is being streamlined, to respond to a clientele who values its creature comforts. Baby Boomers represent the principal demographic for river cruises and they like having comfortable (if not luxury) accommodation, good food and diversions (from trips ashore to on-board lectures) that are not merely entertaining but also educational.
These 50-years-plus passengers are a sophisticated group who, while they might occasionally opt for an ocean cruise, primarily enjoy the slow pace, historic ambience and ecological wonders – not to mention the variety – afforded by a cruise along such diverse waterways as the Amazon River and the Rhine.
Asian rivers such as the Yangtze, the Mekong and the Irrawaddy have entered the scene in recent years but the prime venues for river cruises are still the waterways of Europe, led by (in terms of traffic) the Rhine, the Danube and the Rhône/Seine, the latter with Paris as its major draw.
The total European river-cruise fleet currently comprises 260 vessels – one third of which have been built only during the past decade. According to CLIA UK & Ireland, between 2012-13 alone, 27 ships entered service. Another 24 will join the fleet in 2015 and 2016.
Looking around the globe, at present, only a handful of American and European-owned riverboats operate in Asia, on the Amazon and other ‘exotic’ rivers. As the riverboat segment of the cruise industry continues to expand, however, and as holidaymakers who have explored Europe want to venture further afield, demand will inevitably lead to more riverboats making their debut in other areas of the world as well.
What you get
This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.
Mintel provides a range of market information, frequently through the category level, including market size and forecasting, complete with market drivers that illustrate the forces that shape a category or market.
Mintel's proprietary consumer research provides our analysts with the attitudinal and behavioral data used to provide valuable insight to topical issues.
Mintel provides overviews of the top brands and manufacturers, and uses consumer research to explore attitudes and reactions to brands, as well as insight into what will resonate with consumers.
Market reports provide appendices of data to support the research and insight produced. Our tables of data are easily manipulated and downloadable to support your research needs and covers factors from consumer attitudes to market forecasts.
* This is a sample representation of the report layout and does not reflect the research included in this report.
Why buy from us?
Our reports will provide you with market data, consumer research and competitive intelligence to succeed in your market.
Buy now and you'll have instant access to the information you need to make the right decisions.
Find out what's next in the markets that matter to you: where opportunities lie and what challenges you will face.
A business Superbrand, Mintel is a source you can trust. We have been defining and refining the Market Intelligence mix since 1972.