AmaWaterways Shares Insights into Six Trends Shaping the River Cruise Industry

Luxury River Cruise Company Notes Increased Emphasis on Off-Season Travel, Sustainability, Wellness, Personalization and More

In 2024, for the first time, luxury river cruise line AmaWaterways will begin its European river cruising season on February 11 with two ships on the Danube and Rhine rivers. As a direct response to the increased demand for new off-season travel options, this strategic move reflects AmaWaterways’ commitment to innovation and evolving travel preferences. As the leading river cruise line announces record results for 2023 and continued strong growth for 2024 and 2025, several key trends are setting the stage for a bright future of the river cruise industry.


Guests embarking on their river cruise and land journeys with AmaWaterways in 2024 can anticipate curated experiences embracing the following trends:


Off-Season Travel – As more travelers recognize the benefits of off-season travel, AmaWaterways is launching its 2024 river cruise season early in Europe, with special cruises on the Rhine and Danube rivers on board AmaMagna and AmaLucia. These cruises starting February 11, 2024, along with December cruises on the Douro River, offer guests quieter travel periods with fewer crowds and reduced airfares while extending economic benefits to local communities for more months of the year.


Importance of Sustainability – For 21 years, AmaWaterways has continuously implemented important measures to minimize its environmental impact and enhance the communities visited. Twenty of the ships in its European fleet have received the prestigious Green Award, recognizing quality, safety and environmental performance. With its ongoing commitment to cleaner energy, solar panels were installed this year on the flagship AmaMagna. Additionally, AmaWaterways is extending the use of a River Track Pilot Navigation System for fuel efficiency. Tackling the growing concern about food waste, the company has replaced buffets with full service à la carte menus, anticipating a 30% reduction in waste while providing a higher level of service for guests.


Experiential Travel – With travelers seeking longer, immersive and authentic experiences, AmaWaterways caters to this trend by offering guests unique experiences including culinary excursions, local entertainment and seasonal events. AmaWaterways works closely with local communities to offer its guests tourism activities that are respectful of the culture and environment and showcase local talents and traditions such as the weekly Oktoberfest in Vilshofen, Germany or the exclusive wine events in Spitz, Austria and Bourg, France. Starting in November 2024, guests will also enjoy a weekly Carnaval celebration in Barranquilla, Colombia along the Magdalena River. The wide range of small-group excursions, led by knowledgeable local guides, offers guests a more intimate and genuine understanding of regional heritage, landmarks and traditions while providing employment opportunities and economic benefits to local communities.


Wellness – Travelers today prioritize their health, seeking experiences that foster physical, mental and emotional well-being. AmaWaterways offers guests a robust Wellness Program on board, featuring fitness rooms, various classes led by professional Wellness Hosts and a full-sized pickleball court on board AmaMagna. Onshore, included activities such as hiking, cycling and guided walks allow guests to stay active while exploring both larger cities and off-the-beaten-path destinations.


Culinary and Wine Experiences – Exploring regional cuisine fosters a deeper appreciation for a destination’s history, culture and people. AmaWaterways takes pride in its award-winning cuisine that highlights regional and seasonal dishes while catering to diverse dietary needs, including vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options. Paired with fine wines, often from visited vineyards, guests can enjoy exquisite meals at no extra cost, including a tasting menu at The Chef’s Table – an exclusive gastronomical experience for a limited number of guests each evening. In response to continued guest interest in delving into famed culinary and wine regions, AmaWaterways will debut its all-new Flavors of Burgundy seven-night itinerary in 2024, sailing between the Port of Saint-Jean-de-Losne, near the city of Dijon, and Lyon, the gastronomical capital of France.


Personalization – Personalized experiences are essential to affluent travelers and AmaWaterways offers guests the choice from up to 23 included shore excursions during a seven-night cruise. This freedom of choice allows guests to tailor their vacation to their interests, whether that be history, art, music, hiking and biking or food and wine. As a pioneer in hosted wine cruises since 2010, AmaWaterways offers guests a choice of more than 70 Celebration of Wine River Cruises in 2024, each led by a qualified wine expert from North America or Europe. Additionally, AmaWaterways is proud to offer travelers four opportunities to celebrate Black heritage, history and culture in Egypt, Portugal and France in 2024 with its Soulful Experience sailings. Spanish-speaking guests can also enjoy AmaWaterways’ Latin Touch cruises, with the next departure scheduled for October 27, 2024, on the Magna on the Danube itinerary.


“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 Program and offer an extensive choice of included excursions and themed cruises. We are excited to see that travelers of all ages and those with special interests are driving a record level of river cruise bookings for the year ahead.’’




Original Article posted Dec. 6, 2023 - Calabasas, CA 


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