Friday, March 22, 2013

River Cruises Are Booming

America's Baby Boomers are responsible for many things, not least among them a boom in travel. With more time and disposable income available than ever before, they are taking to the air and waterways worldwide in numbers unseen in the past.

In response to Boomers' lust for travel in comfort and style, several companies that operate the river boats so popular with them are introducing new vessels at a rapid clip.

Take Vantage Deluxe World Travel, which, if you've been following Cruise Diva's Blog, you know the line just launched River Splendor last week in Antwerp, Belgium. That ship followed one introduced in 2012, and a sister-ship will follow this spring, bringing their state-of-the-art fleet designed to appeal to American travelers to four deluxe river vessels in Europe.

AmaWaterways, which operates more than a dozen ships worldwide, continues to build upon their fleet of custom-designed vessels in Europe, Russia, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Africa. The company will debut two new ships in Amsterdam and Portugal in 2013, to be followed in 2014 by two more in Europe.

The largest fleet of river ships, operated by Viking River Cruises, grew this week when the line set a world record with the christening of ten new Viking Longships—four of the christenings took place in Amsterdam and the remaining six were conducted live via satellite from the shipyard in Germany. That feat followed the christening of six ships in 2012, with twelve more planned for launch in 2014. Viking's chairman Torstein Hagen wants to have 100 river cruise vessels operating on European waterways by 2020. That may seem far fetched, but the line is already half-way to that mark with a fleet that sails in Europe, China, Russia, Southeast Asia, and Egypt.

You don't have to be a Baby Boomer to enjoy a river cruise, but if you're under 55 you may find yourself the youngest passenger on your ship.

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