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River cruises in Europe, Asia, more gaining in popularity

River cruises like Avalon Waterways' along the Danube

River cruises like Avalon Waterways' along the Danube are increasingly popular. Photo Credit: Avalon Waterways

River cruising is on the rise.

Demand for the category is at an all-time high, according to Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), with 184 CLIA member cruise ships on the water currently, and 13 new river cruise ships on order for 2017.

“These intimate voyages allow passengers to experience multiple, memorable destinations in a short amount of time all while traveling the world’s most famous, historic rivers,” said Cindy D’Aoust, CLIA president and CEO, in a recent report on the rise in river cruising. “River cruising is the ultimate experience offering an immersive, cultural and pampered vacation, complete with exceptional land excursions and vessel amenities.”

River cruises appeal to those who are more interested in seeing and doing new things, versus those who tend to take ocean cruisers, CLIA research has found.

Responding to rising interest in the category, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection recently announced plans to launch a cruise line geared toward millennials.

U by Uniworld will be designed to appeal to “youthful adventure seekers” between the ages of 18 and 40, with cruises that focus on local experiences and nightlife, the company said in a release.

Sailings will start in early 2018 and explore the “Instagram and Snapchat-worthy” rivers of Europe, stopping in cities like Amsterdam, Paris and Budapest. Sales are set to launch in March.

Rivers on the map

Here are some of rivers that are accessible via river cruising, across the globe:

  • Amazon — South America
  • Columbia and Snake — North America
  • Danube — Europe
  • Ganges — Southeast Asia
  • Mekong — Southeast Asia
  • Mississippi — North America
  • Nile — Africa
  • Rhine — Europe
  • Yangtze — Asia

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