The river cruising industry has been growing in popularity for the past five to seven years, and it continues to attract travelers by offering a chance to easily engage a multicountry itinerary.
"Hassle-free, unpack once, more personalized experience, immersive land and cruising activities, three meals daily and remote sites ... Travelers are realizing the value in this style of cruising," said Manny Paulo, Collette.
According to CruiseCompete CruiseTrends™ October 2016 report, Europe remains the most popular destination for river cruises, with the Cologne River hosting the most vessels and Germany attracting the most visitors—trends that have remained steady for months.
While larger cruise ships host anywhere from 1,000 to 4,000 passengers, smaller vessels for river cruising house 70 to 90 cabins. The smaller size not only allows for a more intimate atmosphere with better opportunities to mingle and connect with other passengers, but also offers a more personalized experience altogether.
"Passengers are getting more value in their tour," said Paulo.
Without thousands of other passengers, travelers spend less time departing and boarding the cruise ship for excursions on land—and more time enjoying activities and sightseeing.
"River cruising also opens up more opportunity to experience the hidden gems within destinations," said Paulo.
The smaller ship size allows for easy docking at smaller villages, castles, vineyards and more locations that would not be possible with a larger vessel.
"We find that passengers are looking for authentic experiences that take them deeper into the destination," said Paulo—and there's no better way than on a river that winds through the hearts of countries.
Written by Cassie Westrate, staff writer for Groups Today.
Photo courtesy of Collette.