While travellers continue to prioritise health and safety, they are increasingly looking to plan longer, immersive travel experiences to better appreciate nature, live in the moment and reconnect with friends and family. This is according to AmaWaterways’ co-owners Rudi Schreiner, Kristin Karst and Gary Murphy who forecast positive travel trends which are driving heightened demand for future river cruising.
With the pursuit of improved physical and mental health becoming more prevalent, the global pandemic has inspired many to focus on wellness, connect with new activities in the outdoors and improve their health and fitness. More people are pursuing travel that includes ways to continue to live an active, healthy lifestyle. Expanded in 2019, AmaWaterways’ complimentary Wellness Programme includes dedicated Wellness Hosts on board its ships, guided hikes and bike tours through charming destinations as well as a variety of small group fitness classes that can be done on the open-air Sun Deck. Exclusively on board its revolutionary AmaMagna, guests can also enjoy spinning as well as the Concierge Golf Programme which transports guests from the ship to five of the most desirable courses while cruising the Danube
Slow, Immersive Travel
Trend analysts report that more travellers are opting for unhurried and authentic experiences within less crowded destination that offer an immersion in the region’s culture, history, and gastronomy. River cruises allow travellers to explore at a slower pace and fully immerse themselves in every aspect of the destination. More leisure time in each port allows time for savouring local cuisine and wines and venturing off the beaten path by pedalling the ships bicycles. Over 20 guided tours, conducted in small groups of just 10 to 15 people are offered. AmaWaterways’ new itinerary, Impressions of the Seine & Paris, was specifically designed to allow a more leisurely pace to explore the rolling countryside and rich cuisine of Normandy with an optional three-night extension into the spellbinding St. Malo region of Brittany.
With group gatherings to commemorate milestone birthdays and anniversaries postponed throughout 2020, celebration travel is anticipated to be a top trend especially for multi-generational groups who have a choice of up to 23 optional tours included in seven-night river cruises.
Longer Stays, Shorter Booking Windows
International travel regulations are still evolving causing booking windows to shrink so travellers will be standing by to book and travel as soon as conditions allow. Starved of holidays and time away, it is anticipated that guests will add extensions to their seven-night river cruise to combine back-to-back cruises through Europe and adding pre and post-cruise land packages.
Favourites include destinations like Bellagio, the “Pearl of Lake Como” set amidst snow-capped mountains and the legendary Transylvania, Romania, home to the tales of Dracula’s castle and the Palace of Parliament.
Travellers are actively seeking ways to give back to destinations by contributing to local economies and choosing sustainable ways to explore the world. AmaWaterways has developed new hosted events to support local economies, and develop ways to personally contribute to the recovery of the destinations they visit.
With sustainability and innovation as ongoing priorities, AmaWaterways also received the Green Award certification for its entire European fleet in 2020, ensuring an environmentally conscious experience for all.
Health and safety protocols will dictate holiday types, styles, modes of travel and destinations. River cruise holidays take place on smaller ships with fewer guests, cruising within countries and conveniently dock in the center of charming towns and hidden villages. AmaWaterways anticipate travellers will prioritise meaningful and authentic travel experiences.
A family-owned company celebrating 18 years on the river, AmaWaterways offers river cruises with 25 ships sailing Europe’s Danube, Rhine, Moselle, Main, Rhône, Saône (2021), Seine, Garonne, Dordogne, Dutch and Belgian Waterways and Douro Rivers, Southeast Asia’s Mekong, Africa’s Chobe River and Egypt’s Nile River (2021).
AmaWaterways was the only luxury river cruise line to sail in Europe during 2020, successfully implementing enhanced protocols and procedures as part of a unique charter programme. In 2021/22, the innovative river cruise line will debut five immersive new itineraries and new pre- and post-cruise land packages through culturally rich destinations. Three new ships are also set to sail for the first time in 2021, including the AmaDahlia on the Nile and sister ships AmaSiena and AmaLucia on the Rhine.