The Top 4 River Cruise Trends to Expect 2019

2.7min read

Published 8 October 2018


From wine cruises and silent discos to family-friendly and wellness-oriented cruises, we share the top 4 river cruise trends to expect for Europe 2019.


1. More theme cruises!

Themes, themes, themes. Themed cruises have been riding a wave of popularity over the last few years, giving cruise travellers an excuse to dedicate full trips to indulgent pursuits. Avalon Waterways leads the way in such indulgences, with themed river cruises offering anything from food and wine appreciation to arts and culture dedicated itineraries all throughout Europe.

Consider yourself a wine aficionado? Put your Bordeaux where your glass is and get onboard an Avalon Waterways’ wine river cruise through France. Discover the vineyards along the Rhone and Saone, sip on Burgundys and Chardonnays with distinguished wine experts, and visit gastronomic capitals like Lyon and villages along the French Riviera, while you wonder why you never thought of doing this sooner.


For those that love to get into the holiday spirit, the Christmas markets river cruise on the Rhine will take you to cozy little villages in France and Germany while stopping at beautifully lit, picturesque Christmas markets and castles along the way.

From Impressionist art in France and Jewish history through Central Europe to French culinary delights along the Seine and beer in Germany, themed river cruises have turned into a trend we hope to see grow.


2. River cruises for millennials

What do the youth like? The answer, according to a recent study from CLIA, is cruising! In a market generally geared toward an older crowd, cruise travel amongst the millennial set has been on the steady rise. Millennials (born between 1981 and 1997) have been embracing cruise travel now more than ever.

In addition to all the things we love about river cruising, river cruise lines have also taken a fresh, younger approach to appeal to the demographic.

U by Uniworld, the new river cruise line for millennials, aims to give river cruising a ‘modern makeover.’ Think rooftop yoga, craft beer, and silent discos.


But it’s not all about fun and wellness onboard your ship, it’s about experiencing new destinations and being exposed to new cultures. Onboard, you’ll taste local, regional fare and watch the ever-changing views of the Rhine, Seine, Danube, and Main pass you by. The DJ comes out at night on the top deck creating the soundtrack to an evening under the stars. During offshore excursions, you’ll go on old city bar crawls in Paris and Seine bike rides, take pretzel-making classes in Germany, or go blokarting on the beach in Amsterdam (it’s like wind-sailing, but on sand).

Combined with the value and convenience of river cruising, we can expect to see more innovative ship amenities, fresh takes on onboard dining experiences, exciting itineraries that dock in city centres, and culturally immersive local shore excursions.

U by Uniworld currant-ly cruises Europe only.


3. River cruises for families

While Uniworld River Cruises took note on the burgeoning market for millennial cruise travellers, it wasn’t too long before taking note of the growing number of families travelling on board, too. President and CEO of Uniworld River Cruises, Guy Young, reported that the company more than doubled multigenerational family departures after learning that 30% of passengers in 2015 were under age 18, which nurtured a new trend in river cruising particularly for families travelling with tots, toddlers, teens, and tweens.


Take the family on an adventure down the Main River to 500-year-old Christmas markets and villages with buildings that look like gingerbread houses on a Christmas market river cruise from Nuremberg to Frankfurt, or see the gems of Northern Italy from Milan to Venice.

There’s plenty to see off the ship, and that goes for onboard, too. Uniworld Generations’ award-winning cruises include outdoor activities, cooking demos, language lessons, and family-friendly entertainment nights make sure that each moment is as enriching and memorable as possible.

Whew. This would be a good time to mention that all of the Uniworld ships, including the ones offering the family programs, have a spa onboard, as well as full service bars, a fitness centre and a relaxing sun deck.


4. More focus on health and wellness


Health and wellness are continuing trends in river cruise travel. But with more and more programs available onboard, you could potentially make a full day of green smoothies, facials and fitness workouts. Expect to see more onboard health and wellness-focused experiences to expand and include more restorative spa treatments, morning yoga sessions, gym workouts, TRX suspension training classes with certified instructors, and fitness classes.


Does river cruising sound like your travel style? Now's your chance to discover the romance of Europe's waterways with our river cruise deals. Get on board and talk to one of our Expert Travellers today! Call us at 1-877-967-5302, Live Chat us, or visit your closest Flight Centre store.

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