European river cruising is on the up as more Brits chose to sail the region’s waterways in 2011. Figures released by the Passenger Shipping Association (PSA) show the number of UK passengers increased by 7% in 2011 to 80,000 persons. The growth rate was two percentage points higher than that of ocean cruises.
The number of British passengers choosing a combined cruise along both the Rhine and Danube doubled, while the French rivers of the Rhone and Seine saw a combined increase of 28% Further afield, the Russian waterways saw an 11% increase while the number of holidaymakers taking river journeys in Asia and China rose by six per cent.
The trend for cruising the world’s river continued to grow and, with the exclusion of The Nile, saw a 5% increase in the number of UK passengers enjoying a river cruise. The political unrest in Egypt saw the number of Nile cruises taken by British passengers fall by 57% t to 25,000. The average price paid for a river cruise in 2011 rose to £1,574 compared with £1,367 in 2011 with the total value of the UK river cruise market being approximately £179 million.
As European river cruises in particular continue to grow in popularity, PSA director Bill Gibbons said “The appeal of a river journey has never been stronger. Passengers enjoy panoramic landscapes together with easy access to explore the heart of great cities and towns, and all while just unpacking once. 2012 will see the launch of 12 new river cruise vessels, a number which feature suites and balconies, together with some wonderful new itineraries.”