River cruise news to watch in 2016


KV Ganges Voyager

As I look ahead at what news the river cruise industry will bring in 2016, I’ve got my eye on several stories and developments.
As we kick off the year, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection is launching its first-ever program on India’s Ganges River with Haimark Travel’s luxury vessel, the 56-passenger Ganges Voyager II. We’re bound to start hearing some of the initial feedback and reviews from that product launch in the coming days and weeks after completion of the first few cruises.
Michelle Baran
Michelle Baran

This spring, I’ll be keeping a close eye on the launch of CroisiEurope’s 80-passenger Elbe Princesse, a paddlewheeler the French company has custom-built for Germany’s shallow Elbe River. And of course I’ll be looking for new innovations and ideas among all the ship launches in Europe this spring. With Viking River Cruises, Amawaterways, Avalon Waterways, Tauck, Scenic and Emerald Waterways all adding inventory this year, someone is bound to surprise us with something, no?

Come summer, I’ll be looking for word on how the new Adventures by Disney river cruising product plays out after the first sailings begin in July on AmaWaterways’ AmaStella. And I’d be lying if I didn’t say one of the developments I’m most curious about is the introduction of Crystal Cruises’ first river cruise effort, the renovation and relaunch of the former Peter Deilmann Mozart, which will set sail anew on July 13.

This will be our first glance not only at Crystal’s version of river cruising but at how an ocean cruise line interprets the river cruise market. I, for one, am agog. And Crystal only has additional excitement planned for us in 2017 when it introduces us to its version of four river cruising newbuilds.

Elsewhere in the river cruising world, I’m wondering how and whether the Nile will pull out of its perpetual slump, and if the Amazon will see an uptick in interest due to the Rio Olympics. I’m also following developments in Asia, where Pandaw River Expeditions keeps surprising with new river routes and other companies keep adding capacity.

And imagine, that’s just the stuff we more or less already know about. There’s no telling what river cruising bombshells (either good or bad) are yet to be dropped on us. Take cover!

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