Towards the end of last year, however, it appeared river cruising was on the rebound, with the lines reporting a robust return of Europe bookings – a trend that appears to have continued into early 2017.
But one indicator that river cruising really never lost its groove is an annual Travel Leaders Group survey ranking European river cruises as the top international luxury “destination” outside North America being booked by affluent travelers for 2017.
Indeed, river cruises beat out Italy, Mediterranean cruises, Australia, France, England, Baltic cruises, Ireland and Bora Bora for the top spot. River cruises also ranked No. 1 for lead luxury travel destination in this same survey last year. So despite a “challenging” 2016, river cruising doesn’t appear to have slipped in comparison to other vacation options.
Not only that, but according to the 1,689 U.S.-based travel agents who responded to the Travel Leaders Group survey, their upscale river cruise business wasn’t hit all that hard in 2016. Some 36% of Travel Leaders agents reported an increase in luxury river cruise bookings in 2016 compared to 2015, and 46% said their luxe river business was on par with 2015.
So, for those wondering if the river cruise boom is still on, there is some evidence suggesting that it never really was off.