A New River Cruise Demographic

A New River Cruise Demographic

River cruise execs agree on who they’re targeting next By: Mindy Poder
<p>The average age of river cruisers continues to decrease. // © 2014 Avalon Waterways</p><p>Feature image (above): A-Rosa’s river cruises are well...

The average age of river cruisers continues to decrease. // © 2014 Avalon Waterways

Feature image (above): A-Rosa’s river cruises are well suited to active travelers. // © 2014 A-Rosa

River cruising is one of the fastest growing sectors of the travel industry right now, and there’s no doubt that this success is mostly due to an older, less active demographic. But not ones to rest on their laurels, river cruise execs across the industry report that having younger, more active clients is also on their radar. Here is what a few river cruise companies are doing to attract younger clients. 

“One thing we’ve discovered is that the average age of our passengers is decreasing, especially on our wine and other themed cruises,” says Kristin Karst, executive vice president and co-owner of AmaWaterways. “Some of our innovations, such as a fleet of bicycles onboard, active tours and a fitness room on the ship have really contributed to this shift.” 


American Queen Steamboat Company
“We are catering to a younger audience who want to maintain their active lifestyle,” says Ted Sykes, president and chief operating officer of American Queen Steamboat Company. “We have bikes and helmets onboard both the American Queen and the American Empress for our guests to check out for riding in the towns we visit. We have a gym with treadmills, stationary bike and weight-training equipment. Younger guests also appreciate our recently upgraded complimentary Wi-Fi access, which allows them to stay connected with social media channels, upload photos and post updates.”


“With a product well suited for those who enjoy an active lifestyle, A-Rosa is attracting more ‘young at heart’ travelers and, overall, we are dropping the average age compared to other river boat companies,” says Marilyn Conroy, executive vice president of  David Morris International.


Avalon Waterways
“We are seeing the average age of our clients coming down every year, particularly on shorter cruises,” says Patrick Clark, managing director of Avalon Waterways. “And ocean cruisers continue to transition to taking Avalon river cruises in greater numbers.”


Tauck River Cruising
“We think we’ll see the average age of river cruisers continue to come down,” says Katharine Bonner, vice president of river and small ship cruising for Tauck. “We’re already seeing that as a natural result of having three Tauck Bridges family river cruises in our portfolio, and we’re seeing the average age come down on our regular river cruises as well. We’re responding to that trend — and fostering it — by adding choice into our onshore activities, so younger guests who want to be more active can take advantage of hiking opportunities, local bicycling routes, etc.”   


Un-Cruise Adventures
“We are seeing very strong demand for experiential travel, which is spurring our growth in adventure and river cruising,” says Tim Jacox, principal and executive vice president of Un-Cruise Adventures. “Multi-generational family travel continues to explode, especially as parents and grandparents turn toward more hands-on experiences. Easy and thorough access is a key to these ultimate up-close encounters with nature and cultures.”  


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