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When it comes to the future of river cruising, the industry is full of ambitious growth plans through 2020. At least six lines are already planning big things for next year — ranging from Oberammergau itineraries to fleet expansion — and with it all comes even more choices and activities for clients.
AmaWaterwaysThis year will mark the launch of AmaWaterways’ trio of new ships: AmaMagna, AmaDouro and AmaMora. And in summer 2020, the line will introduce AmaSiena. The 156-guest AmaSiena — a sister ship to AmaMora, AmaLea and AmaKristina — will feature connecting cabins and fine dining in the Main Restaurant as well as in The Chef’s Table Restaurant. It will embark on several sailings, including the 10-night Rhine & Moselle Delights and 11-night Rhine & Moselle Fairytales routes between Amsterdam and Basel, Switzerland.
The line’s partnership with Adventures by Disney will also continue into 2020 with a new Rhone River route onboard AmaCello. Six weeklong sailings will be broken down into three family departures and three for adults only. Featured French ports will include Lyon, Tournon, Avignon and Arles, and activities will include kayaking below Pont du Gard, truffle hunting, painting in Roussillon, visiting Roman ruins and touring the Gorges du Doux via steam train and rail bike.
Avalon WaterwaysAvalon Waterways has a big year in store: It has made several recent announcements of what clients can expect in 2020, including a new ship. Avalon View, like this year’s Avalon Envision, will offer Panorama Suites that feature open-air balconies. View will be the line’s 14th Suite Ship in Europe and 17th internationally, and the fleet’s average age is only 6 years old.
When it comes to itineraries, three new short-form options will be available. A Taste of the Rhine is just five days long but packs in Amsterdam and Cologne, Boppard and Rudesheim in Germany. The six-day Heart of Germany sailing will expand from a Christmas cruise to a year-round Bavarian route to ports such as Wurzburg, Itzingen, Bamberg and Nuremberg. And the shortest sailing, the four-day A Taste of the Danube, manages to fit in Budapest, Hungary; Bratislava, Slovakia; and Melk, Durnstein and Vienna in Austria.
As for themed cruises, Avalon will be heading to Oberammergau, Germany, for the Passion Play, as well as hosting journeys centered around food and wine/beer, garden and nature, World War I and II, castles, and Jewish heritage. The brand is additionally unveiling three floral-themed itineraries in 2020, including the eight-day Tulip Time in Holland & Belgium, the eight-day Tulip Time Highlights and the 15-day Grand Tulip Cruise of Holland & Belgium.
The line is also promoting a sailing with Diana Gabaldon, author of the “Outlander” book series. Similarly, author and photography veteran Brenda Tharp will host a Reflections on the Seine for Photography Enthusiasts sailing along the Seine River.
What’s more, in collaboration with sister brands Monograms and Globus, Avalon is making pre and post extensions even easier with the Your Way program. Guests can customize their travel experience with either an Avalon extension, a Monograms independent vacation package or a Globus escorted tour.
CroisiEuropeCroisiEurope, too, will highlight the 2020 Passion Play in Oberammergau. A seven-night cruise from Budapest to Munich will include the performance, along with stops in Bratislava; Vienna and Melk, Austria; and Passau, Germany. To accommodate Oberammergau, the line will host a two-night hotel stay in Passau. Also just announced for 2020 is CroisiEurope’s full itinerary lineup in France, Central Europe, Asia and more.
Crystal River CruisesWith five luxury river ships, Crystal River Cruises will offer a large collection of 2020 itineraries, ranging in length from seven to 16 days. Highlights include opportunities to see the Oberammergau performance on certain Crystal Mahler, Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel voyages.
Debussy and Crystal Bach will sail the Rhine and Moselle rivers on the following routes: Amsterdam to Basel; Basel to Amsterdam; or roundtrip Amsterdam. Mahler, Ravel and Crystal Mozart will traverse the Danube, sailing from Budapest to Regensburg, Germany; Regensburg to Budapest; Vienna to Budapest; Budapest to Vienna; or roundtrip from Vienna.
Plus, several 10-, 11- or 12-night holiday cruises are available across the fleet, celebrating New Year’s Eve in either Amsterdam, Budapest or Vienna. A 16-night Grand Europe itinerary combines the Danube, Rhine and Main rivers from Budapest to Amsterdam or Amsterdam to Budapest.
U River CruisesDue to increased regional demand, the newly renamed U River Cruises will shake things up in 2020 by repositioning The B to join The A. In so doing, The B will no longer sail along the Seine River, but help the brand double up in Central Europe. It will voyage from Brussels to Amsterdam and Amsterdam to Frankfurt, and The A will head from Nuremberg to Vienna and Vienna to Belgrade, Serbia.
VikingFresh off a launch of seven new signature Longships, Viking is already looking forward to introducing another seven riverboats in 2020, including an additional vessel on the Nile River. Viking Osiris will mark the first Western-owned newbuild on the famed waterway, joining the redesigned Viking Ra.