CALABASAS, CA — AmaWaterways says its executive team is starting 2021 with a look at several positive travel trends driving heightened demand and strong river cruise bookings for the year ahead.
Among the trends that AmaWaterways’ co-owners Rudi Schreiner, Kristin Karst and Gary Murphy are seeing for post-COVID-19 are a shift to extended, immersive vacations where travellers can appreciate nature, live in the moment and reconnect with friends and family.
“North American luxury travellers are beginning to plan their next vacations, and based on what we are seeing, river cruises are poised to be among the first to bounce back to pre-pandemic levels,” says Schreiner, President of AmaWaterways.
He adds that AmaWaterways was the only U.S.-based river cruise line to sail in Europe during 2020, successfully implementing enhanced protocols and procedures as part of a charter program.
In 2021/22, the river cruise line will debut five immersive new itineraries and new pre- and post-cruise land packages through culturally rich destinations. Three new ships are also set to sail for the first time in 2021: AmaDahlia on the Nile and sister ships AmaSiena and AmaLucia on the Rhine.
Here’s a look at the 6 trends in detail, some with suggested AmaWaterways itineraries:
The Value of Travel Advisors
At a time with complex restrictions and policies, the AmaWaterways teams notes that professional travel advisors are more valuable than ever, serving clients with expert knowledge, destination insight and a personal touch to ensure a seamless transition throughout the voyage. To thank its loyal guests and their dedicated travel advisors, AmaWaterways recently launched an all-new Referral Savings Offer that rewards both past guests and their newly referred friends and family with savings while encouraging all guests to book with a travel advisor.
With many group gatherings to commemorate milestone birthdays and anniversaries postponed throughout 2020, celebration travel is anticipated to be a top trend among travellers of all ages in the year ahead. As loved ones search for a special way to make up for missed occasions, AmaWaterways says it’s seeing an uptick in multi-generational and multi-family travel bookings. The river cruise line offers a choice of up to 23 optional tours included in seven-night river cruises, so each member of the family can personalize their vacation while coming together to enjoy quality time back on board. The team points to the 2021 Christmas Market and holiday cruises that are showing early booking levels well above previous years.
Longer Stays, Shorter Booking Windows
With international travel regulations still evolving, booking windows are expected to shrink, says the team. Passengers are also increasingly adding extensions to their seven-night river cruise, combining back-to-back cruises through Europe and adding pre- and post-cruise land packages. Topping the list are sought-after destinations like Bellagio, the “Pearl of Lake Como” with subtropical climates amidst snow-capped mountains, and the legendary Transylvania, Romania. In response to increased demand, AmaWaterways recently announced limited-time savings for travellers seeking longer trips, including 10% savings on back-to-back river cruises and a selection of complimentary pre- or post-cruise land packages for bookings through January 31, 2021.
The AmaWaterways team points to trend reports that show travellers are opting for unhurried and authentic experiences within less crowded destinations. The trend dovetails well with the slower pace and immersive travel experience that comes with a river cruise. AmaWaterways says its new itinerary, Impressions of the Seine & Paris, was specifically designed to allow a more leisurely pace to explore the rolling countryside and rich cuisine of Normandy with an optional three-night extension into the St. Malo region of Brittany.
Working with its destination partners, AmaWaterways says it has developed new hosted events to support local economies, mingle with the community and personally contribute to the recovery of the destinations they visit. AmaWaterways also received the Green Award certification for its entire European fleet in 2020
The pandemic has inspired many to focus on wellness, connect with new activities in the outdoors and improve their health and fitness, notes the AmaWaterways team, adding that more people are pursuing travel that includes ways to continue to live an active, healthy lifestyle. Expanded in 2019, AmaWaterways’ complimentary Wellness Program includes dedicated Wellness Hosts on board its ships, guided hikes and bike tours through destinations as well as a variety of small group fitness classes that can be done on the open-air Sun Deck. Exclusively on board the revolutionary AmaMagna, guests can also enjoy spinning with a view or reserve, at an additional cost, the Concierge Golf Program which transports guests from the ship to five top golf courses while cruising the Danube.