More and more people are discovering river cruises, with around 90,000 passengers embarking on river cruise ships in Europe last year. With the increasing demand, the need for more vessels rises; an opportunity for shipyards and suppliers alike.Current topics and trends in the field of river cruises will be discussed during a dedicated conference session entitled ‘Europe’s River Cruise Industry’, taking place on Wednesday 9 September 2015 from 1430-1600 hrs at the Seatrade Europe Cruise & River Cruise Convention in Hamburg.
A strong speaker line-up sees Mário Ferreira president & ceo, DouroAzul, Helge Grammerstorf managing director, IG RiverCruise &, SeaConsult HAM, Wolfgang Lüftnerowner & ceo, Lüftner Cruises, Daniel Thiriet board member, IG RiverCruise, co-managing director, AMAWaterways Basel/Switzerland, & CEO, sea chefs Group and Thibaut Tincelindirector, Stirling Design International discussing these topics, moderated by Frederik Erdmann German & European River cruise correspondent, Seatrade Cruise Review/Seatrade Cruise News.
Many cruise companies have a broad range of offerings. ‘River cruises win over with the variety of land excursions and theme trips on offer. There is something to suit everyone’s taste, and with innovative food concepts as well as a focus on special interests, they are increasingly targeting a younger audience too.’ says Helge Grammerstorf, managing director of IG RiverCruise.
While geography dictates that river cruise vessels are smaller in size than their ocean-going counterparts, when it comes to comfort they do not disappoint. For example, some of the premium vessels offer their guests a swimming pool and a modern spa area, as well as panorama windows, or even private balconies.
Shipyards in Europe also benefit from the increase in passenger numbers, with 31 new ships in 2014 commissioned in the European river cruise market, and further plans for 30 new ships in 2015. In addition, existing vessels are also being refurbished. ‘Expectations in terms of what is being offered on river cruise ships are getting higher. Not only are they expected to be more modern and comfortable, they must also be state-of-the-art in terms of technology. This presents the shipyards with a challenge, because it requires them to work closely with a large network of suppliers.’ says Grammerstorf.
As is the case in ocean cruising, river cruising is increasingly turning ‘green’. Among the latest developments are particulate filter systems, water and energy-saving systems, consistent elimination of waste and recycling as well as shore-based power supply for the ships. ‘The river cruise lines are constantly investing in order to make their vessels more environmentally friendly. Shore-based power supplies in particular represents a milestone for river cruising.These allow the ships to shut down most of their engines while lying at berth, which results in a significant reduction in nitrogen emissions.’ explains Grammerstorf.