River Cruising for a ‘Younger’ Demographic | TravelResearchOnline

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River Cruising for a ‘Younger’ Demographic

Saying “river cruising” and “younger demographic” may seem like an oxymoron. Perhaps you associate river cruising with retirees or folk nearing that age. I recently had the opportunity to cruise with AmaWaterways aboard the AmaCerto for their “Melodies of the Danube” wine-themed cruise. Our journey began in Budapest, through Austria and then into Germany. Although my travel companion (lucky friend!) and I were certainly the youngest passengers aboard the AmaCerto, we were entirely comfortable with the other guests. Age, it turns out, is no impediment to enjoying a great river cruise.

The average age of the passengers aboard our cruise was 50. The activities and atmosphere on the ship was very young, fast paced and almost exhausting. They joked on the first day how many passengers report they feel like they need a vacation once the cruise had come to an end and I scoffed. There were people significantly older than myself outlasting my friend and I almost every night on the dance floor! Only to further put our youth to shame by being able to wake up on time each morning for the scheduled tour. The “joke” I had previously written off was anything but.

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Marketing to a younger demographic is one of the newest initiatives of AmaWaterways. I sat down with Kristin Karst, the Vice President of AmaWaterways and picked her brain about how they plan on drawing in the 30 – early 40 year old demographic. Added technology for sharing experiences on social media while cruising, adding the option to tour cities via bicycles, and adding specialty themed cruises such as their beer cruise are all ways AmaWaterways is hoping to draw in a younger client base.

A few aspects of river cruising I enjoyed as a ‘young person:’

  • A smaller ship: The smaller ship offers a more personalized feel. You never felt like a herded mass as sometimes people do on larger ships.
  • Packed itinerary: Although this might be considered a con for a lot of people, I enjoyed being able to see as much of the region as possible in a short amount of time. People with full time jobs rarely can take two + weeks to vacation.
  • Complimentary Wifi: Us youngsters like to stay connected. Whether it was to check my email or upload a photo, I was able to do so on board with ease.
  • Healthy alternatives: For those of you who enjoy staying active and (somewhat) try to maintain a diet while on vacation, the ship offered a fitness area, a walking track on the top deck, options to tour via complementary bicycle and healthy options on the menu at breakfast and lunch.
  • Nighttime activities: This particular cruise was wine-themed, so several nights consisted of tours to wineries or music and dancing at local wine taverns. On the nights there were no scheduled excursions, the ship offered music and entertainment after dinner.

River cruising for the younger crowds may take a little time to catch on, but quality products like AmaWaterways will ensure it does.

Disclosure: AmaWaterways provided my travel expenses and did not provide any additional compensation. They did not require that I write this blog post, nor did they request it. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

  3 thoughts on “River Cruising for a ‘Younger’ Demographic

  1. Susan Keith says:

    I also enjoyed a wine cruise with AMA Waterways myself and had a wonderful time. We had a very mixed age crowd and everyone was very active-there were so many tour options included including biking. It was such fun!

  2. Great post, Caroline. You are in the travel business, so your natural curiosity and role as an industry observer while aboard provided a sense of engagement that others your age may or may not share. I agree that most travelers under 50 would have an excellent time aboard a European riverboat, but I think the trick is in the marketing. Younger travelers must weigh their various options when spending their discretionary dollars for a vacation, and I’m not sure that the marketing departments of the riverboat operators have enough to work with. By this I mean that the operations folks need to come up with more activities that appeal to younger sensibilities insofar as engaging with the destination. Having bikes available is one, but that’s just a start. Not an easy task, to be sure. But I am confident that some of the riverboat operators will soon break from the pack in this regard.

  3. Susan Kerr says:

    I had the rare opportunity to take my 12 year old daughter on an Avalon Waterways FAM along the Rhine. While I was warned she would be the youngest on the ship, I felt Europe would be a good experience for her. She had a wonderful time on the cruise! It just so happened there was a multi generational family onboard traveling with their daughter age 13 and son 16. My daughter also enjoyed dining with the older guests and they found her very delightful company. The age range was diverse on our cruise. There was even a young honeymoon couple aboard. We had a fabulous time!

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