The 21st century river cruise: a luxury experience

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Peter Deilmann Cruises brought luxury European river cruising into the 21st century, and now its successors are carrying the torch into the future, innovating and updating river cruise ships and services to create a modern, high-end travel experience.

European river cruising takes place in what is, at maximum, a 38-by-410-foot vessel, dimensions dictated by the locks and bridges the vessels must past through and under along Europe’s rivers.

But even within that box, the 21st century river cruise experience has evolved.

“If you compare the amenities of the Avalon Artistry [built in 2004] at introduction with the Creativity at her christening [in August],” said Patrick Clark, managing director of Avalon Waterways, “we have added an elevator, rear club lounge, whirlpool on the sundeck, sundeck grill and outside forward viewing area; increased the percentage of floor-to-ceiling windows/French balcony staterooms; enlarged the shower; added flat-screen TVs, additional dining options — the late-riser breakfast, afternoon cake and coffee and an alternative lunch option — and added beer or soft drinks as a choice with wine at dinner.”

With companies like Avalon Waterways and AMAWATERWAYS building new ships with new amenities at a rapid pace, older companies like Uniworld River Cruises and Viking River Cruises have had to work hard to stay relevant in this new, young-ship market.

“With the added competition and rapid growth, the river cruise sector has undergone changes, to the ultimate benefit of the customer,” said Guy Young, president of Uniworld. “What we have seen is a very marked evolution in the service standards onboard the ships. Basic service no longer satisfies the needs of travelers attracted to river cruising.”

Read more at our sister site, River Cruise Advisor

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