Europe is still king when it comes to river cruising.
According to the data from TMR’s new River Cruise Outlook for 2023, Europe remained on top year-over-year, with 94% of respondents saying that Europe is their top destination for selling river cruises. The region has always been the powerhouse and is considered to be the birthplace of river cruising, with sailings on the Danube, Rhine, Seine, and Douro highlighting the top offerings for river cruise guests.
However, there has been some movement year-over-year—Europe’s dominance dropped from 99% last year, to 94% this year, with some other regions gaining share including the United States (up 6% from last year), Vietnam and Cambodia (up 3%), Africa (up 2%), South America (up 1%), and Canada (up 2%).
Though small, all that movement has taken place as river cruise lines start to put resources outside of Europe, including in places like South America on the Magdalena, and as other lines, based outside of Europe, expand their offerings.
It’s important to note the preferences as destinations and itineraries are still the main influencers for taking a river cruise sailing—according to the report, 80% of clients are mostly influenced by destinations and itineraries. After that, clients are influenced by pre-and post-cruise options (73%), the ability to interact with locals (61%), and seeing river cruises as an alternative to escorted or guided tours (60%).
Within Europe, Germany, France, and the Netherlands are the top destinations sold, according to advisors. France is the most significant growth story over the last year, going from around 20% in 2022 to over 70% this year. That could be attributed to the fact that France dropped the last of its COVID-19 restrictions only in August 2022.