Font size: A A A A
Home > Industry > Letters to Industry > Publishers Letter
Related topics: Publishers Letter,Cruises, Destinations, Europe, Industry, Letters to Industry, river cruises, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Trip Types and Activities

Column: Cruising With AmaWaterways and American Express

January 19, 2015 By: John McMahon Travel Agent

John McMahon (third from right) and fellow AmaReina guests take a break during their 43-mile bike ride through Germany.
John McMahon (third from right) and fellow AmaReina guests take a break during their 43-mile bike ride through Germany.

The growth of the river cruise industry continues to amaze me. Every day we hear about another new ship or more itineraries. A key difference from ocean cruise ships that continue to grow larger and larger is that river cruise boats are limited in their length, width and height. That doesn’t stop creativity and innovation, however. Swim-up pools, balconies, gyms and public spaces are being upgraded to fulfill the needs of today’s travelers. Culinary experiences and land excursions are being elevated as well.

The other important fact is that the average age of passengers is dropping as rivers gain popularity. This is a vital piece of information for you when recommending cruises to families and the under-50 crowd.

My recent seven-day excursion on the AmaReina started in Basel, Switzerland, and headed up the Rhine to Amsterdam. I was joined by Gary Murphy, AmaWaterways’ vice president of sales, and several dozen American Express advisors led by Ernesto Lavandero, director of American Express Travel.

Our big adventure off the ship was a 43-mile bike ride in Germany, which started in Rudesheim. Our crew had sent us off with some refreshments and lunch to fuel ourselves on our picturesque and challenging ride. We pedaled from town to town and met up with the AmaReina in Koblenz. I would not embark on that kind of excursion every day, but I was pleased to see such activities that address the desires of the youthful guest.

Several years ago, I predicted that with the popularity and expansion of river cruising, the average age of its passengers would come down—and it has.

Some helpful hints to help you prosper in this market:

*Get yourself on a ship. You need to experience it to sell it.

*Many itineraries sell-out once schedules are released. Convince your agency to purchase cabins in advance. Many clients don’t like booking so far ahead, so if you have prime inventory, it will be to your advantage. You can also make a lot of money. Take the risk—it will pay off.

*Get to know the brands, as they have different personalities and cater to different clientele. Learn to sell this market and become a specialist. At first it may seem pricey, but once you do the math and add up the food and beverage and excursions, it’s a great value. My host on this cruise, AmaWaterways has a learning and loyalty program to assist in that process. You can find it on

This is the fastest growing segment in the travel industry, so don’t miss out.

On a sad note, Jimmy Murphy, co-owner of AmaWaterways, passed away last month at age 82. At some time over the past 50 years Jimmy probably visited your office. He was a champion for travel agents, a friend and a man who always had a smile on his face. He will be missed but never forgotten.


What do you think of this $type?


About the Author

John McMahon

This comprehensive guide begins at Alfava Metraxis and ends at Doctor Who Magazine wins the ACE Press Award 0 Following its record breaking ABC figure earlier this year, Doctor Who Magazine had cause for further celebration at the 2014 ACE Press Awards held viagra bedeutung online apotheke at the Museum of London. This may take a second or two.

By John McMahon | January 8, 2015
John McMahon offers some helpful tips to succeed in the growing river cruising market.