Amsterdam and Budapest are emerging as the epicenter destinations for European river cruising, according to an analysis of booking data from Cruise Holidays International.
The cruise selling agency group also said southeast Asia is the most popular river cruise destination outside Asia with Bangkok, Thailand, as the top "emerging river cruise destination.
The information shared by Cruise Holidays is based on actual bookings by its network of cruise travel agencies for river cruises departing in 2014, as of April 8, 2014.
“Amsterdam is Cruise Holidays’ top river cruise destination for 2014, thanks to its role as the hub for most ‘Tulip Time’ cruises, along with many Rhine river cruises,” stated Kevin Weisner, senior vice president, Cruise Holidays International. “In culling the data on our river cruise bookings for 2014, Budapest, Hungary, follows closely behind. Its prime position straddling the Danube makes it a top choice for travelers who want to visit treasured European destinations throughout Germany, Austria and Hungary.”
Per the Cruise Holidays data, here are the Top 10 destinations for 2014 river cruises, along with the itineraries and rivers most commonly associated with these cities:
“The growth in popularity of European river cruising is astounding and shows no signs of slowing down," said Weisner, who added that availability for 2014 European river cruises is extremely limited and September is virtually sold out, especially in the more desirable suite categories.
Weisner said Cruise Holidays is strongly advising travelers who intend to go to Europe this year, and have yet to book their river cruise, to be as flexible as possible. He also advises consumers consult with an agent who can closely monitor if a cancellation arises on a particular itinerary and act quickly to secure a reservation.
"On the other hand, availability for non-European destinations in 2014 is still fairly abundant," Weisner added. While the vast majority of river cruisers choose European destinations, river cruise lines are increasingly adding itineraries around the globe.
“This will become even more important as travelers who get a taste of river cruising in Europe find the lifestyle so appealing that they decide to visit more exotic destinations, also via a river cruise," said Weisner. He said his organization's river cruise selling agents are beefing up their knowledge of these exotic ports around the world by sailing themselves; this gives them first-hand knowledge when discussing the trips with potential customers.
Top Southeast Asia Cruise Destinations
Here are the Top Five river cruise destinations in Southeast Asia, according to Cruise Holidays International:
Top Emerging River Cruise Destination: Bangkok, Thailand
Cruise Holidays International also reviewed its booking patterns to determine the most elite, emerging river cruise destination that is being sought by their most adventurous river cruisers. It said Bangkok, Thailand, leads the way.
Bangkok serves as a jumping off point for some Mekong river cruises as well as a way to reach Burma (Myanmar). “Burma or Myanmar is being heavily promoted by river cruise lines as one of the most alluring destinations on their radar," said Weisner.
"Until very recently, the country was virtually off-limits to tourists," he emphasized, noting that adventuresome travelers want to be the first to explore this Asian destination.
Weisner said there's "no doubt that river cruising will continue to play a vital part in our business as we sell out the remaining inventory of 2014 cruises and continue booking 2015 river cruises at a very brisk pace.”
For more information on Cruise Holidays visit www.cruiseholidays.com