A strong speaker line-up sees Mário Ferreira president & ceo, DouroAzul, Helge Grammerstorf managing director, IG RiverCruise &, SeaConsult HAM, Wolfgang Lüftner owner & ceo, Lüftner Cruises, Daniel Thiriet board member, IG RiverCruise, co-managing director, AMAWaterways Basel/Switzerland, & CEO, sea chefs Group and Thibaut Tincelin director, Stirling Design International discussing current topics and trends moderated by Frederik Erdmann German & European River cruise correspondent, Seatrade Cruise Review/Seatrade Cruise News.
With the increasing demand, the need for more vessels rises; an opportunity for shipyards and suppliers alike. Many cruise companies have a broad range of offerings. ‘River cruises win over with the variety of land excursions and theme trips on offer. There is something to suit everyone's taste, and with innovative food concepts as well as a focus on special interests, they are increasingly targeting a younger audience too.’ says Grammerstorf.
While geography dictates that river cruise vessels are smaller in size than their ocean-going counterparts, some of the premium vessels offer their guests a swimming pool and a modern spa area, as well as panorama windows, or even private balconies.
According to Der Flusskreuzfahrtmarkt 2014/ IG RiverCruise, 31 new ships were commissioned in the European river cruise market last year, and 30 new ships will be added in the course of 2015.
In addition, existing vessels are also being refurbished. ‘Expectations in terms of what is being offered on river cruise ships are getting higher. Not only are they expected to be more modern and comfortable, they must also be state-of-the-art in terms of technology. This presents the shipyards with a challenge, because it requires them to work closely with a large network of suppliers,’ says Grammerstorf.
As is the case in ocean cruising, river cruising is increasingly turning ‘green’. Among the latest developments are particulate filter systems, water and energy-saving systems, consistent elimination of waste and recycling as well as shore-based power supply for the ships. ‘The river cruise lines are constantly investing in order to make their vessels more environmentally friendly. Shore-based power supplies in particular represents a milestone for river cruising,’ explains Grammerstorf.