Last year at this time, this space featured a look ahead — 2012: The Year of the River Cruise. Certainly, we were informed and expected 2012 to be a good year for river cruising. What surprises us a bit, however, is the sustained pace at which river cruising continues to grow. There seems to be no signs of slowing down at all.
In fact, most of our news coverage has focused largely on the astonishing number of new ships coming on-line between now and 2014. Meanwhile, something else has been happening alongside the spectacular growth: innovation and new programs on existing river cruise vessels. Welcome to River Cruising 2013.
AmaWaterways Gluten Free River Cruises
This past summer, California-based AmaWaterways teamed up with Lynda McHenry to offer a unique river cruising concept: an entirely Gluten Free river cruise along the Danube from Budapest, Hungary to Vilshofen, Germany, departing May 22, 2013.
“This Gluten Free River Cruise is the natural evolution of the lifestyle we have embraced since our daughter’s difficultly with her Gluten intolerance,” says McHenry. “Since then we have opened both a dedicated Gluten Free grain company and dedicated Gluten Free restaurant, Eats & Treats Café, in our hometown of Corvallis, Oregon. We are very pleased to be partnering up with AmaWaterways on this new venture, a company that has been delivering a quality product to my clients for ten years.”
The goal is to not just attract those who suffer from gluten intolerance, but also food lovers who have friends and family afflicted with the disorder and want to know how to create delicious, safe meals for them. For those who have always dreamed of taking a river cruise without the fear of having to manage their gluten intolerance in a foreign country, AmaWaterways and Gluten Free Cruises have taken that particular stress out of the equation.
Return To Egypt?
Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection also tried to kick-start the Egyptian river cruise market again, with the news that its River Tosca won Egpyt’s Ministry of Tourism award for “Best Cruise Ship” to commemorate “World Tourism Day.” It’s quite the award, given that nearly 300 river cruise ships ply Egypt’s storied waterways.
In 2013, Uniworld will offer three distinct itineraries that explore some of Egypt’s most significant cultural and historical sights.
Their eight-day Classic Egypt and the Nile is perfect for those guests who only have a limited amount of time to see and do it all. Four nights aboard the River Tosca along the Nile accompany a three-night stay at the Four Seasons Hotel Cairo. Visits to the Valley of the Kings and the famed city of Luxor are also included.
Travellers with more time to spare will no doubt want to take part in one of Uniworld’s two, 12-day itineraries: Jewels of Egypt, the Nile and Lake Nasser or Splendors of Egypt and the Nile.
Departures for all three itineraries run between January and December 2013.
In 2013, Uniworld is also making a big splash by offering voyages that sail Italy’s Po River.
All Hail To An American Queen
Avalon Waterways and Tauck have also made waves by announcing that they will both offer separate cruise tour bookings aboard the American Queen Steamship Company’s American Queen. Since re-entering service this past June, the largest sternwheeler to ply the Mississippi has developed an unprecedented following of passengers entranced by her Mark Twain-esque voyages through the heartland of America.
With this — and more — to look forward to in the coming year, we have to wonder: What will 2013 hold for the future of river cruising? Return to River Cruise Advisor often as we keep you informed about new ships, new itineraries and new programs on the rivers of Europe and beyond.
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