Last updated: 09:37 AM ET, Tue August 23 2016

Are Millennials Driving a River Cruising Boom?

Cruise Line & Cruise Ship | AmaWaterways | Jason Leppert | August 23, 2016

Are Millennials Driving a River Cruising Boom?

 Infographic courtesy of AAA 

It would seem the boom in river cruise travel has no immediate end in sight.

A new AAA survey says that even though only 14 percent of Americans have ever taken a river cruise, 40 percent would consider a river cruise for a future vacation. As a result, AAA has seen an over 16 percent increase in river cruise reservations since last year.

Specifically, 25 percent say “they are very likely or likely to take a river cruise vacation in the U.S. or internationally in the next five years.” The reasons are several. Half of those surveyed find the unique river destinations inaccessible by larger cruise ships appealing, with 48 percent finding both authentic travel experiences and immediate dock proximity to the heart of said destinations desirable.

Millennials in particular hold great potential as a river cruise market as AAA indicates that only 11 percent of us have already taken such a sailing but 42 percent are likely to consider an international one and 45 percent a domestic one.

Those numbers regarding future likelihood are higher than those for Generation X or Baby Boomers.

“River cruising offers travelers an unparalleled opportunity to explore the heart of multiple destinations in comfort and luxury,” said Bryan Shilling, managing director of AAA Travel Products and Services. “It also provides an intimate view into the culture and history of some of the world’s top destinations. Millennials tend to place great value on experiential travel opportunities and are looking to river cruising as an increasingly viable option for their future vacations.”

These findings are indeed telling. While there is considerable interest in mega cruise ships among my generation, there are those of us seeking more intimate experiences, whether that be on smaller boutique ocean ships or riverboats, as an alternative as well.

River cruises also speak to younger generations with more active excursions and bicycle availability, as well as more family-focused options like AmaWaterways’ partnership with Adventures by Disney and higher capacity cabin configurations.

 READ MORE: River Cruising Sets Sail for Millennials 

Even better for the industry as a whole is river cruise repeatability since the AAA survey tells that nearly half of previous river cruisers claim they would likely or very likely board again in the next five years. Just as there are many coastal destinations for ocean cruises so too are there many international rivers to sail through plenty of inland countries.

Plus, special AAA member offers are available for river cruises. Those who reserve a 2017 voyage on Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection with a AAA credit card in August or September are entitled to bonus savings, and extra amenities can be had on select sailings via AAA Vacations.

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