For anyone who still doubts that river cruising is a red-hot travel trend, consider that more than two dozen new river ships will debut in 2014, and there are signs there may be even more newbuilds in 2015.
And it's not just on the inland waterways of Europe. American Cruise Lines is contributing to growth in the U.S. big time, announcing the company will build four new river ships.
Officials said construction has already begun on the first two new riverboats, which will carry between 150 and 200 passengers and begin cruising in spring of 2015 – one on the Mississippi and the other on the Columbia and Snake Rivers in the Pacific Northwest. The remaining two ships will launch by 2017.
Amenities will include larger than usual staterooms, private balconies, spacious dining and lounge areas, and room service (a river ship rarity), officials said.
When river cruise giant Viking Cruises announced its first ocean ship earlier this year – becoming the first cruise line to launch in nearly a decade – Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen said that what was starting as one ship would quickly become a fleet.
Later, a second Viking Ocean Cruises ship was announced, and today a deal was signed with Fincantieri shipyard in Italy to build two more of the 930-passenger ships, bringing the total number to four.
We're talking a fleet, folks.
The sister ships will have such innovative features as an infinity pool that cantilevers off the stern and a main dining room with windows that open.
But perhaps more importantly, the ships represent an effort to translate the destination-rich, premium experience that has made Viking king of the riverways (the company will also be bringing out 14 river ships in 2014) to the world’s oceans.
The Cat in the Hat is coming to a cruise ship near you. As part of its stepped-up efforts to showcase its family-friendly atmosphere, Carnival Cruise Lines has announced a partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises for Seuss at Sea.
Carnival carries more kids aboard than any other cruise line – more than 700,000 annually – with its Camp Carnivalactivities keeping youngsters well occupied. But passengers told the line they wanted more options for kids and their families, officials said.
"We looked at a lot of partnerships before it became a blinding flash of the obvious of how great Dr. Seuss would be," Mark Tamis, Carnival's senior vice president of guest operations, told Porthole. "Seuss really by far was the one kids screamed excitement about."