River Cruising: Are we missing the boat with Generation X?

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As river cruising quickly becomes the preferred method of exploration for Baby Boomers, why is this innovative way to see the world struggling to attract Generation X (ages 32-51)?

With many cruise lines attracting a 65+ demographic, is there a pre-existing mindset that river cruising is all jam-packed decks and dated décor? Does the problem lie in that the river cruising experience as a whole isn’t being appropriately sold to show it as the journey of discovery it has become?

Why is it that so many river cruise operators are failing to capture the imagination of a more youthful audience?

With many ships now offering an all-inclusive service, including on-board fine-dining and drinks, as well as onshore activities, it is incredibly easy to choose how you want to spend your holiday on the waterways. The opportunity to develop a connection with a country is offered to you through dockings in lesser-known small towns and villages where you are invited to immerse yourself in the local way of life through eye-opening guided excursions or your own independent exploration.

On a river cruise, getting there is half the fun, lunches with locals and perusals of historically-rich monuments are joined seamlessly as part of the on-board journey itself and modern interiors boasting floor to ceiling windows and state-of-the-art technology, from heated pools to in-suite Apple TVs, help you to relax while on-route to your destination.

The quest for discovery is continuously fulfilled as guests are exposed to treasured landmarks from the best seats in the house, as they pass by their window. The bonding experience is further cemented through a gastronomical journey provided by on-board chefs, using locally-source ingredients and introducing authentic cuisine from each country.

So, with everything to offer, why is it that so many river cruise operators are failing to capture the imagination of a more youthful audience? At Emerald Waterways, we are introducing younger models to our lifestyle shots (would you be happy to see grandma on every page of the brochure?) in the hope this will attract those of a similar age, as well as adopting a fresher, cleaner colour palette to open the eyes of a disillusioned generation. From there, we’ll simply let our ships and impressive itineraries speak for themselves.

David Winterton is brand manager for Emerald Waterways

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