Over the next seven weeks, seven industry experts will share their predictions for the coming year as part of our ‘Where next for cruise?’ series to mark the launch of Cruise Adviser’s Preview guide 2016. This week it is David Winterton, brand manager of Emerald Waterways.
As we come to the end of our second year, cruising on some of the most notable rivers and waterways of Europe, we have been overwhelmed by the accolades and awards won over this period.
The travel trade is at the very heart of our ethos and work, and to be viewed in such high regard as a travel-friendly river cruise line is testament to the hard work our team, across the board, puts in to making Emerald Waterways a success.
In 2016 we will launch our fifth ship, the Emerald Belle, with signs of more ships on the horizon giving us the opportunity to expand our offering and explore more of the world’s most picturesque rivers.
With more ships coming into the market place in 2016, it is more important than ever that lines, such as ourselves, look to educate those new to river cruising of the great benefits they offer.
River cruise itineraries sail directly into the heart of towns and cities, which our ocean cruise counterparts just cannot offer in the same way. From places of historical significance, to beautiful cities and idyllic towns, river cruising offers guests a truly holistic experience allowing them to immerse themselves in the culture of a particular city.
The variety and type of excursions on offer are constantly adapting to the changing wants and needs of our guests. More than ever, guests are looking for unique experiences as standard among itineraries on offer, and these often play a deciding role in which they choose.
We believe this trend will continue to become more crucial in 2016 and moving into 2017 with specialist experiences and excursions becoming standard. It’s for this reason that we personally place such importance on our extra special excursions with Emerald Plus, which have become an integral part of our itineraries and offering.
As the waterways receive even more rivers ships in 2016, it is vital we spend more time educating both our trade friends and guests of the differences of our fleets. Phrases such as “luxury”, “five-star”, “all-inclusive” are all used far too easily. At Emerald Waterways we will continue to work hard on our innovative approach showcasing our onboard facilities backed with what is and isn’t included in the our great value price. An approach that has led us to the 2015 Cruise Critic’s Editor’s Pick for Best River Cruise Line for Value.
A fundamental consideration for 2017 will also be the changing type of guests that choose river cruising. Although the traditional couples cruise continues to play an important role within river cruising, an emergent trend and change to individual travellers of all ages needs to be considered. The design and development of new ships, we predict, will begin to reflect this by catering for singles with greater numbers of individual suites available.
Read the Cruise Adviser Preview guide below