Q – It seems that river cruising is becoming really popular and the Viking River Line seems to be the top dog. Is ocean cruising still as popular as it once was or is river cruising, led by Viking, taking over?
A – Last year, an estimated 23 million people sailed on cruise ships. Less than one million sailed on river boats. The general sense is that river boats can grow to four times their current numbers. This will require massive numbers of new berths and creative use of new river itineraries. Presently, Viking does about 50% of all of the river cruise bookings out of North America. Their total market share equals AMA Waterways, Avalon, and Uniworld combined. As Viking is considered a “non-inclusive” line, their upfront pricing models come in lower than most of their higher-rated, more inclusive competitors.