Andrey Mikhailovsky: Where is the world market for river cruises heading?

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Andrey Mikhailovsky: Where is the world market for river cruises heading?
Andrey Mikhailovsky: Where is the world market for river cruises heading?
photo: Andrey Mikhailovsky: Where is the world market for river cruises heading?
photo: Andrey Mikhailovsky: Where is the world market for river cruises heading?

We recently reported on the main trends in the global cruise market for sea travel. Along with Cruise Industry News' foresight on the future of the cruise market, Travelweekly, another reputable industry publication, has published an overview of the development of the global river cruise industry. The main message: the market turnover is growing, the geography and themes of cruises are expanding, and the level of services on motor ships is getting higher.

In the coming years, river cruise operators around the world will seek to expand their options for attracting tourists, the survey says. Including through the launch of new motor ships and the modernization of "experienced" ships, the introduction of attractive routes and services. The cruise center "Infoflot" has been operating on the Russian cruise market for 15 years. We asked the general director of the company, Andrey MIKHAILOVSKY, to comment on the development trends of the cruise market in the world and in our country, in particular.

Let's start with general questions. What are the main vectors for the development of the global cruise market?

- One of the main trends will be the rate of cruise operators to increase the area of cabins and create maximum comfort in them. In addition, the industry will pay a lot of attention to public spaces - increasing the number of restaurants and bars, other meeting places for guests, and creating gyms.

Another trend is bright, unusual excursion programs - group and individual, thematic cruises, acquaintance with the local cultural and gastronomic experience in the ports of parking.

What's new for lovers of river cruises in Europe?

- One of the main events of the European river cruise industry will be the launch of the new flagship motor ship AMAWaterways AMAMAGNA in May 2019. It will be 72 feet (almost 22 meters) wide, nearly double the width of many river boats. The ship will be the largest in size on the waterways of Europe, but will only accommodate 196 passengers. It is designed to harmoniously accommodate 98 spacious cabins with balconies, a spa center, a heated pool, two large gyms, two restaurants, bars and many other public spaces on 4 decks.

And in Asia and America?

- According to Travelweekly's forecast, operators in the Asian and Middle East markets are focused on launching small vessels this year. For example, on the Nile, which will once again become one of the most sought after destinations, Heritage Tours will launch four-cabin sailing yachts. In turn, American Cruise Lines launches American Harmony, the twin ship of the recently debuted American Song. American Queen is currently building its fourth vessel, American Countess, and has recently acquired Victory Cruise Lines, which operates the Great Lakes, North America.

What new awaits us in Russia on the river cruise market?

- It is innovation that drives the industry forward. We envy the boom in the global river cruise market in an amicable way, but the Russian industry is also actively developing. Over the past 10-15 years, a giant step forward has been made - from floating tourist bases with meals in the canteen to comfortable motor ships-hotels with modern cruise services. Today, many ships do not differ from European ones in terms of service. We hope very much for the appearance of new motor ships in Russia.

For our market, there is a growing trend in the popularity of cruises on comfortable motor ships. Tourists are actively booking cabins with all the amenities. On the example of our partner operator brand "Sozvezdie" - today it is not only a toilet and shower, but also satellite TV, air conditioning, telephone, balcony, mini-bar and other amenities for passengers, allowing cabins to be equated to standard hotel accommodation. The choice of onboard entertainment and exciting excursions is also growing on Russian river cruises. So, for example, "Constellation" offers thematic travel with an evening program in theaters or visits to old estates. They are already very popular with tourists. The trend of recent years has been an increase in the percentage of families with children in cruise tourists. The motor ships now have a modern service for such tourists. Including animation, children's clubs and rooms, interesting master classes, rental points, games on board, children's menu, facilities for placing babies (cribs, highchairs in restaurants). In the kids club, you can leave your child with an experienced nanny.

And the last question: what is the forecast for the Russian cruise market for the next year?

- On average, compared to 2018, the growth for 2019 is 10-15%, and for individual flights - 25-30%. We give a positive outlook for the coming years. This is due to the expansion of the product line, an increase in the number of true fans of sea and river cruises among Russians, as well as an increase in the efficiency of travel agencies with a cruise product. According to our estimates, the number of travel agencies operating in the segment has grown by about 20% this year and will continue to grow due to the emergence of new technological sales tools for agencies.


Andrey Mikhailovsky: Where is the world market for river cruises heading?
Andrey Mikhailovsky: Where is the world market for river cruises heading?