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Next year’s early bird bookings are about to close – and Rivercruise Passenger has surveyed the lines to find out what’s hot. Teresa Ooi reports

Australians’ all-time favourite European itinerary is still the one, according to three major operators.

The Amsterdam to Budapest voyage remains our favourite trips and is booking well for 2019, according to APT, Travelmarvel and Viking Cruises.

“The Rhine and Danube/Amsterdam to Budapest continues to be Australia’s favourite cruise destination. So far sales across both APT and Travelmarvel are strong for 2019 and competitive with 2018 bookings,” an APT spokesperson said.

The south of France and the Rhine from Amsterdam to Basel are also very popular with Australians, says Avalon Waterways.

Viking is also seeing Russia, Portugal, France and Egypt fast becoming popular destinations for Australian river cruisers.

“We have seen a renewed interest in France as a river cruise destination, plus strong demand for our Egypt cruises. So much so that we have released additional 2019 dates. Russia and Portugal are also popular destinations for 2019,” a Viking spokesperson said.

The line is also seeing more Australians book combination cruises back to back – usually combining a river journey with an ocean cruise.

“This enables a seamless transition between ships and destinations and enables customers to extend their journeys throughout Europe,’’ the Viking spokesman added.
With sales of 2019 river itineraries fast selling out, Viking is now taking bookings for the 2020 European cruise season.

Avalon is also seeing more Australians heading to Central Europe with many first-time cruisers booking a Danube river cruise.

“We are experiencing greater interest in less travelled regions like the lower Danube from Budapest to Bucharest,” an Avalon spokesperson said.

Bookings on Avalon river cruises for 2019 are very positive and have outperformed this year.

Visit apttravelgroup.com; avalonwaterways.com.au; vikingcruises.com