The introduction of short sampler cruises has proved such a big hit in persuading younger people to try rivers that Avalon is ramping up the experiment for 2020.
The luxury river line experienced a 37 per cent lift in sales on one route strong interest on others, so this year it is offering so-called “taster” cruises on the Danube, Rhine and even Christmas Markets.
The cruises range from 4-8 days with prices ranging from $947 for a Category D suite. An earlier offer of cabins for just $840 has already sold out.
For $947, cruisers can experience four days Budapest to Vienna, and for $2,934 Avalon is offering eight days from Amsterdam to Reich.
All come with complimentary wine and beer with meals, free Wi Fi, sightseeing and Avalon’s famous beds facing floor-to-ceiling windows so passengers can take in the views.
An Avalon spokesperson told River Cruise Passenger: “Avalon’s Taster Cruises are increasingly proving extremely popular with the Aussie market, with its most in demand tour, ‘A Taste of the Danube’, seeing a 37% growth from last season.
“Closely following is ‘A Taste of the Rhine’, which is looking very healthy for 2020 – particularly given this is its first year of operation – with passenger numbers challenging its Danube counterpart.”
Other Taster Cruises include: The Heart of Germany, Christmastime in Alsace & Germany and Festive Season in the Heart of Germany.
Chris Fundell, head of marketing for Globus family of brands, which includes Avalon, told River Cruise Passenger they would be ramping up the line’s offerings.
The “taster” cruises had proved their worth in attracting younger first-timer travellers to sample a river cruise.
“There are a large number of people who want to try river cruising, but aren’t prepared to go to Europe and commit to 15 days. This option overcomes that.”
He said many were putting the river cruise in with other European experiences, but come away with a positive experience to build their next river adventure on.
The line also offers extensions – two nights in Budapest, for instance, for $604, or a Vienna Budapest extension for $1,287.
Avalon had a successful 2019, and Mr Fundell said the line plans a strong campaign this year to grow its market share.
Other lines have also tried short sampler cruises. Crystal River Cruises has added shorter journeys to its European river offerings, including a seven day journey fro m $5,992.