Europe’s 2020 river cruisers are about to enjoy a season with some of the lowest prices ever, thanks to new entrants putting enormous pressure on major lines to come up with special deals.
Teeming River Cruises, one of the leading disruptors with a low-cost and no- frills model, has this week released its 2020 itineraries as other river cruise lines put up a battery of last minute deals for their Europe season next year.
River Cruise Passenger compared some of the best deals and found that low cost, high-value models like Teeming’s are not only hard to beat but they might be the most affordable yet.
The 2020 itineraries from Teeming River Cruises offer a seven-day ‘Enchanting Rhine Cruise’ from Basel to Cologne departing July 14 with prices from $2,126, seven-day ‘Colours of Rhone and Provence’ Lyon roundtrip departing April 2 from $1,841.
A seven-day Italy cruise in the ‘Po River and Venetian Lagoon’ from Matua to Venice departing September 27 have prices from $2,064. And the eight-day Cologne to Vienna cruise on the Danube and Rhine departing October 29 and has starting prices of $2,190.
Teeming’s prices are right in line with the results of a recent survey of UK cruisers revealing that cruisers over 50s would be prepared to pay $2,254 (£1,200) for a 7-night river cruise, which works out to be $322 per day.
This figure is found to be $563.50 (£300) lower than the average lead-in price of a four-star river cruise in the UK, according to the survey by Mail Metro Media. And at current prices, 80% of over 50s said they are expensive and only 20% believe they represent good value.
“Buses and “following the flag” are just not something the Rock-n-Roll generation has in mind. They want to do more for less- they want to explore more for less! And that is the value we are giving them,” says Jeff Paglialonga founder of Teeming River Cruises.
And the research also supports Teeming’s no-frills approach to river cruising. Although the majority of river cruises are all-inclusive, only 63% of consumers expect lunches to be included and only 35% expect to get free alcoholic drinks, stated the report.
It also revealed that 80% of the travellers questioned said price was a key consideration when booking a river cruise.
“I think Teeming has shaken up the market. Everyone (in the industry) knows about us. They see what we are doing. People are starting to ask themselves, ‘Do I need to pay $4000 a week to do a river cruise?’ “says Mr Paglialonga.
We have found deals from other lines like Avalon Waterways, Uniworld and Riviera Travel offered strong value, but passengers must keep in might these last minute deals are often very limited and on select sailings throughout the season.
Bargain hunters also need to keep in mind all inclusive pricing, sometimes including air fare offers, do offer more. But you have to do the maths.
But Mr Paglialonga says that his ‘straight forward’ booking and attractive prices is getting him repeat cruisers.
“I think the days of “fake” two for one pricing and are going to be gone soon. There are still many major lines that you can’t even get a price on their cruises online without picking up the phone. The younger generation (under 70) just does not have the patience for this,” says Mr Pagalialonga.
We compared Teeming’s prices with the best last minute deals on other lines and only a few lines managed to compete price wise:
Avalon Waterways which offers a relaxed luxury experience was a standout. Their eight-day ‘Danube Dreams’ itinerary from Deggendorf to Budapest departing November 4 starts at $2,164. And their four-day sampler cruise on the Danube departing November 22 starts at only $990.
Uniworld is also offering up to 30 per cent savings on select 2020 itineraries in celebration of their parent company The Travel Corporation’s 100th anniversary. Their eight-day ‘Enchanting Danube’ from Budapest to Passau departing March 15 and 22 both have prices starting from $3,989.
Riviera Travel also another line with competitive prices from the start without having to keep a lookout for last minute deals. Their eight-day ‘Blue Danube River Cruise’ Budapest roundtrip departing April 3 starts from $2,859.
Another eight-day itinerary in the ‘Burgundy, The River Rhone & Provence River Cruise’ from Lyon to Avignon departing April 9 has prices from $2,869.
Viking River Cruises
Meanwhile an eight-day ‘Rhine Getaway’ on Viking River Cruises who has the largest fleet of river cruises starts from $3,495 for a November 24 departure from Basel to Amsterdam.
Our advice: bear in mind what you want from your holiday (all inclusive does have its benefits), and where you need to, consult a CLIA travel agent. All prices quoted above are per person.