Forget what everyone’s told you about river cruising being for the older set. A-ROSA Cruises doesn’t think it has to be, and has thus created a river cruising product for the North American market that’s lively, trendy, young and hip. In fact, where most river cruise companies target the 55 and over market, A-ROSA says, hold on a minute, what about those 40-somethings, and, in fact, targets 45- to 65-year-olds, although Marilyn Conroy, executive v.p. of David Morris International, which is managing A-ROSA’s expansion into North America—the river cruise company has been catering to Europeans since 2000—says it’s not so much about age as it is about attitude.
“You can be 85 and have an attitude of a 65-year-old. If you want to sit on a river cruise wrapped in a blanket and watch the scenery go by, don’t go on here, because we’re lively, we’re bright, we’re young, we’re hip,” she says. “In the evening, there’s always entertainment, there’s always something going on, there’s music, there’s dancing and we are also tailor-making the shore excursions so that they encompass some sort of activity, not just a city tour. We have hiking tours or kayaking.”
Speaking of those shore excursions, that’s just one of the many inclusions in the all-inclusive pricing. And Conroy stresses that all-inclusive pricing, because she says it’s what sets A-ROSA apart. “We had to differentiate ourselves, so the first thing we did was to make the product completely all-inclusive, because our experience in talking to the consumer was that they did not want to be nickel-and-dimed. They wanted to go on and not have to worry about who’s paying the check. It also transforms the whole onboard feeling, because if you are an all-inclusive product, it encourages people to have a drink at the bar before dinner so you get to know people. Which makes it much nicer at dinner. And then afterwards people don’t just scurry off to their cabins.”
Included in the all-inclusive pricing are all-day open bar (all venues); all gratuities; airfare and transfers (optional); all port charges, taxes and fees; complimentary shore excursions; and complimentary use of bicycles, besides the obvious such as accommodations and, Conroy says, “cuisine that is above anything else you’ll find on a river cruise.” In fact, when David Morris International first had a look at the product, one of the things they said needed changing was the buffet style that was served at every meal. North American travelers won’t mind buffets for breakfast and lunch, they thought, but during dinner passengers should dine off a menu, and so they do.
The onboard appeal continues in the very light, bright, modern and contemporary cabins, which measures 156 sq. ft. “The cabins aren’t stuffy,” stresses Conroy, stating that it’s yet another allurement for a younger clientele. There’s also a spa on board, as well as a pool on the sundeck, putting green, and a host of other
Of the 10 ships A-ROSA operates, there are now three dedicated to the North American market and sold exclusively under David Morris International: A-ROSA Silva, A-ROSA Aqua and A-ROSA Stella. The Silva and Aqua do the Rhine cruise, with itineraries such as Historic Cities and Panoramic Adventures; the Silva also travels the Danube on, among others, a Christmas Celebration cruise departing Dec. 21; and the Stella does the Rhone and Saone on the A Toast to Provence & Burgundy itinerary. Itinerary departures are June to August, with the exception of the Christmas and New Year’s sailings. Rates start at $$4,749 for 7-night itineraries.
Travel agents, take note, because there are some agent incentives you’ll want to know about. If you book three, you sail for free; FAM fares start at $699 on any itinerary; and you receive a $100 gift card per booking.
Archived related articles (available on recommend.com/magazine/issue-archive):
A-ROSA Silva (January 2013)