We sat down with Marilyn Conroy, v.p., sales and marketing, Riviera River Cruises, to get the scoop on the popular river cruise segment.
“River cruising,” says Marilyn Conroy, v.p., sales and marketing for Riviera River Cruises, “skyrocketed beyond expectations…23 percent annually. Do I think it’s going to continue to build at that rate? I don’t think so because there’s only so much capacity, but,” she points out, “I think there’s a good life for all of the [river cruise companies.]”
Conroy says that river cruising is for those clients who want to see the interior of the countries…“our clientele comes from the cruise ships; they are not necessarily first-time cruisers. You’ve got these customers who’ve been there, done that and they want to do something that’s more immersive. River cruising allows them to get to the interior of the country. We are basically a floating tour.” She also points to the younger traveler and their interest in seeking out more immersive experiences while traveling. “I can see the age of travelers going down naturally for the river cruise segment,” because one of the only ways they can see the interior of the countries is on a river cruise.
There are only “so many rivers in the world,” as Conroy mentioned during our conversation, so how do these river cruise companies stay competitive? Conroy points to itineraries. “What we try to do is modify the itineraries; Riviera does anyway. We modify the itineraries to create more immersive experiences. I think that that is very important and it’s a way to differentiate from others—some offer culinary excursions, some more active excursions.” At Riviera River Cruises, says Conroy, “we pride ourselves on offering a shore excursion every day so the client can get a really good feel for the city, but we give them enough time to explore on their own because that’s half the fun—we have bicycles and shuttle buses. We encourage guests to be almost ‘entrepreneurial,’
which helps our age, believe it or not. So if you’ve got a younger person, maybe they want to go biking or hiking,” and they can do that on Riviera.
Additionally, Riviera River Cruises is pushing solo cruises, because, as Conroy says, “this is one of the fastest growing segments. Not only could a person be single, or solo, but you get ladies of a certain age who want to go on a trip that their husbands don’t want to go on,” and they go with their girlfriends, but want their own cabin. Additionally, points out Conroy, “The ulterior motive is to get them on; they’ll love Riviera once they’ve been on
it, and they’ll come back and bring
What Travel Advisors Are Saying About Riviera
“The most important thing,” says Conroy, “is travel advisors come back and say they love, love, love the staff. They love the service, they really appreciate the spaciousness of the cabins, the fact that we have open seating and dining, and complimentary room service for breakfast, as well as coffee and tea makers in the cabins.” Advisors mention, too, she says, that they are surprised “you were as good as you are.”
Riviera River Cruises: rivierarivercruises.com