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August 19, 2016

AAA survey, bookings reveal strong traveler interest in river cruising, including among millennials

BURNSVILLE, Mn. (Aug. 18, 2016) – Taking a cruise remains one of the most popular vacations for travelers around the globe. While big ocean liners attract millions of people every year, river cruising is growing in popularity.
“Cruising is an all-inclusive vacation, offering travelers an unparalleled opportunity to explore multiple destinations in comfort and luxury,” said Gail Weinholzer, spokesperson, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “What people love about river cruising is the ships can take you to popular inland destinations where big ocean liners can’t go, because the water is too shallow.”
While only a small portion of the population has boarded a ship to cruise along rivers in the United States, Europe or Asia, consumer interest in river cruising is growing exponentially. According to a new AAA survey, 14 percent of Americans have enjoyed a river cruise, but approximately four in 10 would consider river cruising for an upcoming vacation. Following this trend, AAA’s river cruise bookings have increased more than 16 percent in just the last year.
Despite the perception that river cruising appeals primarily to older generations, millennials respond more strongly to several key attributes of river cruising than members of Generation X and Baby Boomers. The younger generation is less likely to have taken a river cruise vacation (11 percent), but they are more likely to consider one for an upcoming vacation (42 percent internationally; 45 percent domestically) than either Generation X or Baby Boomers.
“Millennials tend to place great value on experiential travel opportunities and are looking to river cruising as an increasingly viable option for their future vacations,” Weinholzer said.
Overall, one in four Americans say they are very likely or likely to take a river cruise vacation in the U.S. or internationally in the next five years. River cruising tends to encourage repeat visitation with nearly half (48 percent) of past river cruisers reporting that they are likely or very likely to take a river cruise vacation again in the next five years.
Americans’ Favorite River Cruising Perks (AAA survey)

  • 54% - The all-inclusive experience focused on the journey, not just the destination
  • 50% - The ability to visit unique destinations not accessible by larger cruise ships
  • 48% - The opportunity for an authentic travel experience
  • 48% - The convenience of docking right in the heart of a city or town
Travelers considering a river cruise vacation should consult with a travel agent to explore the various options and special offers that are available. For example, AAA members who book a 2017 Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection sailing with a AAA credit card in August or September can receive additional savings. Members can also enjoy added amenities on select river cruise departures as part of AAA Vacations, a collection of unique, engaging travel experiences designed specifically for AAA members.
About the Survey
To evaluate consumer river cruise travel intentions and perceptions, AAA contracted with a national research company to perform a telephone survey of 1,012 adults living in the continental United States. Survey results are an accurate representation of the total continental U.S. population with a margin of error of +/- 3.9 percent at a 95 percent confidence level. The survey was conducted June 23-26, 2016.

About The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America. ACG and its affiliates provide membership, travel, insurance and financial services offerings to over 9 million members across 11 states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with nearly 56 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety.

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