AAA Arizona: More travelers taking to rivers for trips

Posted at 7:57 AM, Aug 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-19 10:57:23-04

While only a small portion of the population has taken a river cruise, more and more people are taking to the rivers.

According to a new AAA survey, 14 percent of Americans have taken a river cruise, but about 4 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.

AAA’s study on river cruising also revealed the four findings on this travel trend:

  • Fifty-four percent of adults in the U.S. feel the all-inclusive experience that focuses on the journey and not just the destination is the top benefit of river cruising.
  • Other appealing attributes include the ability to visit unique destinations not accessible by larger cruise ships (cited by 50 percent of survey respondents), the opportunity for an authentic travel experience (48 percent) and the convenience of docking right in the heart of a city or town (48 percent).
  • River cruising tends to encourage repeat visitors 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.
  • Despite the perception that river cruising appeals primarily to older generations, millennials are less likely to have taken a river cruise vacation (11 percent), but are more likely to consider one for an upcoming vacation (42 percent internationally; 45 percent domestically).

As a travel resource, AAA Travel experts offer five tips for travelers considering booking a river cruise vacation:

  1. Don’t buy on price alone. Ask a travel professional, like a AAA Travel agent, to match your interests (i.e. food, wine, activity level) and onboard amenities preferences to your desires. With this information, they can find an itinerary that meets your interests, needs and budget.
  2. Shore excursions. Excursions are included in the price of a river cruise, but they are not all created equal. A travel professional can help you choose the cruise line with the options that are best suited to you.
  3. Cruise for weather. Book during the months you will have the best chance of getting the weather you want. Book in the spring to see glorious flowers; during the harvest season if you’re a wine lover; or in the weeks leading up to Christmas if you want to experience holiday markets.
  4. Go with the flow. High water, low water – be prepared to go with the flow. Unlike ocean liners, you will be sailing on rivers that are impacted by rain and the lack of rain. Be prepared to enjoy your river cruise experience and all that it has to offer no matter what the river conditions are.
  5. Flying high. All river cruise ships offer air packages, many with incentives of free airfare on select sailings. Your travel agent can check published airfare versus the river cruise air programs and available incentives, and help you make the best decision.


As a travel resource, AAA offers a variety of travel tips and information. Learn more at