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A year of extraordinary deals... now, a warning about 2018 demand: very high!


To those of us selling river cruises, 2017 will be remembered as the year of the “deal.”
As we put pen to paper (a novel idea), much of the 2017 river cruise space is now sold. There is still spotty space on every itinerary except the Douro, especially in October and November where there are actually some really good bargains.

So, how did 2017 sell out so quickly?
After two really miserable years (2015 and 2016) where we had lackluster demand, lots and lots and lots of new ships, and really low prices, everyone was caught a bit off-guard by the strong demand in 2017.

As the 2017 selling season approached (March of 2016), the cruise lines opened the sales flood gates with very aggressive offers. Sales started off with a loud and resounding boom and never let up. That’s because river cruise lines did not want a repeat of the prior two years where there were lots of empty beds on many, many ships. Many of you jumped on and have enjoyed those extraordinary deals this year. We actually saw cruises with $2000pp off the normal prices plus free roundtrip airfare. Who wouldn’t buy that? Everyone did!

What we witnessed from almost every cruise line were values so low
that they were irresistible to say the least.

It was like "fishing in a barrel" for our team, with everyone being happy and booking. All of these “crazy” early promotions worked so well that by September 2016, over 70% of all 2017 inventory was already sold out. This incredible pace signaled to the cruise lines to temper offers for remaining space, and they did exactly that.

Then, something seemed to happen. Something like a perfect storm for the river cruise lines. Their ships were filling quickly, but even after the big discounts were discontinued the demand for remaining 2017 space was, and continues to be, incredibly strong. In any business, strong demand combined with less product drives up prices; the river cruise industry works on the same principal.

Strong demand is continuing, and shows no sign of letting up.
At Premier, our advance bookings for 2018 are off the charts and up about 30%. Yes, we’re still able to find some really good values, including FREE or reduced air fares and discounts of up to $2000 per couple, but the cruise lines are not dropping the huge discounts combined with air promotions any longer.

At this time, it is apparent that 2018 will be a sellers’ market.
We don’t want to become too analytical, but in 2016 there were almost 30 new ships launched. Contrast that with seven in 2017, and only 6 planned to launch in 2018. You can see why demand for 2018 is strong and has started early: very strong demand, very few new ships.

The very good news in all this is that Premier is one of the largest river cruise specialists in the world. We do get special deals from almost all of the river cruise lines, so Premier is the travel company to help you find and secure the best river cruise values for 2018. But, while we can find the best deals for you, we have one simple warning:

If you are considering a river cruise in 2018, you really must PLAN AHEAD and ACT SOON, or all the best deals, best dates, and best cabins will be gone on ALL of the rivers!

Now... speaking of values, where can you find the BEST VALUES for 2018? Read our inside scoop on early booking offers to discover what they are and how to get them right now... CLICK HERE!

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