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Sustainability and wellness next growth areas for river cruise lines

A-Rosa plans restart on Europe's rivers
photo_camera A-Rosa Alva.

Sustainability and wellness are two key areas of opportunity for river cruise lines, according to Avalon Waterways CEO Giles Hawke.

Speaking at the release of the CLIA river cruise review 2018, Hawke said: “All cruises lines are heading in the same direction. We’re all focused on sustainability being something we do, not just something we say.

“On one level, sustainability is like safety – there’s no competitive angle [among cruise lines]. Being more sustainable than someone else is not necessarily a way to compete. If we find things and learn things that make us more sustainable, we should be sharing that.

“The focus on wellness and health is really in line with modern trends and what people are looking for. Attitudes and behaviours are very different now. Wellness and sustainability are big opportunities for river cruise lines and there’s a huge amount going on in these areas.”

From battery-powered ships to removing all single-use plastics, here’s a round-up of the latest projects underway to improve environmental performance and wellness options.

A-Rosa’s new ship

Due for delivery in spring 2021, A-Rosa’s new ship will feature technology that reduces the line’s environmental footprint, including battery propulsion for sailing emissions-free in and out of cities. A-Rosa UK and Ireland MD Lucia Rowe explained: “This new ship really is a prototype on Europe’s rivers and something we haven’t seen before.”


A-Rosa, river cruise, cruising, cruise, new ship
A-Rosa’s new ship will use battery power

APT adds classes

APT has increased the number of wellness classes, from morning stretches to yoga and tai chi. The company has also introduced a new app and changed its print policy to reduce paper usage. In addition, it has switched all company cars to low emission vehicles with a view to using electric cars in the future.

CroisiEurope saving water

All CroisiEurope ships now feature water savers, resulting in a 35 per cent saving in drinking water and a 35 per cent reduction in waste. The line is also using non-polluting paint on all undersides of its ships and has created systems that are compatible with on-land AC power. Last but not least, CroisiEurope has partnered with UNESCO on sustainable development projects for African river ports.

Crystal cutting plastic

As of June 2019, all plastic straws were eliminated across the Crystal River Cruises fleet. This is part of its Crystal Cares programme, which aims to promote energy efficiency, water conservation and recycling programmes. Crystal has also used water filtration systems for six years in all dining venues, producing still and sparkling drinking water and reducing the use of plastic bottles.

Couple enjoy complimentary bike tour off-shore during Emerald Sun river cruise
Emerald Waterways offers guided cycle tours

Getting active with Emerald Waterways

Emerald Waterways is expanding its on-board fitness and games programmes with the introduction of activity managers across its fleet of European Star-Ships. Managers will be responsible for enhancing EmeraldACTIVE on-shore excursions, which include the likes of guided cycle tours, hiking and canoeing experiences. New for 2019 is a selection of fitness activities such as yoga and Pilates sessions, aqua aerobics in the heated indoor pools and walk-a-mile on the Sun Deck.

Scenic ditches plastic

Scenic has focused on reducing single-use products on board its Space-Ships, Scenic Aura and Scenic Spirit. The line has removed plastic straws in favour of bamboo and is using glass bottles in all rooms, as well as refillable containers for toiletries. What’s more, guests receive refillable shore excursion bottles.

Uniworld, cruise, cruising, river cruise, French rivers
Uniworld intends to be completely single-use plastic free by 2022

Uniworld planting trees

Uniworld is expanding its Wellness on the Water programme across the fleet for 2020, including an enhanced complimentary programme on its India cruises centred around yoga. All Uniworld cruises also offer a wellness coach and a range of activities. For sustainability, the line has pledged to be completely single-use plastic free by 2022 across all operations, while the eDocs initiative sees one tree planted for every guest who receives their cruise paperwork electronically. Uniworld also has a clean water programme.

E-bikes for Avalon

Avalon Waterways has introduced Adventure hosts on every European ship and eliminated plastic straws and drink stirrers. The line will also remove all single-use bottles by the end of 2019 and is introducing filtered water taps from July 2019 onwards. Guests can take advantage of an increased bike fleet of 16 on all European ships, while Avalon is trialling e-bikes during 2019. There are also new Avalon Fresh and Avalon Active and Discovery concepts, as well as a partnership with the Ocean Clean Up project.

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