The business of river cruises is gaining steam(boats)

In the US, 2 companies control the market, but they’ll soon have competition.


March 1, 2020

There’s nothing that floats a baby boomer’s boat like a ride on the river.

Americans are starting to catch the wave on river cruises — especially older travelers with time and money to throw overboard, The Washington Post reports.

In the US, 2 companies are in cruise control

American Cruise Lines and the American Queen Steamboat Company are the kingpins in the States. You might say they rival Steamboat Willie himself:

  • ACL operates 12 coastal and river ships. It can ferry ~80k passengers this year. 
  • Its queenly counterpart can fill its 6 vessels with ~46k hardy sailors.
  • About 80% of American Queen’s passengers are boomers.

But the seas might not be so smooth, because Viking is invading. The international cruise company conquered the waterways overseas and plans to start cruisin’ down the Mississippi in 2022.

Something you might not know: Cruises can cost a LOT

Trips are organized around themes — like the Civil War — and those with shore excursions can run between $6k and $10k per pair.

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