Monday, 10 February 2014

No vacancies? River ships offer to pick up the slack

No vacancies? River ships offer to pick up the slack

By Michelle Baran
Insight Hotel room availability an issue? Try a river cruise! That’s the marketing approach some river cruise companies are taking in places like Brazil and Myanmar where demand is outpacing hotel capacity.

For the upcoming World Cup soccer tournament in Brazil this summer, Amazon River cruise specialist Rainforest Cruises has introduced five-day Manaus World Cup Amazon cruises to correspond with the World Cup matches taking place in the Amazonian city of Manaus. For $1,999 per person, based on double occupancy, passengers will cruise onboard the 24-passenger Iracema, which launched in March 2011, or the 24-passenger Victoria Amazonica, which launched in 2000.

There will be four World Cup soccer matches played in Manaus — including USA vs. Portugal on June 22 — which has a new, 42,618-seat stadium to accommodate the fans. 

“With that in mind and with excitement building, hotels in Manaus are likely to book up far in advance,” Rainforest Cruises told travelers in a recent release promoting its World Cup cruises.

The Rainforest Cruises World Cup itineraries are designed so that the vessels will be docked in town during the matches and sailing through the Brazilian Amazon the remaining days.

It’s not the first time a river cruise line has offered up its available capacity, however big or small, to alleviate a capacity crunch on land. There’s a similar situation taking place in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), where river cruise companies are racing to build overnight passenger vessels that can serve as an alternative to a hotel infrastructure that isn’t ready for the country’s massive increase in tourists.

Consequently, Haimark Ltd. is introducing a 56-passenger river cruise vessel in Myanmar this September; Pandaw River Expeditions will launch two additional 40-passenger river cruise vessels in Myanmar this July; Sanctuary Retreats will launch the 48-passenger Sanctuary Ananda in Myanmar later this year; and AmaWaterways is launching the 56-passenger AmaPura there this year, as well.

And thus, a hotel capacity challenge becomes a river cruise opportunity.