Uniworld launches family sailings in Egypt and new Indian itinerary as more travellers opt for river cruises.
Luxury river cruise line Uniworld Boutique River Cruises has announced new family-friendly sailings in Egypt and a cruise and rail journey through India on the opulent Maharajas’ Express as part of its 2023 Exotics programme.
A survey by the company has also revealed that many ocean cruisers are set to take their first-ever river cruise in 2023, citing a preference for smaller ships and fewer passengers as their reason.
At a time when river cruises were mostly perceived as adult-only holidays, Uniworld pioneered dedicated family river cruises. Its Generations programme is set to expand further with the introduction of an adapted version of its 11-night Splendours of Egypt and the Nile holiday aboard the River Tosca.
Alongside famous sights such as the Pyramids of Giza, Valley of the Kings and Karnak Temple, activities include a football match with local children and some of the ship’s crew, sand dune boarding, swimming in the Nile, exploring the river by bike and traditional felucca, and a behind-the-scenes visit to the captain’s wheelhouse.
Following the success of the inaugural season of its Cruise and Rail programme in Europe, Uniworld is teaming up with Maharajas’ Express to offer a new 15-night journey through India. The trip combines seven nights on Ganges Voyager II from Kolkata with a private train journey through the Golden Triangle and Rajasthan to Mumbai.
Sights along the way include the Taj Mahal, Amber Fort and Ranthambore National Park, home to one of the world’s largest populations of Bengal tigers. The itinerary also features Uniworld’s Make Travel Matter experiences, including visiting an artisan brass workshop in Matiari and Calcutta Rescue, which helps disadvantaged children.
Uniworld President and CEO Ellen Bettridge said:
“We are excited to expand two of our most popular offerings, Cruise and Rail and Generations, into our Exotics portfolio for the first time in 2023. Many of our guests are seeking long-haul bucket-list experiences next year, while others want to spend precious time travelling as a family or multi-generational group, so introducing a truly incredible cruise and rail trip through India and an itinerary packed with family fun and the historical wonders of Egypt seemed like a natural step.”
A survey by the line amongst travellers aged 50-plus has revealed over a third (32%) of those who had ocean cruised prior to the Covid pandemic have decided to go on their first river cruise in 2022/2023, with 41% stating a preference for a small ship experience with fewer guests. The findings also showed that 30% said river cruises offered more varied scenery than ocean ships and 17% preferred the slower pace.
As well as downsizing to smaller ships, travellers also want to travel further and for longer, with 72% intending to take more holidays from 2023 onwards. Data from Uniworld’s past guests also show an increase in holiday duration, with 84% travelling for a week or more longer than they did pre-pandemic, and over a third (35%) travelling for two weeks or longer.
Ticking off bucket list experiences is also high on the agenda, with top selling destinations including India, Vietnam and Cambodia.
Known as the ‘River Cruise Queen’, Jeannine Williamson is an award-winning travel writer, cruise expert and our cruise correspondent, who has clocked up thousands of nautical miles.
Photographs courtesy of Uniworld