As the world copes with the effects of the pandemic, the river cruise industry is hoping to start sailing early in the New Year.
Select river cruise companies resumed operations earlier this year, but with international borders in a state of confusion, numbers are low.
But for those who can, it’s a great time to book with the cruise industry now running a plethora of promotions and deals to attract travellers who have been suppressing their wanderlust.
Most river cruise companies offer huge discounts if you book before the year ends for 2022 itineraries.
Single traveller discounts are plentiful, free airfares are available, and you should always hunt for extra deals such as free upgrades, reduced rates for drink packages, free excursions, and more.
But most importantly, cruise companies have updated their booking policies to bring more confidence in the bookings, such as waived deposit plans, flexible itineraries, extended cancellation windows, and of course, more stringent health protocols.
River Cruise Passenger has explored top river cruise companies’ websites and social media pages to hunt down these offers for 2022 itineraries.
(Important: The specific deals described in the list below are true as of 9 December 2021. Many of these promos are available on limited availability, so you still need to check the deal you are interested in by visiting each website. Be sure to read the Terms and conditions governing each deal before buying any cruise ticket. River Cruise Passenger has no liability in the promos described in this article.)
For 2022 river cruises, Viking is offering itinerary-specific deals.
Special savings plus airfare from $399 awaits those who book the Paris & The Heart of Normandy cruise (Round Trip Paris, 8 days) until 31 December 2021.
On top of special discounts, free airfare is also applicable for the Paris to the Swiss Alps river cruise (Paris to Zurich, 12 days).
A Similar offer is available for the Waterways of the Tsars (Moscow to St. Petersburg, 13 days), featuring Russian guided tours.
Scenic River Cruises
Scenic invites river cruisers to book and secure the limited Super Earlybird offers with two available options.
You can fly business class for $3,995 per person when you book a Sapphire or Diamond Deck suite on Danube Delta Discovery, Beautiful Bordeaux, or Romantic Rhine & Moselle river cruises.
Or you can choose economy class flights included up to the value of $2,000 per person and an additional $500 per person on Jewel Deck Standard Suite (no balcony) cruise fare on select voyages of 11 days or longer.
For South East Asia itineraries, Scenic offers an extra $1,000 discount per person when you book Category BB Suites and above.
If you book your Mekong river cruise and land journey by 31 January 2022, you can still receive a $300 per person Early Booking Discount.
Solo travellers can get an additional 50% off a single supplement on top of the complimentary upgrade to the next suite category on Scenic Spirit on all cruise and land journeys. The offer is valid for new bookings until 31 January 2022.
For France itineraries, economy flights will be included, valued at up to $1,900 per person for any 2022 river cruises of 11 days or longer.
Finally, Scenic also offers the Platinum Protection Plan for only $395 for 2022 river cruises. With this plan, you are covered if you are not able to travel due to health reasons, or your travels plans are impacted by COVID-19, up to 31 days before departure with a 100% refund (less airline cancellation fees and PPP cost), or a 70% refund between 15 and 30 days before departure (less PPP cost).
Emerald River cruise offers will save you up to AU$ 3,200 discount per couple with around $320 per cabin to spend onboard on additional holiday treats.
As part of the Early Payment Discount, guests who pay in full by 31 January 2022 will get an extra A$600 per couple.
The luxury cruise company also offers a complimentary Deposit Protection Plan valued at AU$ 200 per person.
The Flexible Booking Policy will allow you to defer your travel plans and transfer to alternative departure dates or itineraries for up to two months before your cruise starts.
As of press time, Avalon Waterways offers several cruise deals for 2022 itineraries.
You may fly free (plus save $1,000 per couple) from select US cities on select Europe river cruises. Other gateway cities are available from $200 to $1,075 per person additional. Booking is until 3 January 2022, and travel dates are between 1 March to 31 December 2022.
Another offer is the $1,000 discount per couple plus free airfare on select 2022 Europe river cruises, including the Grand France with 2 Nights in Nice (Southbound) and the Enchanted Europe for Beer Enthusiasts (Westbound).
Couples can also save $1,000 on 2022 Europe Storyteller Series Cruises, plus special access to meet and greet events.
Single travellers may take advantage of the single supplement waiver on the cruise portion of select 2022 Europe river cruises.
Most Riviera European River cruises are now on sale, with itineraries available for as low as $2,000 per person with a $400 deposit.
Guests can also take advantage of the seven-night drink package available for $129 per person.
Riviera also offers special packages for solo travellers with ticket prices per person based on one person in a twin cabin for sole occupancy.
Exclusive itineraries include the Amsterdam, Kinderdijk & the Dutch Bulbfields (Amsterdam Roundtrip, 5 days), The Seine, Paris & Normandy (Paris Roundtrip, 8 days), the Blue Danube (Budapest Roundtrip, 8 days), and other selected river cruises.
Uniworld has prepared three main offers to welcome back river cruisers in 2022.
First on the list is the 2022 Picture Perfect Savings, which will save you up to $5,000 per person on select voyages for a limited time when you pay in full at the time of booking. The deal includes the Peruvian Amazon & Machu Picchu Exploration (Lima Roundtrip, 15 Days), Cruise & Rail: Castles of Transylvania & Enchanting Danube (Budapest to Passau, 13 Days), Venice & The Gems of Northern Italy (Venice Roundtrip, 8 Days), and more. Offer expires 8 January 2022.
For solo travellers, Uniworld has planned itineraries that are ideally suited for single explorers with small group excursions and onboard experiences. Single supplements are waived for select dates and staterooms for itineraries such as Enchanting Danube (Budapest to Passau, 8 days), Burgundy & Florence (Avignon to Lyon, 8 days), Remarkable Rhine & Historic Holland (Amsterdam to Basel, 11 days), and more.
For those who have already joined Uniworld in the past, the company offers the 2022 river heritage club savings that feature huge discounts on all cruises, combinable with all Uniworld promotions. Members of the Heritage Club may save $500 on select voyages such as Ultimate European Journey (Amsterdam to Bucharest, 25 days), Ultimate France (Bordeaux to Avignon, 22 days), India’s Golden Triangle & The Sacred Ganges (New Delhi to Kolkata, 13 days), and more.
The luxury river cruise company has recently announced its latest promo offering free chartered flights to Antarctica with luxury hotel overnight stays and $1,000 per guest “As You Wish” shipboard credits on select voyages such as Antarctica, Weddell Sea & The Falklands (Ushuaia Roundtrip, 15 nights).
Meanwhile, solo guests can enjoy limited-time Zero Single Supplement on select 2022 voyages aboard Crystal Symphony and Danube River cruises in Dedicated Solo Suites aboard Crystal Mozart, available on all journeys without a single supplement.
Crystal has also updated its deposit, payment, and cancellation policy with a 15% reduced deposit to waived administrative fees and convenient closer-in final payments, applicable across all brand experiences from 2022 to 2024.