River cruise line A-Rosa is claiming 80% growth in UK passengers over the last 12 months.

The German-based operator attributed much of the increase in demand to additional distribution through new tour operator and agent partnerships plus increased marketing and PR.

Offering free places for children free, flexible dining, spas on all ships and premium all-inclusive rates have also set the company apart from rivals.

Head of A-Rosa UK, Lucia Rowe, said: “We have seen unprecedented growth from the UK in the last 12 months.

“This summer we saw many sailings where over 50% of the ship was filled with UK passengers. This is something that hasn’t happened before and is hugely encouraging to see.

“I think our unique family approach with our all children under 15 cruise for free offer, live cooking stations, flexible dining plus Jacuzzis or pools on all our ships really appeals to UK customers.

“This year our UK tour operator partners and agents have been working hard to promote our products and the success is evident.

“With new operators selling our products for 2018, such as Shearings Holidays, and interest being shown from various consortia as well as the online cruise retailers, I expect this demand to continue going forward.”

The company made the A-Rosa Viva an international ship in the spring, providing additional capacity on the Seine and increasing the number of international ships to six.

A-Rosa Aqua will swap places with A-Rosa Brava in 2018 and rejoin the international fleet on the Rhine after a year out serving the German market.