The River Cruise Line has released an expanded 2012 brochure as it builds relationships with the trade.

The operator smashed its target for the year to sign distribution deals with 100 agents within six months. It has secured contracts with agency chains such as Barrhead Travel in Scotland.

The Market Harborough-based operator, set up more than 10 years ago, previously sold through regional and national newspapers via reader offers.

General sales manager Steve Goodenough said: “It appears that we have been very fortunate with the timing of our launch of sales through the trade, both with interest in river cruising increasing and with the pressures on commission-earning opportunities in the ocean cruise sector. 

“We also feel that our product, which offers free coach travel from joining points nationwide using ferry links from Dover, Hull and Newcastle, provides a good value alternative to flight holidays.”

The new programme, which has increased to include 20 itineraries in 11 countries, includes four new itineraries and one new cruise dedicated to solo travellers.

A five-day single passengers’ sailing covers the narrowest stretch of the Rhine River Valley and leads in at £379. 
Other new cruises include visits to the Floriade Festival in Holland on six departures in April 2012, leading in at £297; a seven-night trip on the Elbe, covering Berlin and Prague, starting at £899; and a Rhine and Moselle highlights cruise starting at £449.

Rhine and Moselle river sailings operate on exclusively chartered ships Lady Anne and