Fred Olsen Cruise Lines prepare to take on the rivers of Europe with the good ship Brabant

There’s a new cruise line branching out from the oceans to rivers. Fred Olsen’s new European venture announced today puts them alongside people like Crystal Cruises and those – like Viking and Scenic – who are taking the journey in the opposite direction.

Despite its Norwegian heritage, Fred Olsen cruises are as English as a warm country pub on a winter’s day and it is promising that cruises on board the 156-passenger Brabant, will be just as welcoming.

Itineraries, from five nights to 25, will operate on the Danube, Rhine, Main and Moselle. A total of 30 departures are scheduled between […]

AmaWaterways ready to challenge Crystal Mozart on the Danube

Crystal Mozart, the largest river cruise vessel in Europe, is about to get some serious competition. Rival luxury operator AmaWaterways is building AmaMagna, which will be the second double-width passenger ship on the Danube.

AmaMagna will have 98 standard cabins, most of them larger than 300 square feet. There will be four extra-large suites and one Owner’s Suite.

Additional amenities include a heated swimming pool on the sun deck, with whirlpool bath and a swim-up bar, plus a large spa area including a fitness room large enough for group classes.

Passenger capacity will be 194 and the ship has several restaurants including […]

Godmother Mary Berry is the icing on the cake for Viking’s world record

The nation’s favourite baker helped Viking Cruises break a Guinness World Record this week for the biggest number of ships inaugurated in one day.
Mary Berry was one of 16 godmothers who christened new Longship river ships in three separate countries. She was in Amsterdam, where nine of the vessels were named, while TV wine expert Susie Barrie was among seven more women naming ships in the French city of Avignon and – remotely – four more in a German shipyard.
Two smaller Viking ships were named on Friday in a separate ceremony on the River Douro in Portugal.
All the ships […]

Needles ready for knitting cruise

We’ve had cruises devoted to antiques, gardens and golf, to food and drink, country and western, and Harley Davidsons. There are themes of all descriptions to suit all tastes and pockets.
But here’s something completely new – a knitting-themed cruise … hosted by someone described as “one of the top 10 most influential men in the world of knitting’ alongside Charles Dickens and Edward VIII.
My mind is totally boggled.
Barry Klein will host the seven-day river cruise on the Danube from December 27, 2014 – so participants will presumably have received new needles for Christmas. On board AmaBella, Klein will […]

Marooned passengers leave Danube

The 120 British tourists who spent a week stranded on a river cruise boat in Vienna were finally flown home today. They had hoped to spend seven days seeing the sights along the Danube; instead, record levels of floodwater forced them to spend almost all the time unable to travel anywhere and not even to leave the boat.
The 110-metre long ship Filia Rheni had been chartered exclusively by Titan Travel for a “Danube Waltz” cruise, and after embarking passengers last Friday should have travelled gently to Passau, Bratislava, and Budapest.
High water levels – the result of record rainfall and […]

Flooding disrupts river cruises

Severe flooding is disrupting river cruising in central Europe. The picturesque Bavarian town of Passau where the rivers Danube, Inn and Ilz meet, is one of the worst affected with water levels at their highest for 500 years.
Viking River Cruises have cancelled departures from Passau to Budapest and from Budapest to Nuremburg, and another 16 itineraries have had to be amended.
Avalon Waterways have cancelled three departures and other operators are assessing the problems faced as the rivers rise to record levels and in some cases burst their banks.
Other operators have moved guests to hotels, or transferred them between […]

Beaucoup de godparents for the newest bateau in Bordeaux

When children are christened, they usually have a two godparents. Ships have to make do with just a godmother – or so I thought until Friday.
CroisiEurope’s newest vessel, MS Cyrano de Bergerac, had both a godfather and a godmother to swing a bottle of Champagne against its hull – not to mention a pair of “godparents of honours” in reserve.
The 180-passenger boat was named at a quayside in the centre of Bordeaux, from where it will operate regular cruises along the Garonnne and Dordogne rivers and the Gironde estuary.
Bordeaux’s mayor, Alain Juppé, a former prime minister of France, was […]

Magnificent 10 for Viking

There’s more to Viking River Cruises than sponsorship of the hit ITV drama series, Broadchurch, and the only mystery yesterday – when the company christened 10 new ships in one go – was how to ensure the Champagne bottles smashed successfully on each one.
The ceremony took place in Amsterdam, although six of the ships were named by remote control at a shipyard in Rostock, Germany.
Ten ships meant 10 godmothers, who each recited a maritime blessing and cut a ribbon on a waterfront stage lined with red and white balloons. Among them was Lady Fiona Carnarvon (above), chatelaine of […]

River cruises flowing stronger

While the number of Brits taking ocean cruises was virtually at a standstill in 2012, the popularity of river cruises continues to grow.
There was a 12 per cent increase in the number of holidaymakers on European rivers alone, the 90,000 UK passengers travelling on the Rhine and Danube representing 60 per cent of the worldwide destinations.
Even the Nile grew in popularity last year, with a 12 per cent increase from 25,200 to 28,300, although the numbers are less than half those in 2010.
The overall increase in demand for river holidays was fed by new capacity on European rivers. Investment […]

It’s the year of the river cruise

This will be the year of the river cruise, according to the UK’s Passenger Shipping Association. Which is a little bit strange because I have a funny feeling they said the same about 2012.
But the organisation’s 12 river cruise operators have come up with some convincing arguments – such as the five new ships and the 30 new itineraries on sale in the UK for 2013.
AmaWaterways will be introducing two new vessels and four new routes in France and Portugal, including its first cruises on the Seine. AmaPrima, which caters for 164 passengers, will debut in April and cruise […]