The company, with offices in Ft. Lauderdale, Germany's Oberwesel, and Switzerland's Wollerau, will debut in 2008 with six ships and three independent brands -- Jewel River Cruises, classified as "boutique luxury"; Emerald River Journeys, a premium branch; and a more contemporary brand called Princess River Journeys. According to a press release, five ships under the premium and contemporary brands, Emerald River Journeys and Princess River Journeys, will be based in central Europe in 2008 and are already chartered to European tour operators.
However, the "boutique luxury" segment -- Jewel River Cruises -- is being marketed to U.S. cruisers. Jewel River Cruises will start out as a one-ship shop. The Jewel Imperial Blue, a German-built yacht-like vessel, will enter the Hoogedoorn Shipyard near Rotterdam, Holland, in early 2008 for a complete overhaul; $3.5 million later, the ship will be the only all-suite luxury river cruising vessel.
What can you expect onboard? At this point, here's what we know:
The ship will accommodate 90 guests in 45 suites, with a crew-to-guest ratio of 2:1
Standard suites will measure a roomy (for river cruising) 237 square ft.
Two Owners Suites will each be 473 square ft.
There will be a spa onboard, as well as multiple dining venues
Rates, dates and itineraries will be announced next month; bookings open in January 2008. Jewel River Cruise Line plans to introduce two new-builds to the Jewel River Cruises arm, one in 2009 and another in 2010.
Stay tuned to Cruise Critic for more information.
--by Melissa Baldwin, Managing Editor