Jewel River Cruises -- the brand-new "boutique luxury" cruise line that was supposed to debut this spring with the launch of its first ship -- is suffering setbacks. The launch of the all-suite Jewel Imperial Blue has been delayed at least until August, due to extensive alterations in the original design.
The former ms Hispania, which carried mostly British passengers on river journeys in Europe, is being completely renovated to enlarge cabins and upgrade facilities. Additional architectural changes are said to be responsible for the delay.
Jewel River Cruises is one of three sub-brands of Jewel River Cruise Line (the others' ships are already chartered to European tour operators), and is being marketed to U.S. cruisers. JRCL is the brainchild of Albert Peter, who held the title of CEO at luxury line Silversea Cruises from 2001 until 2007.
Despite repeated postponements of the launch date, Jewel River Cruises' spokespersons still promise that the improved vessel will be the most luxurious river ship in Europe.
We'll keep you posted.
--by Eleanor Berman, Cruise Critic contributor
Jewel River Cruises Launch Delayed
April 16, 2008