July 18, 2001
There’s more evidence that cruise lines with hefty American presences are beefing up their European operations as P&O Princess announces it has spawned A’Rosa. The new line, specifically geared to German passengers, is created around the transfer (next year) of the 1,950-capacity Crown Princess, whose new moniker will be A’Rosa Blu. Launch is expected to take place in June. In addition, A’Rosa will add two new-builds -- interestingly, however, these ships will focus on the river-cruising niche and hold just 200 passengers. Speaking of which, the barging aspect of cruising Europe’s rivers, long a very sleepy sideline, seems to be generating some growth buzz. Go Barging, a British-based operator, for one, has added to its fleet. The Magna Carta, a one-time Dutch barge built in the 1930s, has been refitted and will cruise England’s Thames, while the company’s custom-built M/S Serenite will offer a Berlin based itinerary. Both barges begin service next April; they hold eight and 12 passengers, respectively.