(6:24 p.m. EDT) -- German line Peter Deilmann Cruises will shut down its river cruise division beginning in 2010. The cruise line -- whose river cruise branch was a pioneer in marketing the river cruise concept to North Americans -- cites financial concerns as the reason.
According to a spokesperson from Peter Deilmann's U.S. office, a German-language press release was released in Germany and translated by the U.S. office. No official announcement has been made in this country.
Through 2009, river cruises will be sold and will operate as normal. The ocean-going cruise ship, Deutschland, will not be affected and will continue to offer luxury cruises.
The release reports that the line's eight river cruise ships will be dry-docked in 2010 as part of bankruptcy proceedings. Reasons given for closing the river cruise division include the lousy economy, problematic exchange rates and difficulties working out loan resolutions with the bank.
The Deilmann representative could not comment further on whether a buyer is being sought to take over the ships or how this will affect the river cruise market in Europe.
Interestingly, Deilmann is the only major river line that isn't introducing new ships this year. In hindsight, perhaps that's because it couldn't keep up financially with its competitors.