Home > Cruise News Archive > CroisiEurope Launches New Ships for River and Canal Barge Cruises; Announces Plans for More
| Date Published: March 29, 2014 |
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|CroisiEurope Launches New Ships for River and Canal Barge Cruises; Announces Plans for More|
(9:35 a.m. EDT) -- French cruise line CroisiEurope has christened three river vessels at its Strasbourg shipyard, and said it has plans to build more in coming years.
River cruise ship Lafayette and two smaller canal barges, Madeleine and Anne-Marie, were named Friday at CroisiEurope's dockyard on the Rhine River.
In front of a crowd made up of employees and members of the Schmitter family who own and manage CroisiEurope, an American godmother christened the largest of the new ships, the 88-passenger Lafayette.
Mary Rose Reade, wife of the US Consul General in Strasbourg, gave a speech in French to the gathered crowd and local Strasbourg dignitaries before successfully breaking a magnum bottle of champagne on the ship's beam.
Speaking to Cruise Critic following the ceremony, Reade said: "It's a huge privilege and honor to be godmother to this ship, and it represents a great link between our two countries.
"The fact that it's named Lafayette -- with the significance of that name in the history of both countries -- is very special."
CroisiEurope has recently begun to market more heavily outside of France, opening a dedicated sales office in the US. Beginning this year, the line is also offering new itineraries with accessibility to major international airports. Lafayette's cruise route between Basel, Switzerland and Amsterdam, for example, is new for CroisiEurope. Basel replaces Strasbourg as a start/end point for Rhine River cruises, due to the airport's international flight connections.
Lafayette and the two, 24-passenger canal cruise ships that were christened Friday, Madeleine and Anne-Marie, also represent a new direction for the value-oriented cruise line in terms of the size of its ships.
Sales director Michel Grimm said that the company's focus is on smaller ships.
"Our trend is not to build long ships. In terms of size, we want to build comfortable ships that provide a familial spirit."
Lafayette has the fewest cabins and lowest passenger capacity of the full-sized river ships CroisiEurope has built to date.
Without giving away details or fixed dates, Grimm said CroisiEurope would be building a number of new ships in coming years, mostly small.
He said the line has plans to expand its fleet of 24-passenger canal boats -- which will stand at four when Raymonde is christened in May -- to "perhaps 10 to 12 ships." The three new small barges will sail France's canals: Raymonde in Champagne, Anne-Marie in Provence and Madeleine in Alsace.
And Grimm also made passing reference to a new-build ship slated for the Mekong and Irrawaddy, to add to the Mekong River Cruise Company's fleet of four, 20- to 48-passenger ships, which CroisiEurope recently purchased.
In 2015, CroisiEurope will debut three new ships: the 100-passenger Rhone Princesse, the 96-passenger, shallow-drafted paddlewheeler Loire Princesse and the 132-passenger Gil Eanes.
-by Jamey Bergman, UK Production Editor
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