(12:45 p.m. BST) -- British escorted tour operator Great Rail Journeys has launched a cruise division -- Great Cruise Journeys -- to offer a series of sailings on some of Europe's most popular waterways, from September 2017.
Voyages will take place onboard 11 chartered vessels -- two belonging to Travelmarvel and nine AmaWaterways ships -- with eight different itineraries available on the Danube, Douro, Main, Rhine and Rhone rivers.
The operator will offer a total of 56 sailings -- ranging in length from eight to 16 days -- starting with the "Luxury Rhine Cruise" departing September 16, 2017, on either AmaSonata or AmaPrima.
In addition to the 11 river vessels, Great Cruise Journeys has also chartered the Spirit of Chartwell -- a 15-passenger barge that will sail the Douro River in Portugal.
Group marketing and sales director at Great Rail Journeys Ltd, Alex Roberts, said: "Following the ongoing success of our escorted group rail and cruise programme, offering independent cruise holidays to our existing customers was a natural extension.
"Early sales have been extremely positive and we are excited about the prospects and opportunities for the brand."
Passengers booked on a Great Cruise Journeys sailing will receive flight to and from their cruise's start and end destination, with regional departures available; transfers; excursions; all meals onboard, plus beer, wine and soft drinks with lunch and dinner.
Complimentary tea and coffee will also be available, along with inclusive gratuities and Wi-Fi.
Get expert advice on choosing a European river cruise.
--By Kerry Spencer, Editor, U.K.