River cruises

A-ROSA grows with large 'family-size' ships

Simon Provost (Concordia Damen, left) with A-ROSA chief Jörg Eichler
Arosa/Tom Kohler
Simon Provost (Concordia Damen, left) with A-ROSA chief Jörg Eichler

Germany’s leading river cruises company A-ROSA is driving plans to win more families with its first order for a large ‘family-size’ ship with plenty of leisure activities.

As part of its ongoing fleet modernisation, the Rostock-based company has commissioned an ‘E-Motion’ ship, which will be 135 metres long, 17.7 metres wide and with a fourth deck, for delivery in 2021. It has also taken an option for a second vessel in 2023.

The new vessel, with 140 cabins and capacity for 280 passengers, will be used mainly on the northern Rhine, leaving from Cologne and calling at Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Bruges and Antwerp, and will be targeted at families in particular.

A-ROSA is trying to change the traditional image of river cruises away from leisurely trips for older passengers towards ‘city trips by boat’ for a wide range of customer segments. According to the German firm, city breaks by ship are the ideal kind of holiday for young and old, since they can meet all the different needs of children, parents and grandparents. This strategy mirrors the successful transformation of ocean cruises into mainstream holidays over the last two decades.

A-ROSA already has several offers for families, including free travel for children aged 15 or under, and a Kids’ Club during school holidays. The new vessel will have a dedicated Family Area with large, 28 sqm family cabins and a permanent Kids’ Club, along with a sun deck featuring a large swimming pool and a separate children’s pool with shallow water. The 21 sqm double cabins with balconies will also be larger than on traditional river cruise vessels.

“The new A-ROSA ship features a wealth of innovations, making it a world-first in the river cruise industry. It will be perfectly tailored to fit our city-trip concept for the whole family. This means we’re paving the way for a new era of cruises, offering guests the perfect combination of discovery and relaxation,” said Jörg Eichler, managing director of A-ROSA Flussschiff GmbH.

Moreover, the E-Motion ship will have battery power that will be used to enter ports and thus avoid emissions close to city areas, and which can be charged overnight through a shore power connection. The ship, to be constructed by the Concordia Damen shipyard in the Netherlands, also has so-called air-bubble technology to reduce fuel consumption.

The German river cruise specialist currently operates a fleet of 13 vessels on European rivers such as the Rhine, Danube, Rhone and Seine. The company had 85,000 passengers and turnover of €91.5 million in 2017/18.

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