Germany’s leading river cruises company A-ROSA will invest millions of euros in modernising its fleet and is aiming to win British customers this year.
A-ROSA will upgrade its oldest vessels over the next few years, starting with the A-ROSA Donna later this month. These six vessels operate on the Danube and Rhône rivers. Each will get a new design for the cabins and public areas, as well as a gourmet dining section. “In the next 3-4 years we will spend several million euros to modernise the original ships in our fleet,” said CEO Jörg Eichler.
However, A-ROSA also plans to expand its fleet this year with new ships and is working closely with its new owners, UK private equity fund Duke Street, who bought the firm 12 months ago, to draw up the strategy for the coming years.
Eichler explained: “Construction of new ships will be instrumental for the growth of A-ROSA River Cruises. This year (2018) we experienced demand that we couldn’t fulfill so we need to increase our capacity by building new vessels. The construction of A-ROSA ALVA is already under way and she will launch on the Douro in May 2019. This will be the first of several new additions to the fleet.”
Meanwhile, the largest German river cruises specialist is also looking across the Channel to the UK for new customers after selecting the country as a key growth market. A-ROSA will open a sales office in the UK in early 2019, headed by managing director Lucia Rowe who will build up a team to market the company’s products.
She commented: “These are exciting times for A-ROSA River Cruises and I’m delighted that we are now committed to further growing the UK market going forward. We brought the product into the UK four years ago and it has gone from strength to strength. We will now invest in our own dedicated sales and marketing team who will be both on-the-road and in the office, supporting the trade and shouting about all that A-ROSA River Cruises has to offer.”
Based in Rostock, the German river cruise specialist operates a fleet of 11 vessels on European rivers such as the Rhine, Danube, Rhone and Seine, marketing its cruises as “alternative city trips”. The company had 85,000 passengers and turnover of €87.5 million in 2016/17.