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Riviera Travel has announced the debut of four new ships in 2017 and a fifth ship in the spring 2018. The United Kingdom-based river cruise operator is also entering the North American market this year with a new national sales office in Fairfield, Conn.
This year’s newbuilds are the 169-guest Emily Bronte and Thomas Hardy, which were both christened in February with U.K. travel agents as godmothers, and the Oscar Wilde, due to launch in August. All ships were built by Swiss shipping company Scylla AG, which has built Tauck’s Inspire, Savor, Grace and Joy.
The three new ships will sail on the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers, as well as their tributaries, including the Moselle River. The 126-passenger Douro Elegance, built by DouroAzul, provides Portugal cruises. The 169-guest Robert Burns, also built by Scylla AG, will debut next spring on the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers.
The Emily Bronte, Thomas Hardy, Oscar Wilde and Robert Burns are all-suite ships with decor showcasing sustainable wood, wrought iron, brass and copper. Suites start at 183 square feet, and accommodations on two decks have floor-to-ceiling sliding glass windows. Superior Suites run 210 square feet, and Deluxe Balcony Suites are 274 square feet.
The Douro Elegance prioritizes environmental sensitivity and is designed specifically for the Douro River and its dramatic locks. Polished marble and hardwoods and colorful touches distinguish the ship, with staterooms and suites that start at 161 square feet. Upper and Middle Deck accommodations have floor-to-ceiling windows that slide down. The 329-square-foot Deluxe and 237-square-foot Superior suites also have French balconies.
“We’re thrilled to be launching five new five-star ships over the next year as we expand into the U.S. market,” said Jana Tvedt Joham, vice president of Riviera Travel’s U.S. national sales office. “These new ships will allow us to meet growing demand for our European river cruises and represent a significant increase when compared to the 13 ordered this year by Cruise Lines International Association cruise line members.”