Royal Caribbean Cruises is launching a new cruise brand, CDF Croisières de France, a line dedicated to the French market, which sets sail in May 2008 with its first ship, Bleu de France. Bleu de France will sail a Mediterranean itinerary, departing from Marseilles, France. In the winter of 2008 and 2009, the ship will shift to a Caribbean routing, sailing out of La Romana in the Dominican Republic.
Royal Caribbean Chairman and CEO Richard Fain said the brand was born out of demand. "We are very excited about bringing French cruising to the French market," he said in a statement. "We have a high demand for the product, a ship tailor-made for the market and a highly talented team to lead the effort. I couldn't be more pleased." Brigitte Tissier will serve as managing director of the new brand.
Bleu de France has had many incarnations and will undergo $30 million in renovations to adapt to French tastes, in everything from cuisine to décor, the company said, noting that French will be the main language spoken on the ship. Previously, the 376-cabin ship served as the luxury liner Europa with Hapag Lloyd and is now Pullmantur's Holiday Dream. Visit [www.royalcaribbean.com].