It’s been a busy week for cruise news on Europe’s rivers.
Luxury river cruise line AmaWaterways just closed on a big new investment form travel and hospitality investor group Certares LP. Importantly, Certares is also a major investor in Travel Leaders. The deal makes Certares the fourth investor for AmaWaterways, joining the Schreiner/Karst, Murphy and McGeary families. Specific terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
In new ship news, Emerald Waterways has taken delivery of three new Star Ships - Destiny, Liberte and Radiance - bringing its total fleet seven. Emerald Liberte will sail France's Rhone and Saone as part of the new Sensations of Southern France itinerary, from Lyon to Avignon. The Emerald Radiance, sailing round trip from Porto, sails the Secrets of the Duoro itinerary. Emerald Destiny will offer itineraries on the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers.
Also this week Emerald Waterways and Scenic Luxury Cruises launched a new Deposit Protection Plan, designed to work in conjunction with the brands' River Cruise Travel Guarantee.
The Deposit Protection Plan allows guests who need to cancel or change a cruise for any reason to reallocate their non-refundable deposit for use toward an alternative future sailing. Deposit protection can be purchased for $125 per person for river cruises and $250 per person for sailing on Scenic Eclipse, the line's new Discovery Yacht, launching in 2018. The Deposit Protection Plan must be purchased at the time the deposit is due, and guests must re-book within 24 months of cancellation. It is non-transferable and covers cruise and tour deposits only, not air deposits.
Finally, there’s a new player in the market. This week major UK brand Fred.Olsen Cruise Lines launched a new river cruise program aimed at U.S. travelers. Olsen River Cruises is now offering river cruise holidays in Europe, between April 5 and November 3, 2018, onboard the 156-guest river boat, Brabant, to go on general sale on May 26, 2017.