There is going to be a plethora of river cruise launches next year. So many, in fact, that it’s hard to keep track. There will be newbuilds big and small, on rivers as far ranging as Europe, Russia, China and Southeast Asia. So, as 2010 comes to a close, here is a calendar of river cruising events for 2011 — which ships are launching, when and where.
Uniworld River Cruises’ River Antoinette, which will launch in March on the Rhine River, will have a 20-by-13-foot, heated swimming pool and glass-enclosed balconies. The River Antoinette, sister ship to the River Beatrice, will be the largest ship in Uniworld’s fleet at 443 feet in length and 37.5 feet wide. Most of the 73 staterooms will be 196 square feet, and 20 staterooms will be 163 square feet. There will be eight junior suites measuring 294 square feet each and one owner’s suite at 391 square feet. The River Antoinette will sail Uniworld’s Castles Along the Rhine itinerary.
This year, Viking River Cruises said it was investing $250 to build eight new ships over the next three years. The first of those new ships, the 264-passenger Viking Emerald, will replace the Viking Century Sun on China’s Yangtze River in 2011. The Emerald will be 361 feet long, and will have 128 staterooms, including 2 presidential suites that will measure 840 square feet each. All staterooms will have a balcony with floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors.
Uniworld is introducing a newbuild in Portugal in April, the 128-passenger Duoro Spirit, which will replace the 126-passenger Duoro Queen on Uniworld’s Portugal, Spain and Duoro River Valley itinerary. Uniworld will have a long-term charter on the Duoro Spirit, which is being built at the Navalria shipyard in Portugal by the ship’s owner, Douro Azul.
In May, Avalon Waterways is unveiling the Avalon Panorama, which will feature 64 newly-designed, 200-square-foot suites on the top two decks. Each suite will have a seating area adjacent to an 11-foot wide, floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall panoramic window. The suites will be in addition to 17 staterooms on the lower deck that measure 172 square feet each. Avalon employed a new interior-design team to tackle the Panorama’s design features, which include marble bathrooms, new Avalon-branded bedding called Comfort Collection by Avalon and love seats in the suites.
Also in May, Uniworld will unveil the 206-passenger River Victoria on the Volga River. Uniworld signed a five-year deal to charter the Russian river ship, which is being completely refurbished. Series of three cabins will be combined into two, which will create cabins ranging in size from 135 to 210 square feet. There will be 10 suites.
The River Victoria will be joined on the Volga by the newly renovated 212-passenger Amakatarina. AMAWATERWAYS has signed a five-year lease agreement with the ship’s owner, Russian company Vodohod. The Amakatarina will replace Ama’s existing leased vessel in Russia, the 160-passenger Tolstoy. The ship is being stripped entirely and is being converted from a 400-passenger to a 212-passenger vessel with 106 cabins, 76 of which will feature balconies.
Viking’s new 188-passenger Viking Prestige will sail the 8-day Romantic Danube sailing from Budapest to Nuremberg (and the reverse). It is being built at the Neptun Shipyard in Rostock, Germany. It is being built with ecologically friendly engines, suites that measure 310 square feet, and French balconies on the upper and middle decks.
Tauck is back in the shipbuilding game too, with the new 118-passenger Treasures scheduled to set sail in August. Currently under construction at the Vahali Shipyards in Gendt, the Netherlands, Treasures will feature new beds and an enhanced cabin décor, both of which Tauck is implementing fleet-wide for 2011. The ship will sail on five different Tauck itineraries throughout Europe.
AMAWATERWAYS is launching its second Mekong River ship next year. The 124-passenger Amalotus — which will make stops in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and Siem Reap, Phnom Penh and Angkor Wat, Cambodia — will have standard cabins that will be 226 square feet, 10 junior suites that will be 290 square feet and two suites will be 452 square feet each. Like with its first 94-passenger Mekong ship La Marguerite, AMAWATERWAYS will have partial ownership in the Amalotus as well.