Next year promises to be another great season for river cruising through Europe, with companies launching new itineraries, new destinations, and of course, new river cruise ships.
While the overall numbers are down a bit from 2016 (largely in part due to the fact that Viking River Cruises will only be introducing two new vessels on the waterways of Europe in 2017), there are still no less than a dozen brand-new river cruise ships coming online in Europe alone.
Noteworthy next year are CroisiEurope, which will launch five new ships next year (three in Europe, one on the Mekong and one in Africa), and Emerald Waterways, introducing three new ships next year. Both companies have each designated one new ship to enter service on Portugal’s Douro River, which is quickly becoming one of the hottest European destinations as history and wine lovers flock to the picturesque Douro River Valley. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Douro River Valley also happens to be the historic and current epicentre of port wine production.
CroisiEurope already operates four ships on the Douro, and these ships, including the fifth one that will launch next year, are owned and operated by CroisiEurope. Most cruise companies that operate on the Douro charter from Douro Azul.
AmaWaterways and Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection are debuting one new ship apiece next year. The two lines are taking a conservative approach to updating their fleets, and that strategy has paid off. AmaWaterways’ new AmaKristina enters service in April, while Uniworld’s lavish new M.S. Joie de Vivre debuts in March. While both vessels are technically sister-ships to earlier vessels, expect each to offer some noteworthy new advances in décor and onboard amenities.
Other lines, like Scenic and Tauck, are concentrating on refitting existing ships with new features – and fewer guests – in a move to offer more large suite accommodations onboard. Since they’re not new ships we haven’t included them in this chart, but both lines have planned sweeping stem-to-stern refits that will transform some of their existing vessels into essentially brand-new ships during the Winter 2016-2017 off season.
Similarly to the ocean cruise industry, river cruise lines are quickly realizing that river-going ships can be refitted extensively at a lesser cost than constructing a brand-new ship. This is particularly important this coming year, as many river cruise lines are happy to maintain current capacity levels as European tourism cools relative to past seasons.
What’s in store for next year? Have a look at our table of scheduled river cruise ship launches in Europe for 2017. We’ll be continually updating this table, so be sure to check back often. And, of course, we’ll offer comprehensive ship tours and photo-features of these new vessels next year, so stay tuned.
New European River Cruise Ships To Launch in 2017
|LINE||SHIP||PASSENGERS||EXPECTED LAUNCH DATE|
|CroisiEurope||MS Miguel Torga||132||2017|
|CroisiEurope||MS Symphonie II||106||April 2017|
|CroisiEurope||RV Indochine II||60||2017|
|CroisiEurope||MS Douce France II||135||June 2017|
|Crystal River Cruises||Crystal Bach||110||June 2017|
|Crystal River Cruises||Crystal Mahler||110||August 2017|
|Emerald Waterways||Emerald Destiny||182||April 2017|
|Emerald Waterways||Emerald Liberte||138||July 2017|
|Emerald Waterways||Emerald Radiance||112||May 2017|
|Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection||S.S. Joie de Vivre||128||March 2017|
|Viking River Cruises||Viking Herja||190||2017|
|Viking River Cruises||Viking Hild||190||2017|