The paddle wheel is making a dramatic return to open up new, shallow water destinations.
CroisiEurope has introduced a re-engineered back-to-the-future version to become the first river cruise company to cruise on Loire in France. Paddlewheelers will also open up parts of the Elbe.
MS Loire Princessewill be the first vessel with cabins to take to the river when she is launched next April.
The sleek, 90-metre, three-decks cruiser has 48 outside cabins and can accommodate up to 96 passengers. On the upper deck, cabins have balconies 3m x 1.25m.
A restaurant can accommodate all passengers for single-service dining. There is a huge lounge bar, dance floor and large sun deck.
The 80-passenger Elbe Princesse will launch in spring 2016. Its two paddlewheels will allow the vessel to sail the Elbe’s shallow waters year-round.
She will sail the Elbe and Moldau rivers between Berlin and Prague, stopping in the German towns of Potsdam, Wittenberg, Meissen and Dresden, and in Litomerice in the Czech Republic.
Like the company’s three other new vessels, the Elbe Princesse will be decorated with Missoni Home textiles and furnishings.
The Elbe Princesse will also feature a panoramic restaurant, a lounge bar with a central dance floor and a sun deck.
The Loire Princesse will begin offering 6 to 8 day cruises in April 2015, visiting places in the Pays de la Loire region.
Many of the sites are UNESCO-designated, including Nantes, Saint-Nazaire, Ancenis, Angers, the Castles of the Loire, Saumur and Bouchemaine.
The 30-vessel CroisiEurope fleet claims in-house services allows it to offer cruises 30% cheaper than any other operator offering similar products.
The move is part of a growing trend to open up new destinations in Europe and elsewhere, as river cruising continues to grow and concerns are raised that traditional routes may become overcrowded.
Passengers can choose from a variety of itineraries that explore picturesque riverside cities in France, Italy, Spain, Germany and Belgium while treating guests to on-board dining menus designed alongside Michelin-starred chefs.