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Scenic founds new company: Emerald Waterways

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Home >> Scenic founds new company: Emerald Waterways

Earlier this year, I have already reported about Riva Waterways. Riva was founded by Scenic in order to manage their own ships for their Evergreen Tours river cruises. Until now, Evergreen usually charters river cruise ships from Lüftner Cruises. With a new company Scenic wanted to provide two ships exclusively for Evergreen. The ships were going to be the Riva Princess and the Riva Royale.

The last days, new rumors and PR releases appeared on the internet, that Scenic Tours founds another cruise lines for European River Cruises, named Emerald Waterways. Their official website is launched on August 21st 2014. This confused me a bit: The river cruise market is booming, nearly all cruise lines introduced new ships for 2014. But founding two companies in one year? This seemed a bit too much. And indeed, Emerald Waterways is the new name for Riva Waterways - in order to avoid confusion and legal disputes with the yacht builder Riva. Consequently the two new ships, Emerald Star and Emerald Sky are the new names for the Riva Royale and the Riva Princess.

As disclosed here in early June, the river start-up brand that is a division of Evergreen Tours, a wholly owned subsidiary of Scenic Tours, was originally called Riva Waterways but Scenic founder and md Glen Moroney told Seatrade Insider the Italian superyacht builder, Riva, had queried the name. To avoid a dispute, Moroney changed the company name, along with that of the vessels, originally called Riva Royale and Riva Princess.

Seatrade Insider on Riva Emerald Waterways

The ships are going to cruise the Rhine Main Danube river system as far down as Budapest. Emerald Waterways will offer shorter river cruises as Scenic or Evergreen. 7 Days from Budapest to Nuremberg on the Danube and Main Danube Canal (with an optional extension to Prague). And a 12 Days river cruise from Basel to Amsterdam with a detour on the Moselle river and its quaint little towns. Read more about their Itineraries on Travelandtourworld.

Both, the Emerald Sky and Emerald Star are going to introduce some interesting features and carry around 180 PAX. Especially the following quote from the PR departement is of interest: Outside dining. One problem of river cruises are closed sundecks due to low clearance heights of bridges and locks on the rivers. You can get an idea of this problem by having a look at my picture set of the Viking Vienna entering a lock. The Viking longships have solved this problem by adding a terrace at the bow of the ships. Emerald promises to introduce ocean cruising feeling to the rivers:

Passengers will find more of an ocean-cruising flavour about the two ships, which will offer more places to relax and dine outside – a feature notably absent on most river ships. “It will bring more of a holiday element to our river cruises,” said Townson, “and the option of seven-night itineraries might encourage a younger demographic.”

The Telegraph on Emerald River Cruises

I am really looking forward to see their deckplans and how they try to solve this problem. The river cruise ships dimensions are limited due to the locks, either 110m x 11.40m or 135m x 11.40m. With 180 PAX they are most likely going to take the larger version. The interesting point is going to be, are they going to shorten the lounge (like Viking did on the long ships), or are they going to have outside space along the lounge (making it narrower). The second is not used any more, this can be found on some older ships, like the Regina Rheni or the Viking Neptune and its sistership Viking Europe. For some reasons the outside seatings along the ships side was abandoned over the last few years.

The other thing that is interesting in the quote is the idea of focussing on a younger audience, but not going to offer any Family Cruises. This was also mentioned by another spokesman:

Speaking at the celebrations of the launch of Emerald Waterways Simon Whittle, Marketing Manager, said: “The introduction of shorter and cheaper itineraries, plus the contemporary design of the ships, is a step towards opening river cruising to a wider, and younger, audience.”

Cruise International

The shorter itineraries are more likely to be tried by newbies interested in a river cruise, who just want to try it out. Or those who can not afford the whole 2 weeks standard cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest offered by Scenic. Furthermore they seem to target the british, american and canadian market with these cruises - it does not really pay off to fly 24 hours from Australia just for a 7 days cruise. Interestingly I get forwarded to a US subdomain when try to get on the Emerald Website. Emerald Waterways seems to be a four star river cruise competing with Viking and Avalon Waterways (says USAToday). We will see how that works out.

And last but not least another open question remains: What is going to happen with Evergreen Tours, Scenics budget company competing with APT on the australian market? Riva Emerald Waterways was going to be founded to have their own ships for the Evergreen Tours. Now they try to target another audience with these ships. So will Emerald share the Emerald Star and Emerald Sky with Evergreen OR are they still going to charter Lüftner ships the next year?

We will figure it out soon. Once their itineraries and ships details are out, I am going to include them in the river cruise database of course.