In May A-ROSA is going to start operating on Portugal's Douro River, and plans for a new vessel tailored to multigenerational travelers are proceeding. This family-focused newbuild would sport innovative facilities and is expected to be inaugurated in 2021.
Seine itineraries performed well
A-ROSA increased profit and turnover on the same capacity in 2018. Jörg Eichler, shareholder and CEO, said Seine River cruises—added in 2017—developed very well. In addition, itineraries focused on cities and offers for families helped drive the successful season.
During 2019, A-ROSA is optimistic about keeping on course. Bookings through the end of January were up 9% year over year. The operator has newly added culinary cruises on the Danube, and A-ROSA Donna has been upgraded with restyled interiors.
The main news for 2019, however, is A-ROSA's expansion to the Douro where the newbuild A-ROSA Alva is scheduled to embark on its maiden voyage May 1. Until November, A-ROSA is offering seven-day itineraries between Porto and Barca d’Alva, which have been extremely well received by the German market.
Eichler said the Douro has proven a perfect choice for A-ROSA's expansion, with bookings budgeted for all of 2019 already reached at the beginning of the year.
As the next step in its expansion strategy, A-ROSA is planning an innovative vessel for Central Europe—expected to sail on the Rhine—starting in 2021. As a novelty in the German river cruise market, the new vessel will be designed for families. Larger cabins, diverse on-board entertainment and other facilities including a large pool are aimed at making river cruising attractive to younger clientele, including children.
A-ROSA has been working on the project for some time, and Seatrade Cruise News understands a contract is likely to be signed this year.
Efforts to attract families to its current fleet are bearing fruit. Some 2,400 children sailed on A-ROSA vessels last year, mainly of course during the German school holidays.