Ipswich-based Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines to enter river cruise market in 2018

The river cruise vessel Brabant on the River Rhine.
Picture: Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

The river cruise vessel Brabant on the River Rhine. Picture: Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines - Credit: Archant

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is to add river boat cruises to its programme next year, with the holidays due to go on sale later this month.

The Ipswich-based company, best known for ocean cruises on its vessels Balmoral, Boudicca, Black Watch and Braemar, is now to offer trips on European rivers including the Danube, Rhine, Main and Moselle using the 156-guest river boat Brabant.

A total of 30 departures are scheduled between April 5 and November 3 2018, ranging in duration from five to 25 nights, and will go on general sale from May 26.

The 110-metre-long Brabant, built in 2006, has just four decks and fewer than 80 rooms and suites but is staffed by 40 crew members. Fred. Olsen says that, being smaller than many river boats, the Brabant will offer guests an approach to cruising similar to that of its ocean cruise ships.

Schedules have been planned to maximise scenic cruising during daylight hours and a variety of shore excursions will also be available as extras.

Justin Stanton, sales and marketing director at Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, said: “At Fred. Olsen, we specialise in creating a ‘home-from-home’ atmosphere on our ocean cruises, and we are proud to be bringing our many decades of expertise and rich sailing heritage to the river cruise market for the very first time.

“In fact, the name Brabant harks back to Fred. Olsen’s historic passenger ship of the same name from the 1920s.

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“Guests can rest assured that the new Fred. Olsen river cruises will be underpinned by the usual high standards, award-winning customer service and understated elegance that they have come to expect of our ocean-going offer.

“We firmly believe that we have crafted the perfect formula to ensure that our new river cruise guests are able to get the most out of their holiday with Fred. Olsen.”

Itineraries on board Brabant for 2018 include: Düsseldorf, Germany to Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Düsseldorf to Nuremberg, Germany; Nuremberg to Budapest, Hungary; Budapest to Hirsova (Bucharest), Romania; Düsseldorf to Basel, Switzerland;and Hirsova (Bucharest) to Düsseldorf.

All the holidays featured in the new River Cruising by Fred. Olsen brochure are based on fly-cruises, with the prices including return flights from/to a London airport and transfers to/from the boat, but cruise-only options are also available.