Page 47: of Maritime Reporter Magazine (January 2016)

Ship Repair & Conversion Edition

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ditional renovation each of Star Pride in April 2016, which was moderately updated in 2014. All three vessels are 440 feet long and are equipped with twin propellers and four Bergen marine diesel engines. The company has doubled its ? eet from three to six sailing and power yachts.

“The great thing about adding these vessels is not only increasing our capac- ity but also to introduce new voyages to our guests,” says Hans Birkholz, Wind- star Cruises’ CEO. In fact, Windstar ex- pects to begin offering circumnavigation (Courtesy: SunStone Ships) voyages around Iceland in 2016.

One of the advantages, Birkholz says, on the Columbia and Snake Rivers and It’s close to home and it’s comfortable. changed, vessel designers have had to of small ships is when visiting ports, is named American Pride). The 185-pas- The quality of the cruise and the ships keep up. ACL’s domestic ? eet are built there are more berthing options and the senger America, followed in the latter are so much better than the ones we were to ABS speci? cations, which are in line disembarkation of 140-300 passengers part of the year, which introduced fea- building just 10 or 15 years ago.” with the U.S. Coast Guard regulations. doesn’t disturb the natural rhythm of the tures never before seen on a riverboat. Chesapeake Shipbuilding designs and And for their efforts, Chesapeake Ship- local people. Plus there isn’t the typical America is scheduled to begin navigat- builds ACL vessels. ACL has its own building has ? ve naval architects and outlay of cruise tourist activities that oc- ing the Mississippi River and its tributar- interior designers, and Robertson notes two engineers to keep on top of these as cur with large cruise lines.

ies in the spring. interior design has changed with the evo- well as international IMO regulations as

Windstar’s vessels cruise to 50 nations

ACL is also anticipating more de- lution of the market. Smaller ships that required.

and 150 ports throughout Europe. “We mand. “We’re doing more marketing and once had two or three lounges may now Small ship cruising, although special- serve the inquisitive traveler,” says Birk-

I think other companies are, too,” says have six or seven. The fabrics and col- ized, certainly seems to be enjoying its holz. “They want a collection of experi-

Charles Robertson, President and CEO. ors used are different as are the wall and own steady forward momentum. “I think ences versus a collection of things,” he “River cruising and small ship cruising ? oor coverings but in general, he says, the rate of growth is probably a bit faster adds, referring to the main baby boomer has got a lot of attention in the press the the design is still traditional. The river for the small ships than the large right generation who want more than just an last few years and all that contributes to boats have a Victorian feel, whereas the now,” says Robertson. “It’s easier than onboard experience. “I believe the over- it. I think there is a greater awareness in coastal and ocean vessels are more coun- travelling by land or air, checking in and all travel market is growing in America. all of the markets that small ship cruising try-club theme oriented. out of hotels and so on. It’s a pretty el-

In particular, the upscale travel market. and river boat cruising is very desirable. And as the regulatory environment has egant way to go.”

We have a growing economy and demo- graphics also play a big role.”

Interior designs are important on any cruise ship, and in particular, the small- er intimate vessels. “When expedition ships came onto the cruising scene back in the mid-1960s, it was all about des- tination and the ship interiors had rela- tively little importance,” explains To- mas Tillberg. “Now passengers expect a better environment and higher quality food and service.” On the river cruising front, Tillberg says the river boat mar- ket is much more developed in Europe than in the U.S. where modern replicas of steamboats ply inland rivers but there is still has strong demand for this prod- uct in the U.S. In fact, CLIA reports their member cruise lines currently deploy over 170 river cruise ships with 18 new river cruise vessels on order, an increase of 10 percent over 2015.

America’s heartland is where Ameri- can Cruise Lines (ACL) river boats op- erate. Built in the U.S., the 150-person capacity American Eagle paddlewheeler was delivered to American Cruise Lines in early 2015, and was renamed the

Queen of the Mississippi as she works on the Mississippi River (the previous

Queen of the Mississippi is now working 47

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