It sounds like one of the best kept secrets in the industry. If Cunard Line executives are right, the company's river cruises are every bit as luxurious as its ocean cruises, and are ready to be discovered by the American cruise market.
The company just announced that it has expanded its fleet with the addition of two so-called five-star vessels, the Mozart and the Dresden.
Cunard will handle global sales and marketing for the two new vessels in addition to three it took under its umbrella, Cunard EuropAmerica River Cruises, last year. The vessels are owned by Peter Deilmann Redereei of Germany.
Built in 1987, the Mozart is 396 feet with a 74-foot beam and is the largest river vessel in Europe carrying 212 passengers with a crew of 83.
The Dresden, which was built in 1991, is 304 feet with a 35-foot beam and carries 110 passengers with a crew of 47.
Each vessel has four decks, is fully air-conditioned and features single-seating dining, lounge, bar, cafe, boutique, library and nightly entertainment.
Cabins are 200-square-feet on the Mozart and 175-square-feet on the Dresden and include mini-bar, color television, telephone, sofa and desk with queen-sized or two twin beds.
Cruising speed ranges from 12 to 15 knots.
The cruise staff is German, Austrian and Hungarian. Announcements are given in English and German.
According to Laurie Myers, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Cunard EuropAmerica Cruises, the passenger mix is 60 percent European and 40 percent American.
Five Vessel Fleet
The fleet of five vessels sails seven-day cruises:
The Mozart sails on the Danube River making calls in Austria, Hungary, Germany and the Slovak Republic.
The Dresden sails on the Elbe between Hamburg and Dresden.
The Danube Princess also sails on the Danube; the Prussian Princess sails on the Rhine River, the Dutch Canals, and the Main Danube Canal; the Princesse de Provence sails on the Rhone River.
All of the vessels feature ports of call every day.
Rates start at $1,398 per person, double occupancy, in the value season for the Mozart; $1,465 for the Dresden; $1,220 for the Danube Princess; $1,465 for the Prussian Princess; and $1,476 for the Princess de Provence.
Cunard is offering a 50 percent savings off the river vessel cruise rate for passengers who combine their cruise with a transatlantic crossing aboard the QE2.
Cunard also offers packages in combination with other Cunard ocean cruises and air from 34 major cities throughout the United States