Continuing its expansion in Europe, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. announced today it is launching a new cruise brand, CDF Croisieres de France, committed to the French market. The new brand will begin sailing its first ship, Bleu de France, in May, 2008, after the ship has completed extensive renovations and undergone a cultural transformation wholly adapting the brand experience to French tastes.
The new line will operate one ship initially when it begins operations. The 376-cabin ship was the former luxury liner Europa when it was owned by Hapag Lloyd. Currently, it is Pullmantur's Holiday Dream. As the flagship of the new brand, Bleu de France will benefit from a euro 30-million overhaul, significantly altering many of the ship's public spaces, guest accommodations, entertainment venues and dining options.
The onboard experience of Bleu de France's guests will be totally French, from cuisine to entertainment to decor. French will be the language used on the ship as well.
The ship will sail a Mediterranean itinerary, departing from Marseille, France, starting in Spring, 2008. It will shift to a Caribbean routing, sailing out of La Romana, Dominican Republic, beginning in Winter, 2008-2009.
"We are thrilled with this opportunity to enter the French cruise market with a custom-tailored brand for French cruisers," said CDF Croisieres de France Managing Director Brigitte Tissier. "Our start-up efforts will clearly benefit from the global success and experience of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.'s family of brands, and we look forward to launching another stellar brand into that circle of excellence."
Equally enthusiastic about the new brand, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chairman and CEO Richard Fain, added, "We are very excited about bringing French cruising to the French market. We have a high demand for the product, a ship tailor-made for the market, and a highly talented team to lead the effort. I couldn't be more pleased."
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is a global cruise vacation company that operates Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Pullmantur, Azamara Cruises, and, now, CDF Croisieres de France. The company has a combined total of 35 ships in service and seven under construction. It also offers unique land-tour vacations in Alaska, Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe, Latin and South America and New Zealand. Additional information can be found on www.royalcaribbean.com, www.celebrity.com. www.pullmantur.es, www.azamaracruises.com or www.rclinvestor.com.