Cruising into a new market

Wednesday, March 06 - 2013

V.Group has entered into a new market after signing a deal with a luxury river cruise operator.

As part of its expansion strategy to offer both technical, crewing and hotel operation services to the river cruise market, V.Ships Leisure has been appointed as technical manager of Lüftner Cruises' Amadeus Symphony.

The 146 passenger vessel operates on the French rivers Rhone and Saone and will be managed from V.Ships' Monaco office, with the possibility of managing a second vessel next year.

Lüftner Cruises, based in Innsbruck, Austria, operates a fleet of luxury river cruise ships throughout Europe and recognised by outsourcing management they would benefit from increased efficiencies and the ability to maintain focus on the rest of their operations.

Dr. Wolfgang Lüftner, founder and owner of Lüftner Cruises, said: "We are very pleased to be working with a professional partner like V.Ships, and I am certain we will achieve synergies utilising our combined know-how.

"We are particularly interested in learning from V.Ships Leisure's experience from the ocean going cruise industry and shipping in general covering areas like crewing, safety and quality and project management of refurbishments."

Per Bjornsen, Commercial Director of V.Ships Leisure, said: "V.Ships Leisure will provide, as part of its services, a customised river safety management system which voluntary introduces procedures similar to that mandatory on oceangoing vessels.

"This represents a key milestone for V.Ships Leisure and the river cruise industry where potentials for increased efficiency, safety and economies of scale are at the forefront of both owners and ship managers."

V.Ships Leisure has previous experience with river cruises in the US, when they managed a fleet of seven U.S.-flagged and built ships on behalf of Majestic America Line trading in the North American Rivers.