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*Back from France/River cruise boats*

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Old 11-05-2015, 02:52 PM
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A.
Posts: 1,573

*European 'quays'/Your cruise*
Hi, Jim!'
So, I was right remembering you two did cruise on European rivers--Rhone etc. What got me about the Rhone was not only it's considerable width at Avigon but the rapid current. Your views, news, talk with their purser about crew...long hours...about what I expected. Those river cruise boat people work and work hard with, as you say, many jobs to do. We see this also on the big blue water cruise ships annually or or more often with waiters, bus boys and girls, stewards, bar tenders working other jobs.

The big question I had--and not anwswered--is if VIKING designers will/have rethought the design of their boat there for the rivers here. This meaning a lower 'steamboat bow' with some kind of landing stage while eliminating the port/starboard loading gangway doors. I thought I was clear in writing but yes, I did mention the old, traditional 'landing quays' on European rivers where the boats just slip alongside and tie up. This far from what they may find here with our vast rivers, big rises of water for a long time. The Loire, Rhone, Seine etc. do flood there with recent drastic impact. Any American river city who jumps on the band wagon upon being 'lured' by VIKING to build river-side 'quay' type landing spots better think again. A few recent reports tell of European rivers in flood stage with those boats tied up unable to get under many of those very old, classic bridges with multiple arches. In some locales I did see newer high bridges for easier clearance. I didn't see 'Unifworld's' RIVER ROYAL but did see, 'walk' their huge CATHERINE with the green neon lights outlining the decks. We also saw going in and out of Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris a number of arriving passengers with reps with red flags and clip boards in uniform to meet them for VIKING, UNIWORLD, AVON etc. Then today I looked in my U.S. Mail box only to find one fancy, slick book from VIKING with information on their cruises, prices, deck plans etc. for year 2016. How they got my name I can only guess. Looks wonderful--but you'll pay for it.

Now another brochure here from CRYSTAL Cruises announcing they are entering the European river cruise market with a new fleet of five vessels that are stunning. VIKING bought up former Peter Deilman vessels with others to be remodeled, expanded--even reducing some boats to lesser passenger capacity with larger cabins and full big suites with pool, gym, running track on top etc. CRYSTAL also to offer not only culinary spectacles in their dining rooms but take passengers ashore for Michellin-starred restaurants and evening events.

Our own American rivers are vast, beautiful even without castles and palaces. The potential is here and waiting. ACL, AMERICAN QUEEN and, hopefully, DELTA QUEEN can well compete. Time will tell and we shall see. It's a tough market with some often being 'shaken out' or taken over.

R. Dale Flick
Old Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River, Cincinnati
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