A-ROSA River Cruises christens its newest ship in Porto
A-ROSA River Cruises has christened its newest ship, A-ROSA Alva, in Porto. The 126-passenger vessel is the 12th in the fleet and marks the line’s debut on the Portuguese Douro River.
Designed to fit into the river’s compact locks, it is A-ROSA’s smallest ship but carries all of the line’s trademark features including a spa with a sauna and gym. It also has a pool on the sun deck.
Guests gathered on the bank of the Douro in Porto to watch the ship being christened by German singer, songwriter and actress, Yvonne Catterfeld, the vessel’s godmother and A-ROSA’s brand ambassador. Following tradition, she wished the ship and the crew good luck for the sailings ahead and broke a Champagne bottle across the bow to the backdrop of red and white confetti and fireworks.
The line is based in Germany and for the past five years has sold English-speaking cruises on dedicated “international” vessels that have English-speaking hosts to look after passengers and accompany them on shore excursions. Cruises for 2020 on A-ROSA Alva are now on sale through Newmarket Holidays and Shearings Holidays.
The ship will sail on a seven-night itinerary from Porto to Barca d’Alva and back, with an excursion to the ‘golden’ Spanish city of Salamanca. The itinerary will also take in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Alto Douro, the rolling hills of Portugal’s famous port-producing vineyard region and the pilgrimage town of Lamego. There will also be special additional excursions in the autumn to mark the annual grape harvest.
Joerg Eichler, CEO of A-ROSA, said: “The Christening of the A-ROSA Alva further demonstrates the rise in popularity of contemporary European city-to-city holidays. Six years ago we started to invest in product innovation, marketing and sales and we have thus started to change the entire river cruise sector. River cruises have developed in recent years to become a more experience-led holiday for the entire family. After six years of investment, the A-ROSA Alva enables us to introduce both a new ship and a new destination and we will continue our expansion journey in this way.”
Lucia Rowe, managing director of A-ROSA River Cruises UK and Ireland added: “We are delighted that for 2020 the ship will be on sale through Newmarket Holidays and Shearings Holidays. Our UK partners have asked for Portugal as a destination and the Douro as a sailing region for many years and we are so pleased that we can now fulfil this demand and expand into this popular region.”
A-ROSA is notable as the only river line offering free cruises for children under 15 on every departure on all itineraries.
Earlier this year the line revealed plans for a new “E-Motion” river vessel on the Rhine featuring sustainable technology to reduce the line’s carbon footprint.
The ground-breaking 140-cabin vessel, scheduled for delivery in spring 2021 and with a sister ship planned for 2023, is being designed specifically for family and multi-generational cruises. It will be equipped with battery propulsion for emission free sailing in and out of ports of call and “air bubble” technology to reduce fuel consumption. The concept will allow the ship to switch to battery power when approaching a destination and arrive emission-free. Like all other ships in the fleet, it will be fitted with a shore power connection, meaning the battery can be charged overnight and allowing the ship to depart from the city in the same way.
It will also be the first ship on the Rhine with four passenger decks – the majority of other ships have three. The new generation ship will also have large family cabins, with some sleeping up to five, a dedicated children’s club and a separate children’s pool – another first for river vessels – next to a large swimming pool on the sun deck, plus an area set aside in the restaurant if youngsters want to eat together with their siblings and friends.
Known as the ‘River Cruise Queen’, Jeannine Williamson is an award-winning travel writer, cruise expert and our cruise correspondent, who has clocked up thousands of nautical miles.
Photographs courtesy of A-ROSA River Cruises