CroisiEurope Alters The Look Of Elbe River Cruises

CrosiEurope's new Elbe Princesse is powered by two paddlewheels mounted at her stern. Photo courtesy of CroisiEurope

CrosiEurope’s new Elbe Princesse is powered by two paddlewheels mounted at her stern. Photo courtesy of CroisiEurope

Next week, we’ll be travelling to the historic city of Berlin, Germany to witness the christening of CroisiEurope’s newest river cruise ship, the 80-guest Elbe Princesse. But this is no ordinary river cruise ship; designed to sail the notoriously shallow Elbe River between Berlin and Prague, the Elbe Princesse introduces an entirely new style of cruise ship to the river.

Our christening voyage will stay largely in Berlin, giving us ample time to explore the new Elbe Princesse and photograph her from stem-to-stern. But to fully appreciate the significance of this event, it’s important to look at the Elbe Princesse herself and discover just what makes her so unique.

An Old Idea Revived Onboard A New Ship

Elbe Princesse rendering. Illustration courtesy of CroisiEurope

Elbe Princesse’s two paddlewheels are easily visible in this early rendering. Illustration courtesy of CroisiEurope

At 313 feet long and with a maximum width of 34 feet, the Elbe Princesse looks like any other modern river cruise ship when viewed from the front. Her sleek, sharp bow is more angular than most, and the ship takes on something of a speed-friendly yacht appearance as opposed to a traditional river cruise ship, many of which feature short, blunt bows.

The real difference can be found at her stern: rather than having traditional propeller systems mounted underneath the hull of the ship, Elbe Princess is driven by two stern-mounted paddlewheels.

Separated spatially from the main passenger areas of the ship, these dual paddlewheels provide the necessary propulsion for the ship, along with turning capabilities. Unlike ships that ply the Mississippi (where traditional steamship styling reigns supreme), these state-of-the-art paddlewheels are located on separate sides of the ship, with a single stern anchor in between. It’s a wholly-unique look on the waterways of Europe.

American Queen has been a resounding success along the Mississippi. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle

Paddlewheel ships, while rare in Europe, are quite common along the Mississippi River in North America. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle

The paddlewheels also serve a very functional purpose: because the Elbe is so shallow, placing propellers below the keel adds to the amount of draft – or the amount of the ship that exists below the waterline – that the ship needs to successfully sail. Every foot of draft takes away a foot of available depth. By developing this paddlewheel arrangement, Elbe Princess only extends about 3 feet under the waterline.

Interestingly, this isn’t the first paddlewheel design built by CroisiEurope; the Loire Princesse features two paddlewheels mounted on the port and starboard sides of the vessel.

A New Interior Design

Smart design and genuine service characterizes the onboard experience with CroisiEurope. Photo courtesy of CroisiEurope.

Smart design and genuine service characterizes the onboard experience with CroisiEurope. Photo courtesy of CroisiEurope.

Elbe Princesse also represents an evolution of CroisiEurope’s onboard product. Each of the ship’s 40 staterooms will feature beds positioned towards the windows, allowing guests to enjoy the views of the Elbe and Vltava Rivers at all times. Staterooms will also feature Wi-Fi internet access, flat-panel tv’s, radio channels, hairdryers, a safe and a minibar.

Elsewhere on the ship, a restaurant capable of seating all guests onboard is featured on Main Deck, with a cozy lounge positioned one deck up on Upper Deck. Passenger accommodations are situated all the way forward, while both restaurant and lounge are situated near the stern – and closer to the paddlewheels, meaning any vibration that might exist from them won’t transfer through to the guest accommodations.

Berlin to Prague – Without A Bus

The spectacular German city of Berlin. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia / Creative Commons

The spectacular German city of Berlin. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia / Creative Commons

Many river cruise lines offer a Berlin to Prague journey, but most of these rely on coach transfers to whisk guests all the way to Prague. CroisiEurope plans to sail Elbe Princesse straight into the heart of Prague, thanks to her innovative new design.

Our short time aboard the Elbe Princesse will allow us ample time to explore Berlin and Potsdam, as we travel onboard from April 13 – 17, 2016. Elbe Princesse sets sail on her first revenue voyage on April 19, 2016.

Our Live Voyage Report from onboard CroisiEurope’s Elbe Princesse will begin next week from Berlin, Germany. Be sure to follow along with our adventures on Twitter @deckchairblog.

 

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