Set to debut in spring 2018, the 80-passenger Elbe Princesse will be the third ship in the CroisiEurope fleet to incorporate modern paddle-wheel technology and an ultra-low draft that will enable it to navigate the notoriously shallow waters of the Elbe through Germany and the Czech Republic.
Joining its identical sister ship -- Elbe Princesse -- the latest vessel will sail on round trip cruises between Berlin and Prague on the Elbe and the Vltava rivers. The third paddle-wheel ship in the French-owned fleet, Loire Princesse, sails on the Loire.
Carrying 80 passengers, the 40 cabins on Elbe Princesse II are divided between the two passenger decks, with 24 on the Upper Deck and the remainder on the Main Deck. Upper Deck cabins feature a French balcony with sliding-glass doors, and the Main Deck cabins have large windows.
Currently under construction in Saint-Nazaire, the ship's sleek, modern design will be similar to Elbe Princesse, with bright decor in both the cabins and public areas.
The majority of cabins are standard, measuring 156 square feet, and there are two categories of smaller cabins, that measure 117 square feet or 129 square feet, respectively. There is one wheelchair-accessible cabin, conveniently situated next to Reception, which measures 141 square feet and has a wide doorway and larger bathroom equipped with facilities such as a stool and grab bars. However, it should be noted that the ship does not have a lift and passengers need to be able to negotiate stairs.
All cabins have a bathroom with shower, air conditioning, hair dryer, safe, dressing table/desk, mini-bar, flat-screen satellite TV, cabin-to-cabin phone and radio. Unusual for river cruise lines, the beds -- which can be configured as twins or doubles -- face the window and provide great views of the passing scenery.
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Onboard amenities include a lounge bar with large picture windows and a dance floor on the Upper Deck, outdoor patio area and a restaurant on the Main Deck that serves all passengers in one sitting. The line places a lot of emphasis on its French heritage, and meals onboard are inspired by France's culinary tradition, with leisurely served three-course lunches and dinners featuring many of the country's classic dishes. Unlike the majority of other lines, CroisiEurope does not operate an open-seating policy at mealtimes and passengers will be allocated tables at the start of the cruise and be seated with fellow English-speakers. Also, there are set menus at lunch and dinner, with little choice for alternatives. However, vegetarians and passengers with other dietary requirements can be accommodated if they contact the line prior to sailing.
The ship also has a Sun Deck with loungers and a small shop. With the exception of a few premium brands, all drinks are included in the fare, along with free Wi-Fi. Tipping is optional, and left to the discretion of individual passengers.
In addition to passengers from its native French homeland, CroisiEurope attracts international travelers and all staff are bilingual, with onboard information and announcements in English along with English-speaking guides on excursions.