September 13, 2007
Royal Caribbean launches French cruise brand
A cruise ship built in 1981 by Bremer Vulkan as the Hapag-Lloyd Europa, is to have yet another incarnation. After a Euros 30 million make-over, the ship will emerge as the Bleu de France, the flag ship of a new Royal Caribbean brand--CDF Croisieres de France--targeting the French market.
The 376-cabin ship is currently sailing as Pullmantur's Holiday Dream. The vessel was acquired by Pullmantur in 2004 and had been in service prior to that as SuperStar Aries with Star Cruises, which bought it from Hapag Lloyd in 1999.
The vessel is scheduled to begin sailing as Bleu de France in May, 2008, after undergoing what Royal Caribbean "calls a cultural transformation wholly adapting the brand experience to French tastes."
The onboard experience of Bleu de France's guests will be totally French, from cuisine to entertainment to decor. French will be the language used on the ship.
Bleu de France will sail a Mediterranean itinerary, departing from Marseille, France, starting in Spring, 2008. It will shift to a Caribbean routing, sailing out of La Romana, Dominican Republic, beginning in Winter, 2008-2009.
"We are thrilled with this opportunity to enter the French cruise market with a custom-tailored brand for French cruisers," said CDF Croisieres de France Managing Director Brigitte Tissier. "Our start-up efforts will clearly benefit from the global success and experience of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.'s family of brands, and we look forward to launching another stellar brand into that circle of excellence."
Equally enthusiastic about the new brand, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chairman and CEO Richard Fain, added, "We are very excited about bringing French cruising to the French market. We have a high demand for the product, a ship tailor-made for the market, and a highly talented team to lead the effort. I couldn't be more pleased."