FEBRUARY 23, 2014 — European river cruise specialist CroisiEurope is to start offering cruises on France's longest river, the Loire, and has ordered three specially designed 295 ft x 49 ft paddle wheelers from Neopolia, a network of Loire region industrial companies.
Paddle wheel propulsion was chosen to enable the vessel to navigate shallow stretches of the Loire
The first of the vessels, the Loire Princess, will be delivered in 2015 and will operate eight-day cruises between Nantes and Angers, accommodating 96 passengers in 48 cabins.
The hull will be built by Mécasoud, a long time subcontractor to shipbuilder STX France, which is a Neopolia partner and which will make its expertise and infrastructure available for final assembly.
The vessel has been designed by Nantes based design firm Stirling Design International (SDI) and naval architecture and marine engineering firms Ship ST and Arco Marine. Hydrodynamics studies of the hull and the paddle wheels are being carried out by HydrOcean.
All 48 cabins offer exterior views, with the 30 cabins on the upper deck having large balconies.
The river is very shallow upstream of Nantes and, in designing the paddle wheels, the results of tank tests carried out in the 1950s by the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland have been studied and further investigations made using computational fluid dynamics.
Length overall: 88.80 m
Waterline length: 83.60 m
Overall breath: 15.30 m
Molded breath: 10.80 m
Design draft: 0.80 m
Maximum air draft: 7.75 m
Minimum air draft: 5.30 m
Design Speed: 15 km/h
Propulsive Power, Diesel: 2 x 500 hp