River cruising has been one of the fastest growing sectors of the passenger shipping industry in Europe over the past five years. The specialist fleet of river-going cruise ships has increased accordingly. However, the growth in the number of river cruise vessels in service on Europe’s waterways has heightened competition in what has been very much a niche market. Increasingly companies need that all-important unique selling point to differentiate them from their rivals in a rapidly saturating marketplace.
Against that backdrop, a number of leading operators have found the answer lies with Bolideck® Future Teak, a light weight and environmentally-sustainable synthetic alternative to real teak, which gives their vessels the high quality look and feel that sets them apart. One of these is Rostock-based A-Rosa Cruises, which operates a fleet of 15 ships on the Rivers Danube, Rhône, Saône, Rhine, Maine and Mosel, and which has achieved considerable success in the premium, high-end river cruise segment.
Dirk Sobotka, A-Rosa Director, Strategic Development, says: “Bolideck® Future Teak is an important feature of our ships, both for our guests and for us as an operator. Our experience shows clearly that it gives us a competitive edge in the market.”
As well as enhancing the visual appearance of its fleet of river cruisers, A-Rosa has experienced a number of other benefits from using the Dutch company’s synthetic product onboard its ships. “Bolideck® Future Teak combines a high level of durability with excellent ‘cleanability’,” says Mr Sobotka.
“It is also easy, and relatively low cost to maintain, while its anti-slip and UV resistant properties make it ideal for use on exterior decks, as well as inside”
A-Rosa Cruises has collaborated with Bolidt on both newbuildings and repair and maintenance projects, and the two companies have built up a high degree of mutual respect. Mr Sobotka says: “Bolidt is an extremely innovative, customer focused company with a superior product range. Having worked on a number of projects with them, I can say that their commitment to everything they do makes them stand out as a company; and it is clear they believe in delivering consistently high service standards.”
Another European river cruise operator that has benefitted from using Bolideck® Future Teak is Viking River Cruises. The company now operates a fleet of more than 55 river going cruise vessels, having taken delivery of around 40 new ships in the past five years, and the majority of these have Bolideck® Future Teak onboard.
Viking took delivery of seven more new Longship type vessels in March this year. Viking Vilhjalm, Viking Alruna, Viking Egil and Viking Tialfi are operating on the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers; Viking Kadlin and Viking Rolf on the River Seine and Viking Osfrid on Portugal’s River Duoro. All of these vessels, built at Neptun Werft in Germany, feature Bolideck® Future Teak within cabin balconies and verandas; the forward lounge decks, including the Aquavit and Wintergarden terraces; the embarkation decks; shuffleboard areas on the top decks; and on the staircases and main entrances.
Viking Cruises has also been taking full advantage of an annual deck maintenance service offered by Bolidt. Some 32 vessels - more than half of company’s fleet – had their decking cleaned and renewed at various European ports earlier this year. Areas covered with Bolideck® Future Teak were scoured and cleaned using a machine developed by Bolidt specifically for the purpose, with the off-season maintenance program ensuring ‘good as new’ condition and flooring life expectancy extended for years to come.
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