CroisiEurope Cruises has revealed it may build as many as six river ships to sail in Africa, after announcing plans to launch a second vessel on the continent.
The Zimbabwean Dream will begin sailing in March 2020 and follows the French-headquartered line’s African Dream, which launched in March and currently operates in Lake Kariba.
The new vessel will be a sister ship to African Dream and feature eight cabins.
Speaking onboard CroisiEurope’s MS Renoir in Paris ahead of the Clia River Cruise Conference, Lucas Schmitter, e-commerce and sales director and grandson of founder Gerard Schmitter told TTG: “There will be a third, we are just deciding when to launch it”.
“Depending on the partners we are talking with at the end of this month we should be able to make a decision.
“I have been to Africa so many times and it’s so unique so we could have maybe three or perhaps six so it could be as many as that but we don’t want to crowd the area and want to let the animals live their lives, so it will always remain small ships with a very, very little imprint on the wildlife and nature.”
Schmitter said UK trade events around its African ships, African Dream and the upcoming Zimbabwean Dream were being planned for 2019.
“Some events are planned for the UK trade and we want to talk more about African Dream and make them excited for the ship come."
He also revealed CroisiEurope was eyeing “some new bases in Africa and Asia” to expand to in future.
“We have five ships on the Mekong and operate ships in Myanmar as well but there are some other places we are looking at too,” he said.
The line will also add a sixth ship for the Douro and a fourth on the Rhone, the Rhone Princess next year, Michel Grimm, international sales director said.
Discussing the status of tourism in Zimbabwe following the resignation of long-time leader Robert Mugabe last year, Schmitter said CroisiEurope saw the African nation as “open for business”.
“With the change in government the country is open for business and they want to the tourism and I think when people come back they will see what a change the country has had.”
“The people are so kind. They want to help you to discover the country - it’s an amazing place."
On UK operations, Schmitter said CroisiEurope, which hired John Fair as UK sales director in February, had seen “almost a 30% growth” in trade sales during 2018.
“Based on the growth, the plan is to keep on investing and hiring people,” he added.