With Project Rheingold, Den Breejen Shipyard is serving the market by building a luxury river cruise ship on-spec, based on an optimized platform, with a carefully considered and fully customizable design. The short delivery time of this project offers cruising companies a rare opportunity to quickly expand their fleet when the cruising business picks up.
Project Rheingold is a 135-metre, 182-passenger, 4-star-plus luxury river cruise ship, engineered and build by the renowned craftsmen of Den Breejen Shipyard. Having delivered over 40 custom-built vessels, it’s the first on-spec project for the shipyard; and probably an industry-first. Johan Kaasjager, Den Breejen’s Commercial Director, explains: “The covid crisis has severely affected the cruising industry. Clients are waiting for the market to recover. When that happens, often quite rapidly, clients want to quickly gear-up their operation, expand their fleet and benefit from a short delivery time”.
Special attention to design
Another unique aspect of Project Rheingold, named after the famous Wagner opera, is the attention to design. Johan Kaasjager: “We think that design is still somewhat undervalued in this industry, while it’s probably one of the most important differentiator for a cruising company. A good-looking vessel has a big impact on their customer’s choice, so we think it’s worth the extra effort we put into the design”. That’s why Den Breejen Shipyard teamed-up with the specialists of Omega Architects. While being highly experienced in pleasure crafts design with over 120 motor yachts on the water, Omega has worked on several river cruise ships before. Frank Laupman, Founder of Omega: “What we have in common with Den Breejen is our strong ambition to push the boundaries in designing a river cruiser. We are very excited that the shipyard has invited us for a design commission of both interior and exterior”.
Innovative in form and function
The extraordinary exterior lines of Project Rheingold are a brave new interpretation of the traditional river cruise ship design. The profile of the vessel is one straight line, integrating the hotel area with the restaurant, giving her a sleek and well-balanced appearance. Exterior Designer Joris Manders of Omega: “Although the basic form of a river cruiser seems optimised to the max, there are still significant opportunities to improve and stand out. We have changed crucial and recognizable design features on the bow, entrance and aft part of the ship”. The design efforts are not merely about form. Manders: “One of the functional improvements that we accomplished is the see-through frontal part of the upper deck. When the wheelhouse is lowered to pass a bridge, the captain’s view remains unobstructed, guaranteeing safe manoeuvring”.
Contemporary chic interior
The interior Project Rheingold impresses with her contemporary chic ambiance, inspired by the latest and greatest in modern architecture.Sabrina Zenone, Interior Designer at Omega: “We wanted the interior to really stand out from the traditional designs you see in these vessels. It had to be welcoming, comfortable and luxurious, while at the same time fitting the budget. That required us to think out of the box and come up with innovative solutions. We are particularly proud of the hidden lighting solutions that bring a welcoming change of rhythm and playfulness to the long linear structures on board”. For clients the interior is still pretty much a blank canvas, of course depending on the stage in which they enter the project. There are various styles, colours and materials to choose from, offering 4- to 5-star luxury.
Risk- and worry-free build
For future clients Project Rheingold provides a worry-free build process with limited financial risks, because clients can enter the project when most of the development work is done. Even when the tried and tested platform hull is already under construction, clients can still customize the design to their likings and have their ship ready for delivery in the Spring of 2023. “We are seeing a strong interest in this project, especially from clients who are new to this business and don’t have a reference vessel yet. They want a solid and reliable build from a trusted shipyard, without any negative surprises,” says Kaasjager.