SMARTreport Commercial Content
Arno Reitsma, Founder and CEO of Swiss luxury river cruise shipbuilder Scylla AG, spoke to Hotel & Tourism SMARTreport about the evolution of the cruise market in Europe, and the health of Scylla’s business.
River cruising is growing year on year and has evolved from an upcoming sector to a mature sector. Looking at the forecasts, the tourist sector is predicted to grow in the coming years. River cruising is exceeding these general numbers. Being the most convenient way of travelling, discovering different places in a limited time span, without packing and unpacking, the potential for our sector is big. Growth areas include: origin of guests, new areas to sail, diversification of the product and diversification of guests’ ages.
THROUGHOUT THE YEARS, WE HAVE BEEN THE FIRST TO EXPLORE NEW WATERWAYS IN EUROPE, BUT ALSO TECHNICALLY WE ARE AN INNOVATIVE BRAND, INVESTING IN MAKING OUR SHIPS BETTER
How has Scylla has been evolving – any new vessels or routes?
To address the growth of the sector, Scylla builds three new ships yearly. Our latest new ships are the MS Anna Katharina and the MS Andorinha. This new ship takes Scylla into new territory: it will be our first ship on the Douro river in Portugal. Additionally, we have also purchased our first sea-going vessels which will start operating in 2021. The former MS Bremen will be sailing the Scylla ag as MS Seascape.
What are the key assets of the MS Seascape?
The ship operates in the highest ice- classification, meaning it has the ability to go to the most difficult sailing regions around the poles. Grand yet intimate, with space for 164 passengers, the ship is similar in hotel operations to our existing fleet of river cruises. Because of this, we can further build on our experience in offering qualitative, luxurious and personal travel experiences.
What would you say are the three key selling points of Scylla overall?
Scylla creates products custom-built for its clients, taking care of the full value chain from ship design, build, nautical operations, to hotel operations, sailing routes, docking and excursions. Everything we do is from a partnership perspective, tailored to the needs and wishes of our clients.
Being a family-owned company, we also highly value the importance of long- term relationships based on experience and trust. We have worked with the same group of suppliers for years, which helps create operational and qualitative excellence. Throughout the years, we have been the first to explore new waterways in Europe, but also technically we are an innovative brand, investing in making our ships better, generation after generation.
Photo: Arno Reitsma, Founder and CEO, Scylla AG