New ships are a common occurrence in both the ocean and river cruise industries, but it is a lot rarer for a whole new cruise line to make their debut. That is exactly what will happen later this year, though, as brand new operator French America Line begins its itineraries throughout America from the end of August.
Focussing on the Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee Rivers, along with the smaller waterways that litter the USA’s Gulf Coast, the cruises will allow people to experience the history and culture of the Deep South whilst learning about the French influence in this part of the world. As the name suggests, there will be nods to both countries along the way with delicious Parisian cuisine served up as guests sail these beautiful rivers.
The ship, Louisiane, will feature 75 suites and staterooms, providing enough room for a maximum capacity of 150 passengers. Though it is not a brand new vessel, it has received a substantial refurbishment ready for the inaugural sailing of this new cruise line and features more than a few elegant and luxurious touches. Two open-seating restaurants are joined by three more public areas in which guests can relax and take advantage of the complimentary free-flowing spirits, wines, and beers. Soft jazz will drift through the French Quarter Lounge in the evening, whilst the Great River Lounge will show movies on its big screen.
As well as the all-inclusive drinks mentioned above, those choosing to sail with French America Line will get a whole range of services included in the price. Wi-Fi, meals on board, a one-night pre-cruise hotel stay, and informative lectures from onboard ‘Illuminators’ are all part of the cruise fare. Add all that to the in-suite IPads which are already pre-loaded with a range of different e-books, the welcome macaroons that everyone receives when they step on board, and the luxurious Vosges chocolates that adorn your pillow every night and you start to see exactly what to expect from this new operator.
In regards to exploring the destinations, there are various complimentary Traveller Collection excursions on offer. These could include anything from sipping pumpkin ale in St. Louis to petting an alligator in New Orleans. There’s also the option to grab a free bike, helmet and map before heading off to stage your own explorations. A list of Curator Collection excursions will also be on offer, but these will come at an additional charge unless you choose to stay in one of the very swanky Richelieu Suites. Incidentally, if you opt for this accommodation grade, private airport transfers, evening canapes, laundry services and fresh fruit and flowers will also be thrown into the price you pay.
It remains to be seen when and if French America Line will add more ships to its fleet, but it certainly looks as though they will be getting off on the right foot.