Transcend’s accommodations will be flexible, enabling guests to convert adjoining cabins into a suite. Photo Credit: Transcend Cruises
A new European river cruise product is coming to the market.
Transcend Cruises plans to launch in spring 2024, specializing in charter-only sailings that will focus exclusively on business-to-business sales.
The new brand is expecting that two purpose-built ships will sail the Rhine, Danube and Moselle rivers. United River will be the company’s operating partner.
Transcend’s CEO and co-founder, Matthew Shollar, said the company’s focus will be on groups, specifically the meetings, incentive, conference and exhibition market — also known as MICE — who may be looking for experiences beyond the traditional hotel model.
“We are partnering with meeting and incentive planners to deliver a tailored product that puts the planner and their client first and offers opportunities for the MICE market that have until now never been offered on the rivers of Europe,” Shollar said, noting the positive reception the new company had when it first unveiled its launch plans at the Seatrade Cruise Global Conference in Miami in May.
Transcend will also be available for travel advisors with leisure or corporate clients who are looking for a full-ship charter, saying that Transcend would be the right fit for agents who have large family groups.
“The travel advisor community plays a key role in creating group programs — from destination weddings to family reunions, non-profit arts trips and other affinity groups, as well as the crossover between business and leisure that so many agencies focus on today,” Shollar said.
Shollar added that Transcend has an easy-to-sell option for advisors and agencies that provides flat, clearly defined pricing without blackout dates or retail booking surge pricing risks. “We are dedicated to working with advisors to create these exciting new growth options,” he said.
The new river cruise line will also work with tour operators and companies who want to buy full-ship charters and market sailings under their own brand.
The two 120-passenger ships will feature 60 cabins, each at 210 square feet. The staterooms will be flexible, meaning that adjoining cabins can convert into two-bath suites. The convertible stateroom-to-suite configuration, Transcend says, will enable guests to find what suits them best during their time onboard.
The ships will offer a number of public areas, including five spaces that can accommodate group programs, small events, dining, presentations and breakout sessions. There will be a two-story amphitheater to accommodate larger functions. Programs onboard will center around culinary, wellness and fitness.
Transcend Cruises anticipates adding more ships in 2025. The company said bookings for 2024 to 2026 will be available this summer.