The MS Swiss Emerald is one of two new river boats to be launched by the US-based river cruise company Tauck World Discovery. Tauck has seen a massive growth in the popularity of its European river cruises in recent years and has responded by putting more luxury vessels into operation, boosting its river departures by 87%.
The company operates five different river cruise itineraries in Europe, including the Danube and a 24-day Grand River cruise from Amsterdam to the Black Sea. The cruises are run by Tauck’s Swiss subsidiary, Scylla Tours.
In February 2006, the manager of Scylla Tours in Belgium, Trudy Koolen, officially launched the Swiss Emerald in Dordrecht, the Netherlands. Following fitting out, the ship entered service in mid-2006.
The vessel requires 29 crewmembers and accommodates 118 guests in 59 outside-facing cabins. The rooms include 14,300ft² luxury suites with floor-to-ceiling windows, walk-in dressing room/wardrobes and marble bathrooms with full-size baths. Every cabin is equipped with a plasma TV, hotel-sized beds, mini-bar, radio, safe and individual air conditioning.
The ship’s teak panelled lido bar has a fully retractable 180° glass wall that can be moved to allow passengers access to the aft deck for cocktail parties. The lido bar also serves tea, coffee and light snacks through the day and has internet access for guests.
The ship will offer two hot tubs, a bar and lounge, restaurant and wellness/fitness centre spa with 24-hour Jacuzzi pool and sauna and steam room (there is also a whirlpool bath on the sundeck).
The MS Swiss Emerald was constructed at the Hardinxveld shipyard by Jac den Breejen between mid-2004 and early 2006. The ship is 361ft (110m) long, 37ft (11m) wide and has a draft of 4ft (1.2m). The ship was designed to be open and airy making full use of natural light. The ship has three decks plus a sun deck (the diamond deck, ruby deck and the emerald deck).
The propulsion system of the ship includes two Veth-Z-Drive counter-rotating propellers (VZ-800A-CR) rated at 783kW at 1,600rpm (Veth Motoren BV). Dolderman BV supplied two Caterpillar 953pk engines and two C18 Caterpillar electrical generators (John Deere-type 4045TF158). There is also one Veth-Jet bow thruster (2-K-1000) with a power rating of 294kW.
The MS Swiss Sapphire is the sister ship of the Emerald and is currently under construction in the Netherlands and will enter service in the first quarter of 2008. The Sapphire and the Emerald are identical (the MS Swiss Diamond, which completes the river boat fleet, is also in service). All of the company’s river cruise vessels are registered in Switzerland.