European river cruise specialist VIVA Cruises celebrated its fifth birthday with a special anniversary cruise. Key national and international partners gathered on VIVA ONE, VIVA Cruises’ very first build ship, and looked back on the impressive company history – and its plans for the future.
“It started with an idea and a dream”, recalls Arno Reitsma. In 2017, the CEO of VIVA Cruises decided to establish his own sales brand under the umbrella of his Swiss shipping company, Scylla AG.
The concept and business plan were quickly finalised, and he also found what he calls “the best person for the job”: industry expert Andrea Kruse, who is now the company’s COO.
The only thing missing was a suitable name. After many ideas and combinations, the “VIVA Cruises” brand was finally born.
On 3 November 2018, the Savor – the first river cruise ship exclusively for VIVA Cruises – set sail on the Danube. Just two years later, it was time to have a ship of its own.
Swiss Tiara was renovated and modernised and became VIVA TIARA, which would lay the foundation stone of the company’s fleet. For many, VIVA TIARA remains the favourite member of the VIVA Cruises family.
However, shortly after the VIVA TIARA was put into service, Covid-19 and a global lockdown put the brakes on the ambitious growth of the company. However, the river cruise specialist quickly found its way back out of the crisis and, in the summer of 2020, brought guests back to the rivers with short and themed cruises.
The company continued to grow and, in March 2022, launched its very first build ship, VIVA ONE, christened in its home port of Düsseldorf. In April 2023, VIVA Cruises launched its second build ship, VIVA TWO, and the third one, VIVA ENJOY, will join the fleet in autumn 2024.
Anniversary cruise with show programme
To mark the anniversary, the two managing directors, Arno Reitsma (CEO) and Andrea Kruse (COO), invited some key national and international business partners to a special river cruise from Düsseldorf to the charming town of Andernach (Germany) from 24-26 November.
The river cruise specialist offered its guests a colourful and festive programme with a gala dinner, live music and a few surprises. The focus of the trip was to celebrate the company’s success and to thank its key partners.
These include Shiri Gordon, VIVA TWO’s godmother and managing director of Tel Aviv-based leading tour operator The Gordon Travel Group. She has been a long-time partner of VIVA Cruises and its parent company, Scylla AG. She said, “The history of VIVA Cruises is like watching a good friend grow up and find her own identity”.
Carolin Ecker, COO of e-hoi, one of the largest international cruise booking portals, described her collaboration with the river cruise operator as a “reliable and innovative partnership.”
Other key partners who praised their work with VIVA Cruises included Robin Müller from German tour operator Seereisedienst; Enrique Martin from VIVA Cruises’ UK representation agency Four; and Lothar Hörnig, president of the Prinzengarde Blau-Weiss (carnival society) of the city of Düsseldorf.
“My greatest wish is for VIVA Cruises to be the leading river cruise operator in Europe in the next five years”, said CEO Arno Reitsma.
Over the past five years, VIVA Cruises has developed into one of the most popular and innovative river cruise operators in Europe.
Pleasant year-round sailings, a comprehensive all-inclusive product, superb service and international guests all contribute to the success of VIVA Cruises. Its fleet now comprises seven river ships, including two new builds – and more will be added in the coming years.
“We listen to what our customers want and implement this in our products”, explained Andrea. For her and her team, one thing is very clear, “VIVA Cruises is more than just a river cruise operator; it is a community of people who share a passion for travelling, discovery and enjoyment”.
For more information about VIVA Cruises, please visit www.viva-cruises.com.
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