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Despite High Demand, Doninturflot/Orthodox Shun Newbuilds
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Despite sailing at or near capacity, Rostov-on-Don, Russia-based Orthodox Cruises has no plans to purchase or build more ships. Ships in line with the current offering – 1980s and 1990s German-built vessels – are not available and company officials consider newbuilds too expensive, according to the 2020 European River Cruise Market Report by Cruise Industry News.

To build a new ship would cost $75 million, a company spokesperson said. At that rate the return on investment would be 27 years, he added.

Orthodox is extending its sailing season to 180 days to meet high market demand.

Orthodox Cruises sails 11 ships owned by parent company Doninturflot. Orthodox also operates a New York-based counterpart, Imperial River Cruises, and the Austria-based Gvidon Tours.

Most Orthodox cruises are voyages from Moscow to St. Petersburg and back between May and the end of September. They also venture out into the Caspian Sea, turning around in Rostov-on-Don. The length of the cruises depends on the nationality of the customers; English-speaking passengers prefer 14-day cruises, Germans like 10-11-day voyages, French and Spanish passengers enjoy nine- to 10-day cruises, according to a spokesperson.

Moscow to St. Petersburg is the line’s most popular itinerary, with ports of call in Kizhi island and Yaroslavl. The route can be expanded to include Velikiy Novgorod and other cities.

Growing in popularity are Moscow to Astrakhan itineraries. Orthodox will have 10 of these cruises in 2020.

That said, Orthodox said its passengers are sourced globally, including North and South America, Asia, and Europe. A main focus is on the French market, followed by Germany and then Switzerland.

The passenger demographic is trending younger. This is especially noticeable with the Austrian, Italian, and Spanish markets.

About the 2020 European Cruise River Market Report 

The new European Cruise Market Report provides a comprehensive look at the river cruise business with capacity metrics by river and brand, company profiles and much more. 100+ pages of insights. Learn more. 

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