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Published on :   29/06/2018

MS Loire Princesse: from the Saint-Nazaire shipyard to the royal river

The French city of Saint-Nazaire is where CroisiEurope’s first paddle-wheel ship was built. The new ship’s first cruises on the Loire river were launched in spring 2015. The unique itinerary starting in Nantes, the innovative design, the new paddle-wheel boat, named MS Loire Princesse, represent ambitious challenges that CroisiEurope, Europe’s leading river Cruise Company, has met with great success.

Backstage building a one-of-a-kind river cruise ship

CroisiEurope’s 41st ship was built in Saint-Nazaire shipyard. Its structure and design are entirely new in the world of river cruising. Its paddle wheel propelling system is adapted to shallow waters. These are some of the innovative and revolutionary features that make it the only cabin passenger boat to sail on the Loire river since the Transatlantic lines were closed at the end of the 19th Century. The modern technology used in the conception of the boat pioneers the ancient paddle wheel technique, whilst meeting today’s requirements for environmentally-friendly solutions.

The hull of the ship was produced by a local company called Mécasoud, in partnership with the naval design firm SDI.

The first sheet of metal was cut in April 2014. It was a key moment in the history of CroisiEurope, European leader in river cruising, which had had its ships built in Belgium since 1991.

In the home of the giants of the seas


It’s no coincidence that the Saint-Nazaire shipyard was chosen to team up with the French river cruise company based in Strasbourg. The aim was to craft a 100% Made in France product in Pays de Loire. It is also an opportunity to pay tribute to some of the major treasures in French history, which passengers will discover on the many excursions on offer during their holiday in France. If passengers wish to, they can join a guided tour of the Saint-Nazaire shipyard during their Loire tour.

The MS Loire Princesse is the smallest passenger ship ever produced at the Saint-Nazaire shipyard. While major construction work was being carried out on the vessel on STX France’s site, the boat rubbed shoulders with a giant of the seas and possibly one of the biggest ships ever built in Saint-Nazaire: Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas. 

Whilst the work on the hull of CroisiEurope’s flagship was in progress, a team of interior designers were concentrating on creating the contemporary and signature look and feel for the indoor spaces. By the end of July 2014, the production of the prefabricated bathrooms, tailored to the river cruise company’s needs, was also in progress in Saint-Nazaire, in close partnership with the technical teams and CroisiEurope’s interior designers. 

With this project, CroisiEurope was once again a pioneer in the industry, pushing the boundaries of river cruising. This earned the French company the 2014 innovation prize in river tourism

Two new additional paddle-wheel ships was joined the company recently: the MS Elbe Princess and the MS Elbe Princess II, the former in 2016 and the latter in 2018. They both sail on the Elbe and Moldau (Vltava) rivers and connect two famous European capitals - Berlin and Prague - letting passengers discover some of the cultural treasures of Germany and the Czech Republic. 

 Technical information

The MS Loire Princesse is 90 metres long and 15 metres wide. Its 48 cabins can accommodate up to 96 passengers. The 30 cabins on the upper deck are all fitted with wide balconies for guests to enjoy the unique scenery on their Loire cruise. 

Loire river cruises in France