Designing a new way of experiencing river cruising

Transcend Cruises and Tillberg Design of Sweden are designing river cruise ships for group travel

Designing a new way of experiencing river cruising
Transcend Cruises’ ships will have capacity for up to 120 staterooms with a distinctive convertible design

By Alex Smith |

First launched at Seatrade Cruise Global in April 2022, new river cruise company Transcend Cruises is working with leading cruise and yacht interior design firm Tillberg Design of Sweden to create two custom-built 135-metre ships.  

The ships, which will sail along European waterways, will be designed to deliver an experience tailored specifically for multi-day private meeting and group events. Another key priority is to create a sense of wellness. 

“I have long experienced – first-hand and repeatedly – how existing river cruise lines had not been designed to prioritise the needs of groups,” says Matthew Shollar, CEO and co-founder of Transcend Cruises. “Similar experiences were shared with our founding team and by many travel organisers, up to and throughout the pandemic. Coupled with unprecedented new demand for smaller, experiential group travel programmes, the opportunity for Transcend Cruises’ leadership position in the marketplace became very clear.” 

The ships will have capacity for up to 120 passengers in 60 identical staterooms, which will feature a distinctive convertible design that allows them to be switched to 30 two-bath suites, as well as any combination of the two categories. The ships will also feature five separate venues that can accommodate all guests at the same time for events, as well as smaller settings for dining, presentations, and breakout meetings. 

The seamless transition between the different venues onboard create a thoughtful flow and sense of greater space. By working with combinations of larger voids and lighting effects within the structure, Tillberg Design of Sweden has created an expansive space perception. Increased window glazing also maximises the daylight flooding into the interiors.  

“We are honoured to have the opportunity to work alongside the Transcend team to conceptualise and design the first yacht-inspired, purpose-built ship for the group market,” says Michał Jackiewicz, executive director of Tillberg Design of Sweden. “The exclusive design concept will create an unmatched vessel on the rivers of Europe, specialised for meetings and group venues. This highly customisable and adaptable design is rooted in current sustainability practices and wellness offerings.” 

The first of Transcend Cruises’ new ships is set to launch in spring 2024.

This article was first published in the 2022 issue of Cruise & Ferry Interiors. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.   

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