New French Cruise Line Launched With Former Holland America Ship

The new French cruise line launches named Compagnie Française de Croisières (CFC) and will operate a former Holland America Line cruise ship.

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Compagnie Française de Croisières (CFC) was officially launched today, September 6. The new cruise line will be operational with its first cruise ship from February 2023, sailing under the French flag.

CFC will be sailing from two French ports, operating alternatively from Le Havre on the Atlantic coast in Normandy and Marseille on the Mediterranean coastline. 

Cruising Becoming Big Business In France

Over the last few years, several French cruise companies have been seeing significant growth, with Ponant being the frontrunner with multiple expeditions cruise ships, small luxury cruise vessels, and icebreakers. However, a larger ship flying the French flag sailing from France was missing. 

This is the gap that Clément Mousset and Cédric Rivoire-Perrochat jumped into with their cruise brand “Compagnie Française de Croisières.” The duo aims to bring back the golden age of Maritime travel, planning to offer longer cruises with extended stays in ports of call.

Officially launched today, September 6, the cruise line’s first cruise ship will sail in February 2023 from Le Havre in Northern France. As with other smaller cruise lines launched lately, such as Ambassador Cruise Line, the French cruise line will only be homeporting in French ports, allowing guests to avoid airports and embark close to home. 

Clément Mousset and Cédric Rivoire-Perrochat: “We want to perpetuate the tradition of long-distance travel and once again offer French customers long cruises and stopovers, which allow them to better discover the destinations and to have time to enjoy the ship.”

“We are going to facilitate transportation and allow the French to leave from their homes, other than for the classic itineraries in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe, which are almost always the same,” the two founders of CFC explained to Mer et Marine.” 

Former Holland America Line Ship Becomes Renaissance

The Renaissance, a 629-cabin cruise ship flying the French flag, is, in fact, the former Holland America Line cruise ship Maasdam. Built in 1993 by Fincantieri in France, the vessel was sold to Greek operator Seajets at the start of the pandemic and renamed MS Aegean Myth.

MS Maasdam Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock.com

Earlier this year, Compagnie Française de Croisières purchased the former Statendam-class cruise ship for a reported $30 million and renamed her Renaissance.

The new cruise operator plans to market the 55,575 gross tons cruise ship between the giant mass market cruise ships such as Costa and MSC Cruises and luxury cruise operators such as Ponant, Seabourn, and Silversea. Renaissance has space for 1,258 passengers and around 580 crew members onboard.

Northern Europe, Iceland, and the Canary Islands

On February 10, 2023, Renaissance will sail on her maiden voyage. From Le Havre, the ship will sail towards Norway to show guests the Northern Lights. The cruise will be fifteen days in length, returning to the Normandy port again on February 25 for another trip to Norway.

After that, the ship will sail to Western Europe, visiting Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium, an itinerary that includes two-day stops in Amsterdam and Antwerp. Other cruises from Le Havre include voyages to the Baltic, the Channel Islands, the UK, the Faroe Islands, and Iceland. 

From September 2023 onwards, the ship will be repositioning to Marseille, the home port that also hosts the company’s headquarters, for a series of Mediterranean voyages. Whether the cruise line intends to purchase more vessels and grow further is unknown at this time. 

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