Scylla Cruises

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Scylla Cruises fleet

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Review of Scylla Cruises

Scylla Cruises is a shipowner that charters its riverboats to major river cruise operators (travel agencies), including Riviera Travel UK, Tauck Travel USA, Thurgau Travel Switzerland.

Scylla Cruises ( is a brand and subsidiary of the Basel Switzerland-headquartered passenger shipping company SCYLLA AG. Scylla was established in 1974. Its cruise brand enjoys a large number of repeat customers and constantly expands its fleet.

As river cruise line, Scylla started shipping operations with MS Scylla (riverboat) on Rhine River. Curiously enough, the industry's first vessel deployed on itineraries transiting Rhine-Main-Danube Canal was a Scylla boat. The same goes for the first ship deployed year-round in Italy, on Po River.

Currently, Scylla Tours Holding AG is owned by the brothers Arno and Robert Reitsma.

SCYLLA AG is managed by two directors - Robbert Verbeek (CFO-chief financial officer) and Andreas Wandinger (CCO-chief commercial officer). Scylla's current CEO is Arno Reitsma.

Scylla Cruises logo - CruiseMapper

Scylla's subsidiary and luxury river travel brand "VIVA Cruises" was established in 2018 and inaugurated in 2019.

VIVA Cruises (Scylla Ocean)

On January 15, 2019, was announced that Scylla AG purchased the ocean liner "MS Bremen" from Hapag-Lloyd Cruises - subsidiary of Hapag-Lloyd AG (German-Chilean shipping company, one of the world's oldest). The vessel was officially delivered to the new shipowner in May 2021. Bremen ship's sale price was not disclosed. As of 2019, Scylla owned 31 riverboats, most of which are chartered to different European cruisetour companies.

In November 2019, Scylla announced the launch of its new (ocean cruising) brand "VIVA Cruises Expeditions". The new brand started operations in May 2021 with MS SeaVenture (fka MS Seascape / MS Bremen). VIVA Expeditions operate in the regions of Northern Europe, the Arctic (Europe and Canada) and Antarctica. For season 2021-2022 (starting in November 2021) SeaVenture was chartered to Polar Latitudes for voyages to Antarctica. SeaVenture officially started operations for VIVA Expeditions on May 15, 2021, with a 7-day maiden voyage from Amsterdam to Hamburg (homeport).

As of 2019, Scylla's fleet included 32 fully-owned passenger ships, the latest being Anna Katharina (2019new -built and chartered to Phoenix Reisen).The 

Scylla fleet's smallest vessel is Swiss Ruby (88 pax) while the largest are the sisterships Alina and Amelia (220 pax each).

Scylla fleet's newest riverboats are the sisterships VIVA One (2022), VIVA Two (2023) and VIVA Enjoy (2024).

VIVA's 2024 European river cruise brochure listed a diverse collection of 85 different itineraries and 280+ voyages across its fleet of 8 boats.

Scylla VIVA Cruises new ship (exterior)

VIVA Cruises' COO is Andrea Kruse.

Scylla river cruise ship charters

A unique offer is the Scylla AG's river cruise ship charterers marked by absolute flexibility. Other companies can charter a Scylla boat for a period ranging from 1-night to a week, a month and even for a whole season. The company also provides the English-speaking crew, the hotel staff, gourmet cuisine options, specifically-tailored tours and excursions ashore. Individual requirements are also met.

Private ship charters also offer customized cruise itinerary (route and ports of call) and all the cruise arrangements, including food and beverage provision (and with port authorities - boat registration and berth reservations (moorings). Scylla also will organize the charter's shore excursion program to fit its exact needs.

The onboard dining options include cold and hot buffet breakfast, dinner menus with several courses, lunch and dinner buffets, the Captain's Gala Dinner event. On chartered cruises, the company provides customized menus according to particular preferences, including vegetarian, Asian cuisine, kosher food, themed buffets.

Scylla boats can also be chartered as "hotel ships" docked in many big European river ports, like Basel, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Hannover. This way the boat may become a location for special events and celebrations, corporate meetings, exhibitions, employee training sessions, annual events, team building, and incentive programs. The boats also can be individually furnished and with the customer's own branding.

(Coronavirus crisis) passenger shipping pause 2020-2021

Scylla's main boat charterer - Riviera Travel UK - suspended fleetwide its passenger shipping operations between March 15, 2020, and early-July 2021. Tauck Travel canceled all river cruises and tours with departures through August 31, Thurgau Travel - through July 31.

All affected bookings received a full refund in FCC (future cruise credit / Refund Credit Notes), including on prepurchased through the company packages and services. The cruise rebooking must be made before December 31, 2020.

Itinerary of Scylla Cruises

The line's current fleet includes the impressive number of 23 beautiful, spacious and modern-designed river cruise ships (including "Suite Ships") sailing exclusively on the European waterways. All Scylla ships are Swiss-flagged.

The Scylla cruise line company owns and operates the following riverboats:

  • MS Alina
  • MS Amelia
  • MS Anesha
  • MS Aurelia
  • MS Edelweiss
  • MS Esprit
  • MS Grace
  • MS Jane Austen
  • MS Lord Byron
  • MS Savor
  • MS Saxonia
  • MS Swiss Crown
  • MS Swiss Crystal
  • MS Swiss Diamond
  • MS Swiss Emerald
  • MS Swiss Jewel
  • MS Swiss Pearl
  • MS Swiss Ruby
  • MS Swiss Sapphire
  • VIVA Gloria
  • VIVA Inspire
  • VIVA Moments (fka MS Robert Burns)
  • VIVA Tiara
  • VIVA Treasures
  • VIVA Voyage (fka MS Swiss Corona)

The fleet's newest vessels are the sisterships VIVA One (2022), VIVA Two (2023) and VIVA Enjoy (2024).

Some Scylla ships are often chartered by travel companies like Tauck (USA) and Phoenix Reisen (Germany).

Riviera Travel (UK cruise brand company/tour travel agency) exclusively charters the following Scylla-owned newbuild riverboats:

  • Lord Byron (2012)
  • William Shakespeare (2014)
  • Charles Dickens (2015)
  • Jane Austen (2015)
  • Thomas Hardy (2016)
  • Emily Bronte (2017)
  • Oscar Wilde (2017)
  • George Eliot (2019)
  • William Wordsworth (2019)
  • Geoffrey Chaucer (2020)
  • Lord Tennyson (2021)

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