The much-loved brand of cruiser holidays got a full re-launch last Wednesday in Dublin
Originally owned by Guinness, the Emerald Star brand has come through ups, downs and unsettled waters. For the last few years, many thought it all but gone. Last week, however, in an inspired choice of location (the Irish Whiskey Museum in Dublin), the brand had a glittering re-launch with some new ideas for the future.
Lynsey Devon of Heaven Publicity welcomed the cream of Irish travel writers and editors to the event at the Grafton Street centre, where journalists were treated to the hospitality of whiskey cocktails and refreshments in a convivial atmosphere before a Power Point presentation.
We were brought through a brief history of the brand in Ireland. Emerald Star was first created in 1970 by Guinness and is today operated by Le Boat – the European specialist in boating holidays (controlled by the TUI Group) which operates in eight countries with a fleet of some 900 vessels.In the wake of the economic crisis in 2011, bookings plummeted from 4,000 per annum down to about 1,000. Many of the boats were moved out of Ireland and spread across Europe and one Irish base was closed. Since 2014, however, the graph has been going in the opposite direction, with big increases in bookings year-on-year, including a 12% increase this year already.
We were then introduced to the new boat that will be available both in Ireland and Continental Europe. The Horizon series incorporates the best in design based on what customers are looking for, coming in three types that accommodate 4, 5 and 8 people. They have greater space and visibility and feature bow and stern thrusters. For anyone unaccustomed to river cruisers, this gives the boats superb manoeuvrability for the inexperienced, taking the headache out of mooring up for the evening.
Read previous Tootlafrance articles here and here to get a flavour of what life is like on a boating holiday in France and keep an eye out in July for a brand new article on a gastronomic boating holiday in Burgundy. Meanwhile, check out the Emerald Star website for details on all their packages in Ireland, France and elsewhere.