Amsterdam – On Friday 24 February celebrations took place at the Ruyterkade Oost in Amsterdam. Not one but two river cruise vessels of the Swiss shipping company Scylla were christened. The MS Emily Brontë and sister vessel MS Thomas Hardy will cruise for the English travel organisation Riviera Travel. It is a rare occasion that two vessels are christened at the same time. The construction of the Thomas Hardy was already completed in November, but the christening was delayed until the start of the cruise season. Both vessels are 135 metres long and have everything on board to provide passengers with luxury facilities, including a wellness centre, fitness area and rooms with balconies. There is room for 176 passengers on board. Managing Director David Clemson of Riviera Travel praised the cooperation with Scylla and the level of innovation that was involved in building the two five-star vessels. “I am very impressed by the sliding doors in the suites.” Chair of Amsterdam Cruise Port, Janine van Oosten, was delighted that the christening was taking place in the capital. “We consider it a compliment that this location was chosen for the christening ceremony”, she said during her speech. “As a city, we are happy to promote the river cruise industry.” Every year more than 1,850 river cruise vessels visit Amsterdam. “These two vessels add something to the cruise market in Amstersda, a high-quality product and service, together with sustainable technological developments”, says Marco van Ingen. He also says that there is an increasing interest in Amsterdam. “Rivier cruises want to visit city centres as much as possible. We have a mooring in the heart of Amsterdam, and an airport nearby.” The two vessels have been named after famous English writers, as passengers will be mainly from the United Kingdom. Traditionally, the captains of the vessels are presented with the key to the city of Amsterdam. The godmothers of the two vessels, Christina Astill for MS Emily Brontë and Tracey Scales for MS Thomas Hardy, will be performing the official christening acts. The two women were chosen in a unique godmother competition amongst travel agents in the United Kingdom. At the end of March the two vessels will start their first cruise season. The Emily Brontë will be mainly used in the Rhine delta. The Thomas Hardy will mainly sail on the Danube.