Mr Lüönd, the christening and maiden voyage of the ship are about ten days away. How far along are you with the final construction work and preparations?
The construction work for the new ship, being carried out by our subsidiary, Shiptec AG, which has been in charge of building the it, is more or less complete. Nonetheless, this is still a very hectic but exciting time, as is usually the case for a project of this magnitude. Final details, such as labels and signs for passengers on the ship have been installed.
This month, it was especially our nautical staff that we had to call upon. The ship went on voyages to train the future crew almost every day. The systems had to be taught, but the handling characteristics of the ship also have to be tested. With 400 banquet seats and a newly planned dining experience, the ship is also a nice challenge for catering at Lake Lucerne. The kitchens have been tested as well as the different procedures.
What makes the ship special?
Special emphasis should certainly be placed on its extraordinary design. It’s reminiscent of a cruise ship. It’s meant to give our future passengers a “cruise ship feeling”. Aside from its many innovative attractions (including a lake water foot bath, the Nautilus Room and the Compass Lounge), MS 2017 will also represent a milestone in Swiss seafaring with regard to fuel consumption. Under the advanced design is a hybrid engine which makes it possible to save up to 10 to 20 percent in diesel compared to conventional engines.
The ship is versatile. Aside from its planned year-round use on scheduled services, the ship will also be used for themed culinary voyages. But it can also be exclusively hired for special occasions (e.g. company parties, entertaining clients). The ship’s various decks are open to countless possibilities, from product presentations to concerts.
Why did you decide to compensate the remaining emissions?
Aside from fuel consumption, a ship voyage also emits CO₂ from catering and the waste generated by passengers. This induced us to team up with myclimate to compensate the remaining emissions.
SGV greatly values nature, and that includes water. Without an unspoilt landscape, hardly as many excited passengers would sail the waters of Lake Lucerne on SGV’s ships.
Thanks to the ship’s rather energy-efficient motor and our cooperation with myclimate and the associated CO₂ compensation, SGV are living up to our principles. SGV Gruppe produces in an environmentally friendly way.
In 2017, is a lake voyage an antiquated tourist product or a timeless experience?
With our versatile fleet of 19 ships, including five nostalgic steamers, they’re not mutually exclusive. This new ship with its modern characteristics is a perfect complement to our fleet. But all of the ships have one thing in common: at Lake Lucerne, you’re sailing on a scenically unique lake offering great variety. In a short space of time, you experience the city of Lucerne from the water, the soft Alpine foothill peaks, which, often connected by mountain railway, are exciting destinations for an excursion, and even a wildly romantic section of the lake in the canton of Uri.
What is your personal favourite part of a Lake Lucerne voyage?
That’s a difficult question. It depends on the amount of time in question. For a quick break in the Lake Lucerne basin, I enjoy going on an hour-long voyage with our tour ship, the MS Saphir. This option is especially great because,in a short space of time, you can travel from the city of Lucerne and get close to the mountains. For a longer excursion, I especially enjoy the upper part of the lake, also referred to as Urnersee. The steep cliffs there are reminiscent of the fjord-like landscape of Norway. Combined with a hike along the Swiss Path, the day can easily be extended into a full-day excursion.