The ship has been specifically conceived for events, such as parties, corporate events, theatrical performances, fairs and exhibitions, conferences and culinary cruises. KD Managing Director Dr. Achim Schloemer (Chairman) explains why the MS RheinGalaxie is not intended to be used for scheduled services like the rest of KD's passenger fleet. "The 'scheduled' market is more or less sat urated. We do see growth potential in the charter and event business, however. KD has accumulated a great deal of experience in this field over the past 20 years, and we're now in a position to enter the market with a dedicated event ship. In doing so, we're securing the future of our longestablished company."
The modern event liner with the illustrious name sports an innovative design and high quality interior the likes of which have never been seen on any other KD ship so far. The renowned yacht designer René van der Velden has developed an individual design concept specifically for the purpose. "For a ship of this class, it's important to have a consistent design. It needs clear lines, clean surfaces and a light, spacious interior." The key benefits can already be discerned in the computer animations. One of the ship’s characteristic features is her rectilinear axe bow that is a clear distinction from traditional passenger vessels that have a standard curved bow. Her elegant hull is characterised by flowing lines and a comparatively pointed bow section. You can get an impression of what it will look like when the event ship glides through the water in a few months’ time from van der Velden's descriptions. "Using a new colour concept based on the traditional KD colours, we create a special atmosphere that's always appropriate for the particular occasion. This is supported in turn by special direct and indirect lighting effects." With the lighting and colour concept, the designer wants to confer the ship a distinctive, clean appearance that's transparent, dynamic and elegant at the same time. "The ship will be unmistakable after sunset too."
And the same is true for the interior design too. Following the wishes of the KD project managers, the designer decided on a neutral interior decor, with light and dark woods and subtle colours for the walls and upholstery. "The ship doesn't intrude. The focus remains on the guests and the respective event." Although in the heads of those involved in her planning and construction, the ship has pretty much been launched, in reality, there are still a few development stages to deal with.
Dr. Achim Schloemer explains what will happen from here. "The steel is now being cut for the individual sections. The ship's hull is being built up from many separate sections. Like a Lego ship of days gone by. Then the windows will be installed. From January, the ship will lie at De Hoop's shipyard in Lobith for the interior to be fitted." The hull is being constructed at the NMC shipyard in Nieuw Lekkerland, around 20 kilometres from Rotterdam. In Lobith in the Dutch province of Gelderland, there is constant communication between the experts from the De Hoop shipyard, headed up by CEO Patrick Janssens and Technical Director Fré Drenth, yacht designer René van der Velden, the engineering and consultancy firm commissioned with the design engineering work, Schiffstechnik Buchloh, as well as the KD project managers.
Under the heading "detail optimisation", this primarily concerns the design of the central staircase, the bar area, the openair deck with the socalled "Star Rock" and the adjacent glazed "Skywalk", a sophisticated VIP viewing platform above the spacious open air deck. Every space is an eyecatching feature in its own right. The same is true of the 85 squaremetre gallery on the openair deck that serves as a dance floor, the slightly raised stage to the side of the salon and the lobby designed as a spacious atrium. As soon as they enter the ship, the guests will be wowed by an artistically designed "feature wall" with huge LED screens. This wall connects all three decks with each other so that together they have the effect of a single large room. In this way, the floortoceiling windows correspond over two levels.
KD Managing Director Thomas Günther, who is responsible for the finances, is already con templating potential customers. "We're primarily thinking of business customers planning presentations, anniversaries, incentives and other corporate events. We're looking to offer them a spectacular alternative to a landbased venue. This naturally includes the organisers of topend parties too. In addition to this, KD will offer its own programme of highquality events, such as dinner and brunch cruises, cultural events and parties, directly to end customers. KD is investing a total of 19.5 million euros in the expansion of its Düsseldorf site", continues Günther. Dr. Achim Schloemer is already promising guests "the perfect break from their daily routine combined with top service on the river". The excited anticipation is perfect for sharing, too. "We're very keen to see how the ship will be received, what the customers will say and how advance bookings will go. Our expectations are pretty high, of course. But we're convinced the ship will meet them. The suspense here is also complemented by a feeling of sheer delight!"
How the 85 metre long and 14 metre wide ship gradually leaves the virtual computer drawing board to become an imposing event liner in real life can be followed on KD's website. The individual construction stages are documented there in a timeline. Work should be completed by May 2020 – where upon MS RheinGalaxie will be ceremonially launched and will set course for many new and exciting events
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