Duke Street acquires German cruise operator A-ROSA from Waterland


Duke Street, the mid-market firm, has acquired A-ROSA, the German cruise operator, from Waterland Private Equity for an undisclosed sum.

A-ROSA provides upmarket river cruises on the Danube, Rhine and Rhône rivers among others. The business was formed in 2001 as a subsidiary of P&O Princess Cruises and was originally developed as the river cruise complement to ocean cruises. Waterland first backed the company in 2009.

A-ROSA is based in Rostock in Germany and operates 11 vessels. The company has 600 staff and received more than 85,000 passengers in 2017. The business enjoys a strong following in its domestic German market and is growing in the UK. A-ROSA is led by chief executive Jörg Eichler and chief operating officer Markus Zoepke.

The cruise operator proved resilient in the last downturn, benefitting from a base of older, affluent customers. The river cruise market is expected to benefit further from product development, loyalty-based marketing and a reduction in the average age of cruise holidaymakers.

The deal is Duke Street’s second current investment into Germany and follows its 2016 acquisition of Medi-Globe. The firm’s investment in the cruise sector follows a similar deal from Silverfleet Capital, which recently acquired Riviera Travel from Phoenix Equity Partners.