Ocean cruise specialist Cruise and Maritime Voyages is starting a river cruise division on the back of growing interest in the sector.

A series of river cruises on the Rhine and Danube will start in May 2014 using a chartered vessel.

CMV will be issuing a 12-page standalone brochure to market the new venture which will be available for sale through travel agents.

The first departure on May 19 is for seven nights from Nuremberg to Amsterdam. A ‘Grand European Discovery’ itinerary departing on May 26 for 14 nights from Amsterdam covers Rhine and Danube to Budapest.

Optional pre and post-cruise city stays are available in Amsterdam, Prague – from Nuremberg – and Budapest.

Prices start at £1,199 per person for seven nights including flights and transfers, full board cuisine, selected drinks with lunch and dinner, entertainment and a range of half-day excursions. Two week prices lead in at £1,999pp.

Commercial director Chris Coates said: “We are entering the European river cruise market next year chartering the stylish Vienna 1 river ship.

“This premium plus vessel has been operated by a number of luxury river cruise operators in 2013 offering a high level of comfort and décor with most cabins having French balconies.”

He added: “CMV are specialists in offering scenic ocean cruise holidays on board smaller sized classic ships providing a leisurely and friendly style of cruising with high levels of customer service.

“Our on board customer questionnaires indicate that over 80% of our passengers would consider taking a river cruise. We also know that our current cruise programme, that includes many European ports situated on rivers, is already popular.

“It is therefore a natural progression for CMV to add river cruises to our portfolio. ”