Crystal Cruises claims its new river cruise itineraries will deviate from “traditional river cruise routes” to avoid congested ports.

The new brand, Crystal River Cruise, was first announced last month but details of the plans were scant.

The ships, which are being built by German shipyard Lloyd Werft, will have 70 250-square-foot suites. They will also have two 500-square-foot penthouse suites. Public areas will include the Palm Court with a dance area, a gym and a spa.

Destinations will include the likes of Croatia, Serbia, Slovakia, France, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria. Sailings will include daytime cruising so customers can spend more time in port for overnights. Overnight visits will then include visits to Michelin-starred restaurants ashore.

The ships will begin sailing in Europe in March 2017 and will be bookable in December.

Edie Rodriguez (pictured), Crystal Cruises president and chief executive, said: “We continue to listen to what our guests and the luxury traveller want, and river cruises are what they’ve been telling us they want for some time – it’s a natural extension of the exceptional ocean cruise Crystal has offered for the past 25 years.

“But more importantly, they want to experience river cruises on a luxury Crystal vessel, and their desires will be fulfilled on our luxury Crystal river yachts.

“The beauty of river cruising is not only that travellers enjoy close-up access to more fascinating inland locales, but also that the rivers themselves are coveted destinations that shouldn’t be overlooked.

“Our guests will have the opportunity to revel in the unique environment that sets river cruising apart from other travel experiences.”

The brand will also launch a new excursion programme called Active Exploration Adventures and guests will get one complimentary active excursion per cruise.

The ships will also come equipped with electric and manual bikes and segways for guests keen to explore a destination on their own. A luxury yacht tender will also be available for private yachting experiences.