The Antwerp shipping company is 100 years old. It is a party that was started under corona with little schwung. In the past two years, the three ships that Flandria still has moored at the quay more often than Captain Philip De Perst was kind.
And now energy prices threaten to throw a spanner in the works. Philip De Perst even calculates it when asked. Two years ago a liter of fuel was still 16 cents. Today that is 22 cents for a litre. This means that we will only set sail this season if there are enough passengers for a cruise. Otherwise we will pay.”
But there is also good news. Through the collaboration with shipping company De Zilvermeeuw, which is active in and around the Dutch nature reserve De Biesbosch, Flandria can offer a modern and hybrid ship.
The Z8, as the ship is called, will mainly be used for private meetings. “That can be a wedding party, a meeting of a company party. We will not be doing classic round trips for private individuals on this ship for the time being,” says Philip De Perst.
The fact that the ship is powered by electricity should be considered an asset. “Sustainability is also important in the cruise sector. In addition, the passengers, up to 175 people on board, can enjoy the outside view through the large windows. The Z8 is a modern way to do a cruise.”
Although the Z8 should become the eye-catcher of shipping company Flandria, the classic round trips in the port and on the Scheldt will also be preserved. The shipping company once had more than twenty ships, including the star restaurant La Pérouse.
Today, Flandria still has three ships of its own in service. “They have been refreshed on the occasion of the shipping company’s centenary and will be used for round trips. The intention is to organize several routes every weekend,” explains Philip De Perst.
One of those cruises is the Happy Hour Cruise. “It is a journey of one and a half hours, starting with brewery De Koninck and Elexir d’Anvers. We have organized a number of such cruises and they always go out in a pleasant way,” says Philip De Perst.
For the rest, shipping company Flandria works together with a number of museums and organizations on the Eilandje, where all cruises start and end, and combi tickets can be ordered. There is a number with the Antwerp Brewing Company, Antwerp Bike Tours and a museum.