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A New Era of Luxury River Cruising

Introducing the APT Solara and APT Ostara

In 2025, APT will make waves in luxury travel with the launch of its revolutionary river ships, the APT Solara and APT Ostara. Designed by the esteemed Hecker Guthrie team in Melbourne, these vessels embody timeless sophistication while conjuring the charm of Europe’s waterways. Each space aboard the ships is meticulously curated to resonate with the essence of the destinations and seasons they traverse, seamlessly blending unpretentious Australian style with the allure of Europe.

Beyond mere luxury, these flagship vessels prioritise sustainability, championing fuel efficiency, energy optimisation, and waste reduction. Bringing aboard an innovative and acclaimed design team was imperative, as APT’s co-owner, Lou Tandy (nee McGeary), explains, “Our intention was to set a new standard in river ship design. We couldn’t do that by doing what had been done before… With our focus on the Australian traveller, it was critical to work with an industry leading Australian design firm.” Following a meticulous tender process, Hecker Guthrie ultimately stood out for its exceptional expertise and profound grasp of the vision.

Lou Tandy speaking with designers Paul Hecker and Hamish Guthrie on board a ship

Harmony in quiet luxury
Paul Hecker and Hamish Guthrie, the lead designers at Hecker Guthrie, infused a sense of restrained elegance throughout the ships’ design. “Like the APT customer, we are not interested in anything ostentatious and showy,” they explained. “The ship design is a quiet luxury, the items are visibly high quality, considered and feel good to the touch. Wherever you look, you see evidence of consideration.” As guests cruise through Central Europe, the spirit of the destinations they visit and the climates they experience are subtly woven into the design of the APT Solara and APT Ostara. “We have created a colour palette which is based on the seasons, but it will be very discreet… We want to remind our guests in beautiful and subtle ways of where they are.”

Unrivalled gourmet odysseys
Six distinct dining venues and complimentary insuite dining, with menus and culinary experiences created by Fellow Hospitality, offer unparalleled gourmet options surpassing those found on other European river ships. Hecker and Guthrie emphasise the importance of variety, “There is a series of edited food experiences so that guests do not spend 14 nights in one restaurant. There really is a sense of choice and destination.” From epicurean perfection in The Owner’s Cellar through to a custom-designed bar and sophisticated dining in The Grüner Bar & Dining, guests will relish regionally inspired cuisine crafted from the finest local ingredients. Think Petite Crepes with crème fraiche and Osteria Caviar; zucchini flowers with local ricotta and wild garlic pesto; and crumbed veal schnitzel with red cabbage and apple slaw.

Ostara & Solara Ship | Bistro
Harmonious social spaces
The public spaces aboard the APT Solara and APT Ostara are designed to be both communal and intimate, with panoramic floor-to-ceiling windows bathing the lounge in natural light. The Sun Deck offers modular social spaces and 360-degree panoramic views, complemented by outdoor lounge areas and an alfresco bar and barbeque. The rooftop swimming pool and circular seating area echo Hecker and Guthrie’s curved design motif, “The presence of circular forms throughout the ship speaks to the conviviality that APT is all about.” Below deck, the Wellness Centre features an onboard gym and an indulgent spa, where guests will be treated to a range of rejuvenating treatments.
Artist impression of Standard Room, with bed, seating an opened window

Embark on unforgettable journeys and discover the next generation of river ships with APT in 2025. Explore our featured trips and start planning your extraordinary adventure today!

Words: by Alexander Simpson
Images: Artist's Impression