Peter Deilmann Cruises is exiting the river cruise business in 2010 and taking all eight of its river vessels out of service because its river cruise business is insolvent, a representative of Deilmann's U.S. office confirmed.

Deilmann will honor all river cruises booked through the end of October 2009, according to a company release issued in Germany and media reports.

Employees of the U.S. office, based in Alexandria, Va., otherwise declined to comment.

Deilmann's parent company, Peter Deilmann Reederi, is headquartered in Neustadt in Holstein, Germany.

Deilmann's river cruise passenger numbers have been rapidly declining, particularly from the U.S. and Britain, according to reports.

Unfavorable currency exchange rates also negatively affected business, according to the German release and media reports.

While Deilmann, one of the longer-established river cruise operators, is exiting the river cruise business, the company remains in the ocean cruising arena. Deilmann's 513-passenger cruise vessel, the Deutschland, is reportedly not affected by the announcement.

Peter Deilmann Cruises has been in the European river cruise business since 1983. It owned and operated all eight of its river vessels, which range from the 140-passenger Princesse de Provence built in 1992 and refurbished in 2005, to one of its newest ships, the 110-passenger Heidelberg, built in 2004 and refurbished in 2007.

Deilmann sells river cruises to both the U.S. and European markets.

"I just hope that this is not a fait accompli, because they've got a dynamite product," said Jay Caulk, manager of The Travel Experts of Pompano Beach, Fla. "I hope this can be reversed. There are other good [river cruise] products out there, but Deilmann, they're the premier."

Caulk added that he thought the ships would be a viable purchase especially since prices would be "rock bottom."

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