Tag Archives: Emerald Star

Alors! Il est arrivé un courriel de M Thibault

Assuming that Messrs Google Translate know what they’re at, that means that an email has arrived from Monsieur Thibault.

I commented here, a little over four years ago, on what seemed to be the gradual disappearance of the Emerald Star brand within the Le Boat section of the TUI Travel empire. However, an emeraldstarian noticed my piece recently and sent a friendly email to say that the brand is still going and that the emeraldstar.ie address was reactivated in 2015. Derek Dann would be pleased, I’m sure, especially as (I have heard) more boats have been made available for hire in Ireland.

I had a look at the emeraldstar.ie site, where I learned that

Emerald Star (for holidays in Ireland) is a trading name of Emerald Star Limited, a member Travelopia. Emerald Star Limited Registered in Ireland No 29035. Registered office: One Spencer Dock, North Wall Quay, Dublin 1.

Le Boat (for holidays outside of Ireland) is a trading name of Crown Travel Limited, a member of Travelopia Group. Crown Travel Limited Registered in England No: 02095375. Registered office: Origin One, 108 High Street, Crawley, West Sussex, RH10 1BD.

So what’s this Travelopia, then? What has happened to the cuddly TUI Travel empire?

You can read lots of marketing bollocks here, but the important bit is this:

The brands in our portfolio specialise in a certain type of travel or tap into particular passions. Each one started life as a small, independent business, before forming Specialist Group, part of TUI Group, the world’s largest leisure travel company.

In May 2016, TUI Group announced the rebranding of Specialist Group to Travelopia and it’s [sic] intention to sell the businesses.

In February 2017, KKR, a leading global investment firm purchased Travelopia Holdings Limited and in June 2017 the sale of Travelopia was finalised.

This, of course, was excellent news for everyone, it says here, as KKR are just wonderful:

KKR & Co. L.P. (formerly known as Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.) is a global investment firm that manages multiple alternative asset classes, including private equity, energy, infrastructure, real estate, credit, and, through its strategic partners, hedge funds. The firm is a recognized leader in the private equity industry, having completed more than 280 private equity investments in portfolio companies with approximately $545 billion of total enterprise value as of June 30, 2017. As of September 30, 2017, Assets Under Management (“AUM”) and Fee Paying Assets Under Management (“FPAUM”) were $153 billion and $114 billion, respectively.

Some other aspects of KKR’s activities are mentioned here.


Où est la plume de ma tante?

21 February 2018: voici une mise à jour.

Post originally written in January 2014 follows

Où sont les neiges d’antan? [That’s French for “Where is Anto’s stash of heroin?”] Où est l’étoile d’émeraude?

I remarked in August, on sighting le grand bateau de Monsieur Thibault in Athlone, that it carried the Le Boat brand, not that of Emerald Star. Emerald Star is now one speck within Le Boat, which is one of the activities within the Marine Division of the Specialist & Activity Sector of TUI Travel, which employs 54000 people.

Le le Boat bateau

Le le Boat bateau

I wrote to Messrs TUI Travel’s “corporate communications” department at the time to ask whether the Emerald Star name was being phased out, but answer came there none: no doubt all 54000 employees were busy at the time. But I noticed today that a hapless seeker after truth, searching for “emerald star”, ended up here, so I had a look myself. There is no emeraldstar.ie website (and emeraldstar.com is unrelated) but the UK Le Boat site has a little badge on the top left of the page saying “Emerald Star from le Boat”. I wonder whether that appears if the site detects that you’re accessing it from outside Ireland. I could find no other mention of Emerald Star, so I suspect the brand is doing a Cheshire Cat.

I was glad to find that Messrs Le Boat have found Google Translate useful. At least, I assume that’s how they produced this paragraph under their “Useful info” tab:

Useful Info for the Ireland

The Irish coast rises tallish from the sea, and yet the terrain drops farther inland, creating a sort of cup where the water gathers. One fifth of the water drains inward to the Shannon River, Ireland’s largest at 360 kilometres (224 miles). The fall on the navigable middle section of the river is slight at only 9 metres (29 feet), which means the water moves slowly. A Shannon River map also reveals the large number of lakes in the Shannon system, a real plus for canal boat cruising!

No, I’ve checked: it’s not Ulster Scots.

Then there’s this:

Feel the irresistible lure of the Shannon-Erne

The Shannon River gives Ireland’s central reaches their character. It’s an obvious feature if you study a Shannon River map. At a glance, it’s clear that the waters influence the land. The fishing is superb and golf is extremely popular! The towpath is level, so you’re in cycling heaven! […]

You learn something every day: I never knew that the Shannon had a towpath. I wonder where it is.

But that’s not the only puzzle. Messrs Le Boat list some suggested cruises, eg:

The Celtic Cruise Ireland
Oneway: Portumna to Carrick-on-Shannon


The golf course calls! The fishing itch must be scratched! Castles loom tall! Feel the warm embrace of Celtic charm!

Who writes this rubbish? But this is the puzzling one:

The Northern Shannon Cruise Ireland
Return Trip: Carrick-on-Shannon, via Belturbet


Travelling in the thousand lakes area takes you from the Lake Niegocin to the Lake Sztynorckie, with plenty to see on the way!

Well, I admit I don’t know the north Shannon as well as I do Lough Derg [“Lough Derg, an angler’s paradise, casts an Irish spell of contentment to keep you fishing and having too much fun!”], but I can’t find either of those lakes on any Shannon or Erne map. Où sont les mille lacs de M. Thibault? Où sont les Niegocins, Antoin? Ils sont dans le jardin avec la plume de ma tante.

Setback for Sheugh

The likelihood that limitless wealth will result from the construction of the Clones Sheugh was reduced recently with the closure of the cruiser-hire base closest to the Ulster Canal: the Emerald Star (Le Boat) operation at Belturbet.

Perhaps, though, it reflects a wider decline in the hire business rather than disappointment at the delay in the canal’s reconstruction.

Le bateau monstrueux*

Voila le grand bateau de Monsieur Thibault.*

Enormous Le Boat vessel 01_resize

Le grand bateau a Athlone*

I’ve never been entirely clear why an Anglo-German travel group should have adopted a macaronic Anglo-French name, Le Boat, for its business of providing “self-drive boating holidays on the inland waterways of Europe“, which is one of the activities within the Marine Division of its Specialist & Activity Sector, which is in turn one of its three main sectors.

Somewhere within Le Boat is the Irish operation, Emerald Star; that brand name is used on the leboat.net website but not, as far as I can see, on the leboat.co.uk site. Furthermore, Emerald Star is not listed amongst TUI Travel’s brands. I mention this because M Thibault’s boat carries the Le Boat brand, not the Emerald Star. I have asked the TUI Travel press office whether the Emerald Star brand is being withdrawn.

Enormous Le Boat vessel 02_resize

Voila le gros chien sur le grand bateau*

Anyway, the boat itself is interesting. It’s Le Boat’s Vision, made by Beneteau. There are variants: it comes with either three or four bedrooms, diesel or hybrid, SL or not. It is available for sale as well as for hire; a buyer can place it in the Le Boat fleet and earn some money too.

There is a brief description here with a link to Waterways World‘s recent report about the boat. There is more here and here. It is extremely well equipped.

Enormous Le Boat vessel 03_resize

Le Le Boat bateau*

Back in the 1970s, many boat owners had either small or elderly boats; a secondhand cruiser, sold out of one of the hire fleets, was the height of luxury, and on average the hire boats were more luxurious than the private (or that at least was my impression). In recent years that has changed; private boats became luxurious and equipped with more toys than hire boats had.

Le Boat’s Vision may change the balance again, but only a very large company could afford a fleet of such boats: Waterways World gave the price as STG£249000.

[* translations by Google]

It is notoriously known …

… through the universal world that there be nine worthy and the best that ever were, as William Caxton so well put it. To the eight holders of licences to sell marked diesel along the Shannon must now be added Emerald Star in Belturbet on the Erne.

All this excitement …

… can’t be good for me.

Last week Their Excellencies the Revenue Commissioners published two versions of their list of holders of marked fuel trader’s licences, the second [.xls] dated St Valentine’s Day. I was so excited I almost spilt my Ovaltine.

And what’s more, there are now two more candidates for haloes and wings. Step forward Emerald Star Portumna and Carrick-on-Shannon, becoming the fourth and fifth members of the Elect and lengthening the stretch of the Shannon where green diesel can legally be sold. No sign of anyone in Belturbet, though, and I can think of a couple of other places on the Shannon where it would be nice to be able to buy diesel, but we don’t want too much excitement all at once.

Yes, but not in the south

I see that Emerald Star offer what they call a Southern Shannon Cruise, which starts at Carrick-on-Shannon and goes all the way south to … Athlone. Athlone may be in the midlands, yes, but not in the south.

Killaloe collision

The Irish Times reports that six people and a dog were rescued from a cruiser after it hit Killaloe Bridge. The cruiser was found to be taking in water. Killaloe Coast Guard report here, with photo of the Emerald Star cruiser being beached at Ballyvalley to stop it from sinking.

The Lion and the Lizard

They say the Lion and the Lizard keep
The courts where Jamshyd gloried and drank deep

(Edward FitzGerald The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam)

Emerald Star Portumna: boats were moored to finger jetties along this quay

Emerald Star dinghies