The American Queen Steamboat Company Acquires New Ship, Expands Westward and Partners with the National Trust

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American Empress joins fleet, Pacific Northwest Voyages begin April 2014

The American Queen Steamboat Company, owner and operator of the U.S-flagged American Queen, has purchased the Empress of the North from the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) for an undisclosed amount. To be renamed the American Empress, the vessel is scheduled to resume sailings on the great rivers of the Pacific Northwest April 2014, calling her homeport Portland, Ore. The American Empress will deliver riverboat opulence on a grand scale, following in the pedigree of the line’s namesake American Queen, and proudly serve as the largest overnight riverboat west of the Mississippi River.

american empress

The American Queen Steamboat Company has added a new boat, the American Empress, to the fleet.


“The American Queen has ushered in a rebirth of U.S. river cruising, welcoming thousands to discover the heartland of the United States and its iconic port cities,” shares Ted Sykes, president and COO of the American Queen Steamboat Company. “Now the American Empress will continue that tradition as an ambassador to the Pacific Northwest, a region equally rich in American and natural history.”

A U.S.-flagged riverboat, the American Empress measures 360 ft. with five towering decks and accommodates 223 guests in 112 staterooms in seven categories. The American Empress will sail the Columbia River and Snake River, offering seven-day voyages between Portland, Ore. and Clarkston, Wash. Ports of call include Astoria, Wash.; Stevenson, Wash.; The Dalles, Ore.; Umatilla, Ore.; and Richland, Wash.

In describing the American Empress, Sykes said: “The staterooms are very spacious and they are all outside. She is not a steamboat, but she is a paddlewheeler, so the look and feel is similar to the American Queen. They are both American icons. The Empress will be refurbished before she is put into operation next April.” He added that there has been huge interest in the new boat by current passengers, and expects that many of the 600,000 Americans who go overseas for river cruising will look to exploring the rivers of their own country.

In describing the all-inclusive nature of the American Empress cruise, Sykes added that there would be some premium shore experiences, such as jet boating on the Snake River, which would carry an extra cost. These would be fully commissionable to travel agents.

The company has also partnered with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which helps preserve American heritage, culture and promote National Treasures. As a key feature to the partnership, the American Queen Steamboat Company will make a corporate donation of five dollars to the National Trust for every river cruise booking as well as give guests the opportunity to match the donation.

Beginning June 30, 2013, American Queen travelers will have the opportunity to learn more about the National Trust’s National Treasure sites, located along the Mississippi River as well as the Pacific Northwest, where the American Empress will launch in April 2014. Special attention to preservation concepts and techniques, as well as the work of architects, historians and other professionals in the field of historic preservation will be highlighted onboard and onshore.

“We are proud to partner with the American Queen Steamboat Company and help bring America’s National Treasures to life,” shares Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust. “These places along our great waterways present the diversity of our nation’s built history and remind all of us of the importance of preserving the irreplaceable places that tell America’s stories.”

Through the partnership with the National Trust, American Queen Steamboat Company will become a contributing sponsor for four of the National Trust’s National Treasures: Mississippi Delta Heritage Area, Manhattan Project Historic Sites in Washington State, Willamette Falls Navigation Canal and Locks in Oregon and a future site to be named at a later date.

“Thousands of guests onboard the American Queen have rediscovered the treasures the U.S. heartland has to offer over the past year,” said Ted Sykes. “We are honored to play a role in the preservation of these sites with the National Trust and add new treasures for our guest experience as the American Empress sets sail in April 2014 on the majestic Columbia and Snake Rivers.”

American Queen Steamboat Company
The American Queen Steamboat Company (AQSC) is the owner and operator of the U.S. flagged American Queen, the largest, most opulent riverboat in the world. Longer than a football field, towering six decks in height and laced with fanciful gingerbread trim, she is a marvel of modern engineering. Her journeys through the heartland offer a unique perspective on America’s history, culture and landscape with convenient departures from some of America’s most iconic river port cities including Memphis, New Orleans, Cincinnati, Louisville, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and St. Paul. In April 2014, the AQSC will begin serving the Pacific Northwest with the opulence and grandeur of the American Empress. For additional information and reservations, contact the American Queen Steamboat Company at 888-749-5280, visit online or call a professional travel agent.

The American Queen Steamboat Company Unveils Guest Loyalty Program

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The American Queen Steamboat Company Unveils Guest Loyalty Program: “Steamboat Society of America”

Much of the American Queen Steamboat Company’s early success can be attributed to guests sharing stories of their memorable trips with friends, family and booking another voyage shortly after arriving home.

Valued return guests share a passion for U.S. river cruising and can now join the Steamboat Society of America, the company’s loyalty program, for special benefits and rewards on the American Queen and soon-to-be sailing American Empress (April 2014). Among the many benefits, guests receive their 10th cruise free.*

“As I visit with American Queen guests onboard I am always amazed how many have already sailed on multiple voyages with us and are now setting their sights to explore the Pacific Northwest on the American Empress,” shares the company’s President and COO Ted Sykes. “The Steamboat Society of America rewards our most loyal guests and encourages them to share their stories of why they are hooked on river cruising with the American Queen Steamboat Company.”

Among the benefits to the free Steamboat Society of America loyalty program are the following:

· A $100 per guest credit on each cruise and $200 per guest credit towards a future cruise fare when booked with deposit while onboard

· Priority check-in and early vessel pre-boarding

· Member access for breakfast or lunch when American Queen or American Empress are in port near home town and family or friend tours of the boat when sailing **

· Credits toward future cruise fares for members referring friends who book***

· Dedicated reservations line providing special service for members

· Private cocktail party for members-only hosted by the captain and executive officers onboard

*Up to $3,899 per person
**Subject to availability and reservations in advance
***$100 per referred guest booking and $100 per guest booking when providing member’s name at time of booking

To learn more about the Steamboat Society of America, request additional information and make reservations, contact the American Queen Steamboat Company at 888-749-5280, visit online or contact a professional travel agent.

American Queen Steamboat Company

The American Queen Steamboat Company (AQSC) is the owner and operator of the U.S. flagged American Queen, the largest, most opulent riverboat in the world. Longer than a football field, towering six decks in height and laced with fanciful gingerbread trim, she is a marvel of modern engineering. Her journeys through the heartland offer a unique perspective on America’s history, culture and landscape with convenient departures from some of America’s most iconic river port cities including Memphis, New Orleans, Cincinnati, Louisville, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and St. Paul. In April 2014, the AQSC will begin serving the Pacific Northwest with the opulence and grandeur of the American Empress. For additional information and reservations, contact the American Queen Steamboat Company at 888-749-5280, visit online

New loyalty program for American Queen guests

American Queen Steamboat Company unveils new loyalty program.

or call a professional travel agent.

MSC Roadshow for Agents

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During the MSC Agent Roadshow, agents can discover the latest highlights about the soon-to-arrive MSC Divina.

In October 2013, MSC Cruises kicks off its North American travel agent road show with presentations in New York, NY, King of Prussia, PA, Miami, FL and Toronto and Montreal, Canada. MSC expects to reach more than 400 agents during the tour. (Dates for MSC’s 2014 road shows are to be announced.)

NOTE: Road show events below are by invitation only and on an RSVP basis as space is limited

Agents will have the opportunity to meet and mingle with the MSC sales team, discover the latest highlights about the soon-to-arrive MSC Divina, learn about the company’s overall commitment to the North American market as well as its policies, procedures and overall agency support. All events will include dinner presentations and special giveaways for agents.

“This upcoming road show is part of our ongoing commitment to working with agents and helping them grow their business,” said Ken Muskat, Senior VP of Sales and Marketing, MSC Cruises USA. “They are truly our number one resource. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to spend one-on-one time with our loyal travel partners and strengthen our relationships, while giving them a taste of what’s to come in North America.”

For more information, contact sales.service@.

MSC North America Roadshow Dates:

New York, NY
October 9, 2013
6:00-8:30PM
Crowne Plaza
66 Hale Avenue
White Plains, NY 10601
Phone: (914) 682-0050
RSVP: http://bit.ly/WhitePlainsNY

King of Prussia, PA
October 10, 2013
6:30-8:30 PM
Little Italy’s Maggianos
160 N. Gulph Road, Suite 205
King of Prussia, PA 19406
Phone: (610) 992-3333
RSVP: http://bit.ly/KingOfPrussiaPA

Miami, FL
October 15, 2013
6:30-8:30 PM
Intercontinental Doral of Miami
2505 Northwest 87th Avenue
Doral, Florida 33172
Phone: (305) 468-1400
RSVP: http://bit.ly/MiamiFLA

Toronto, Canada
October 29th
5:30-8:30 PM
Sapore by Zafferano
8000 Highway #27
Woodbridge
located just north of Highway #407 on Highway #27
Phone: 905.851.3355

Montreal, Quebec
October 30th
Ristorante Bice
1504 Sherbrooke Street West
H3G 1L3
Phone: 514.937-6009

About MSC Divina
Christened by legendary actress and “diva” Sophia Loren, MSC Divina features 1,751 staterooms, 322,900 square feet of public space, a casino, seven restaurants, 18 bars and lounges, five swimming pools (including an infinity pool), a bowling alley, theater, gym, spa, internet café, conference center, kids and teen areas, and the lines signature ship within a ship, MSC Yacht Club.

American Queen Steamboat Company Celebrates River Traditions with 2013 Old Fashioned Holidays Voyages

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Celebrate the holidays Cajun-style aboard the American Queen.

“ ‘Tis the season” and “deck the halls” aboard the largest, most opulent riverboat in the world on the mighty Mississippi River. The American Queen Steamboat Company is stuffing stockings and celebrating classic Cajun and Creole traditions of the antebellum south. Three Old Fashioned Holidays on the American Queen have limited availability remaining with sailings from New Orleans roundtrip or between New Orleans and Memphis, Tenn.

“This December guests on the American Queen will be immersed in Lower Mississippi holiday traditions celebrated by generations,” shares American Queen Steamboat Company President & COO Ted Sykes. “We look forward to sharing these many traditions in luxurious fashion and creating lasting memories all will enjoy.”

Holiday itineraries offer guests authentic experiences including the old Louisiana tradition of bonfires on the levees, special Christmas shows in the Grand Saloon, door-decorating contests, the reading of the Cajun Night Before Christmas and nationally renowned Mississippi woodcarver Jim Moore carving a Victorian Santa onboard. Seasonal culinary delights and decadent desserts including a Creole Réveillon Christmas Dinner, prepared by Culinary Director Regina Charboneau’s team, as well as a shore side Cajun deep fried turkey cooking demonstration will be among the tasty highlights.


Voyages in 2013 are the following:

· The nine-day Old Fashioned Holidays voyage begins in Memphis, Tenn. to New Orleans on Dec. 6 and an upriver voyage is available from New Orleans to Memphis, Tenn. beginning Dec. 20 with itineraries calling on favorites including Vicksburg, Miss.; Natchez, Miss.; and Helena, Ark.

· One special nine-night New Orleans roundtrip Old Fashioned Holidays voyage departs Dec. 13, featuring the ports of Oak Alley, La.; St. Francisville, La.; Houmas House, La; Natchez, Miss.; and Baton Rouge, La.

The culinary highlight of each sailing, the typical Réveillon menu served in homes along the Mississippi River or the fine restaurants of New Orleans’ French Quarter included Daube glace or veal grillades, egg dishes, breads, puddings and often included turtle soup and oysters. Naturally there was always an abundance of wines, cordials and fortified drinks. Eventually this tradition slowly began to disappear like many classic holiday traditions on the river. As the Réveillon is revived on the American Queen steamboat, Chef Charboneau’s menu will include Sazerac and Champagne Cocktails, Tomato Aspic with Fried Oysters, Deviled Eggs with Lump Crabmeat and Caviar, Pheasant Gumbo, Pork Grillades over Savory Grits, Almond Tarts and Bouche Noel. This festive dinner will be re-created in the J.M White Dining Room.

Offering the most inclusive river cruise experience in North America, nine-day Old Fashioned Holidays fares begin at $2,495 per person based on double occupancy. All journeys include a one-night pre-voyage hotel stay, shore tours in all ports, complimentary wine and beer with dinner and a host of other amenities. For additional information and reservations, kindly contact the American Queen Steamboat Company at 888-749-5280, visit online or call a professional travel agent.

Aqua Expeditions Introduces New Aqua Mekong River Cruise Ship

Rendering of the Aqua Mekong

The brand new Aqua Mekong, Aqua Expeditions’ third luxury vessel will be sailing the Mekong River in Cambodia and Vietnam beginning September 30th.

The lavish ship will be the first of its kind on the river, providing guests with accommodations on par with a five-star hotel and shore excursions that will leave even the most seasoned travelers in awe. The ship will feature 20 luxuriously-appointed suites, a full spa, fitness room, screening room and will offer custom-designed cuisine from Executive Chef David Thompson, who was awarded the first-ever Michelin star for a restaurant serving Southeast Asian food.

For more information, visit the website.

SAVEUR Partners with Windstar Cruises to Highlight Culinary Destinations Around the World

Windstar Pride lounge and coffee bar

Enter to Win a Windstar Cruise for Two

SAVEUR and Windstar Cruises have created a one-of-a-kind platform to uncover the world’s most delicious destinations for culinary travelers. Windstar Local Dining Tips Curated by SAVEUR launch today, offering SAVEUR-recommended culinary guides to Windstar’s ports.

The tips for more than 20 destinations around the globe include insider advice on where to find the tastiest restaurants, most unique local markets, authentic culinary shops, and hidden watering holes.

“From eating fried sardines at Istanbul’s Karakoy Fish Market to seeking out the go-to coffee shop in Ho Chi Minh City, SAVEUR will help guide those looking for the best culinary experiences abroad,” said Hans Birkholz, Windstar Cruises’ chief executive officer. “We are excited to bring our guests even closer to exploring the world of food in the destinations we sail to throughout the world.”

To celebrate the launch of Windstar Local Dining Tips, the small ship cruise company is giving away a Classic Italy & Dalmatian Coast cruise for two, an 8-day voyage that explores the magic of Venice, the grandeur of Rome, and the stunning beauty of the Dalmatian Coast. Entrants must provide an insider international destination tip on Windstar’s Facebook page.

Windstar Local Dining Tips will be provided to guests through a variety of platforms while on board, with the entire collection also available on Windstar’s blog. Additionally, travelers who embark on a Windstar voyage themselves will be encouraged to post their photos from the local dining tip locations using #WindstarDiningTips for a chance to win a travel tote from SAVEUR and Windstar.

The Local Dining Tips program is the result of a continued partnership between Windstar and SAVEUR. In April the companies hosted a signature sailing of Windstar’s Culinary & Wine Delights of Spain voyage with guest chef Seamus Mullen and winemaker Jorge Ordonez. On the 8 -day journey guests enjoyed cooking demonstrations, guided wine tastings, wine pairing dinners, and culinary excursions in Mallorca, Valencia, and Cadiz.

“I had such a great time being the guest chef on Windstar, it’s by far the best cruise experience I’ve had,” said Mullen, chef/owner of Tertulia and El Colmado restaurants in New York. “My favorite onboard event was the paella cooking demonstration. It was a beautiful day. We had just set sail with the port of Mallorca in the background, and we were cooking a big paella for everyone on the top deck… you couldn’t ask for a better way to spend the afternoon.”

About SAVEUR

SAVEUR celebrates human connection through food, cooking, and travel. How we experience cuisine and culture—from childhood meals to five-star destination dining, farmers’ market stalls to artisan shops—becomes part of who we are and informs our entire way of thinking. SAVEUR seeks to indulge our readers’ culturelust and satisfy their hunger for the flavorful and undiscovered. Find us at Saveur.com and on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

About Windstar Cruises

Windstar Cruises operates a fleet of small luxury cruise ships known for its intimate yacht style experience and unique voyages to the world’s best small ports and hidden harbors. Its three recently renovated sailing yachts carry just 148 to 310 guests and cruise to 50 nations, calling at 150 ports throughout Europe, the South Pacific, the Caribbean, and Central America. In May of 2014, Windstar launched Star Pride, the first of three newly acquired power yachts. In May of 2015 the company will launch Star Breeze and Star Legend. The power yachts, with a capacity of 212 guests each, will double the size of Windstar’s fleet, making the company the market leader in small ship cruising with 300 or fewer passengers, with a total of 1,242 berths. The additional capacity will open up new itineraries such as voyages to Southeast Asia, Arabia, Iceland, and beyond. Windstar was recently listed on Condé Nast Traveler’s prestigious Gold List, coming in as the #3 cruise line in the world.

For more information including rates and itineraries, contact a travel professional or call Windstar at 800-258-7245. Visit Windstar Cruises online or Blog.WindstarCruises.com. Windstar Cruises can also be followed on Windstar’s Facebook and Twitter fan pages. Windstar Cruises is part of Xanterra Parks & Resorts, a diversified global travel and hospitality company.

Norwegian Brings Ultimate Getaway Fan Experience to Sun Life Stadium

Norwegian Getawy

Norwegian expands partnership with Miami Dolphins to bring Norwegian Getaway’s onboard thrills to Miami Dolphins fans each home game

Norwegian Cruise Line is bringing the excitement and innovation of its newest ship Norwegian Getaway to Sun Life Stadium this football season, announcing today the expansion of its partnership as the Official Cruise Line of the Miami Dolphins.

The highlight of this new collaboration will be the “Ultimate Getaway Fan Experience,” an interactive opportunity for Miami Dolphins fans to “step aboard” some of Norwegian Getaway’s most thrilling onboard activities such as the Free Fall, bungee trampoline, rock wall, spider mountain and more, prior to each home game at the Grand Plaza at Sun Life Stadium.

The Ultimate Getaway Fan Experience will feature a different onboard attraction at each Miami Dolphins home game beginning September 7. In addition, fans will be able to snap their photo in front of a virtual Norwegian Getaway backdrop, hear the latest news and happenings on the new ship and current promotions from Norwegian brand ambassadors, and enter a sweepstakes for the chance to win a cruise for four on Norwegian Getaway or the all-new Norwegian Escape, coming to Miami in Fall 2015.

“Norwegian is looking forward to another exciting season in partnership with our hometown team, the Miami Dolphins,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s CEO. “As the official godmothers of Norwegian Getaway, the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders bring the team spirit onboard to our guests, so we are bringing a sampling of the Norwegian Getaway experience to fans at every Dolphins home game this season.”

As the largest ship to homeport year-round at PortMiami, Norwegian Getaway features exclusive onboard activities and features that truly capture the spirit of her hometown. From the ship’s hull artwork designed by local artist David “LEBO” Le Batard, to entertainment featuring the Latin-inspired hit Broadway dance sensation Burn The Floor, along with the tastes of the Magic City including signature libations at the Sugarcane Mojito Bar and Cuban favorites served at the Flamingo Grill, Norwegian Getaway is truly Miami’s ultimate ship.

Norwegian Cruise Line will also expand its partnership as the sole title sponsor of the Miami Dolphins’ Everyday Military Heroes Salute, recognizing a military hero in the second quarter of each home game and awarding them with a cruise for two on Norwegian Getaway.

“Norwegian Cruise Line has been a valuable partner for the Miami Dolphins,” team Senior Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer Jeremy Walls said. “This expansion to include the Ultimate Getaway Fan Experience only enhances the benefits of being a Miami Dolphins fan. We’re excited to continue this thriving relationship.”
As a part of the expanded sponsorship program, Norwegian Cruise Line will also have a strong presence throughout Sun Life Stadium, from permanent signage on the high definition scoreboard to engaging videos that showcase the company’s signature Freestyle Cruising to fans on the Stadium Vision monitors located throughout the venue.

Dolfans who want to “Cruise Like a Norwegian” will have the chance to take advantage of a special promotional offer this football season. Guests who book a cruise on Norwegian Getaway or the new Norwegian Escape can call 1-888-340-4438 and reference promo code “FINS” to enjoy an exclusive promotion featuring a complimentary specialty dinner at the line’s signature Italian restaurant La Cucina, along with a bottle of wine.

For more information on Norwegian Getaway, or to book a cruise, contact a travel professional, call Norwegian at 888-NCL-CRUISE (625-2784), or visit the website.

About the Miami Dolphins

The Miami Dolphins, owned by Chairman of the Board/Managing General Partner Stephen M. Ross, currently play in the AFC Eastern Division of the National Football League. The organization has played in five Super Bowls, winning championships following the in 1972 (VII) and 1973 (VIII) seasons. The franchise also has won five conference championships and 13 division championships. It and is the oldest continuous major-league professional sports franchise in the state of Florida. For more information, visit the organization’s website.

Victoria Cruises Reinstates Shibaozhai Shore Excursion on Yangtze River Cruises

Victoria Cruises Reinstates Shibaozhai Shore Excursion on Five-Star Yangtze River Cruises in China

American-managed Victoria Cruises will be reinstating Shibaozhai, often referred to as “The Pearl of the Yangtze,” a 12-story wooden pagoda in Zhong, as a regular shore excursion.

The docking facilities at Shibaozhai are currently being extended with an anticipated completion date before the end of 2014, prompting the decision from Victoria Cruises executives.

Shibaozhai is known for its impressive wooden pagoda, an architectural marvel which was built without a single nail. Its famous red pavilion leans up against a stone cliff for support and dates back to the 18th century. Shibaozhai will replace the Fengdu excursion on day 2 of downstream cruises and day 4 of upstream cruises for Victoria Cruises’ popular Three Gorges Highlights itinerary.

Upon completion of the project, the docks at Shibaozhai will be able to accommodate all of our ships, including the larger ones,” said Larry Greenman, manager of public relations and customer service for Victoria Cruises.

“In 2015, we will therefore reinstate Shibaozhai as a regular shore excursion,” said Greenman, noting that passengers may still visit Fengdu as an optional excursion, weather permitting.

Shibaozhai will be featured in Victoria Cruises’ standard excursion package for its Three Gorges Highlights program throughout 2015. Priced from $90 per person, the excursion package also includes an educational tour of the Three Gorges Dam site and a tranquil small boat experience through Goddess Stream, one of the Yangtze’s scenic tributaries.

Optional excursions are available starting at $42 per person and may include a Fengdu, Tribe of the Three Gorges (only available on upstream cruises) and White Emperor City.

Victoria Cruises reserves the right to substitute shore excursions without notice due to river conditions or scheduling factors.

Victoria Cruises’ Three Gorges Highlights program starts at $880 per person, based on double occupancy, and can also be booked as part of multi-city China tours offered by reputable U.S.-based tour operators such as Orient Flexi-Pax Tours, Pacific Delight Tours, Ritz Tours, smarTours and Travcoa.

For more information, contact Victoria Cruises at 800-348-8084 or visit the website.

Outer Shores Expeditions Launches New Autumn Voyages to Gulf Islands National Park

Wooden schooner Passing Cloud


Experience Southern British Columbia’s rare Mediterranean climate in October

British Columbia’s leading sailing operator, Outer Shores Expeditions, unveils new 2014 Autumn in Gulf Islands National Park sailing dates, providing outdoor adventurers, sailing enthusiasts and B.C. coast explorers with the unique opportunity to experience the Salish Sea – Canada’s wildlife riviera – and its unexpected Mediterranean-like climate at the most picturesque time of the year. The five-day expeditions debut on October 15th with subsequent expeditions embarking October 20th and 25th, 2014.

Sailing aboard the classic wooden schooner Passing Cloud, Outer Shores invites guests to immerse themselves in the marine wilderness of B.C.’s Southern Gulf Islands archipelago, home to the last remaining pockets of Garry oak ecosystems and historic trade routes used by the Coast Salish First Nations.

The rich and rare flora and fauna found off the eastern coast of Vancouver Island is best enjoyed in the fall season, when purple starfish and giant green anemones share rocky shores alongside seals and sea lions, resident orcas vigilantly patrol the waters for their next meal and migratory songbirds fly in for a rest before continuing their journey south.

“The Southern Gulf Islands archipelago is beautiful year round, but there’s something particularly magical about being aboard the Passing Cloud in the fall,” says Russell Markel, Outer Shores Expeditions Captain and President. “The climate is ideal for exploring the islands between Nanaimo and Sidney, photographing and experiencing the fascinating ecology, and cultural and natural history of this region.”

Highlights include beach and forest walks on Portland Island, whale, porpoise and seabird watching in the famous Haro Strait and sea kayaking around the 33-square kilometre Gulf Islands National Park Reserve.

With only three autumn sailings available, space is limited. For more information about expeditions along the B.C. coast, please visit the website or call 1-855-714-7233 (Toll Free).

About Passing Cloud
Passing Cloud is a classic, 70′ wooden schooner designed by William James Roué, famous for designing the legendary schooner Bluenose. Built in Victoria, BC, in 1974, Passing Cloud has a rich history on the BC Coast, renowned for her elegant design, exceptional accommodation, robust construction, and remarkable sailing abilities. Designed to sail around the world, Passing Cloud is an ideal vessel for small-group natural and cultural history expeditions throughout the BC Coast. Among her many features are Passing Cloud’s classic West coast wheelhouse, four private staterooms and gorgeous main salon.

About Outer Shores Expeditions
Outer Shores offers multi-day wildlife and cultural expeditions that are once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Guided by a crew of professional mariners and expert naturalists, Outer Shores Expeditions small groups of 6 to 8 guests explore, experience, and learn about the stunning wildlife and ancient cultures of coastal British Columbia while living and traveling aboard the 70′ classic wooden schooner Passing Cloud. President and Captain Russell Markel holds a PhD in marine biology and is dedicated to hosting guests from around the world while fostering stewardship and supporting conservation-based research in the areas where Outer Shores travels.

Oceania Enhances Onboard Experience by Including Free Internet

Oceania Riviera

Oceania Cruises has announced plans to provide complimentary Internet access to guests booked in either a suite or Concierge Level stateroom on any of its five award-winning mid-size ships. This is the first time the upper-premium cruise line has offered a free Internet program, with the new benefit commencing during the 2015 winter season.

As part of the program, guests booked in Owner’s, Vista and Oceania suites will receive unlimited complimentary Internet access to enjoy throughout their voyage. Guests booked in Penthouse suites or Concierge Level staterooms will receive blocks of complimentary Internet time based on cruise length, starting with 200 minutes for a seven-night cruise and extending to 500 minutes for voyages over 16 nights.

Being an upper-premium brand, Oceania Cruises ships feature a larger number of Concierge Level and above accommodations, which means this free Internet program will cover more than 55 percent of all guests sailing on Marina and Riviera, and nearly half of all guests sailing on Regatta, Insignia and Nautica. Guests will be able to take advantage of the free Internet either through the ship’s Wi-Fi system or at the Oceania@Sea Internet café. Oceania Cruises recently upgraded the Wi-Fi system across the fleet to increase bandwidth and provide connectivity throughout the entire ship, including all public spaces, outdoor decks and all suites and staterooms.

“Oceania Cruises is committed to providing our guests with an extraordinary cruise vacation for an incomparable value, so we’re excited to add free Internet to an already long list of included amenities such as free roundtrip airfare and complimentary dining experiences at our exquisite specialty restaurants,” said Kunal S. Kamlani, president of Oceania Cruises. “We know our guests want to stay connected with friends and family while exploring the world with Oceania Cruises. Now, as guests are enjoying the Olife onboard, they will be able to freely share cherished vacation memories with loved ones back home from the comfort of the ship.”

The complimentary Internet rollout will be staggered across the fleet, tied to the official start of each ship’s winter schedule. The first sailings will be Nautica on Oct. 25, 2015, followed by Marina on Nov. 3, Regatta on Nov. 4, Riviera on Dec. 2, and Insignia on Jan. 4, 2016, when it begins its third 180-day Around the World voyage. Complete itinerary details for the winter schedule will be released and available to book at 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 17, 2014.

Oceania Cruises’ signature 2-for-1 cruise fares include an abundance of complimentary amenities such as unlimited soft drinks, coffee beverages, juices and bottled water. Guests can savor the finest cuisine at sea at any of the ships’ specialty restaurants without any supplemental dining charges. Oceania Cruises also eliminates the hassle of searching for flights by including free roundtrip air service from major U.S. and Canadian gateways.

For more information guests can visit the website, call 855-OCEANIA or contact a professional travel agent.

Carnival Cruise Lines Partners With the Tom Joyner Foundation for the 2015 Tom Joyner Foundation Fantastic Voyage

Carnival Breeze

Featured Musical Entertainment to Include Earth Wind & Fire, R. Kelly, Jennifer Hudson, TLC, LL Cool J, and more

Carnival Cruise Lines is partnering once again with the Tom Joyner Foundation to offer the 2015 Tom Joyner Foundation Fantastic Voyage cruise. This marks the cruise line’s third consecutive year as the official host of the event.

The Ultimate Party with a Purpose® voyage will take place on Carnival Breeze, the newest ship in the Carnival Cruise Lines fleet. Departing from Miami April 11, 2015, the customized eight-day itinerary includes visits to Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; Montego Bay, Jamaica; and Mahogany Bay, Isla Roatan.

The Tom Joyner Foundation Fantastic Voyage is hosted by renowned radio personality and philanthropist Tom Joyner. The cruise, which sells out annually, serves as a fundraiser with proceeds supporting the Historical Black Colleges and Universities of which Carnival is a proud sponsor.

“This is an opportunity to have an amazing experience on a magnificent Carnival Cruise Lines ship while enjoying a wide variety of special activities, theme events and top musical talent, all for a great cause,” said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation.

The exciting line-up of performing artists for the 2015 cruise includes Earth Wind & Fire, R. Kelly, Jennifer Hudson, TLC, and LL Cool J.

“This is one of those special experiences that will stay with you forever,” said Tom Joyner. “We have completely sold out these cruises the past two years, so I encourage everyone to book as early as possible for this very special event.”

For more information on The Tom Joyner Fantastic Voyage, consumers can also visit the website.

Carnival Enhances On-Line Travel Agent e-Collateral Library on GoCCL.com

Customized eFlyers, Updated Deck Plans and Web Banners Among Array of New Enhancements Based on Travel Agent Feedback

Carnival has updated its popular Fun eCollateral Library with an array of enhancements based on travel agent feedback. Located on the website, the line’s travel agent Internet portal, the Fun eCollateral Library features electronic flyers, brochures, deck plans and web banners for travel agents to use as marketing materials.
New enhancements made to the Fun eCollateral Library include:

· 400 new flyers travel agents may customize to their specific needs

· Updated information for destination and group flyers, including itinerary deployments through spring 2016, as well as refreshed content and images

· Ship flyers now feature a revised layout with more product-focused images and a new field for a customized travel agent message

· Customization fields were added to eBrochures allowing for travel agent personalization

· Updated deck plans and web banners

· Creation of specific web banners for each Carnival sales promotion, providing travel agents with an added marketing feature to use on their web sites

“During our Carnival Conversations events, travel professionals have told us time and time again us that our Fun eCollateral Library is one of the easiest and effective marketing tools they use,” said Mike Julius, Carnival’s senior managing director of U.S. trade sales. “These new enhancements were created based on agent feedback we’ve received this year and we’re excited to provide our valued partners with even more effective and proven sales tools as we round out 2014.”

For additional information regarding the Fun eCollateral Library, including access to materials, travel professionals may visit the website.

MSC Cruises Debuts New Pricing Structure: Inclusive Experiences

MSC Yacht Club Lobby

MSC Cruises Debuts New, Innovative Pricing Structure
‘Inclusive Experiences’ Allow Guests to Customize their Cruise Vacation

MSC Cruises has announced the launch of its Inclusive Experiences, a new pricing structure that will allow guests to choose an “experience” based on their own preferences and amenities desired while cruising.

With the new pricing structure, guests will have the option of choosing from four different experience categories — Bella, Fantastica, Aurea, and MSC Yacht Club — ranging from a la carte to all-inclusive amenities. Experiences offered will have a value up to $700+ per person.

Already introduced in most European markets, MSC Cruises is rolling out the experience pricing in North America due to the positive feedback received from guests and travel agents abroad.

“This is truly a win-win for travel agents and guests,” said Rick Sasso, president of MSC Cruises USA. “Our unique model means increased profitability for travel agents and improved customer satisfaction as guests have more opportunity to customize their vacation experience based on their own personal desires.”

The inclusive experiences will include the following options:

Bella Experience — Best Price: The Bella experience is designed for value-conscious travelers looking to enjoy the wide-range of amenities and entertainment MSC Cruises offers to all its guests, while having the option to add additional onboard services, such as beverage or spa packages, a la carte. The Bella experience is available for guests booking interior, ocean view or balcony staterooms.

Fantastica Experience — Priority Choice: The Fantastica experience provides guests additional flexibility and comfort options, such as the ability to choose a premium location stateroom and priority choice of early or late dining. Additional benefits in the Fantastica experience include 50 percent off all fitness classes and personal training; free delivery of room service; and enhanced recreational activities for children including cooking and foreign language classes. As a special promotion, guests booking the Fantastica experience for 7-night or longer sailings on the MSC Divina between Oct. 18, 2014 – April 11, 2015 will also receive a beverage package. This experience is available for guests booking interior, ocean view or balcony staterooms.

Aurea Experience — Premium Choice: The Aurea experience bundles several exceptional amenities, including premium choice of balcony staterooms and suites and dining in the main restaurant with “My Choice Dining” flexible times. Additional benefits in the Aurea experience include priority boarding; a beverage package consisting of unlimited alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks; a spa package with a massage and private spa consultation; access to the exclusive adults only Top 18 sun deck; and all the perks associated with the Fantastica experience. The Aurea experience is available for guests booking Aurea balcony staterooms and suites.

MSC Yacht Club – Elite Choice: The MSC Yacht Club is the line’s signature “ship-within-a-ship” for guests interested in an all-inclusive VIP club level experience. Guests selecting this exclusive experience enjoy a private club with keycard access; priority check-in and check-out reception; signature Butler service; dedicated 24-hour concierge; exclusive Top Sail lounge and pool; 24/7 complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages available within the Yacht Club area; and a private MSC Yacht Club restaurant.

Travel agents will receive full commission on the Inclusive Experiences booked by their clients. In addition, MSC Cruises will continue to pay five percent commission on any a la carte options (i.e. shore excursions) that are pre-booked and pre-paid by guests.

The new experience pricing will be available for reservations starting Sept. 23, 2014 for sailings Oct. 18, 2014 forward. Guests who have already booked an interior, ocean view, or B1 or B2 level balcony stateroom will automatically receive the Fantastica experience, excluding the promotional drink package offer. Guests that have already booked a B3 level balcony stateroom or Aurea suite will automatically receive the Aurea experience.

Travel agents interested in learning more about Inclusive Experiences should visit this website.

Uniworld Unveils Newest Destination, India, and New Luxury All-Suite Ship Sailing the Ganges River in 2016

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises announces the newest addition to their collection of boutique river cruises and tours—“India’s Golden Triangle & the Sacred Ganges” from New Delhi to Kolkata—set to debut in January 2016.

The 12-night itinerary includes seven nights onboard the new all-suite Ganges Voyager II, the most ultra-luxurious river cruise ship sailing the Ganges River. For the five-night land portion of the itinerary, luxurious accommodation are provided at the award-winning Oberoi Hotels and Resorts Collection, including The Oberoi, New Delhi; The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra; and The Oberoi Rajvilas, Jaipur. Guests will stay at the finest hotels as they visit the “Golden Triangle”—one of India’s most historic and culturally-rich areas.

“India is one of the world’s most complex, colorful, and exotic destinations,” said Guy Young, President of Uniworld. “To experience a 5,000-year-old civilization first-hand and to explore its spiritual heartland, all while staying at some of the world’s most spectacular hotels and sailing onboard our new all-suite ship, is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our well-traveled guests.”

The new Ganges Voyager II has a maximum capacity of 56 guests. The all-suite ship features the one-of-a-kind Maharaja Suite, (400 sq. ft.), two Viceroy Suites (360 sq. ft.), two Heritage Suites (280 sq. ft.), and 20 Standard Suites (261 sq. ft.). Comforts and convenience abound with French balconies, cozy sitting areas, and flat-screen televisions. Roomy bathrooms have rain showers, robes, slippers, and Molton Brown bath products. Guests staying in the Viceroy Suites will enjoy daily butler service, laundry service, and one complimentary spa treatment per person.

Guest staying in the Maharaja Suite will be treated to additional amenities, including in-suite dining and scented baths in the in-suite deep-soaker tub. Public areas include the Governor’s Lounge with onboard entertainment and cultural events, the observation deck with 360-degree views, a spa and fitness center, and the East India Restaurant with menus featuring both Indian-inspired cuisine and Western favorites.

Uniworld’s new itinerary presents a broad spectrum of enticing travel experiences: Delhi, India’s capital and third largest city; the Taj Mahal, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World; the bazaars, fortresses, and palaces of Rajasthan’s Pink City of Jaipur; Mother Teresa’s tomb and former home in Kolkata; an enormous Vedic temple in Mayapur; garden-tombs and mosques, colonial-era buildings, and monuments; and fully-hosted excursions to five UNESCO World Heritage Sites —Delhi’s Red Fort and Humayun’s Tomb, Agra’s Taj Mahal and Agra Fort, and Jaipur’s Jantar Mantar. While sailing the Ganges, guests will be treated to villages inaccessible by road, as well as to surprising encounters with a variety of wildlife, including freshwater dolphins, parrots, and many other colorful species.

“This itinerary is ideal for travelers seeking exotic new horizons, something completely unlike anything else they’ve ever experienced,” said Young. “India is an amazing, unforgettable place. It’s a journey our guests will rave about the rest of their lives.”

Uniworld will offer an optional extension to Varanasi, revered as the holiest spot on India’s holiest river , as well as one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities. The two-night extension includes a city tour, a scenic boat ride to observe a Ganga Aarti fire ceremony at sunset, and a private boat ride along the river at sunrise.

Uniworld’s new India program will be open to book on October 15, 2014.

For more details, please visit the website or connect with Uniworld Boutique River Cruises at facebook.com/uniworldrivercruises or twitter.com/uniworldcruises.