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


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.

MSC Roadshow for Agents


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
Crowne Plaza
66 Hale Avenue
White Plains, NY 10601
Phone: (914) 682-0050

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

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

Toronto, Canada
October 29th
5:30-8:30 PM
Sapore by Zafferano
8000 Highway #27
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.

The American Queen Steamboat Company Unveils Guest Loyalty Program


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.

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


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.

Gourmet Food and Drink Workshops on the EUROPA 2

cooking school on Europa 2

Europa 2 cooking school

More tips and tricks from the experts: “Connoisseurs of Cuisine” cruises on the EUROPA 2 in 2015

europa 2 ice cream workshop

Ice cream workshop aboard Europa 2

 Workshops in the Culinary School with renowned, gourmet guest experts

 Watch over the shoulders of gourmet professionals, gather tips and tricks first-hand and find out interesting and valuable details on how to prepare gourmet food and drinks. In 2015, guests on board the EUROPA 2 will once again be offered this opportunity on selected “Connoisseurs of Cuisine” cruises. Topics for the coming season include Arabian cuisine, sea salt, gin, and special ice cream creations.

The experts on board Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ EUROPA 2, the 5-stars-plus* ship, come from a range of culinary fields and will give gourmet-loving guests exclusive insights into each of their specialist fields during workshops and cooking courses.

On the cruise from Hamburg to Lisbon in May/June 2015, guests will focus on a very special and popular spirit – gin. Gin expert Stephan Garbe will bring along his Gin Sul, the Hamburg gin with Portuguese roots and together with the guests, will delve into the world of this fashionable drink.

 On a cruise through the Canary Islands and the Azores in June 2015, guests can expect another special culinary highlight: Riccardo Asti and Stefan Metzner from the restaurant Marais Soir in Munich will hold gourmet expert workshops and cooking courses in the Miele Culinary School on the subject of sherry. There will also be an exclusive Wine & Dine event. The chef and the sommelier triumphed at the German preliminary round of the Copa Jerez 2014/2015, the international sherry competition, and will initiate guests on the EUROPA 2 into the secrets of the wine from southern Spain.

Befitting the route along the picturesque Mediterranean coast, “bella Italia” will be celebrated on two cruises in August. The ice cream experts from Giovanni L. will show both adults and children on board how the best Italian ice cream is made.

And while the EUROPA 2 spends autumn 2015 sailing along the Arabian peninsula, guests in the Culinary School will gain first-hand experience of their destination’s cuisine as they explore the world of Arabian cooking, together with TV chef Jacqueline Amirfallah.

 On a cruise from Dubai to Mauritius, Alexandro Pape will reveal valuable and interesting facts about how Sylt sea salt is produced and collected, the first salt to be collected from North Sea water in a completely natural manner. In addition, Pape – who is also the chef de cuisine at “Fährhaus Sylt” – will offer cooking courses in the Miele Culinary School.

* Berlitz Cruise Guide 2015

Cruise examples:

Ice cream workshops with Giovanni L.: from Barcelona to Civitavecchia (Rome), August 1-8 August 2015 (7 days), from $5,060  per person per person, cruise only.

More information online.

 More ice cream workshops with Giovanni L.: from Civitavecchia (Rome) to Barcelona; August 5-15 August 2015 (7 days), from  $6,880 per person, cruise only. More information online.

 Arabian cuisine with Jacqueline Amirfallah: from Limassol to Dubai, 27 October 27- November 10, 2015 (14 days), from  $7,140 per person, cruise online. More information online.

For more information on Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ exciting destinations and itineraries, visit the website.


Costa Cruises’ ‘Protagonisti de Mare’ Begins Today

costa diadema, the largest Italian cruise ship

Costa Diadema

The much-anticipated annual showpiece event of “Protagonisti del Mare” (The Champions of the Sea) is coming to its 22nd edition, celebrating Costa Cruises‘ best Travel Partners in the world. The event takes place onboard Costa Diadema, “Regina del Mediterraneo,” with approximately 1,500 partners from Europe, North America, Asia and Africa on a cruise calling at La Spezia (25 February), Naples (26 February), Ajaccio (27 February), Savona (28 February), Marseille (March 1), Barcelona (March 2), Palma de Mallorca (March 3) and Naples (5 March).

“Protagonisti del Mare” includes awards ceremonies, presentations of the new Costa brochure 2016/17, meetings with the Costa Sales & Marketing Teams. Travel Partners will also experience the flagship Costa Diadema, which is an ambassador for Italy’s finest, offering great regional food, wines and aperitifs, and Italian suppliers of excellence. A wide selection of activities have been scheduled for them, with parties, shows and exciting excursions ashore.

“We are glad to have our best travel partners onboard Costa Diadema. Our flagship is the best expression of our new positioning, based on the Italy’s finest concept,” said Costa Cruises President Neil Palomba. “She transpires the pleasant mood of Italian hospitality and true Italian holiday, spent tasting delicious food, drinking selected wines and living a unique shopping experience, completed by a vast selection of Italian famous brands. Italy is the country where Costa was born, and we are focusing on the finest things it offers: passion, style, quality, hospitality.”

“‘Protagonisti del Mare’ is our keynote event to celebrate the results obtained by our main travel partners, while sharing with them our strategies for future growth,” said Costa Cruises Executive Vice President Sales & Marketing Norbert Stiekema. “We have several news to present them this year, confirming our investments to consolidate the leadership of the Costa brand in Europe: new brochure 2016/17, new neoCollection brochure and the new organization of the Sales & Marketing Team.”

During “Protagonisti del Mare,” prizes will be awarded to the travel partners who achieved the best performances in 2014. The sophisticated setting of Costa Diadema Emerald Theatre will provide the backdrop for the Gala awards evenings, which will be veritable stage shows hosted by 2004 Miss Italy Cristina Chiabotto, with the participation of Costa Cruises President Neil Palomba, the Executive Vice President Sales & Marketing Norbert Stiekema, and the Senior Vice President World Wide Sales Massimo Brancaleoni, together with the worldwide sales force. The winners will be awarded with dedicated trophies, the golden “dolphin” in the shape of Costa’s iconic “C” — a dolphin is the symbol of Protagonisti del Mare — specially designed for the event.

In addition, Costa Cruises’ main innovations for the 2015-2017 seasons will be previewed to the Travel Partners, reinforcing the company’s leading position.

During the cruise, several special activities will take place to involve the Travel Partners participating. Joining “ViceVersa,” they will be able to take the place of the crew and experience all the thrill of being a part of the onboard staff and serving Guests.

Some Travel Partners will also have the chance to taste the products of the various bars of the flagship, such as Vinoteca, the Birreria and the Bar Bollicine, together with some of the company’s top managers, during the “Bar Hopping.” A genuine “Aperitivo Italiano” (Italian aperitif) will be served onboard, while other events include artisanal beer tasting with the Italian actor Fabio Fulco, and the spectacular show productions in the theatre. During the call at Naples, the Restaurant Club will offer a special “partners dinner” to some Travel Partners. The menu is dedicated to Campania region, including also products from Italian suppliers of excellence, such as aperitif by Cantine Ferrari, Barilla pasta, chocolate pralines by Guido Gobino, “setteveli” cake by Luigi Biasetto, Illy espresso coffee.

Furthermore, Costa Diadema will host also great parties, like “La Notte Bianca” (White Party), with the flagship “dressed up” in white, and “La Notte in maschera” (Masked party).

In addition, Travel Partners will also have the chance to discover the new kind of shore excursions provided by the flagship, during the calls in Naples, Ajaccio, Savona, Marseille, Barcelona, and Palma de Mallorca.

CLIA Announces CroisiEurope As New Global Cruise Line Member

CroisiEurope in Halong Bay, Vietnam

CroisiEurope in Halong Bay, Vietnam

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has announced CroisiEurope, Europe’s largest river cruise line, has joined as a Global Cruise Line Member. CLIA now has 27 global cruise line members. As a CLIA Global Cruise Line Member, cruise lines are offered a range of benefits, including access to CLIA travel agent and agency members, and marketing and promotional activities across CLIA’s 15 offices around the world.

CroisiEurope is also part of the CLIA Specialty Cruise Collection, a group of 16 cruise lines representing the rapidly growing small ship, river, coastal, luxury, adventure and sailing ship member lines.

“We are thrilled to have CroisiEurope join CLIA as a global member, particularly as they are part of the specialty cruise category,” said Adam M. Goldstein, CLIA Global Chairman and President/COO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “CroisiEurope is highly regarded in the global cruise industry and joining as a global member gives them access to all of CLIA’s benefits across the globe.”

CroisiEurope has been a leader in affordable European river cruises for nearly 40 years. The family-owned company operates 43 vessels that sail along Europe’s most famous rivers, canals and coasts and offer passengers the chance to explore picturesque riverside cities in France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Holland, Germany and Belgium.  Onboard features include exquisite French cuisine, unlimited beverages and free Wi-Fi. Today, CroisiEurope offers cruises in Europe, the Mediterranean, Russia, Vietnam and Cambodia.

Oceania Cruises Unveils New Website for Consumers/Travel Agents


Oceania Cruises has unveiled a brand new website featuring a fresh new design, simplified navigation, interactive deck plans and an array of other enhancements aimed at assisting guests and travel partners.  In addition, the site was optimized for speed, resulting in web pages loading much faster than the previous site. For travel partners the new site also includes a refreshed Travel Agent Center.

Highlights of the new website  include:

  • A Home Page with simplified navigation, enhanced special offer displays and stunning photography that embodies the Oceania Cruises brand.
  • A Find a Cruise section with a more advanced search abilities that includes the option to not only search date and destination, but by special offer.  Search results are displayed in an easy to navigate page, allowing guests to review and compare various cruise options.
  • The Ships section features a new interactive deck plan with easy deck-by-deck exploration.
  • The Destinations tab introduces a brand-new Port Explorer function which enables guests to view all cruises that visit a selected port, along with all shore excursions, hotels and land programs for that port.
  • The new Experience section of the website tells the story of the Oceania Cruises brand, offering expanded details on our cuisine, value packages and more.
  • The My Account area features streamlined navigation, along with a new “My Saved Cruises” section which details all upcoming booked voyages and future voyages being considered by guests.
  • A Travel Agent Center tab includes a refreshed dashboard filled with helpful tools and additional functionality aimed at assisting travel partners.


Hapag-Lloyd Cruises Increases its English-Speaking Guests On Board EUROPA 2 by 230%

MS Europa 2

MS Europa 2

  • In 2014 Hapag-Lloyd Cruises increased the number of international guests on board its fleet by 52%; and on its newest ship EUROPA 2 by 230%
  • Second episode now online showcasing the international experience on board EUROPA 2
  • Episode 2 now online.

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ efforts to attract more business from the English-speaking markets for its newest fleet member EUROPA 2 has resulted in achieving a 230% increase in guest numbers in 2014 compared with 2013; and for the entire fleet, the cruise line increased its international guest share by 52% in the same year. A new film episode of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ has just been released and explains why EUROPA 2 is the perfect ship for English-speaking guests. Click here to see the latest film online.

With a fleet of four unique and award-winning cruise ships, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises is the leading operator of expedition and luxury cruises in the German-speaking countries of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The cruiseline, however, since the end of 2012, has also been focusing heavily on promoting its luxury cruise ship EUROPA 2 and the expedition ship HANSEATIC to the English-speaking markets, including the USA and Canada, the UK, Belgium, Netherlands, Scandinavia, and Australia. Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ EUROPA 2, which has been in operation since May 2013, is the cruise line’s first fully-international ship aimed to appeal to the German and English-speaking markets.

Karl J. Pojer, Chief Executive Officer of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises comments: “Over the last year we have been working hard to try and attract more English-speaking guests and it is great to see our efforts are now paying off. EUROPA 2 is the perfect ship for English-speaking guests, as it offers a casual and modern luxury cruise experience, sailing to some of the most exciting destinations in the world. Going forward we would like to have on board an average of approximately 15% English-speaking guests per cruise within the next three years.”

Michael Steffl, Manager International Sales of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises says: “We have received some very positive feedback from our English-speaking guests, especially with regard to EUROPA 2. We provide all pre-cruise and on board information in both German and English. All the crew and lecturers are multilingual; and an International Hostess sails on board each cruise, catering solely to the needs of our English-speaking guests.”

In January this year, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises launched, a new initiative to create more awareness of the cruise style and concept offered on board EUROPA 2 and presented by cruise expert Jonathan Beaumont. EUROPA 2 has been awarded 5-stars-plus by the Berlitz Cruise Guide 2015.


Azamarea Club Cruises™ Doubles the Love for Valentine’s Day

Azamara  stateroom

Azamara stateroom

Azamara Club Cruises® is heating up this Valentine’s season.  The up-market line, with one of the widest selections of choices in itineraries, announces a flash sale on its current “Choices Promotion.” Through February 16, guests booking select 2015 and 2016 voyages have the opportunity to choose two of three savings options:

  • ChoiceAir Credit: $500 per person (up to $1,000 per stateroom) cruise fare savings
  • Onboard Spending Credit:  $500 per person (up to $1,000 per stateroom)
  • Stateroom Upgrade: Valued at $1,000, guests can upgrade from a Club Interior to Club Oceanview cabin, or from a Club Oceanview to Club Veranda cabin

New for 2015, the cruise that offers true destination immersion with Insider AccessSM, Nights and Cool PlacesSMand Land Discoveries® programs, now introduces Cruise Global, Eat LocalSM. This provides guests curated recommendations to the most authentic local restaurants around the globe. This addition rounds out Azamara’s unique approach to cruising allowing guests to spend more time exploring the destination and experiencing the culture with longer stays, more overnights and night touringSM .

“This time of year many have romance on the mind and as couples look to plan their next getaway, a cruise vacation with that special someone is the perfect choice,” says Larry Pimentel, President and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises.  “As we head into our industry’s busiest booking period, we wanted to show those who love to travel some extra love.”

Which cruise to choose? Azamara Club Cruises’ new brand campaign “The Voyage For Those Who Love Travel,” comes to life on the line’s new website featuring rich images and the line’s first ever TV commercials.  This new campaign focuses almost entirely outside the ships, which reiterates Azamara Club Cruises’ approach to cruising.  Serving as an inspiring resource to select which itinerary will be right for each guest, the website also dives into the premium onboard services, amenities and offerings as well.

For more information, travelers can call their travel professional, dial 1-877-999-9553, orvisit the website. Connect with Azamara Club Cruises on Facebook at, on Twitter @AzamaraVoyages or follow President and CEO @LarryPimentel. Travel agent professionals can access more information and make reservations at this website.


Azamara Club Cruises is a brand of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE/OSX: RCL), a global cruise vacation company that also owns Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Pullmantur, and CDF Croisières de France, as well as TUI Cruises through a 50 percent joint venture. Together, the six brands operate a combined total of 41 ships with four under construction. They operate diverse itineraries around the world that call on approximately 460 destinations on all seven continents.

# # #   


–      Booking window:  February 9 – 16, 2015

–       Applicable sailings: Most sailings from 2015-Q4 through 2016-Q2 – full list available on

–       Combinable with onboard savings, back to back savings, reduced single supplements, and LCV quarterly savings benefits

–       CHOICES – Pick Two – guests 1 and 2 must choose the same Pick Two combination.

–       All promo codes must be entered at the time of booking to receive offer:

o    Category upgrade & Onboard Credit – promo code UPGOBC

o    Category upgrade & ChoiceAir Credit – promo code UPGCHS

o    Onboard Credit & Choice Air Credit – promo code OBCCHS


Clia Predicts Continued Growth for 2015 and Beyond

On February 9th, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) released its annual State of the Cruise Industry Report and is once again projecting strong growth for the cruise industry in 2015.

A record 23 million passengers are expected to sail this year, with 61 percent of North American CLIA-certified travel agents reporting an increase in 2015 travel bookings over this time last year. Cruise lines are enticing travelers with nearly1,000 ports of call in new, exotic locations, especially in the fast-growing Asian market. CLIA also revealed that member cruise lines are scheduled to debut 22 new ocean, river and specialty ships in 2015 for a total investment of more than $4 billion.

The cruise industry this year will have major economic impact globally. In 2013, the global economic output of the cruise industry was more than $117 billion;the industry supported nearly 900,000 jobs and contributed to $38 billion in wages.

“From new ports around the globe to the investment by CLIA’s member cruise lines in new, innovative ships, it’s an exciting time for the cruise industry and cruise passengers,” said Adam M. Goldstein, CLIA Chairman and President/COO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “This year will prove to be another step forward for the entire industry as our members continue to strive to make cruising the best overall vacation experience.”

Using several research studies, CLIA identified seven 2015 cruise industry outlooks:

  1. Travelers Will Continue to Set Sail – Cruise travelers intend to continue to set sail and are highly satisfied with prior cruise experiences. In fact, 62 percent are return cruisers and 69 percent ranked cruising as a better value than a land-based vacation. Overall, CLIA member ocean passenger volume is projected to increase to 23 million in 2015, a four-percent increase over 2014 estimates of 22.1 million.
  2. Size Doesn’t Matter – Five years ago, the largest cruise ship in the world was introduced with a 6,300-passenger capacity. With 22 new ocean, river and specialty cruise ships scheduled for debut this year, the focus is less on size and more on unique design and amenities.
  3. Specialty Cruises Continue to Thrive – CLIA’s specialty segments, which includes sophisticated ships, luxury yachts, elegant ocean liners and the newest river cruises, continue to experience double digit passenger growth. In fact, specialty cruises grew by 21 percent annually from 2009 to 2014 estimates.
  4. Caribbean Continues to Be Queen – The Caribbean remains queen for the cruise industry with more than a third of the global deployment capacity market share in 2015. At the same time, cruise travelers are expanding horizons. The Mediterranean continues to grow as a destination, as well as other regions including Asia and Australia. In 2015, 52 ships will provide 1,065 Asian cruises with capacity for2.17 million passengers.
  5. Oh, the New Places We Will Go – The cruise industry is seeing an increase in passengers looking for global experiences. As a result, cruising has made the world more accessible than ever. CLIA’s member cruise lines offer nearly 1,000 ports around the globe, including many areas that fall within a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  6. Travel Agents Are Key to Cruise Travel – While the Internet and mobile devices have overtaken how consumers make purchases, travel agents continue to be the most popular and best way to book a cruise. In fact, seven out of ten cruise travelers (70 percent) use a travel agent to plan and book cruise vacations.
  7. Passengers Are at the Helm – When it comes to travel, consumers are in control more than ever before. The cruise industry is excited, motivated and responding with key innovations that are meeting the needs of today’s passengers, such as bow-to-stern Wi-Fi and phone connectivity, multi-generational appeal, themed cruises and “foodcations”.

CEOs of World’s Largest Cruise Companies to Discuss State of the Industry at Cruise Shipping Miami 2015

CNN’s Richard Quest to moderate the global-overview panel discussion

Cruise Shipping Miami‘s State of the Industry session, which sets the course of the cruise industry’s premier annual event, will feature the chief executives of the world’s largest cruise companies in a wide-ranging discussion of the health and future of the global cruise business. Cruise Shipping Miami 2015 is set for March 16-19 at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

This year’s opening plenary session features CNN’s Richard Quest as the panel moderator. Quest is CNN’s foremost international business correspondent and presenter of “Quest Means Business” and the monthly “CNN Business Traveller” programs. Based in New York, he is one of the most recognizable members of the CNN team.

“Recently, we have seen significant changes in the cruise industry, with brand consolidations and new faces at the C-suite level,” said Christopher Dauer, director of UBM Connect’s Cruise Events Portfolio. “These four executives will provide a top-level overview of where the global cruise industry is today and what they foresee going forward.”

The State of the Industry panel includes Arnold Donald, president and CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc; Richard Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.; Frank J. Del Rio, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.; and Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Cruises.

Frank J. Del Rio was previously chairman and CEO of Prestige Cruise Holdings Inc., parent company of Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. Del Rio founded Oceania Cruises in 2002, creating a new “upper premium” segment of the cruise industry. Prestige Cruise Holdings acquired Regent Seven Seas Cruises in 2008 from the Carlson Company. Norwegian Cruise Line acquired Prestige Cruises International in 2014. The combined brands operate 21 ships with approximately 40,000 lower berths visiting more than 430 destinations worldwide.

Arnold W. Donald has been a director of Carnival Corporation since 2001 and a director of Carnival plc since 2003. He was named president and CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc in June 2013. Carnival Corporation & plc is the world’s largest cruise company with more than 100 ships sailing under nine brands including AIDA Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, Holland America Line, P&O Cruises Australia, P&O Cruises UK, Princess Cruises and Seabourn. Carnival Corporation’s 100,000-plus employees worldwide serve about 10 million passengers a year.

Richard Fain has been chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. since 1988. The global cruise company owns six brands: Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Pullmantur, Azamara Club Cruises, CDF Croisières de France, and the joint German venture TUI Cruises. Together, these brands operate a total of 42 ships globally with a selection of itineraries that call on approximately 490 destinations on all seven continents.

Pierfrancesco Vago, in addition to being executive chairman of MSC, serves as chairman of CLIA Europe, which comprises seven national chapters with offices in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and the U.K. and Ireland. The national chapters provide platforms to address and solve issues at the local and national levels, and constitute an integral part of CLIA’s multilevel approach to representing its members’ interests.

Preceding the State of the Industry panel, Cruise Lines International Association Chairman Adam M. Goldstein will provide a statistical overview of the cruise industry. Goldstein is president and COO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

Cruise Shipping Miami, scheduled March 16-19, 2015, at the Miami Beach Convention Center, is the global flagship of UBM Connect’s Cruise Events Portfolio, which includes the annual Cruise Shipping Asia-Pacific and the biennial Seatrade Med Cruise Convention.

To register to attend Cruise Shipping Miami, visit the website.

Emerald Waterways Announces Construction of Fifth “Star Ship”


Emerald Waterways, Europe’s newest river cruise company, has announced plans for construction of its fifth “Star Ship.” “The demand continues tostrengthen and outpace supply,” states Emerald Waterways’ North American vp of brand management Lisa Norton. “These beautiful and innovative ships are proving to be exactly what the market has been waiting for.” The Emerald “Star Ships” recently won Cruise Critics 2014 Editor’s Pick for “Best New River Ships.” The Emerald Belle is being built in the Netherlands and is expected to be launched in early 2016, coming on the heels of the 2015 launch of the Emerald Dawn and the Emerald Sun.

Due to extremely positive guest and media feedback regarding the current “Star Ships” design, the Belle will be built in the same configuration as her four sisters while also keeping an eye on possible innovations and enhancements still to be decided. All of the “Star Ships” carry 182 guests in 72 suites and 20 staterooms, including two built for solo occupancy. Unique items include an onboard heated swimming pool with a retractable glass roof, which transforms into a movie theater in the evening; two restaurants: Reflections, the main dining room, and The Terrace for breakfast and lunch; and a new type of cabin design that replaces the run-of-the-mill French balcony common to most ships with an indoor balcony with decked area and an ingenious open-air system.

The system allows guests to push a button and the upper half of the floor-to-ceiling panoramic window drops down to allow an open-air opportunity; top suites separate the balcony from the cabin with sliding doors. Ships also feature an onboard hairdresser, massage therapy room and fitness area.

Launched in 2014, Emerald Waterways caters to the four-star-plus market by using five-star ships and service and a near all-inclusive pricing plan. The company’s approach is to minimize the guests concerns about daily budgets or mounting costs. The cruise fare includes all transfers to and from the ships; all onboard (and some on-shore) meals; unlimited tea and coffee; wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner; bottled water in the cabins; continental breakfast; pre-dinner canapes and after-dinner sweet treats served in the top suites; WiFi onboard the ship; most shore excursions; bicycles to use for independent touring and more — as well as all gratuities.

Emerald Waterways will offer nine itineraries in 2015, including the eight-day, Nuremberg-to-Budapest “Danube Delights;” the 15-day “Splendours of Europe,” which travels the Rhine and the Danube from Amsterdam to Budapest; the 10-day “Enchantment of Eastern Europe,” which travels Eastern Europe via the Danube River through Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania; the eight-day “Highlights of the Netherlands and Beauty of Belgium,” which begins and ends in Amsterdam and shows off this region at the height of spring, when the tulips are in bloom; and “Delights of France,” an 11-day sailing from Lyon to Arles.

As part of the Scenic Group, Emerald Waterways is backed by the award-winning expertise of the world’s leading luxury river cruise operator. Additional information can be found by contacting your local travel agent; and for the US: Emerald Waterways’ website; or by calling the US consumer/travel agent reservations line (855-222-3214). For Canada; or by calling the consumer reservations line, 855-444-0161; and travel agents reservation line, 1-855-265-2899. Brochure orders may be placed on the website, or a digital downloadable version is available.


Blount Celebrates Presidents’ Day with Deals and Historic Cruises

Guests Save Up To 40% When Booking Select Itineraries

Blount Small Ship Adventures is offering patriotic discounts and historical itineraries in honor of Presidents’ Day. Guests looking to sail with President Nancy Blount on August’s President’s Cruise can save 15% when booking by Feb. 27, 2015.

In addition to the President’s Cruise, guests can honor America’s leaders by booking the ‘Big Apple to the U.S. Capital’ or ‘D.C. to Boston’ itineraries, both of which visit cities that have shaped the nation’s history. History buffs save 40% when booking the ‘Big Apple to the U.S. Capital’ or ‘D.C. to Boston’ cruises, which offer sailings in May and June.

The President’s Cruise gives guests the chance to sail the ‘Two Nation Vacation: Maine & New Brunswick’ itinerary alongside Nancy Blount, President of Blount Small Ship Adventures.

The Grande Caribe sets sail from Saint John, New Brunswick on August 2 and introduces passengers to the charming coastal towns of Maine and New Brunswick, including the Canadian ports of Digby, Nova Scotia, Grand Manan and St. Andrews-by-the-Sea, New Brunswick, as well as Eastport, Bar Harbour, Rockland, Bath and Portland, Maine. A festive welcome dinner and celebration with local entertainment marks the start of the voyage, which sails for 10 days.

Guests can also pledge their allegiance on the ‘The Big Apple to the U.S. Capital: New York to D.C.’ and ‘D.C. to Boston’ itineraries. ‘The Big Apple to the U.S. Capital’ carries passengers from New York City to the D.C. area, with stops in the East Coast’s most historic and scenic cities.

The eight-night cruise departs May 22, June 1 and 2, with alternating departures and arrivals between New York City and Alexandria, Va. Along the way, guests can partake in historical and cultural excursions, including a visit to the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. When the cruise docks in Alexandria, passengers can venture to D.C. to soak in the nation’s history.

‘D.C. to Boston’ allows guests to explore Washington D.C., Baltimore, Md., Philadelphia, Pa., New York, N.Y., New London, Conn., Newport, R.I. and Boston, Mass. while aboard the Grande Mariner. The ship embarks in Alexandria, Va., the home of George Washington, on June 11th and spends 11 nights sailing 15 picturesque East Coast waterways, including the Cape Cod Canal. Highlights of the cruise include spectacular views of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor and the historic steeples of Boston, Mass.

Blount Small Ship Adventures epitomizes the best of small ship cruising. Each ship holds only 88 passengers, featuring patented designs such as retractable pilothouses and shallow-draft bow landing ramps that enable them to dock at remote ports that larger ships simply can’t reach. Access to these lesser-known destinations gives passengers the chance to travel like explorers, immersing themselves in the local culture for a truly authentic travel experience.

All Blount cruises include three meals daily with menus that are fresh, creative and often reflect the local cuisine, refreshments and snacks 24-hours a day, plus guest lectures and workshops. Single-seating meals with an open seating policy allows for the freedom to meet many traveling companions. Blount cruises also feature a BYOB policy, with mixers and set-ups for cocktails available throughout the day, along with complimentary house wine and beer offered during lunch and dinner.

For more information, visit the website or call 1-888-618-4770. Follow Blount Small Ship Adventures on Facebook at Blount Small Ship Adventures, and Twitter at @BlountSmallShip.