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.

Cruise Ship Arrivals to Puerto Vallarta increased by 43% in 2014

Puerto Vallarta.

The Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board has announced that the Pacific seaport city of Puerto Vallarta will see 118 cruises call on its shores this year, 43 % over 2013 when 81 cruises called the port.

Puerto Vallarta will welcome 52 cruises from September through December of this year, which added to the 64 already touched Vallarta waters will reach a total of 116, 81 more than the received arrivals last year.

International cruise ships calling on Puerto Vallarta this year will leave an economic impact of $25.6, representing an increase of 43% percent compared to 2013.

The four cruise lines that most often call on Puerto Vallarta are Norwegian, Princess, Carnival and Holland America, in that order. As for passengers, Puerto Vallarta is estimated to end the year with the arrival of about 266,800. For the rest of the year will be two arrivals triples, eight double and three overnights.

A total of 141 cruises have already confirmed stations to Puerto Vallarta for 2015, including Carnival Cruises will call on the destination throughout the year with the Coral Princess being the first on September 26. Carnival represents 34% of arrivals; Princess 20%; Norwegian 19% and Holland American 16%.

Puerto Vallarta is one of Mexico’s leading tourism destinations popular with North American visitors for its picturesque Banderas Bay, colonial center and lush Sierra Madre mountains that surround the port of call. Today this world-class destination is a top choice among cruise lines for its wide array of activities, great weather year round and the calm and protected waters of its bay, one of the largest bays in Mexico extending over 62 miles of pristine coastline.

The Coral Princess passenger can choose among many offshore excursions – from shopping at Galerias Vallarta across the street from the Marina or strolling around the historic downtown area bordered by a 6-mile long Malecon (boardwalk) home to hundreds of fine art galleries, jewelry shops, arts and crafts markets, tequila stores and over 360 restaurants. International visitors can receive a tax refund for certain goods they purchase in Puerto Vallarta before they board the ship with Moneyback.

Those with a more adventurous spirit will find that Puerto Vallarta has it all, from paddle boarding, scuba diving to rappelling down a waterfall and tequila tasting. Tour Operators such as Canopy River offer unique opportunities to Zipline or raft across rivers, hike or ride mules down the Sierra Madre Mountain range. At Dolphin Discovery visitors can swim with dolphins and sea lions while others can opt for exploring the country side on ATVs with Wild Treks Adventure. Vallarta Adventures incorporates cultural, adventure and ecological activities in its tours which range from visiting a ghost mining town in the middle of the jungle to all-inclusive beach day and even the fastest zip-line in Mexico. Go Gay!PV also offers numerous outdoor adventures for LGBT visitors.

Passengers who are looking for a relaxing day at the beach can opt for the offerings at Puerto Vallarta’s adult-only Beach Clubs, including Sapphire Beach, Mantamar Beach Club and Casa Velas’ Ocean Club. Spa treatments are also a big favorite with CasaMagna Marriott Ohtli and Villa Premire’s Spa one of the most frequented. Passengers can also get a day pass to enjoy a day lazing by the pool and other facilities at the many hotels in Puerto Vallarta including Secrets, Westin or Fiesta Americana, among others.

Norwegian Escape Keel Laying Held at Meyer Werft

MEYER WERFT Project Manager Stefan Schmees, Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Kevin Sheehan,
Norwegian Cruise Line Senior Vice President of New Build Christer Karlsson and MEYER WERFT Managing Partner Bernard Meyer at the Keel Laying for Norwegian Escape.


First block in the dock for Norwegian’s first Breakaway Plus class ship; Marks start of construction on line’s largest ship

Norwegian Cruise Line and MEYER WERFT celebrated the keel laying of Norwegian Escape at MEYER’s state of the art facility in Papenburg, Germany. During the ceremony, block 35/41, the first of 86 blocks that will comprise the 164,600 gross ton vessel, was lifted into the covered building dock, officially marking the start of the ship’s construction. Norwegian Escape will be Norwegian’s largest ship to date, carrying 4,200 passengers, set for delivery in October 2015.

Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer, was on hand in the dock and laid the traditional “lucky coin,” before the first block, weighing 400 tons, was placed by a massive crane. A special commemorative coin featuring the ship was created to celebrate the day’s activities.
“Norwegian Escape will be our largest and most innovative ship to date, building on the phenomenal success of Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway,” said Sheehan. “We are looking forward to seeing this ship take shape over the next year and welcoming her to our fleet in October 2015.”
Norwegian Escape is the first ship in her class, and is being built by MEYER WERFT through a highly-efficient construction process that will deliver the ship of 164,600 gross tons in just over 19 months from steel cutting to delivery.

“We are proud to begin the construction of Norwegian Cruise Line’s first Breakaway Plus vessel and continue our long-standing partnership,” said Bernard Meyer, managing partner of MEYER WERFT. “Norwegian Escape will be a spectacular ship and it is our honor to bring the dreams and innovations of the Norwegian team to life.”

Norwegian Escape will begin weekly seven-day cruises from her year-round homeport of Miami to the Eastern Caribbean on November 14, 2015. The ship will be the largest to home port year-round in Miami, carrying 4,200 guests to tropical Caribbean destinations including St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands and Nassau, Bahamas.

The ship’s signature hull artwork is designed by marine wildlife artist and champion of ocean conservation, Guy Harvey, which features an underwater scene of marine wildlife. Norwegian’s newest ship is Harvey’s largest canvas to date, at 1065 feet in length, with his artwork spanning from the hull to the aft featuring two undersea scenes that blend seamlessly. Norwegian Escape will boast all of the exciting and innovative features found on Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway, plus a number of new spaces and interactive experiences that are yet to be announced. Accommodations include the company’s signature luxury ship–within-a-ship complex:

The Haven by Norwegian; along with Studios, designed and priced for solo travelers; and many options for families, multi-generational groups, spa enthusiasts and more.

To book a cruise on Norwegian Escape, contact a travel professional, call Norwegian at 888-NCL-CRUISE (625-2784), or visit the website.

EUROPA and EUROPA 2: Ranked Once Again as the Only 5-Stars-Plus Ships in the World

EUROPA 2

Highest distinction 5-stars-plus: Berlitz Cruise Guide 2015 awards EUROPA and EUROPA 2

· Top distinction for Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ two luxury ships
· HANSEATIC: Only 5-star expedition cruise ship
· Berlitz Cruise Guide published on October 1st, 2014

In the 30th anniversary edition of the Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2015 guide, EUROPA and EUROPA 2, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ luxury ships, have defended their pole position and have been awarded the highest distinction as the only 5-stars-plus cruise ships worldwide. The HANSEATIC was ranked as the only 5-star expedition ship globally among the group of “boutique ships”.

Attaining 1,860 points out of a possible 2,000, the EUROPA 2 achieved the highest score among all ships and has been awarded 5-stars-plus for the second time. The EUROPA, which has achieved this award the 15th year consecutively, received 1.851 points. Hence, both ships lead the ranking in the category “small ships up to 750 passengers” and are global leaders. The HANSEATIC has been awarded 5-stars with a total of 1.765 points, the BREMEN received the distinction 4-stars-plus with 1.555 points.

“Both are beautiful ships to sail aboard”, comments Douglas Ward, author of the Berlitz Cruise Guide on EUROPA and EUROPA 2 “with an outstanding amount of space per passenger, high-ceilinged passageways, a superb range of dining venues and types of cuisine, and attentive, friendly, yet unobtrusive personal service. They have proven themselves to be unbeatable yet again.”

“For EUROPA and EUROPA 2 to be awarded 5-stars-plus again this year fills us with pride and is a very special certification for our performance and our standards of quality, which proves once more our role as the foremost provider of luxury cruises” says Karl J. Pojer, CEO of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. “A special thanks therefore goes to our crew on board the ships as well as our team of staff in Hamburg.”

The 30th anniversary edition of Berlitz Cruise guide is published on October 1st. Author Douglas Ward and his team tested a total of 270 cruise ships around the world and scored them based on criteria such as ship fittings, menus, restaurant quality, service, crew, entertainment and the cruise experience. For the first time, the guide includes a special on themed cruises this year.

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

Costa Cruises’ Costa Diadema to Feature New Production Shows and Entertainment Venues

Costa Diadema


Costa CruisesCosta Diadema is set to debut in the Mediterranean this fall, bringing with it an exciting array of entertainment options. New shows, new venues and high-tech games, designed specifically for the Italian cruise line’s new flagship, will engage guests of all ages.

When the curtain rises in the ship’s stunning three-level Emerald Theater, guests will enjoy four new productions scripted by the line’s entertainment experts. Italian culture will be on display in “Flavors of Italy,” a musical performance that combines art, opera, cinema and fashion, and features the country’s finest traditions including the Carnival of Venice and the Sanremo Music Festival.

“Feel the Beat,” will feature sounds from hip hop, jazz, Brazilian samba, the Viennese waltz, Irish dancing and tap. A new circus act will give guests the opportunity to participate on stage, and the “Kings and Queens of Pop & Rock” musical production will feature tributes to the genre’s beloved artists including Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, the Beatles and Queen.

The classic rock theme continues at the new Country Rock Club bar and lounge, which will feature tribute concerts, country line dancing and a spacious dance floor.

Costa Diadema’s Star Laser area — an innovative and high-tech space with a high-quality lighting and sound system — is the perfect venue for karaoke and DJ parties, birthday celebrations and private events. The area also features a Laser Maze where guests can test their skill as they try to complete the course without touching any laser beams.

The 132,500-ton, 3,724-guest Costa Diadema will be christened at a Nov. 7 ceremony in Genoa, Italy. The ship’s monthlong debut will include a preview cruise from Trieste, Italy, Nov. 1, and a trio of seven-night inaugural cruises Nov. 8, 15 and 22. Beginning Nov. 29 and for the rest of the 2014-15 winter season and through summer 2015, Costa Diadema will depart Savona, Italy, on seven-night western Mediterranean cruises calling weekly at Marseille, France; Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca, Spain; and Naples and La Spezia, Italy.

Registration Opens For CLIA Cruise Week

Annual Promotion Brings Major Sales Opportunities for CLIA Member Agencies and Agents

Cruise Lines International Association announced the opening of travel agent registration for CLIA Cruise Week, formerly known as National Cruise Vacation Week, to be held October 6-13. The annual promotion is the cruise industry’s largest and most successful cruise promotion with participation by thousands of agents and agencies across the US and Canada and CLIA’s cruise line members.

CLIA Cruise Week transforms a critical sales period into a booking bonanza that means millions of dollars in cruise sales and commissions for the travel agent community.

To help make CLIA Cruise Week a success, CLIA has created a comprehensive marketing support program including:

A dedicated CLIA Cruise Week website providing tools, tips and resources to help agents and agencies sell more cruises, including the ability to create a customized CLIA Cruise Week micro-site for clients;

An exclusive “how to” e-guide with advice on hosting successful virtual or traditional CLIA Cruise Week sales events;

A marketing “tool kit” including a CLIA Cruise Week logo for promotional purposes, a press release and flyer/email templates, cruise line videos, and Facebook integration capabilities;

Marketing, promotions, sales support (including collateral materials) and special offers, such as free upgrades, two-for-one pricing, onboard credits and other cruise deals from CLIA’s North America member cruise lines;

A comprehensive and robust public relations, advertising and social media campaign;

Prominent coverage in consumer media, print advertising, online and broadcast media

“CLIA Cruise Week is the most powerful promotion in the travel industry dedicated to helping travel agents and agencies reach new and existing cruise customers with unprecedented value,” said Christine Duffy, CLIA President & CEO. “This is a chance for our travel agent and agency partners to take their sales to the next level with support from CLIA and our member lines. The name says it all – CLIA Cruise Week is a singular promotion that’s all about cruising.”

The promotions available from CLIA member cruise lines during CLIA Cruise Week amount to thousands of dollars in special offers for every CLIA member agent or agency that registers for the program, as showcased in the examples below:

Norwegian Cruise Line: 10% off their cruise fare in the form of onboard credits for specialty dining, shore excursions or spa treatments; plus $100 onboard credit per person for specialty sailings, and $300 in onboard credits on select itineraries.

Carnival Cruise Lines: Great rates plus 50% reduced deposits, plus two category upgrade, plus $50 onboard credit per stateroom.

Avalon River Cruises: a savings of $1,300 per couple for river cruises in Europe.

Disney Cruise Line: $100 onboard credit on select 7-Night Western Caribbean Cruises.

Hurtigruten: 10% off current price levels on Norway Coastal Voyages on new 2014 and 2015 bookings.

Royal Caribbean: a buy one guest, get second guest 50% off and 5% off the line’s ChoiceAir fare bookings.

Cunard: Save up to $175 per stateroom onboard credit on any bookings made for Transatlantic Crossings aboard the luxurious flagship Queen Mary 2.

Participation in CLIA Cruise Week is free to CLIA member agents and agencies. Details for the promotion, as well as easily downloadable marketing support materials, are available online.

Participation is easy. Agents can follow these simple instructions to register for CLIA Cruise Week today:

1. Open a new browser window online
2. Log in with your CLIA I.D. #
3. Complete the profile. Registration is free*

*Agents who participated in prior year campaigns still need to register and include complete details in order to be part of the 2014 campaign.

For more information about CLIA Cruise Week and CLIA, visit this website.

Un-Cruise Adventures Plans a ‘Best of The Best’ Cruise in Mexico’s Sea of Cortés

The Sea of Cortes

Baja, Mexico cruise features close up encounters with marine life

Beginning January 2015, Un-Cruise Adventures offers a new adventure cruise in Mexico’s Sea of Cortés wrapping the best marine life adventures into one itinerary. The 84-guest Safari Endeavour sails the week-long Baja’s Bounty! Whale Sharks, Whales & Mobulas itinerary roundtrip from San José del Cabo, Baja, Mexico.

“We’re simplifying our itinerary choices and ensuring each guest has the best experiences included in their cruise adventure,” said Captain Dan Blanchard, CEO. “Depending on the time of year, you may snorkel with whale sharks or you may see gray whales and their calves up close.”

From November-March, Safari Endeavour explores the marine-rich waters of the sea and scenic, remote desert islands on weeklong adventures from San José del Cabo, Baja. The Sea of Cortés is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve, once described by Jacques Cousteau as the “world’s aquarium.”

The new itinerary launching in January combines active explorations with seasonal sea life encounters. When gray whales arrive to calve in Bahía Magdalena, an overland tour to board panga boats and see whales and calves up close is included (usually January-March). At other times of the year, a snorkeling excursion in Bahía de La Paz may bring guests up close to the largest known fish in the sea—gentle whale sharks.

Exploration cruising allows for a flexible itinerary with time to seek out wildlife. Other areas visited include Isla San Francisco, Isla San José, Bahía Agua Verde, Isla Coronados, Los Islotes, Ensenada Grande and Isla Cerralvo. A half-day port call in Loreto includes a guided walking tour of the historic town.

Desert hiking, a mule ride into the arroyo, whale watching, snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boarding, skiff excursions and snorkeling with sea lions are included on all cruises. Dolphins – often in large pods, many types of whales, blue-footed boobies, sea turtles, flying mobulas, pelicans, frigate birds, manta rays and other creatures make frequent appearances. Winter holiday departures are scheduled for December 20 and 27, 2014; and December 19 and 26, 2015. Theme departures include ornithology, marine biology, photography and Kids in Nature.

The inclusive Mexico cruise includes all activities; exquisite meals; fine wine, premium spirits and microbrews; hot tub, sauna, exercise equipment, yoga on deck and a massage for wellness; transfers; and all port charges, taxes and fees. Rates begin at US$2,995 per person, double occupancy. To book or to request additional information, contact your travel agent or Un-Cruise Adventures at 888-862-8881 or visit the website.

New Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal is Landmark for Gulf Cruise Tourism

New Abu Dhabi cruise terminal

ADPC and TCA Abu Dhabi reveal new design for Zayed Port cruise terminal at Seatrade Med 2014 in Barcelona

Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC) and Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) has unveiled the design of what will become the next big landmark for cruise tourism in the Arabian Gulf region – Zayed Port’s new cruise terminal building.

The announcement was made at the Seatrade Med 2014 in Barcelona, Spain – one of Europe’s key cruise events.

Traditional Arabic ornaments, colors and shapes combined with modern architectural elements define the new building’s distinctive style which celebrates the UAE’s cultural heritage and pays tribute to its long maritime history.

A particular eye-catcher is the building’s roof design which is a lattice-work, taking the UAE’s national tree – the Ghaf – as inspiration. Wooden beams inside the building take inspiration from the UAE’s traditional dhow sailing vessels.

Covering 8,000 square meters, the new building will include all key passenger facilities, as well as a mezzanine level with souvenir shops, restaurants, office facilities and waiting areas for cruise staff. It will feature tourist information services and passport border control counters to ensure that the customs process is smooth and timely.

Ground clearance work for the new terminal, which will be capable of handling three cruise vessels simultaneously, has already begun with a completion timetable anticipated at 2016.

Earlier this year, the UAE announced a new multiple entry visa which will make tourist travel between the UAE and neighboring countries significantly easier. The new multi-entry visa had been on cruise lines ‘wish-list’ for some time as it will help the logistics when planning itineraries around the Gulf region.

“ADPC and its partners – TCA Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Oman – established ‘Cruise Arabia’ at the end of 2013 as an initiative which promotes the Gulf region as an attractive tourist destination and brings the partners together to combine forces to make the cruising experience for tourists and cruise staff as comfortable as possible,” said Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, CEO ADPC. “Our investment in a larger, higher-quality cruise terminal building recognizes the fact that Abu Dhabi is now featured on a growing number of itineraries. This makes us very proud and keen to ensure that this important industry is fully catered for and encouraged.”

Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi added, “Abu Dhabi’s cruise tourism has enormous potential and the development of tourism in the emirate is one of the core pillars of the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030, a plan to diversify the economy and reduce dependence on oil and gas revenue.”

“It is a statement of just how serious Abu Dhabi is about cruise tourism,” said Sultan Al Dhaheri, Acting Executive Director Tourism, TCA Abu Dhabi. “For our part we are stepping up promotion of this particular industry sector with the imminent launch of a dedicated cruise tourism section on our visitabudhabi.ae online destination resource and the creation of highly differentiated shore excursions which lift the value of the Arabian Gulf cruise proposition with Abu Dhabi as both a home port and port-of-call.”

In addition to state-of-the-art cruise facilities and comprehensive infrastructure, ADPC recently introduced a loyalty program for cruise vessels calling at Zayed Port. The program includes special home porting conditions and further incentives, making the stay for cruise liners at Zayed Port even more attractive.

Alongside Saadiyat Island, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and other headline attractions on Yas Island, as well as a wide range of desert tours, Abu Dhabi’s shore excursions for cruise passengers offer unique cultural sites such as the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Emirates Palace, the UNESCO World Heritage sites in the emirate’s heritage heartland of Al Ain and, in the near future, the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Zayed National Museum and the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi in the Saadiyat Cultural District.

Abu Dhabi’s cruise passenger arrivals have increased five-fold since the sector began in the emirate in 2007 with anticipated arrivals this season reaching 200,000 passengers from 95 vessel calls.

For more information about Abu Dhabi, please visit the website.

Jacques Pepin and Family to Host Exclusive 2015 Oceania Sailing

Oceania Riviera

OCEANIA CRUISES ANNOUNCES CULINARY DIRECTOR JACQUES PEPIN AND FAMILY TO HOST EXCLUSIVE 2015 SAILING

World-renowned master chef and Oceania Cruises Executive Culinary Director, Jacques Pépin, will host a special sailing onboard Riviera in 2015 and it promises to be a family affair. The legendary chef’s daughter Claudine, co-Host of Jacques’ award-winning “Cooking with Claudine“ television series, and his granddaughter Shorey will join Pépin and his wife Gloria on the 10-day Iberian Inspiration departing Lisbon for Rome on July 7, 2015. The sailing will feature exclusive cooking demonstrations, specially designed signature menus, book signings and many more surprises. Making the sailing even more special, guests can share in an 80th birthday celebration for Chef Pépin, one of the culinary world’s most beloved personalities.

“The Mediterranean sailing onboard Oceania Cruises is a special time and it will be a true delight sharing these moments with my entire family,” shares Executive Culinary Director Jacques Pépin. “I have so many memories in the ports we will visit including Barcelona, Provence and Portofino and look forward to sharing them with all the guests joining us on this voyage.”

In addition to scheduled demonstrations and formal book signings, Chef Pépin the artist will share his passion for painting in the Artist Loft. A selection of his works are currently on display in his namesake restaurant and the chef enjoys speaking on art as much as he does fine cuisine. Always available for unstructured discussions throughout the ship, Chef Pépin truly enjoys visiting with guests and discussing travel. He will be seen throughout Riviera including Martinis and Horizons for tea eager to tell stories and share his memories.

Jacques Pépin is the host of award-winning cooking shows, author of more than 20 cookbooks and has served as personal chef to numerous heads of state. As the Executive Culinary Director for Oceania Cruises, Pépin’s legendary cuisine and unique artistry is featured in the gourmet restaurants onboard the entire fleet including his namesake restaurant Jacques onboard Riviera and Marina. Jacques, his first restaurant at sea, is a favorite of guests, drawing inspiration from bistros in his hometown of Lyon and the fabled bistros of Paris. Highlights of the menu include an appetizer of homemade Pumpkin Soup á l’Anglaise served in a pumpkin shell, fresh Mussels Marinière, freshly roasted free range chicken, duck, lamb and other specialty cuts of fine meat.

“Jacques Pépin has been a member of the Oceania Cruises family since the line’s inception and we are honored to once again have him onboard as a delightful treat to our guests,” shares Oceania Cruises President Kunal S. Kamlani. “Jacques is such a gracious host, guests will be treated to endless stories from his illustrious career and will be able to put their own cooking skills to the test with some hands-on instruction at the Culinary Center. Add in that we will be celebrating with Jacques his 80th birthday, and it creates a once-in-a-lifetime cruise experience our guests will never forget.”

In addition to Jacques, guests onboard Riviera may dine in any of the six distinctly different restaurants, including the Asian-inspired Red Ginger, all at no additional charge. For more information visit the website, call 855-OCEANIA or contact 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.