American Steamboat Updates 2020 Season
(PRESS RELEASE)_NEW ALBANY, Ind., May 27, 2020 – American Queen Steamboat Company (AQSC), a Hornblower® Family Company, announced a new timeline for the suspension and resumption of operations across all vessels. AQSC’s new timeline was prepared in response to the evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and following the continued wide-spread governmental restrictions across ports, cities and public institutions. The decision to update the 2020 season itinerary dates follows AQSC’s recent partnership announcement with Ochsner Health and its new company-wide health and safety protocols.
“We are excited to get back on the rivers and deliver the high-quality experience we are known for. As we look to our new relaunch dates, the wellbeing of our guests, crew and partners remains our top concern,” shares John Waggoner, founder and CEO of American Queen Steamboat Company. “Our recent partnership with Ochsner Health in addition to our enhanced health and safety protocols and easy access to U.S. healthcare facilities, allows us to responsibly and safely resume operations in our two key markets, the Pacific Northwest and the Lower and Upper Mississippi River.”
Below, please find a full breakdown on each vessel and its planned timeline for resuming its 2020 operation.
The American Empress, which sails the Columbia and Snake rivers, will extend its suspension through July 5, 2020 and intends to resume operating the July 6-13 Pacific Northwest Splendors sailing from Portland (Vancouver, WA) to Spokane (Clarkston, WA).
*Please note this itinerary begins July 5 with the pre-cruise stay in Vancouver, WA.
The American Duchess, which sails on the Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee rivers, will extend its suspension through July 19, 2020 and intends to resume its operations with the July 20-27 Mark Twain’s Mississippi sailing from St. Louis, MO (Alton) to Minneapolis, MN (Red Wing).
*Please note, this itinerary begins July 19 with the pre-cruise stay in St. Louis, MO.
American Countess and American Queen
The American Countess, the latest paddlewheeler to join the AQSC fleet on the Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee rivers, and the iconic American Queen will extend its suspension through July 15, 2020. AQSC is reviewing specific restart dates and will announce both vessels’ debut itineraries in the coming weeks.
For those impacted by the extended suspensions, AQSC is contacting all guests and travel agents regarding their upcoming cruises and available options. For guests that are booked during this time, the company will be providing a future cruise credit for 125 percent of the cruise fare or a full refund. Any future cruise credits issued may be returned at any time for a refund of the original payment amount. All full refunds will be processed within 90 days.
AQSC thanks its guests, travel agent partners, vendors and team members for their patience and understanding during this rapidly developing situation. The company will continue to work closely with ports of call and the local communities it visits, as well as the recommendations of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and U.S. Coast Guard to prepare for sailings when they resume.
American Queen Steamboat Company remains proactive and looks forward to delivering the extraordinary river cruising experience that our guests have come to expect.
To view a full overview of the new health and safety protocols being implemented by AQSC, please visit https://www.americanqueensteamboatcompany.com/health-and-safety-protocols/.
Victory Cruise Lines Cancels 2020 Season
(PRESS RELEASE)_NEW ALBANY, Ind., May 27, 2020 – Victory Cruise Lines (VCL), operated by American Queen Steamboat Company (AQSC), a Hornblower® Family Company, announced it will cancel all planned itineraries for the remainder of the 2020 season due to prolonged governmental restrictions and uncertainties of future travel through Canadian waters. VCL thanks its guests, travel agent partners, vendors and team members for their patience and understanding during this rapidly evolving situation. VCL will continue to focus efforts on the upcoming 2021 season, which includes the debut of the highly anticipated Ocean Victory in Alaska and new itineraries on the Great Lakes, Canadian Maritimes, New England and the Southeastern U.S.
“The decision to suspend service for 2020 was a difficult and disappointing choice but necessary in response to uncertainties of Canadian travel in the coming months. In anticipation of operating, we have taken this time to implement cutting-edge health and safety protocols. We will now focus on our exciting new itineraries planned for 2021, including the Ocean Victory in Alaska,” said John Waggoner, founder and CEO of American Queen Steamboat Company. “The health, safety and confidence of our guests, crew and partners is our number one priority, and we will return in 2021 stronger and better than ever.”
Upcoming in 2021, VCL will roll out new itineraries including the 12- and 13-day Discover Beyond ™ Alaska Expedition Cruises on the upcoming Ocean Victory between Vancouver, B.C. and Sitka, Alaska. The Victory I and Victory II will also return with refreshed routes, including a 12-day Southeastern U.S. cruise that sails roundtrip to Amelia Island, Fla. (Fernandina Beach). Early booking discounts up to $1,400 per stateroom are now available for 2021 cruises. In the coming weeks, VCL will also be announcing plans for new winter itineraries for both the Victory I and Victory II. Between the new and refreshed itineraries, guests will have more choices available when rebooking with their future cruise credit.
For guests who are booked to sail on the Victory I or Victory II in 2020, no action is necessary at this time. The VCL customer service team will reach out directly to guests and travel agents in the coming days to answer any questions and advise on available options, which include the opportunity to rebook on a later date, a 125 percent cruise credit or a full refund. The 125 percent cruise credit can be used toward any VCL itinerary, including the highly anticipated day Discover Beyond ™ Alaska Expedition Cruises. All full refunds will be processed within 90 days.
For more information on Victory Cruise Lines and its current policies, please visit: https://www.victorycruiselines.com/alerts/.
BPCL Resumes Sailings July 25
(PRESS RELEASE)_WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – May 26, 2020 – Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line today announced that sailings will resume onboard Grand Celebration July 25th and onboard Grand Classica October 2nd. In addition, the cruise line’s renowned, award-winning Cruise & Stay Program, which lets guests extend their stay in the Bahamas for up to four nights at one of the company’s resort partners, will also be available for bookings beginning October 2nd. As the cruise line prepares for its anticipated return, it is putting travelers’ health and safety front and center, rolling out an extensive list of new preventative measures designed to ensure the wellness of both passengers and crew.
“As things begin to return to normal after months of quarantine, we can all use a quick getaway. When we return, our onboard experience may look a little different to our guests,” said Oneil Khosa, CEO of Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line. “The wellness of our passengers and crew members remains our top priority, and as such, passengers can expect enhanced sanitization procedures from embarkation to disembarkation so that they can enjoy a relaxing, safe, stress-free getaway. We look forward to welcoming everyone onboard soon!”
As the only cruise line that departs from the Port of Palm Beach, with the only two-night short-cruise product on the market, Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line is implementing a variety of new processes to ensure the health and safety of all onboard. The new measures encompass protocols for guest accommodations, common areas onboard the ships, recreational facilities, food hygiene, and more. Highlights include:
CruiseCompete - A Gamechanger
North Palm Beach Life is proud to partner with CruiseCompete, a leader in finding the best value for travelers looking to book a cruise. For almost two decades they have served as the connection between travel agents and consumers. Here's more from their website:
"A revolutionary new website is going to change how you shop for cruises" --that's how Pauline Frommer described CruiseCompete in the lead travel story on MSNBC.COM when the site launched in 2003. Since then, Travel + Leisure, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Zagat.com, Kiplinger's, USA Today, the Boston Globe, the Houston Chronicle, the Detroit Free Press, and many other major publications have all written about how CruiseCompete is helping consumers connect with the travel agents who can provide the most value for their cruise vacations.
CruiseCompete.com does not sell travel; it is a free and anonymous service that helps cruisers find the best values for their cruise vacation. Consumers simply submit a ship name and sail date with a few other pieces of relevant information. Top travel agencies then craft custom responses to meet the specific needs of the consumer. Cruisers are notified by e-mail when new quotes are available, so they can view these quotes and contact the agencies directly to book their trips. (For people who need help choosing a cruise, a CruiseCompete member-agency offers Live Agent Help.) Travel agencies pay a fee based on the value of the travel they sell.
CruiseCompete LLC is an independent organization. We are not a travel agency or owned by a travel agency, and we provide travel agents with a steady stream of easy-to-manage, highly qualified leads.
For more, visit CRUISECOMPETE.
You'll also enjoy their CRUISE PODCAST, where CruiseCompete.com CEO Bob Levinstein interviews cruise travel experts about their cruise experiences. "Learn about different cruise lines, cruise ship, ports and itineraries and get insider advice from about to have the smoothest, safest and most memorable cruise vacation for you and your family."
American Queen, Health Provider Partner
(PRESS RELEASE)_NEW ALBANY, Ind., May 22, 2020 – American Queen Steamboat Company (AQSC), a Hornblower® Family Company, is partnering with Ochsner Health by implementing Ochsner’s Safe to Return Employer Solutions to help improve and maintain a healthy and safe return of guests and crew to its paddlewheelers.
Ochsner Health will conduct assessments of the American Queen, American Duchess and American Countess and will work with AQSC on implementing disease prevention and mitigation strategies across the entire AQSC fleet. Another hallmark of this program is the real-time access to infectious disease experts within the Ochsner Health system should a need arise. AQSC will be announcing details on a healthcare partner for its Pacific Northwest itineraries on board the American Empress in the coming weeks.
As part of Ochsner Safe to Return Employer Solutions, Ochsner Health will reassess the AQSC vessels on a monthly basis and provide updated recommendations as needed based on scientific data and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations.
As a result of the partnership with Ochsner Health recommendations, AQSC will implement the following actions:
“We are thrilled to have this ongoing support from Ochsner Health and their expert-team of providers,” shares John Waggoner, founder and CEO of American Queen Steamboat Company. “By partnering with Ochsner Health, we are able to provide added preventative measures to our already increased diligence in guest and crew safety.”
Atlas Announces 2021 Cruises
(PRESS RELEASE)_FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA., May 18, 2020 – Atlas Ocean Voyages today announced that the Luxe-AdventureSM Expedition Cruise brand is augmenting its inaugural-year offerings with four new, exciting Transatlantic, Caribbean and South America itineraries in October and November 2021. World Navigator, Atlas Ocean Voyages’ first ship, will cruise the Atlantic Ocean from Portugal to the Southern Caribbean islands before bringing guests along South America’s east coast to Tierra del Fuego. Launching in July 2021, World Navigator, will bring fun-seeking adventurers, explorers and like-spirited travelers on authentic, thrilling, and once-in-a-lifetime Luxe-Adventure experiences to the world’s most sought-after and remote destinations, including the Holy Land; Black, Mediterranean and Caribbean Seas; South America and Antarctica. World Navigator’s 29 inaugural-year journeys are now open for booking.
“Beginning July 2021, Atlas Ocean Voyages’ distinct, excitement-driven Luxe-Adventure journeys will offer new world explorers an unmatched travel experience aboard our new, safe, small, clean and green ship, World Navigator,” said Alberto Aliberti, President of Atlas Ocean Voyages. “We’ve adjusted our inaugural-year deployment to bring World Navigator to the Caribbean so U.S. and Canadian travelers can embark on an adventure closer to home. And, the new Transatlantic, Caribbean and South America itineraries provide our valued travel advisor partners more options when discussing future 2021 travel with their clients and to take advantage of our GET PAID NOW offer.”
Travel Bistro: A New Podcast
I'm Pamela Barker, and I want to welcome you to my new podcast, Travel Bistro.
A resident of the Sunshine State since 2007, the Palm Beaches of Southern Florida is now my anchor. From here, my partner, Gerry, and I travel via planes, trains, automobiles, cruise ships, and we have even experienced the thrill of being passengers in a Blackhawk Helicopter.
Following a career in media, in addition to travel, I have enjoyed focusing on art, writing blogs and novels, podcasting and being the Social Media Editor for our Website, northpalmbeachlife.com.
So, I invite you to grab a drink, pull up a chair and join me at Travel Bistro, my latest podcast, where we will share our travel adventures and photos.
AmaWaterways Opens 2022 Bookings
(PRESS RELEASE)_CALABASAS, CA – (May 11, 2020) – Award-winning luxury river cruise company AmaWaterways today announced the majority of its 2022 deployment is now open for group and individual bookings - a full six months ahead of previous season openings. All itineraries in France, Portugal, Holland and those traveling the Rhine and Moselle rivers are open for reservations, with added rewards for guests who book early. By May 20, the remaining 2022 river cruise voyages with pre- and post-cruise land extensions will also be available. While the company would typically open 2022 bookings much later in the year, increased demand for 2022 sailings led to early release of the deployment.
“We are excited to open our 2022 bookings six months earlier than originally anticipated, given the heightened demand from individuals and special interest groups for sailings in 2021 and beyond,” said Rudi Schreiner, president and co-founder of AmaWaterways. “We’ve seen a strong showing for our new offerings, especially with new ships AmaSiena and AmaLucia joining the fleet, and AmaDahlia launching on the Nile in Egypt in September 2021. As pent up demand has already started to surface, I anticipate 2022 will emerge as a very strong travel season and look forward to welcoming our guests onboard.”
Princess Extends Pause in Operations
(PRESS RELEASE)_SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (May 6, 2020) – Due to reduced air flight availability, the closure of cruise ports in regions around the world and other factors impacting international travel, Princess Cruises is extending its pause of global ship operations and has therefore made the extremely difficult decision to cancel select cruises through the end of the 2020 summer season, including the following cruises and associated cruisetours:
“As the world is still preparing to resume travel, it is with much disappointment that we announce an extension of our pause of global ship operations and the cancellation of cruise vacations for our loyal guests,” said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. “Among other disruptions, airlines have limited their flight availability and many popular cruise ports are closed. It saddens us to think about the impact on the livelihood of our teammates, business partners and the communities we visit.”
Guests currently booked on these canceled voyages, who have paid Princess in full, will have the option to receive a Future Cruise Credit (FCC) equivalent to 100% of the cruise fare paid plus an additional bonus FCC equal to 25% of the cruise fare.
For guests who have not paid in full, Princess will Double the Deposit, providing a refundable FCC for the money currently on deposit plus a matching bonus FCC that can be used on any voyage through May 1, 2022. The matching bonus FCC will not exceed the base cruise fare amount of the currently booked cruise and will have a minimum value of $100 per person.
In order to receive the above FCC no action is required.
Alternatively, guests can request a full refund for all monies paid on their booking through this online form. Requests must be received by June 15, 2020, or they will receive the refundable Future Cruise Credit option.
Princess will protect travel advisor commissions on bookings for cancelled cruises that were paid in full, in recognition of the critical role they play in the cruise line’s business and success.
The most current information and instructions for booked guests affected by these cancellations, and more information on FCCs and refunds, can be found online at Information on Impacted & Cancelled Cruises.
NCL Secures Additional Funding
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