American Queen Steamboat Organization (AQSC) unveiled new 2023 cruise schedules this 7 days, so Vacation Agent talked with Kari Tarnowski, AQSC’s senior vice president of marketing, about that lineup of future voyages for both of those AQSC and Victory Cruise Traces, as effectively as the firm’s plans for a new South Florida satellite business, the line’s vaccine requirement and scheduling developments.
New Florida Satellite Office environment
When AQSC will stay headquartered in New Albany, IN throughout the river from Louisville, KY, it is now searching for to open yet another office in possibly Broward County or Miami-Dade County, FL. Journey advisors can be expecting the company’s marketing, sales and operations groups to relocate to this new business in the to start with half of 2022.
Tarnowski and Michael Hicks, director of marketing communications, are amongst all those who will be dependent in that South Florida satellite workplace. Executive, finance and other AQSC features will keep on being centered in Indiana.
“We are actively seeking for house,” Tarnowski instructed Vacation Agent. “South Florida is the heart of the cruise market and there is so a lot expertise in the region, not just in cruising but also hospitality. It is evidently the subsequent phase, as we’re incorporating new vessels and expanding potential.”
That leap in capacity is taking place not only on U.S. rivers for American Queen Steamboat Enterprise, which will operate four American-flagged, American-crewed river vessels on the Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, Columbia, Snake and other North American rivers this 12 months, but also for the company’s overseas-flagged Victory Cruise Strains.
Preparing cruises for Alaska, Canada/New England, U.S. coastal and Mexico voyages, that small-ship, oceangoing coastal line will choose shipping and delivery of its first vessel, Ocean Victory in June 2021 and a next new oceangoing ship, Ocean Discoverer, during 2023.
Early Release of 2023 Lineup
Citing pent-up consumer desire, American Queen Steamboat Firm and Victory Cruise Lines released their 2023 schedules previously than usual this 7 days.
“Cruisers yearn to journey once again, as evidenced by 2021 and 2022 inquiries and our webinar reputation with visitors and journey companions,” Tarnowski reported. “Opening up 2023 to satisfy that wanderlust had to be done.”
Expressing “surprise” at the strong demand from customers getting created by more mature company, primarily Infant Boomers, for bookings in 2021’s next quarter and 2022, Tarnowski chalked that up to “folks not currently being equipped to journey for so prolonged all through the past calendar year. Everyone is all set to go on past that and discover their individual backyard.”
“Many guests are not heading to be taking that 10-hour flight this 12 months,” Tarnowski pressured. She also anecdotally pointed out that some consumers not long ago weren’t able to get their COVID-19 assessments uploaded for domestic Hawaii entry and had to modify flights. Tarnowski thinks individuals forms of things associated with travel past the continental U.S. undoubtedly impact the determination for North American customers to find out voyages “closer to residence.”
So, what is on tap for 2023? American Queen, the world’s largest steamboat, will sail the reduce Mississippi River with 28 departures concerning Memphis, TN, (revealed in the photograph higher than) and New Orleans. The ship also will sail a Thanksgiving 2023 cruise from Memphis to New Orleans and 3 roundtrip New Orleans voyages for the duration of the December 2023 holiday year.
For 2023 Lessen Mississippi river sailings, which concentrate on southern hospitality, audio, society and heritage, “we’re observing incredible desire,” Tarnowski pointed out. She pointed to this kind of preferred itinerary perks as AQSC-unique access situations at Nottoway Plantation in close proximity to White Castle, LA, and visits to Chef Regina Charboneau’s cooking school in Natchez, MS, for instruction on biscuit baking and southern entertaining.
AQSC also has a new ship debuting this year that will also sail that Lower Mississippi region in 2023. That is the American Countess, a former gaming boat which is been fully reworked, modernized and “stretched” at a Louisiana shipyard it will be christened in Louisiana and start sailing in March 2021. (Note: Generally the ship’s capacity would be 234 passengers, but the line will cut down that to 166 when it begins company.)
American Countess will sail a fall 2023 “Mighty Mississippi” voyage from St. Paul, MN, to New Orleans and sail the Ohio, Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers in the course of the 2023 year. Tarnowski said cruisers are demonstrating interest in these kinds of voyages due to the fact they may perhaps have previously sailed possibly on the Reduced Mississippi or in the Pacific Northwest and are in search of a little bit distinct encounter.
For illustration, one particular 2023 highlight is that the boutique paddlewheeler American Duchess (demonstrated in the photo earlier mentioned) will sail the Ohio River from Louisville, KY, to Pittsburgh, PA, with 6 sailings. Most notably, these voyages will mark AQSC’s return to Pittsburgh, its most easterly port of call, for the first time due to the fact 2019.
In the Pacific Northwest, American Empress will begin its period on March 23, 2023 and sail 9-day, just one-way voyages between Portland, OR (with the ship departing from nearby Vancouver, WA), or Spokane (Clarkston), WA, by way of November 26, 2023.
Restarting on America’s Rivers
The river line—which operates smaller ships that are not covered by the U.S. Facilities for Illness Handle’s “Framework for Conditional Sailing” Order—plans to restart American river cruises in March 2021 on the Mississippi River with American Duchess. Usually, that ship’s capability is 166 guests but the line will decrease capability to 125 passengers for the current.
For all cruises departing July 1, 2021 or thereafter, AQSC has instituted a vaccination mandate. All overnight visitors and crew associates will have to have evidence of vaccination in order to board.
“The announcement was effectively received, but there have been a lot of queries,” Tarnowski acknowledged, but “we have not seen several cancellations simply because of that.” 1 reason is that a lot of visitors who sail on the line are about the age of 65, so lots of have or will before long obtain the vaccination. Also, commonly, “they’re seasoned cruisers, not first time cruisers,” she famous.
“Guests are eager to return to the boats, and the wellness and safety of our company and crew associates is a priority as is the want to shield communities,” she mentioned, and also pointing to a CruiseCritic.com survey that confirmed that “81 per cent of respondents are ready to get the vaccine and sail.”
Are there variations in the way visitors are touring inside of the U.S. to the ships? Are much more driving? Tarnowski claimed visitors who live in California, Florida and Illinois, for illustration, are continuing to just take flights to achieve their ship at the embarkation port. All over the U.S., “many are traveling, some nevertheless driving,” she said. “We’re however seeing a combine of that and we have not observed a genuine shift” in how cruisers get to the ship.
As soon as past company arrive at their ship this 12 months, they will probable observe that American Queen Steamboat Corporation and Victory Cruise Traces have upgraded onboard choices and lodging for the 2021 season. That contains the addition of complimentary beer, wine, spirits and specialty coffees from open bars and lounges, as well as a early morning smoothie and juice bar.
American Queen Steamboat Firm and Victory Cruise Strains also improved their culinary offerings with USDA Primary meats and contemporary lobster. New onboard amenities include things like handwarmers and interesting cloths on the ship deck and signature culinary treats in guest cabins.
All cruises contain a a single-night time pre-voyage resort stay and immersive excursions at ports, arranged by Shore Excursions of The united states, not too long ago acquired by Hornblower Group, AQSC’s mother or father corporation. Though complimentary hop-on, hop-off buses have been a signature AQSC brand attribute, that notion provides troubles in a pandemic era. “We’re doing the job through all of that,” Tarnowski said.
So, at minimum in the starting of 2021, company alternatively can expect to tour in private AQSC motorcoaches with bundled excursions that produce a bubble of security which the line can the management. When which is not required and guests who so motivation can however go off the ship on their individual (as AQSC is not included by any CDC mandate in that regard), they are going to have more health and fitness/safety checks to comply with upon their return to the ship.
Victory Cruise Traces in 2023
Owned by AQSC, New Albany, OH-based mostly Victory Cruise Lines also announced its 2023 schedules. Continuing its development in smaller-ship expedition cruising, the line will debut the new Ocean Discoverer, currently being sent to the line in 2023, with a repositioning voyage from Puerto Caldera, Mexico to San Diego departing May possibly 12, 2023 adopted by a time of 11- and 12-working day adventures in between Sitka, AK, and either Vancouver or Seattle.
In 2023, Ocean Victory (revealed in the photo over) will operate in between Vancouver and Sitka during the summer months with repositioning sailings to bookend the period in between Puerto Caldera and San Diego.
Sailing coastal waters of the U.S., Canada and the Fantastic Lakes, Victory I and Victory II, both equally 202-passenger ships, will sail 11-to-16 day voyages in 2023 that embark company at Chicago’s Navy Pier, downtown Toronto, Detroit and Montreal.
Ports of connect with will include things like the Michigan ports of Marquette, Mackinac Island and Soo Locks/Sault Ste. Marie.
The equivalent vessels will also pay a visit to these types of U.S. southern ports as Savannah, GA, Charleston, SC, and Fernandina Seashore, FL. In 2023, Victory II will sail as considerably southward as Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula for roundtrip sailings from Cozumel.
New Reserving Promotion
Rewarding faithful previous visitors and people seeking to knowledge America’s rivers, Wonderful Lakes, coastal waters and Alaska for the initially time, both of those AQSC and Victory Cruise Lines are supplying price savings up to $1,200 per stateroom on 2023 itineraries that are booked by April 30, 2021.
For additional details about American Queen Steamboat Firm, check out www.aqsc.com and for Victory Cruise Lines, www.victorycruiselines.com.
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