American Queen Steamboat Corporation (AQSC) unveiled new 2023 cruise schedules this 7 days, so Journey Agent talked with Kari Tarnowski, AQSC’s senior vice president of advertising and marketing, about that lineup of upcoming voyages for equally AQSC and Victory Cruise Strains, as nicely as the firm’s options for a new South Florida satellite office, the line’s vaccine need and scheduling trends.
New Florida Satellite Business
When AQSC will remain headquartered in New Albany, IN throughout the river from Louisville, KY, it really is now seeking to open up another workplace in either Broward County or Miami-Dade County, FL. Travel advisors can hope the firm’s marketing, profits and functions groups to relocate to this new place of work in the 1st half of 2022.
Tarnowski and Michael Hicks, director of advertising and marketing communications, are amid these who will be based in that South Florida satellite place of work. Executive, finance and other AQSC capabilities will continue to be centered in Indiana.
“We are actively searching for space,” Tarnowski told Vacation Agent. “South Florida is the middle of the cruise market and there is so much talent in the area, not just in cruising but also hospitality. It truly is obviously the future move, as we’re adding new vessels and growing ability.”
That leap in ability is going on not only on U.S. rivers for American Queen Steamboat Firm, which will run 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 international-flagged Victory Cruise Strains.
Scheduling cruises for Alaska, Canada/New England, U.S. coastal and Mexico voyages, that small-ship, oceangoing coastal line will get shipping of its to start with 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 demand, American Queen Steamboat Organization and Victory Cruise Strains launched their 2023 schedules earlier than usual this week.
“Cruisers yearn to travel once again, as evidenced by 2021 and 2022 inquiries and our webinar level of popularity with attendees and journey associates,” Tarnowski stated. “Opening up 2023 to fulfill that wanderlust had to be completed.”
Expressing “surprise” at the potent demand from customers becoming produced by more mature attendees, mainly Infant Boomers, for bookings in 2021’s second quarter and 2022, Tarnowski chalked that up to “persons not staying ready to journey for so prolonged in the course of the earlier 12 months. Every person is completely ready to go on over and above that and uncover their have backyard.”
“Many attendees are not going to be using that 10-hour flight this 12 months,” Tarnowski stressed. She also anecdotally talked about that some individuals not too long ago weren’t equipped to get their COVID-19 checks uploaded for domestic Hawaii entry and experienced to change flights. Tarnowski believes these styles of variables associated with travel past the continental U.S. undoubtedly affect the choice for North American customers to search for out voyages “closer to house.”
So, what’s on faucet for 2023? American Queen, the world’s largest steamboat, will sail the lower Mississippi River with 28 departures concerning Memphis, TN, (demonstrated in the photograph above) and New Orleans. The ship also will sail a Thanksgiving 2023 cruise from Memphis to New Orleans and a few roundtrip New Orleans voyages through the December 2023 vacation year.
For 2023 Reduced Mississippi river sailings, which concentrate on southern hospitality, audio, tradition and heritage, “we’re observing great fascination,” Tarnowski noted. She pointed to these kinds of well-known itinerary perks as AQSC-unique obtain situations at Nottoway Plantation in close proximity to White Castle, LA, and visits to Chef Regina Charboneau’s cooking college in Natchez, MS, for instruction on biscuit baking and southern entertaining.
AQSC also has a new ship debuting this calendar year that will also sail that Reduce Mississippi area in 2023. Which is the American Countess, a former gaming boat which is been completely transformed, modernized and “stretched” at a Louisiana shipyard it will be christened in Louisiana and commence sailing in March 2021. (Notice: Typically the ship’s ability would be 234 passengers, but the line will reduce that to 166 when it begins assistance.)
American Countess will sail a tumble 2023 “Mighty Mississippi” voyage from St. Paul, MN, to New Orleans and sail the Ohio, Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers all over the 2023 period. Tarnowski explained cruisers are showing curiosity in these kinds of voyages due to the fact they may have by now sailed possibly on the Decreased Mississippi or in the Pacific Northwest and are in search of a little bit unique expertise.
For instance, one 2023 highlight is that the boutique paddlewheeler American Duchess (proven in the image higher than) will sail the Ohio River from Louisville, KY, to Pittsburgh, PA, with 6 sailings. Most notably, people voyages will mark AQSC’s return to Pittsburgh, its most easterly port of simply call, for the initially time since 2019.
In the Pacific Northwest, American Empress will get started its time on March 23, 2023 and sail nine-working day, a person-way voyages in between Portland, OR (with the ship departing from nearby Vancouver, WA), or Spokane (Clarkston), WA, through November 26, 2023.
Restarting on America’s Rivers
The river line—which operates smaller ships that are not lined by the U.S. Facilities for Condition Manage’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 capacity is 166 visitors but the line will reduce ability to 125 travellers for the present.
For all cruises departing July 1, 2021 or thereafter, AQSC has instituted a vaccination mandate. All right away attendees and crew members will have to have evidence of vaccination in get to board.
“The announcement was very well gained, but there have been a whole lot of concerns,” Tarnowski acknowledged, but “we haven’t noticed numerous cancellations because of that.” One reason is that many friends who sail on the line are around the age of 65, so lots of have or will quickly receive the vaccination. Also, commonly, “they’re seasoned cruisers, not 1st time cruisers,” she famous.
“Guests are keen to return to the boats, and the wellness and security of our friends and crew members is a priority as is the require to shield communities,” she reported, and also pointing to a CruiseCritic.com survey that showed that “81 % of respondents are ready to get the vaccine and sail.”
Are there improvements in the way company are traveling within the U.S. to the ships? Are more driving? Tarnowski claimed friends who are living in California, Florida and Illinois, for example, are continuing to get flights to attain their ship at the embarkation port. During the U.S., “many are flying, some still driving,” she said. “We’re nevertheless looking at a combine of that and we haven’t noticed a true shift” in how cruisers get to the ship.
As soon as previous attendees arrive at their ship this yr, they are going to most likely observe that American Queen Steamboat Company and Victory Cruise Strains have upgraded onboard offerings and lodging for the 2021 season. That features the addition of complimentary beer, wine, spirits and specialty coffees from open up bars and lounges, as well as a morning smoothie and juice bar.
American Queen Steamboat Enterprise and Victory Cruise Traces also enhanced their culinary offerings with USDA Primary meats and contemporary lobster. New onboard facilities include things like handwarmers and interesting cloths on the ship deck and signature culinary treats in guest cabins.
All cruises consist of a one-night pre-voyage hotel continue to be and immersive excursions at ports, organized by Shore Excursions of The us, just lately acquired by Hornblower Group, AQSC’s guardian business. Although complimentary hop-on, hop-off buses have been a signature AQSC brand name element, that idea provides worries in a pandemic era. “We’re working via all of that,” Tarnowski claimed.
So, at the very least in the starting of 2021, visitors rather can expect to tour in private AQSC motorcoaches with bundled excursions that make a bubble of security which the line can the management. While which is not necessary and friends who so drive can continue to go off the ship on their have (as AQSC is not lined by any CDC mandate in that regard), they are going to have additional overall health/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 progress in smaller-ship expedition cruising, the line will debut the new Ocean Discoverer, staying shipped to the line in 2023, with a repositioning voyage from Puerto Caldera, Mexico to San Diego departing Could 12, 2023 adopted by a time of 11- and 12-working day adventures involving Sitka, AK, and either Vancouver or Seattle.
In 2023, Ocean Victory (shown in the photo above) will work in between Vancouver and Sitka in the course of the summer time with repositioning sailings to bookend the period amongst Puerto Caldera and San Diego.
Sailing coastal waters of the U.S., Canada and the Wonderful Lakes, Victory I and Victory II, both of those 202-passenger ships, will sail 11-to-16 working day voyages in 2023 that embark guests at Chicago’s Navy Pier, downtown Toronto, Detroit and Montreal.
Ports of contact will include the Michigan ports of Marquette, Mackinac Island and Soo Locks/Sault Ste. Marie.
The similar vessels will also take a look at these types of U.S. southern ports as Savannah, GA, Charleston, SC, and Fernandina Beach, FL. In 2023, Victory II will sail as much southward as Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula for roundtrip sailings from Cozumel.
New Scheduling Advertising
Rewarding faithful past visitors and customers searching for to experience America’s rivers, Fantastic Lakes, coastal waters and Alaska for the to start with time, equally AQSC and Victory Cruise Strains are featuring price savings up to $1,200 for each stateroom on 2023 itineraries that are booked by April 30, 2021.
For a lot more information and facts about American Queen Steamboat Organization, stop by www.aqsc.com and for Victory Cruise Lines, www.victorycruiselines.com.
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