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News & Notes

January 2020

Paddle wheeling with American Queen Steamboat Company

There’s no better way to see the mighty rivers of the United States than from the decks of an authentic paddle wheeler, and American Queen Steamboat Company has just the ticket. With a fleet of three ships, American Queen Steamboat Company recreates the wonder, excitement, and inspiration of America’s storied past through voyages on the Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, and Cumberland Rivers, as well as Columbia and Snake Rivers in the West.

Joining the American Queen Steamboat fleet this April will be the American Countess. With four decks, 123 elegant staterooms, a theater, fitness center, card room, gift shop, and more, guests can enjoy a relaxing experience while sailing on a journey through America’s heartland.

Travel through extensive lock-and-dam systems, see indigenous wildlife, visit river museums, and explore Mississippi Delta heritage and authentic Southern culture. An included hop-on hop-off excursion takes you through lively city streets and serene country roads to discover each port on your itinerary.

Back onboard, a diverse lineup of historians and lecturers provide insight into the history and culture of the rivers and transport you to a bygone era through the fascinating stories of Mark Twain. Evening comes alive onboard the American Countess as talented performers entertain you with Broadway-caliber entertainment.

Dining is one of the most anticipated experience onboard a cruise, and it is no exception onboard the American Countess. Enjoy regionally inspired fine dining in the Grand Dining Room, or casual fare at the River Grill. The award-winning culinary team takes pride in creating specialties of the region using fresh, local ingredients. Dinners are made even better with complimentary beer and wine.

For barbecue enthusiasts, consider the American River BBQ Challenge cruise, sailing in May and August on the American Countess, where local barbecue masters go up against the ship’s culinary team to battle for the win – and you’ll be the taster and the judge!

The American Countess will offer sailings on the Upper and Lower Mississippi, as well as Ohio & Tennessee River cruises. Make sure to contact your Vacation Consultant for more details on these sailings with American Queen Steamboat Company.

CroisiEurope sails to the
Mighty Saint Lawrence

Founded in 1976, family-owned and operated CroisiEurope is one of Europe’s largest cruise lines, with 56 riverboats, barges, and coastal ships that ply the waters of Europe and the world. Unmistakably French, CroisiEurope offers excellent value, with affordable prices and a commitment to excellence.

In 2020, CroisiEurope will offer an exclusive Saint Lawrence itinerary sailing between Montreal and the French territory of St Pierre et Miquelon. The series of 11-day itineraries will operate from June to September, calling at colorful ports such as Quebec City, Tadoussac, Baie-Comeau, Gaspé, and Cap-aux-Meules of the Magdalen Islands archipelago.

From exhilarating cities to wild nature and magical islands, the Saint Lawrence River cruise is an invitation to discover the most beautiful sites in this part of Canada. Discover the wide plains that forever characterize Northern America along a unique and exclusive itinerary, including a visit to the scenic Saguenay Fjord and breathtaking Gaspe Peninsula. You will explore charming Quebec City and Montreal, and search for whales in Tadoussac. The unbroken landscapes, peaceful nature and welcoming citizens make Canada undoubtedly one of the most beautiful destinations in the world. 

This iconic Canadian journey takes place onboard the seven-deck La Belle des Océans. She measures 338 feet long and 49 feet wide, and accommodates 124 passengers in 62 spacious ocean-view suites, nine of which have private balconies. All suites have a walk-in shower, desk, hairdryer, built-in wardrobe with safe, mini bar, flat-screen TV, and air conditioning. This luxuriously elegant ship offers a variety of comfortable and stylish public spaces including a swimming pool, two bars and lounges, a restaurant, an outside bar-restaurant and grill around the pool, fitness centre, wellness salon as well as laundry service. Complimentary beverages are included during meal times, as are three excursions, and unlimited Wi-Fi.

Contact your Vacation Consultant for details and information about early booking savings on this exciting new itinerary from CrosiEurope!

Elevate Your Perfect Day
at Coco Cay

Royal Caribbean has been wowing families with amazing shipboard amenities and entertainment, and now it has brought all the fun to their private island in the Bahamas, aptly named The Perfect Day at Coco Cay.

Within a few minutes after docking, guests can enjoy a full day at Coco Cay, with endless activities for the entire family. Adventure seekers head straight to Thrill Waterpark, with eight waterslides including Daredevil’s Peak towering 135 feet – the tallest waterslide in North America. Make a splash in the largest wave pool in the Caribbean, or bounce, climb, and swing your way through the obstacles in the Adventure Pool. Fun can also be found at the zipline, or try Up, Up, and Away – a 10-minute helium balloon experience soaring 450 feet into the sky – the highest vantage point in the Bahamas.  Other amenities include four bars, three complimentary dining venues, white sand beaches, souvenir shops, and the Caribbean’s largest freshwater pool.

On January 31st, Royal Caribbean will be unveiling Coco Beach Club, the ultimate in luxury on the island. Situated on a premium beach, the Coco Beach Club Bar offers cocktails, beer, and beverages. An infinity pool overlooks the ocean, and complimentary dining is included. Make yourself at home in your very own Beach Cabana right on the sand – a spacious outpost with unforgettable views. Take a dip in the ocean and doze off to the rhythm of the waves and the warm whisper of the sun on your skin. Plus, a Cabana Concierge will tend to your every need, like bringing your favorite beachside drinks and delicious bites.

And for the ultimate beach day upgrade, indulge in the first Floating Cabanas in The Bahamas. These overwater bungalows bring a bit of Bora Bora to the Bahamas, where you can spread out across plenty of comfortable lounge seating, unwind in an overwater hammock, and splash into the sea on your own slide.

When hunger strikes, whet your appetite with the best of land and sea, served up just steps from the ocean. The Grille at Coco Beach Club offers guests a top-notch, complimentary dining experience featuring a selection of fresh lobster, snapper, and steak — plus a buffet of soups, salads, and starters.

To guarantee your spot in this exclusive sanctuary, the entire Coco Beach Club experience can be pre-booked in advance online.

With more thrills, more chill, and more adventure of all kinds, Royal Caribbean invites you to live out your perfect day at Coco Cay! Contact your Vacation Consultant today to find out more.

Norwegian Encore – Amazing Moments Worth Repeating

Launched in late 2019, the Norwegian Encore was designed to bring the best experiences from her sister ships to dazzle a new audience, with endless activities, dining, and entertainment options.

Starting literally from the top, you can make a splash on multi-storied waterslides, resort pool, hot tubs, and kids’ Aqua Park. Get your adrenaline pumping at the Encore Speedway as you zoom around curves suspended 13 feet over the side of the ship. Next door, you can battle sea monsters at the Atlantis-themed Laser Tag. And for a ramped-up arcade experience, Galaxy Pavilion has fun for the entire family with VR games and rides, race car simulators, and a new Escape Room.

All that action will surely fire up an appetite! With 24 dining venues, Norwegian Encore guarantees that no hunger will go unsatisfied. In addition to the main dining room and buffet, you can catch the action at Teppanyaki, the perfect steak at Cagney’s, mouth-watering ribs at Q Texas Smokehouse, or fresh guacamole prepared tableside at Los Lobos. Feeling a little French? Try the escargots at Le Bistro. How about Italian? Debuting on Norwegian Encore is Onda by Scarpetta, an upscale eatery serving modern Italian dishes such as signature pastas and fresh seafood. To cap off your delicious meal, head to Coco’s for delectable chocolate treats, and to Starbucks for your favorite Barista creations. And with no pre-assigned seating or restrictive dining times, you are free to choose when, where, and with whom to dine.

Norwegian Encore kicks entertainment up a notch with two fantastic headlining shows. Be dazzled by the colorful costumes and rousing performance of the Tony award winner Kinky Boots, with music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper. Meanwhile, The Choir of Man takes place in The Jungle - an English pub with a cast of talented performers that promises a night of contagious sing-alongs to classic rock hits and pub tunes.

Other popular venues include The Cavern Club, where the legendary Beatles cover band perform their greatest hits every night. Or drop into the Social, with features talented stand-up comedians, and transforms later into a hopping nightclub. And don’t miss Happy Hour Prohibition, a roaring good time with tunes and tales of underground bootleggers, set in a New Orleans speakeasy.

When it’s time to call it a night, sink into your private enclave, with everything you may possibly need. Traveling solo? Choose the Studio, with a cozy stateroom and an exclusive social lounge. In a group or with family? There are connecting staterooms with easy access to the youth center. Or, escape to an exclusive retreat at The Haven with the most luxurious suites and villas, personal butler, an exclusive restaurant, and private pool and deck areas.

The Norwegian Encore sails to the Caribbean, Bermuda, Canada & New England, Alaska, and more. Get yourself onboard for these amazing experiences that will make you shout, "Again! Again!" Contact your Vacation Consultant today to find out more!

A Wilderness Wonderland Awaits on Rocky Mountaineer

In 2020, Rocky Mountaineer celebrates 30 amazing years of service, wonder, and spirit of exploration! We invite you to join us onboard for this special anniversary year, and to experience an adventure you won’t soon forget.

For a limited time, Rocky Mountaineer is complementing breathtaking landscape with a jaw-dropping offer.

Book a qualifying 2020 package of 5 days or more before February 28, 2020, and enjoy the following Expedia® Extra:*

Expedia® Extra

  • Receive 2 free perks worth up to $400 in value per couple

Free perks are one hotel night, and one transfer, which is a great added value for an amazing journey!

The experience onboard Rocky Mountaineer’s all-dome fleet features rich, historic storytelling, world-class cuisine, and a first-hand look at lush green forests and turquoise glacier-fed lakes, all from the comfort of reclining plush seats. While nature’s wonders unfold out the windows, guests can truly unwind. Whether with a glass of sauvignon blanc in the comfort of the domed car or on the outdoor viewing platform inhaling the fresh mountain air, Rocky Mountaineer is a chance to unplug and relax fully into the sumptuous surroundings.

A true feast for the senses, our gourmet cuisine accompanies the stunning scenery and award-winning service. Before each season, Rocky Mountaineer’s Executive Chefs reimagine a menu inspired by the bounty of the passing regions, highlighting ingredients such as Pacific salmon and prime Alberta beef. With classic Canadian breakfasts and three-course lunches, the culinary service gives a taste of some of the cuisine that Canada is known for. The culinary trip onboard is highlighted by prize-winning wines from British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, local Canadian beers, and high-end spirits.

In the spacious comfort of our one-of-a-kind glass-dome coaches, the unparalleled scenery, impeccable service, irresistible cuisine, and opportunities to socialize onboard combine to make an unforgettable experience.

Choose your Rocky Mountaineer rail adventure from three distinct routes. Take the First Passage to the West from Banff or Lake Louise, or Journey through the Clouds from Jasper, both ending in Vancouver, with an overnight in Kamloops. For an extra dose of wilderness and a lesson in gold rush history, select Rainforest to Gold Rush, traveling between Jasper and Vancouver, stopping in Quesnel and Whistler. All rail journeys can be extended with hotel stays and even an Alaska cruise.

Don’t miss out! Contact your Vacation Consultant for more information today on exploring with Rocky Mountaineer!

* Terms and Conditions: “2 With a View” offer (“Offer”) applies only to new 2020 bookings made by February 28, 2020 for qualifying Rocky Mountaineer itineraries booked in GoldLeaf or SilverLeaf Service for travel during the 2020 Rocky Mountaineer season on selected dates. Offer is per booking and applies to single, double, triple or quad occupancy bookings of 5 days/ 4 nights or more, must be requested at the time of booking and will not be automatically allocated or retroactively added. Free Perks are: (a) one additional hotel night in Vancouver, Calgary, Victoria, Banff, Jasper or Lake Louise. Additional hotel night must match the accommodation grade and occupancy level of package booked and must be booked as a consecutive night at the same hotel that you begin or end your package; and (b) one private standard airport transfer in Vancouver or Calgary. Transfer is for number of persons on corresponding booking. Both free perks are subject to availability and may not both be available on all bookings depending on date selection. Offer cannot be combined with any other offer, has no cash value, is non-transferable and cannot be deferred to a later trip or used against the price of the purchased package or to upgrade rail service or accommodation. Offer is not applicable to group bookings or itineraries of less than 5 days/4 nights. Offer is capacity controlled and may be modified, withdrawn or amended without prior notice. Deposits are required at the time of booking and full payment of the balance must be made 60 days prior to travel. Additional conditions apply. All figures advertised are in CAD/USD and value of Offer is based on a double occupancy booking during peak season in GoldLeaf Service. Rocky Mountaineer reserves the right to amend hotels included in the package subject to availability based on inventory. All bookings are subject to above Offer terms and conditions and to booking terms and conditions, available at rockymountaineer.com.

Expedia CruiseShipCenters
2019 Review

Expedia CruiseShipCenters continues to gain traction in North America and 2019 was another year filled with milestones. In 2019, we awarded 34 Expedia CruiseShipCenters, awarded five additional multi-unit agreements, and reached over 300 Expedia Franchises awarded! Over the past year we opened 22 new Expedia Franchise locations including the opening the doors to our 100th US location in Florida. Read more about our spectacular year here.

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*Expedia Extras offers are per stateroom (unless otherwise stated) on select sailings, based on double occupancy, apply to new bookings only, are not combinable with any other offer, are capacity controlled and may be withdrawn without notice. Certain restrictions may apply. For full terms and conditions, click the specific Expedia Extra offer or contact your Expedia CruiseShipCenters Vacation Consultant.

For Bookings Made in Quebec: Travel Agents’ Customers Compensation Fund FICAV (0.10% or 1$ per 1000$ of tourism products).

Prices are per person (based on 2 passengers in the same stateroom), cruise only in USD dollars. Airfare, transfers, taxes, fees and port expenses are additional (unless otherwise stated). Prices vary by ship, stateroom type and sailing date. Prices and offers are subject to availability and change without notice, and are capacity controlled. Fuel supplement may apply. Expedia CruiseShipCenters is not responsible for errors that may occur due to the transfer of information from selected third parties, technical error, or human error.

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