Light Blue Travel UK & Europe commercial director Michelle Daniels provides the latest updates from American Queen Voyages, including the line’s rebrand and plans to launch expedition ships.
As an industry we have never been more grateful to hear that testing restrictions for fully vaccinated travellers returning to England have been lifted and I am sure many of us, like me, are starting to feel more optimistic that 2022 will be the year that travel returns.
With the latest trends pointing towards customers looking to spend more and travel further, American Queen Voyages’ latest rebrand and expansion could not have come at a better time.
In September, American Queen Voyages was announced as the new name for the cruise line, with the tagline ‘Discovery runs Deep’.
The move merged the American Queen Steamboat Company and the cruise line they’d acquired in early 2019, Victory Cruise Lines.
The company has grown significantly since the very first vessel, the distinctive paddlewheel riverboat, American Queen, was launched on the Mississippi in 2012.
Offering a varied and comprehensive portfolio of inclusive North American cruising itineraries, American Queen Voyages is now comprised of American Queen Voyages River, American Queen Voyages Lakes & Ocean and American Queen Voyages Expedition.
What hasn’t changed is the all-inclusive cruises offered with no hidden charges – including pre-cruise hotel night, all meals, beverages, excursions in every port, gratuities and port charges.
American Queen River comprises the iconic American Queen, the all-suite American Duchess and the newest vessel to the fleet, launched in 2021, American Countess, all cruising the Mississippi.
While externally American Countess retains the signature traditional exterior and distinctive red paddlewheel, the interior is more contemporary.
All three riverboats offer a variety of seven-night voyages that traverse the lower and upper Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee rivers. Further north near the Canadian border, the American Empress cruises on the Columbia and Snake rivers.
Entering the expedition cruise market
Following on from the rebrand, the two identical small passenger ships cruising the Great Lakes, Victory I and Victory II, were renamed Ocean Voyager and Ocean Navigator.
There are four itineraries that include time to explore the New England colonies, rare stops in quaint French-Canadian villages, and remote islands with spectacular wildlife viewing and fascinating local cultures, as well as big city visits, including Chicago, Detroit, Toronto and Montreal.
We’re now counting down to the exciting introduction of American Queen Voyages’ first expedition ship, Ocean Victory, which launches in May with a season of scenic Alaskan and British Columbia cruises.
Carrying just 200 guests, Ocean Victory is one of the first ships built to ensure the perfect comfort of guests and the protection of the delicate environment.
Her innovative design ensures minimal noise and vibration as she explores the remote wilderness regions larger ships simply cannot reach, with expert-led excursions run by marine biologists.
There will be chances to see humpback whales, sea lions, orcas, bears, bald and golden eagles, moose and hundreds of species of sea and shorebirds. Furthermore, in 2023 she’ll be joined by her sister ship, Ocean Discoverer.
Other new developments include a new River Cruise Academy Training programme, which we will be launching in the coming months, to offer training and support to our trade partners, so look out for more information.
*Light Blue Travel is the UK GSA for American Queen Voyages.