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Windstar Cruises, one of Select Waterway’s premier small ship cruise providers, is starting a major investment and expansion of the Star Breeze, Star Legend and Star Pride. Each will be lengthened and completely refurbished, with many new features added.

The initiative will expand guest accommodations on the boutique line’s three all-suite vessels increasing capacity from 212 passengers to 312 guests per ship, following the lengthening. The work will be done to Star Breeze, Star Legend, and Star Pride in succession between October 2019 and November 2020, and take place at the Fincantieri Shipyard in Palermo, Sicily, Italy.

Each ship will be cut in half to allow the installation of a new section that will lengthen each vessel approximately 25.6 meters bringing the total length to just over 159 meters, still the right size to access the smaller ports and harbors that Windstar favors on the line’s immersive itineraries. The project adds 50 new suites, bringing the total number of suites per ship to 156.

The project also involves is the creation of state-of-the-art public spaces including two new dining locations; new shop and retail space; a much enlarged fitness center; and a new world-class spa.

In addition to the impressive scale of work to be done, the renovation includes a comprehensive re-engine project for each ship. This complex undertaking is an uncommon occurrence in the cruise industry and involves the removal of seven current engines and installation of four new, more environmentally friendly engines that will run on cleaner fuel and reduce emissions impact to sailing regions.

Windstar has partnered with acclaimed designer Ray Chung, Director of Design at The Johnson Studio at Cooper Carry in New York, to create modern and inviting design aesthetics for the new public spaces and new suites.

Among new guest amenities and accommodations in the planning phase are:

  • 50 new suites featuring new suite categories and open floor plan configurations.
  • Creation of two brand new, larger Owner’s Suites, that combines existing suites to create up to a three-bedroom, two-balcony suite – the first of its kind in the cruise industry.
  • Two brand new dining experiences including: an intimate, alternative dining restaurant, and a casual barbecue space adjacent to the top deck Star Bar, perfect for outdoor grilling during Windstar’s Signature Onboard Barbecue celebration or enjoying while spending time on deck.
  • Expanded Veranda Restaurant to offer significantly more ocean-view seating and upgraded dining area.
  • For existing suites, all-new bathrooms and installation of new sliding doors for the Balcony Suites.
  • Larger pool and hot tub that will be reconfigured and elevated offering outstanding views, along with more and enhanced outdoor deck area for relaxing and sun-bathing.
  • A completely re-imagined and enlarged spa and fitness center to invigorate active guests.
  • A new elevator mid-ship, making access to all decks easy from anywhere on board.
  • A comfortable, new tender loading area located mid-ship and two new 90-passenger tenders that will ferry guests to port when ships are at anchor.
  • In addition, ship staff and crew areas and accommodations will be expanded and upgraded. Additional crew will be hired and the increase will maintain the line’s impressive 1.5:1 guest to hotel staff ratio.

Additional details about the extensive work to be done, new onboard experiences, and new partnerships will be revealed and highlighted in 2019. Keep in touch with Select Waterways to learn the details!



It turns out that mergers and acquisitions in the cruise industry aren’t just for big cruise conglomerates. American Queen Steamboat Company has just announced a definitive agreement to acquire the Victory I and sister ship Victory II from Sunstone Ships, Inc., owners of the Victory Cruise Lines brand, which is currently marketing the two ships on Great Lakes cruises, Canada/New England cruises, Cuba cruises and voyages to Mexico’s Yucatan. The deal isn’t anticipated to close until January 2019 so don’t expect any changes until then. After all, it’s a big step for fast-growing American Queen Steamboat Company. The 5,000-ton, 300-foot-long, 202-guest Victory I and Victory II are both identical and details of upcoming operations on both of vessels will be announced in the coming months.

“We are pleased to purchase the Victory I and Victory II which will fuel the continued success and growth of American Queen Steamboat Company,” said American Queen Steamboat Company Chairman and CEO John Waggoner. “We look forward to working closely with Victory Cruise Lines’ new and existing travel partners. These vessels enable us to provide guests with more diverse cruising options particularly in the Great Lakes, a region that our customers have been requesting for years.”

The Victory I and Victory II will join the American Queen Steamboat Company fleet under the Victory Cruise Lines name, alongside the flagship 436-guest American Queen and 166-guest boutique paddlewheeler American Duchess sailing the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers and the 224-guest American Empress in the Pacific Northwest. The new 245-guest American Countess, currently under construction in Louisiana, will debut in 2020.

Victory Cruise Lines has established itself as the leading cruise line on the Great Lakes, and demand for our cruises for 2019 is already 35% grater than this year. American Queen Steamboat Company’s established and strong product and brand is well-suited to take the Victory vessels and Victory Cruise Lines brand forward creating one of the largest North American Great Lakes and U.S. River cruising companies in the country,” said Victory Cruise Lines President and CEO Hans Lagerweij. Also, Victory has a new ship on order, the 180-guest Ocean Victory for delivery in 2021, which is designed for worldwide expedition cruises, further expanding the reach of small ship cruising.

So, what does all this mean for you? It means that you can choose from cruises in America on the Great Lakes, Pacific Northwest, America’s Heartland, Canada/New England as well as journeys to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and Cuba all from the same company, with the promise of expedition cruising yet to come. Coastal cruises, small ship cruises, American river cruises and expedition cruises will all be under the same umbrella. And if the rave reviews of American Queen Steamboat Company and Victory Cruise Lines are any indication, you’ll be able to do so in incomparable style as well!

Give Select Waterways a call and let us help you navigate the abundant new world of small ship and river cruising.



Have you been considering U.S. river cruises, but aren’t sure which one is right for you? Riverboat cruises are a unique way to explore America’s waterways and discover the picturesque towns that have sprung up alongside them. Our friends at American Queen Steamboat Company offer a wide variety of cruises tailored to suit different interests. Now is the best time to book a ticket, but if you’re a first time river cruiser you may not know all the tips to get the most out of the experience. So, courtesy of American Queen Steamboat Company, we’re passing along their five tips for taking an American river cruise.

1. Book Early for Big Savings

It’s no secret that booking early can give you access to the best deals. American Queen Steamboat Company offers an extensive range of savings for early bookings. You can find savings of up to $1,800 per stateroom on certain routes. Another advantage of booking early is that it gives you plenty of time to plan an extended vacation in one of the ports, which brings us to the next tip.

2. Extend Your Vacation in the Port

Scenic river cruises begin and end at major port cities including Memphis, New Orleans, and Chicago. Those places are amazing destinations in their own right, and many river cruisers want to explore them further. That’s why American Queen offers City Stay packages. The packages vary but may include accommodations, breakfasts and tours of local attractions. You can book for before or after your cruise. This option lets you extend your trip and experience the magical musical scene of Memphis, the history and vibrant culture of New Orleans, and more.

3. Research What is Included

Even among the riverboats of American Queen Steamboat Company, each vessel and each cruise offer different experiences, so you’ll want to do a little research to know what you can expect. Get an itinerary of the included excursions and look up the local weather before the departure date so you’ll know what to pack. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Select Waterways and we’ll be happy to help you. Your booked cruise will typically include onboard meals, porterage, and transfers. Other amenities vary by the vessel and cruise.

4. Hit the Shore with Fun Excursions

Shore excursions are what really make American river cruises stand out. Many itineraries have been customized for each cruise theme, whether it’s the Bourbon Trail or searching out America’s best music. Packages feature included and premium excursions, which cost extra but are usually well worth it. Through these, you get VIP treatment and exclusive access to attractions and sights that aren’t usually on a typical tour itinerary. They can really enhance your cruise experience.

5. Choose the Right Vessel

Each of American Queen Steamboat Company’s vessels have their own unique character and offer different amenities. You can choose the right vacation experience, whether you want a nostalgic journey through golden eras past or modern comforts and décor.  For example, the American Duchess is a charming, traditionally styled paddleboat that includes modern amenities and décor. The American Queen is the largest steamboat ever built and offers an amazing variety of onboard entertainment in opulent surroundings, while the American Empress is a paddlewheeler with nostalgic décor that combines classical elegance with an impressive collection of historical artifacts.

So, which will you choose?



Anyone worried that Royal Caribbean’s acquisition of the majority of luxury cruise line Silversea Cruises needn’t have worried. It’s clear Royal Caribbean is fully committed to growing and improving the renowned luxury brand. The two companies recently announced agreements to build three new ships for Silversea.

Silversea signed a memorandum of understanding with German shipbuilder Meyer Werft to build two new vessels in a new “Evolution Class.” The first Evolution-class ship is expected to be delivered in 2022.

Silversea also signed a contract with Dutch shipbuilder Shipyard De Hoop to construct a new expedition vessel, named Silver Origin, that will serve the Galapagos Islands itinerary currently sailed by Silver Galapagos. The new ship is expected for delivery in March 2020. Silversea intends to push the boundaries of ultra-luxury cruising, as well as expedition cruising in the Galápagos Islands and beyond, by redefining the concept of immersive travel.

Silversea Cruises is recognized as an innovator in the ultra-luxury cruise line industry, offering guests large-ship amenities aboard its intimate, all-suite vessels: Silver Wind, Silver Shadow, Silver Whisper, Silver Spirit and Silver Muse – all designed to offer an atmosphere of conviviality and casual elegance. With the inclusion of the expedition ships Silver Explorer, Silver Galapagos, Silver Discoverer, and with Silver Cloud recently joining the line’s expedition fleet, Silversea’s itineraries encompass all seven continents and feature worldwide luxury cruises to the Mediterranean, Caribbean, both Polar Regions and hundreds of fascinating destinations in between.

Silversea also has two more ships in the Silver Muse class already on order, the Silver Moon and Silver Dawn, scheduled for delivery in 2020 and 2021. By the time all five new ships are delivered, the Silversea fleet will have grown to 14 luxury ships visiting well over 700 ports of call each year.

With so many options, which ship and destination will you choose?



AmaWaterways is teeing up an incredible roster of amenities for guests traveling on board the one-of-a-kind AmaMagna when she makes her debut next year– including a brand new Exclusive Concierge Golf Program. The program will give travelers the opportunity to experience five top-level golf courses in Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, Czech Republic and Germany while enjoying the beauty and luxury of river cruising. Pricing starts at an additional $2,399 per person on the seven-night Romantic Danube and Melodies of the Danube itineraries beginning in May 2019.

AmaMagna embodies our invariable world-class service with even more to love, and we are thrilled to add the Exclusive Concierge Golf Program to her line-up of offerings,” said Kristin Karst, executive vice president and co-owner of AmaWaterways. “Pairing luxury river cruising with golf gives travelers the incredible opportunity to play top-rated courses in five different countries.”

In addition to the expansive selection of amenities and immersive shore excursions that travelers can expect from an AmaWaterways cruise, guests participating in AmaMagna’s Exclusive Concierge Golf Program will receive the following:

  • One Welcome Packet, which includes: a dozen Titleist Pro V1 golf balls per golfer, one pitch repair tool, course guides and a leather shoe bag
  • Concierge service, including club care
  • Private luxury Mercedes transfers between the ship and courses
  • A la carte lunch at each course with beer and wine included
  • One round per golfer at each course
  • One shared golf cart per round
  • One range token per round
  • Club cleaning after each round

AmaMagna provides excellent options for multi-generational groups or those that may have differing interests, with an avid golfer or two amongst them. She is nearly twice the width of traditional river cruise ships, but welcomes only 20 percent more guests, allowing generous personal space with more than half of the 98 staterooms designated as suites (355 sq. ft. or larger). Enticing onboard amenities include Sun Deck with a large heated pool, relaxing whirlpool and pop-up sky bar, as well as a Water Sports Platform at the rear of the ship, where complimentary tours will be offered on the intimate Sundowner vessel.

Guests on board AmaMagna will enjoy four unique dining venues – the Main Restaurant and The Chef’s Table Restaurant, plus the new Jimmy’s Wine Bar Restaurant and Al Fresco Restaurant. The expansive Zen Wellness Studio is complete with large exercise area offering group classes focused on stretching, cardio and core strengthening led by a professionally trained Wellness Host, as well as a juice bar and two massage rooms, along with manicure, pedicure and hair services.

Ready To go golfing and cruising?