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A NEW VIKING SHIP FOR EGYPT

A NEW VIKING SHIP FOR EGYPT

Viking River Cruises is expanding its Egypt cruises program for the 2020 season, which will include the launch of a new ship. Inspired by the design of the award-winning Viking Longships and built specifically for the Nile River, Viking Osiris is currently under construction and will double the company’s capacity in Egypt when it debuts in September 2020. Also launching in the next year are two new Pre-Cruise Extensions designed to enhance guests’ base knowledge of Egyptology prior to arriving in Cairo. These five-day extensions to Viking’s Pharaohs & Pyramids itinerary will provide guests with privileged access to archives and exhibits in London and Oxford that are not normally accessible to the public. This announcement comes just one year after the company launched Viking Ra, a completely renovated vessel and Viking’s first owned and operated ship on the Nile.

Hosting 82 guests in 41 staterooms, Viking Osiris will be a state-of-the art ship with the clean, elegant Scandinavian design for which Viking is known. It will join the company’s other ship on the Nile, Viking Ra, which launched in 2018. Viking is the first and only Western company to build, own and operate ships on the Nile.

Building on the success of the Oxford & Highclere Castle program – Viking’s highest-rated Pre/Post Extension that visits “The Real Downton Abbey” – the company has applied the same degree of thought to two new curated Pre-Cruise Extensions that allows guests to retrace the steps of the world’s most famous Egyptologist, Howard Carter, and his benefactor, the 5th Earl of Carnarvon. Guests on the five-day British Collections of Ancient Egypt extension will meet their Viking Tour Director, an expert Egyptologist, in London and experience two museums: first a private, early morning visit to the Egyptian Collection at the British Museum before it opens to the general public – and then a visit to the home and personal museum of world-renowned architect Sir John Soane, where the tour will be illuminated by candlelight, a re-enactment of how Soane entertained guests and showcased his exquisite collection of Egyptian antiquities, including a 3,000-year-old Egyptian sarcophagus. Guests will also visit London’s Petrie Museum, which houses more than 80,000 artifacts from ancient Egypt and Sudan. In Oxford, guests will visit the Ashmolean Museum, one of the oldest in the world, and home to a varied collection of Egyptian mummies and art – and go behind the scenes at Oxford University’s Griffith Institute, where they will enjoy a Privileged Access visit to see Carter’s archives, which detail the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb. Lastly, guests will have an opportunity to visit Highclere Castle – the country seat of the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon – and enjoy an exciting opportunity to view the earl’s magnificent private collection of Egyptian artifacts.

During the 12-day Pharaohs & Pyramids itinerary, guests experience Egypt’s cultural treasures in seven destinations. The Nile River cruise begins with a three-night stay at a first-class hotel in Cairo, where guests can visit iconic sites such as the Great Pyramids of Giza, the necropolis of Sakkara and the Mosque of Muhammad Ali. Guests will then fly to Luxor, where they will visit the Temples of Luxor and Karnak before boarding a Viking river ship for an eight-day roundtrip Nile River cruise, featuring special access to the tomb of Nefertari in the Valley of the Queens, and excursions to the Temple of Khnum in Esna, the Dendera Temple complex in Qena, the temples at Abu Simbel and the High Dam in Aswan as well as a visit to a colorful Nubian village, where guests can experience a traditional elementary school. Finally, the journey concludes with a flight back to Cairo for a final night in the ancient city.

Select Waterways are your river and small ship cruise insiders, specializing in European river cruises, including Danube River cruises, Rhine River cruises, wine cruises, Seine River cruises, as well as China river cruises with Yangtze river cruises, Vietnam river cruises with Mekong River cruises, Russia river cruises with Volga river cruises, Nile river cruises, Africa river cruises and Amazon river cruises. Naturally, we have American river cruises with Mississippi River cruises, Ohio River Cruises, Columbia River cruises, Illinois River cruises and Tennessee River cruises. We also offer expedition cruises and small ship cruises throughout the world, with polar cruises such as Arctic cruises and Antarctica cruises among the most popular. Whether it’s luxury river cruising, premium river cruising, expedition cruising or small ship cruising, we’ve got you covered. Visit our website at www.selectwaterways.com or give us a call at 1.844.SWCRUISE (1.844.792.7847). Be sure to join our Insider Club by clicking here and Like our Facebook page by clicking here.

STARTING A RIVER CRUISE COMPANY

STARTING A RIVER CRUISE COMPANY

You’re enjoying a European river cruise, everything is perfect, you’re sailing the Rhine but then you suddenly wonder how it all began. How does a river cruise line get started? What does it take in terms of time, effort and vision to create a premium river cruise? In this week’s blog, we take a look at how AmaWaterways climbed that mountain.

Family-owned and operated, AmaWaterways was founded in 2002 by three families; however, the river cruise story began well before that. Co-Founder and President Rudi Schreiner was born in Vienna, at the heart of the Danube. His love of design drew him to architecture, but his even greater love of travel drew him to places far and wide. In 1975, he traveled to South America for a journalism assignment on the Amazon. It was here he designed his first ship, using what he could find to build a raft that would take him up and down the river during the next 7 months. Soon thereafter, he started working in travel, creating unique tour experiences in Europe.

When the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal was completed in 1992, Rudi was quick to envision a new tourism business developing around long-distance river cruising. The significance of the canal’s completion meant connecting two of Europe’s greatest rivers: the Rhine, via its tributary the Main, with the Danube, allowing travel from the North Sea all the way to the Black Sea. More than 800 years prior, Charlemagne dreamed of connecting these two rivers, so 1992 fulfilled his vision and created a new visionary in Rudi. 

Rudi started the North American operations for many of today’s major river cruise companies, developing itineraries and ships that would become the templates for what we know river cruising to be today. After years of success as a driving force in the industry, Rudi decided to start his own venture — one that would provide guests with a higher standard of luxury travel by river. That’s when he teamed up with Co-Owners and Co-Founders Kristin Karst and Jimmy Murphy to start AmaWaterways.

In 2016, Rudi was inducted into the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Hall of Fame and was honored with their Lifetime Achievement Award for his years of devotion to the river cruising industry.

Kristin was born in Germany and brings extensive experience in travel, river cruising and customer service to the company in her role as Executive Vice President. Jimmy Murphy was a brilliant travel entrepreneur, having built Brendan Vacations, one of the most successful tour operators in the U.S. Jimmy’s son, Gary, who also played a major part at Brendan, is now Senior Vice President of Sales at AmaWaterways. Together with Rudi, a true team of pioneers emerged.

From the beginning, the goal was to create a river cruise company that the owners and founders themselves would enjoy. That meant the highest-quality, locally sourced food and wine; elegantly appointed ships with staterooms offering maximum views to enjoy the ever-changing countryside; and a crew who goes above and beyond, treating every guest like they are family.

With that in mind, AmaWaterways has been building one-of-a-kind ships with added comforts and conveniences ranging from revolutionary twin balconies with both a French balcony and an outside balcony to the one-and-only Chef’s Table specialty restaurant. In 2019, innovation continues with three new ships, including the extraordinary AmaMagna—a distinctive evolution of the line’s exceptional European river cruise fleet, offering the ultimate in luxury with even more space and more choices while sailing the legendary Danube.

Select Waterways are your river and small ship cruise insiders, specializing in European river cruises, including Danube River cruises, Rhine River cruises, wine cruises, Seine River cruises, as well as China river cruises with Yangtze river cruises, Vietnam river cruises with Mekong River cruises, Russia river cruises with Volga river cruises, Nile river cruises, Africa river cruises and Amazon river cruises. Naturally, we have American river cruises with Mississippi River cruises, Ohio River Cruises, Columbia River cruises, Illinois River cruises and Tennessee River cruises. We also offer expedition cruises and small ship cruises throughout the world, with polar cruises such as Arctic cruises and Antarctica cruises among the most popular. Whether it’s luxury river cruising, premium river cruising, expedition cruising or small ship cruising, we’ve got you covered. Visit our website at www.selectwaterways.com or give us a call at 1.844.SWCRUISE (1.844.792.7847). Be sure to join our Insider Club by clicking here and Like our Facebook page by clicking here.

THREE MORE NORWEGIAN EXPEDITION SHIPS ON TAP

THREE MORE NORWEGIAN EXPEDITION SHIPS ON TAP

Hurtigruten, the world leader in exploration travel, will begin refurbishing three of their cruise ships for advanced upgrades over the next few years. Equipped with battery packs and other green technology, each ship will operate year-round expedition cruises along the Norwegian coast from 2021 on yet-to-be-disclosed itineraries.

As they are transformed into fully-fledged premium expedition cruise ships, the current TrollfjordFinnmarken, and Midnatsol, will be renamed Maud, Otto Sverdrup, and Eirik Raude, respectively. Otto Sverdrup will have battery packs installed during a 2020 drydock, with a letter of intent for the same battery installation on Maud and Eirik Raude in 2021. The battery packs will support the ship engines, and drastically cut emissions.

The keel-to-mast upgrades will introduce several new features and venues on each of the ships. For example, using natural Scandinavian materials such as granite, oak, birch, and wool, all public areas will be redesigned to create a relaxed and stylish look and feel and add to the premium onboard experience. All cabins and suites will be completely refurbished, including several new suites with spectacular views. 

Hurtigruten’s signature Science Center will be added to each ship. Packed with state-of-the-art technology and high-tech gadgets such as touch screens, science equipment, and other interactive features, this edutainment area will also serve as the onboard headquarters for the ship’s Expedition Team.

Three brand-new restaurants will be added, matching Hurtigruten’s restaurant concepts for its growing fleet of expedition cruise ships. First, the main restaurants will be transformed into Aune; social and informal, with the use of natural elements in design and interiors, Aune will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner based on Scandinavian identity.

Restaurant Lindstrøm, a specialty eatery named after a favorite chef of Norwegian polar heroes, will be an upper premium fine dining restaurant with strong roots in traditional Norwegian cooking that are contrasted with modern cuisine.

The informal eatery Fredheim, named after a legendary 1920s hunting station in Svalbard that sheltered adventurers from around the world, will also be part of the refurbishment. In addition, a new outdoor grill venue will be added outdoor on the top decks.

Maud, the current Trollfjord, is named after one of the most famous polar vessels of all time, Roald Amundsen’s Maud from 1917. The original Maud got her name from the first Queen of modern-day Norway, who also had her namesake in Hurtigruten’s 1925 flagship Dronning Maud. 

Otto Sverdrup, the current Finnmarken, is named after one of Norway’s most notable polar heroes. Alongside Fridtjof Nansen, he was the first to ski across Greenland, a key contributor to several expeditions and captain on the legendary polar ship Fram. Sverdrup also has a close connection to Hurtigruten: Between the expeditions he was a captain on board Hurtigruten ships. 

Eirik Raude, the current Midnatsol, is named after one of the most famous Viking chiefs in history. Eirik Raude—also known as Eric the Red—got his name from his huge red beard, and is not only known for discovering Greenland, but also for giving the island its name.

Select Waterways are your river and small ship cruise insiders, specializing in European river cruises, including Danube River cruises, Rhine River cruises, wine cruises, Seine River cruises, as well as China river cruises with Yangtze river cruises, Vietnam river cruises with Mekong River cruises, Russia river cruises with Volga river cruises, Nile river cruises, Africa river cruises and Amazon river cruises. Naturally, we have American river cruises with Mississippi River cruises, Ohio River Cruises, Columbia River cruises, Illinois River cruises and Tennessee River cruises. We also offer expedition cruises and small ship cruises throughout the world, with polar cruises such as Arctic cruises and Antarctica cruises among the most popular. Whether it’s luxury river cruising, premium river cruising, expedition cruising or small ship cruising, we’ve got you covered. Visit our website at www.selectwaterways.com or give us a call at 1.844.SWCRUISE (1.844.792.7847). Be sure to join our Insider Club by clicking here and Like our Facebook page by clicking here.

STAR DINING ON WINDSTAR

STAR DINING ON WINDSTAR

We’re big fans of fine dining and were excited to hear that Windstar Cruises is continuing to perfect its culinary program with the announcement of a new modern, casual outdoor restaurant in partnership with global grilling authority Steven Raichlen. Star Grill by Steven Raichlen will be a modern, casual, al fresco restaurant that serves up grilled, smoked and rotisserie specialties, including seafood, meats and vegetables cooked with global flavors and techniques, alongside craft side dishes and sauces.

Windstar’s alliance with Steven Raichlen was born from a desire to create a modern, yet casual outdoor eatery, an inviting escape where guests will enjoy inventive, modern cuisine, while embracing the al fresco ambiance and casually intimate experiences of small ship dining after a busy day discovering distant ports of call.

Windstar’s culinary team and Steven Raichlen have been working in collaboration to develop the ideal al fresco dining experience, crafting food and beverage menus that will be one-of-a-kind in the cruise and restaurant industries. In 2020, Windstar cruise guests will have the opportunity to taste firsthand Raichlen’s fascination with global grilling.

International TV host and author of 31 books, Raichlen is considered the man who reinvented modern barbecue.  His most recent television series, Project Fire 2019, debuted this July on PBS, and his latest book, The Brisket Chronicles, was released to critical acclaim in May.  Raichlen was inducted into the Barbecue Hall of Fame in 2015, and his books have won multiple James Beard Awards and IACP Julia Child Awards. Raichlen is the founder of Barbecue University™ and has lectured on the history of barbecue at institutions as diverse as Harvard, the Library of Congress, and the Smithsonian.

Star Grill by Steven Raichlen will first debut on Windstar’s award-winning small ship Star Breeze in February 2020 and then on her sister ships Star Legend in July 2020 and Star Pride in November 2020, all part of the line’s $250 million upgrade and enhancement of the trio of vessels, setting new standards in small ship cruises.

At Star Grill by Steven Raichlen, guests will enjoy seafood, lamb, beef and more from the grill, smoker, and slow-roasted on the rotisserie, along with innovative sauces. The top-deck, al fresco restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner service and will feature menu items such as Danish smoked shrimp, lemongrass pork skewers, and Hill Country brisket — or on sea days, enjoy a mid-morning Frühschoppen with artisanal grilled sausage and pretzel rolls.

Located just steps away from Star Bar, the ship’s popular open ocean-view top-deck bar, Star Grill by Steven Raichlen will feature deck-side dining with seating for 95, two carving stations, a selection of mouthwatering dishes with a modern twist, and refreshments enjoyed in a relaxed, al fresco bar-restaurant area with dining tables starboard and lounge seating portside, all served with a sea view.

Diners relaxing poolside during the day, or enjoying a casual evening meal after touring ashore, may enjoy select local/regional beers, along with flights to offer guests a selection to taste and compliment the cuisine. In addition to a selection of beer and wine, the restaurant will feature cocktails specially-designed for the venue with a breezy summertime vibe, like a Strawberry Pimm’s, Pineapple & Coconut Slushy, Raspberry & Melon Slushy, and Strawberry + Basil Smash; all served from the nearby Star Bar.

In addition to the new restaurant partnership, Raichlen will sail aboard one culinary-themed cruise each year with Windstar Cruises, leading grill demonstrations and lectures, as well as socializing with guests on board the small ships, catering exclusively to fewer than 350 guests.

Select Waterways are your river and small ship cruise insiders, specializing in European river cruises, including Danube River cruises, Rhine River cruises, wine cruises, Seine River cruises, as well as China river cruises with Yangtze river cruises, Vietnam river cruises with Mekong River cruises, Russia river cruises with Volga river cruises, Nile river cruises, Africa river cruises and Amazon river cruises. Naturally, we have American river cruises with Mississippi River cruises, Ohio River Cruises, Columbia River cruises, Illinois River cruises and Tennessee River cruises. We also offer expedition cruises and small ship cruises throughout the world, with polar cruises such as Arctic cruises and Antarctica cruises among the most popular. Whether it’s luxury river cruising, premium river cruising, expedition cruising or small ship cruising, we’ve got you covered. Visit our website at www.selectwaterways.com or give us a call at 1.844.SWCRUISE (1.844.792.7847). Be sure to join our Insider Club by clicking here and Like our Facebook page by clicking here.

AMERICAN RIVER HOLIDAYS

AMERICAN RIVER HOLIDAYS

Our friends at American Queen Steamboat Company recently compiled a list of the best holidays to enjoy on a Mississippi River cruise and we thought we’d share their thoughts with you as we think they’re spot on. Because whether you hope to start a new family tradition, or simply enjoy a carefree, easygoing holiday, a river cruise on an elegant paddlewheeler is an experience to cherish. So, when to go and why?

THANKSGIVING

Traverse the mighty Mississippi, gather with family and friends to feast and take time to appreciate the many things we have to be thankful for. On an American Queen Steamboat Company riverboat, the staff has formed a family – they live and thrive together – and they welcome each guest as their kin. The smell of the harvest waltzes through the air – turkey, dressing, cranberries and more. Indulge in a feast fit for a queen without the stress of preparation and cleaning, ensuring a worry-free holiday. Viewings of the parade and football games invite travelers to dwell in the blessings of sweet nostalgia, and masterfully prepared tales of the adventures of Mark Twain transport the audience to a period much closer to the holiday’s origin.

AN AMERICAN MUSIC HOLIDAY

Memories are made of music, especially aboard the American Duchess. Wend your way through time and space with the songs of the ages as your guide. The spirits of Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughan live on in the soul-stirring spectacle of special guest and Memphis legend Joyce Cobb, joined by her band. Almost no genre goes untouched by Cobb, from country, disco and R&B to her beloved jazz. Sounds of the season join modern favorites in a show guaranteed to warm hearts and inspire joy. Along the journey, merry activities enrich each day, from ornament decorating to singalongs of treasured tunes we all know and love.

PLANTATION HOLIDAY MARKETS

Amid the glittering elegance of an American Queen Steamboat Company holiday cruise is a seasonal spirit larger than life. Experience the best of the South during a magical time of year aboard the company flagship, the American Queen. Delight in all your favorite holiday treats while becoming acquainted with the classic traditions of the Cajun and Creole cultures. At the center of each holiday cruise is an enchanting gala at Nottoway Plantation, complete with live music. Watch each skillfully rehearsed footstep of costumed dancers, indulge in scrumptious hors d’oeuvres or decadent desserts and witness the ceremonial lighting of the bonfires on the levee.

NEW YEAR’S

New Year’s Eve is a time for reflection and celebration with family and friends. Honor the year’s end on board the American Queen or American Duchess for exclusive experiences. All week, the evening entertainment sets the scene for revelry with shows that reveal the gaiety of the season. On the big day, an onboard gala is planned to provide hours of music and dancing – complete with champagne toast. Just after midnight, fireworks launch from the levee over Nottoway Plantation.

Select Waterways are your river and small ship cruise insiders, specializing in European river cruises, including Danube River cruises, Rhine River cruises, wine cruises, Seine River cruises, as well as China river cruises with Yangtze river cruises, Vietnam river cruises with Mekong River cruises, Russia river cruises with Volga river cruises, Nile river cruises, Africa river cruises and Amazon river cruises. Naturally, we have American river cruises with Mississippi River cruises, Ohio River Cruises, Columbia River cruises, Illinois River cruises and Tennessee River cruises. We also offer expedition cruises and small ship cruises throughout the world, with polar cruises such as Arctic cruises and Antarctica cruises among the most popular. Whether it’s luxury river cruising, premium river cruising, expedition cruising or small ship cruising, we’ve got you covered. Visit our website at www.selectwaterways.com or give us a call at 1.844.SWCRUISE (1.844.792.7847). Be sure to join our Insider Club by clicking here and Like our Facebook page by clicking here.

GOING DEEP WITH SEABOURN

GOING DEEP WITH SEABOURN

Even among small ships and river cruisers, innovation is the order of the day. Just take a look at Seabourn Cruise Line, which is building two new expedition ships, both featuring submarines. Expedition cruises just got a whole lot more interesting!

Seabourn, the world’s finest ultra-luxury cruise line, is preparing to take travelers into the depths of the ocean for the first time by revealing the design and details for its custom submarines that will operate excursions for an additional charge from the line’s two upcoming ultra-luxury purpose-built expedition ships. Both Seabourn Venture and her yet-to-be-named sister ship will sail to the far corners of the Earth carrying two U-Boat Worx Cruise Sub 7 subs designed specifically for Seabourn.

Each battery-powered sub will carry six guests as well as one pilot, who will guide the journey up to 330 feet beneath the surface to explore sunken wrecks, reefs, and view marine wildlife in their natural habitat. Guests are seated in two clear acrylic spheres flanking the center pilot’s station, with an awe-inspiring perspective of the marine world just outside thanks to undisturbed and undistorted views in virtually all directions. The three passenger seats in each sphere are mounted on a rotating platform that can turn for best sightlines.

“The undersea world is often considered as the last great frontier on Earth, with more than 80 percent of the underwater realm remaining unmapped, unobserved, and unexplored according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,” said Robin West, vice president of Expedition Operations for Seabourn. “With these subs, we’re going to take our guests to places that few have ever seen firsthand, leaving them with a perspective on the world around us that is jaw-dropping and will create stories to last a lifetime.”

To maximize the guest experience, the subs will be outfitted with a host of optional equipment to enhance this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. A 4k underwater video camera system will record the world outside while an internal video recording system will capture imagery of guests inside and their direct surroundings. Video footage can then be downloaded and projected on large screens in the Discovery Center during lectures aboard the ships. A six-function manipulator arm capable of lifting up to 70 pounds will also be mounted on the side of the sub. In keeping with the luxury experience found on Seabourn, each sub on both ships will be outfitted with custom embroidered leather upholstery, two air conditioning systems, a Bluetooth stereo system, and champagne chiller for guests looking to toast their voyage of discovery. 

The subs will be operated multiple times per day in regions around the world where conditions are suitable. They will be equipped with underwater LED flood/spot lights, imaging sonar that acts as a second set of eyes, and an advanced underwater tracking and navigation system.

Seabourn Venture is scheduled to launch in June 2021, with a second yet-to-be-named sister ship slated to launch in May 2022. The ships are being designed from conception for expedition travel blended with ultra-luxury and personalized service by leading travel experts and seasoned professionals with great depth of experience in expedition, hospitality, and luxury cruising.

Between July 2021 and April 2022, Seabourn Venture will visit a vast number of breathtaking locations and remote destinations in the Arctic and Antarctica, as well as in the Amazon, Caribbean, Central and South America and more, offering guests the unique opportunity to experience ultra-luxury expedition cruising and exhilarating adventures. The ship is scheduled to visit more than 150 unique and fascinating destinations across the globe – many of which few travelers have ever been – and over 65 new or notable destinations with a multitude of new and compelling expedition experiences.

Both ships will be designed and built for diverse environments to PC6 Polar Class standards and will include a plethora of modern hardware and technology that will extend the ships global deployment and capabilities. The ships will also be designed to carry a number of kayaks and 24 Zodiacs that can accommodate all onboard guests at once, which will allow for a truly immersive experience. Each ship will feature 132 luxurious oceanfront veranda suites.

Select Waterways are your river and small ship cruise insiders, specializing in European river cruises, including Danube River cruises, Rhine River cruises, wine cruises, Seine River cruises, as well as China river cruises with Yangtze river cruises, Vietnam river cruises with Mekong River cruises, Russia river cruises with Volga river cruises, Nile river cruises, Africa river cruises and Amazon river cruises. Naturally, we have American river cruises with Mississippi River cruises, Ohio River Cruises, Columbia River cruises, Illinois River cruises and Tennessee River cruises. We also offer expedition cruises and small ship cruises throughout the world, with polar cruises such as Arctic cruises and Antarctica cruises among the most popular. Whether it’s luxury river cruising, premium river cruising, expedition cruising or small ship cruising, we’ve got you covered. Visit our website at www.selectwaterways.com or give us a call at 1.844.SWCRUISE (1.844.792.7847). Be sure to join our Insider Club by clicking here and Like our Facebook page by clicking here.