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GREEN IS THE NEW BLACK

GREEN IS THE NEW BLACK

Do you want to travel to sensitive destinations in the Arctic but you’re afraid your visit might leave a big carbon footprint? Worried that expedition cruising might harm the very pristine environments you’re going to see? Well, we understand that concern and we’ve found that the solution is to travel with Hurtigruten, which is unquestionably the most environmentally-sensitive and responsible expedition cruise company we’ve run across in our years of travel. Not only do they have hybrid-powered ships that can run solely on electricity produced from biofuel as a result of fish waste, they’re taking that commitment ashore as well. Ever heard of electric snowmobiles or electric catamarans? Neither had we until now. Suddenly, an Arctic cruise is a an environmentally-friendly choice.

ELECTRIC SNOWMOBILES

Just recently, Hurtigruten committed itself to introducing battery-powered snowmobiles. The partnership is actually between Hurtigruten’s land-based adventure travel company, Hurtigruten Svalbard, and a Finnish start-up company, Aurora Powertrains. The agreement is an industry first for snowmobiles, and starts a new era of silent and emission-free exploration by snowmobiling.

Debuting this winter, Hurtigruten Svalbard’s new eSled snowmobiles will offer modern-day explorers unforgettable wilderness experiences on the fascinating Svalbard archipelago. With snowcapped mountains as the backdrop, guests will explore the Arctic winter landscape like never before, with silent and emission-free outdoor adventures under the northern lights.

To fully utilize the green potential in the sustainable operation of electric snowmobiles, Hurtigruten Svalbard will set up a separate power supply including solar panels, a windmill, and battery packs for energy storage.

ELECTRIC CATAMARANS

Earlier this year, Hurtigruten partnered with Norwegian start-up company Brim Explorer to introduce battery-powered catamarans that are custom built for polar water exploration. Set to debut in spring 2020, the 78-foot vessels will operate sustainable and silent ocean excursions from the port of Longyearbyen on the Arctic island of Svalbard, sailing under the Hurtigruten Svalbard brand.

The hybrid catamaran will feature large battery packs and will be able to recharge at virtually any port and operate on batteries for up to 10 hours with a cruising speed of 10 knots.

Brim Explorer’s first watercraft—similar to her sister, which will operate exclusively under Hurtigruten Svalbard—is currently under construction in Norway. She will offer Hurtigruten guests traveling along the Norwegian coast truly unique excursions year-round, including visits to the Lofoten Islands in the spring and summer.

With their clean and futuristic design, both vessels will feature large windows that will take all 140 guests on board closer to the elements, with as little impact as possible.

To fully capture wildlife both above and below the surface, the explorer catamarans will also feature hydrophones and underwater drones from another Norwegian start-up already partnering with Hurtigruten—Blueye Robotics. Their drones will be introduced to several of Hurtigruten’s expedition cruise ships, as well as all Brim Explorer experiences.

GREEN REVOLUTION

The electric snowmobiles and electric catamarans are the latest in a number of battery-powered technology pushes by Hurtigruten and Hurtigruten Svalbard.

Hurtigruten celebrated its 125th anniversary by banning all single-use-plastics, and in 2019, Hurtigruten  introduced MS Roald Amundsen, the world’s first hybrid electric-powered cruise ship.

In another industry first, Hurtigruten is completely rebuilding existing ships to run on a combination of large battery packs, liquefied natural gas (LNG), and biogas (LBG), the latter of which is produced from organic waste such as dead fish.

Hurtigruten and Hurtigruten Svalbard will also work closely with Brim Explorer to continuously improve and develop the green technology, such as integrating solar panels with the electric driveline to exploit the 24-hour Arctic sun to charge the batteries while sailing. Developing renewable energy stations in smaller ports for charging is another project under development.

Isn’t it about time you stopped dreaming of an expedition cruise and made the jump into a whole new, green world with Hurtigruten and Select Waterways? 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.

TOP 5 RIVER THEME CRUISES

TOP 5 RIVER THEME CRUISES

Don’t you love traveling with people who share the same interests as you? And what if the entire cruise itself was centered around your hobbies or passions? Well, that’s what a theme cruise is all about. We’ve found that although there are holiday, wine and culinary theme voyages on European river cruises, the biggest selection of theme cruises is right here at home in America. In fact, American Queen Steamboat Company offers a wide selection of theme trips on its Mississippi River cruises.

While we enjoy any river theme cruise, our favorites are tied to the holidays, history or the life and traditions of the river. Here are our Top 5 River Theme Cruises:

PLANTATION HOLIDAY MARKETS

Amid the glittering elegance of an American Queen holiday cruise is a seasonal spirit larger than life. Experience the best of the Antebellum south during a magical time of the year and delight in all of your favorite holiday treats while getting acquainted with the classic traditions of the Cajun and Creole cultures. Christmas markets are the perfect venues to listen to holiday music while browsing seasonal goods and the all-American southern artistry of local craftsmen. Enjoy an enchanted experience at Nottoway Plantation, where you will enjoy live music and dancing, indulge in an assortment of hors d’oeuvres or decadent desserts and witness the ceremonial lighting of bonfires on the levee followed by a special fireworks display.

MARK TWAIN

Discover America Mark Twain-style from the perspective of the river. After all, it’s along the great Mississippi and its tributaries that Mark Twain discovered his own undying fascination with and love for America. Many would argue that Samuel Clemens, best known by his pen name Mark Twain, is quite simply one of America’s greatest authors. On a magnificent journey along the Upper Mississippi River, delve deep into the life and work of Samuel Clemens and witness his legendary words and wit brought to life onboard by an expert tribute artist who will leave you with the lasting impression that you just had an in-depth conversation with the legendary author himself. We love American Queen Steamboat Company because they include hop-on hop-off tours that allow you to explore Twain’s childhood hometown of Hannibal, Missouri; the town from where much of the inspiration for his beloved classics such as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is derived.

BOURBON

A bourbon-themed cruise offers you a rare opportunity to experience an extraordinary journey through America’s heartland and into the roots of Kentucky’s bourbon region. This special themed voyage will take you behind the scenes and into the history books to show you where bourbon comes from, how it is made and the ways to distinguish the unique characteristics of different distilleries. While onboard, you can enjoy all things bourbon with special tastings, treats, and cooking demonstrations. Both onboard and ashore, each day presents an eclectic blend of music with special performances, creative workshops and a wealth of enrichment that can’t be found anywhere else.

CIVIL WAR

Civil War-themed cruises take you on an amazing journey where historic skirmishes pitted brother against brother in a nation once divided. You will have the opportunity to delve into the tactics, both military and political, that shaped the events of the American Civil War. Learn of the Mississippi River’s strategic value as both a transportation and communication route and explore the state of the country as it was in 1866 and how it still affects us today. Watch tribute artists bring key figures to life and listen to distinguished Civil War historians offer enlightening lectures on a multitude of Civil War topics. Join a thought-provoking journey designed to broaden your knowledge and provide insight surrounding the times and the causes that precipitated the conflict. Each Civil War voyage pays tribute to our American history in reminding us all of the fallen soldiers who gave their lives in a war that changed our nation.

ANTEBELLUM SOUTH

Experience authentic Southern culture as you journey through living history along the Lower Mississippi River, where it is easy to imagine that time has stood still. From the early 1800’s until the Civil War, the country’s economy began shifting and a cotton boom made plantations the center of southern commerce. With its rich soil, warm climate and ample moisture, the land is among the most fertile in the world and agriculture flourishes. From New Orleans to Baton Rouge, all along the great River Road, sugar cane is still grown as it was a century ago. In the late 1800’s Mark Twain noted on his adventures down the mighty Mississippi that there were so many plantations and dwellings along the river that it looked like a spacious street. Towering homes lay nestled in large patches of moss-draped oak trees and, still today, you can catch a glimpse of what Mark Twain once saw as you cruise along the River and then tour historic locations and iconic plantation homes.

Isn’t it about time you stopped dreaming of an American river cruise and hopped aboard a theme voyage on a Mississippi River cruise? 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.

THE JOY OF WINE CRUISES

THE JOY OF WINE CRUISES

If you’re looking to elevate your next Europe river cruise, consider a wine cruise. One of our favorite choices is AmaWaterways on a voyage that encompasses a Rhine River cruise, Danube River cruise, Seine River cruise or even a Douro River cruise.

Immerse yourself in the many flavors of Europe on one of AmaWaterways’ unique wine cruises, which let you add a unique, epicurean dimension to a European river cruise. Like our standard river cruises, guests have the opportunity to join tours that highlight the famous sights in each port of call. These special itineraries, however, offer guests a perfect blend of wine-related experiences and excursions in grand capitals and charming towns. You’ll taste local cuisine, discover how wine is made and, of course, partake in tastings — all at no additional cost. Whether you have a seasoned appreciation for fine wine, or simply indulge in a sip here and there, this is a wonderful way to uncork the traditions of the local culture and learn about the region you’re visiting.

Delectable cuisine and fine wine abound on these special cruises, both on board and ashore. While on the ship, you’ll enjoy wine tastings led by a wine expert. You’ll also indulge in award-winning cuisine paired with hand-selected, premium wines. There are plenty of varieties, and you’ll have the opportunity to try different selections every day. And then, of course, there are exclusive excursions designed to bring the rich wine history and culture of Europe to life. You’ll visit private cellars, renowned wineries and stunning vineyards where more tastings and pairings await. All this while discovering all the wonderous sights and landmarks along the way.

Each wine cruise is hosted by a qualified wine expert, who usually brings hand-selected wines on board that are served during meals and at tastings. Some wines come from the expert’s own winery and other varieties are sourced from local wineries located along the cruise itinerary. The wine expert will recommend food and wine pairings, lead discussions and hold tastings during your cruise. They will talk all things wine and provide insight into different varieties.

Ready to savor the myriad delights of a wine cruise? 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.

THE JOY OF WINE CRUISES

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.

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.