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CORONAVIRUS PROTOCOLS

CORONAVIRUS PROTOCOLS

In this month’s blog, we’re taking a closer look at the coronavirus protocols of Victory Cruise Lines, which many months ago cancelled all its 2020 sailings and is focused on 2021. The information below is pulled from a letter by John W. Waggoner, CEO, and shows what small ship cruising will look like next year.

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the world for a loop, and Victory recognize the impact that it has had on plans for travel. Small ship cruising along with many other experiences that we’ve come to know and love are changing – and that can be stressful.

Victory Cruise Lines is staying current with Centers for Disease Control (CDC), United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), United States Coast Guard (USCG) and Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) guidance, mandates and public health advancements. Plans are in place to keep guests, crew and ports of call safe.

Victory has implemented multiple processes to identify and combat the risk of COVID-19 which include new steps in pre-cruise screening, crew screening and boarding processes. Both onboard and ground operations will feature enhanced cleaning procedures.

PRE-CRUISE SCREENING

Communication with guests begins before they have committed or booked their experience on Victory vessels. Health and safety information will be communicated to guests and a pre-cruise screening process has been instituted to determine the health eligibility of those who wish to cruise. In accordance with industry standards, Victory will conduct pre-voyage screenings for the protection of all guests, staff and crew at the designated check-in hotel. Before boarding the vessel, all guests will be required to complete a health and safety questionnaire and bring it with them to check-in.

At guest check-in a medical professional will perform health screenings and answer any guest or crew questions. The medical professional will have the authority to deny boarding to anyone that may pose a health risk. All guests and crew will complete a medical travel screening survey and have their temperatures taken. All forms will be reviewed by a medical representative and a member of shipboard staff. Thermal camera technology may be used to conduct noninvasive temperature checks as a supplement to manual temperature screening. Because of changes in check-in and boarding processes, no guests or crew will be allowed to check-in directly on the vessel. Only those who have completed and passed the medical screening will be allowed to board the vessel. Information will be provided to all guests and crew regarding onboard sanitization and safety procedures.

BOARDING PROCEDURES

Victory representatives will greet each visitor at the vessel access point. All procedures will be enforced and will be managed by the Master and a medical representative. One controlled access point will be maintained on the vessel and Victory will require a 24-hour notice for anyone that needs access to the vessel and has not been pre-screened during hotel screening. This includes all guests, crew, visitors and contractors. Onboard medical representative will be used to conduct screening, complete the health and safety survey and provide reports to the Master and each Hotel Director. Also, the vessel will utilize thermometers, supplemented by thermal cameras, to take temperatures of every individual (guest/crew) boarding the vessel.

DURING YOUR CRUISE

Monitoring both guests and crew during the cruise for symptoms and ensuring compliance with written policies and procedures is vital to maintaining a safe and healthy environment. Screening during the cruise will be handled through several methods. 

Trained staff will maintain protocols and observe passengers and crew for symptoms. The ship’s captain and medical representative will respond to medical calls, keep records, practice quarantine procedures and utilize shoreside medical facilities for passenger and crew follow-up.

The vessel access point will be monitored when in port, and controlled access to the vessel will be maintained. All passengers and crew will be passively monitored by thermal imaging when returning to the vessel.

Victory vessels will support random manual screening at the primary vessel access point in addition to passive thermal screening. In the event of a confirmed positive case, the vessel will manually screen 100% of all individuals coming and going from the vessel.

If a guest or crewmember has an elevated temperature, he or she will be evaluated by the medical representative before being allowed to board the vessel. Any guest who has an elevated temperature, shows signs or symptoms of illness or that vessel management feels needs to be further assessed will be sent directly to a local medical care partner for evaluation and testing. Any guest or crew that tests positive for any contagious condition will not be allowed to rejoin the vessel.

SANITATION PROCEDURES

Victory has instituted new training procedures for all housekeeping and sanitation staff. Increased sanitation of all contact surfaces such as handrails, tables, chairs, desks, work surfaces, door handles, telephones and elevator controls in both front and back of house will be conducted hourly with higher concentrated solutions.

MEDICAL SUPPORT

Each Victory vessel carries a certified onboard medical representative to respond to and assist guests with urgent medical care and coordinating shoreside medical assistance as needed. Quarantine procedures are in place for short term separation of potentially ill guests or crew until the next port of call, at which advanced medical care can be accessed. Upon a positive test or elevated response, the Victory response team will determine what additional company resources are required.

Given the nature of Victory’s coastal itineraries, they have the ability to reach shore-based medical facilities very quickly. Victory has established relationships with regional medical treatment facilities in key cities along vessel routes. While in port most days, guests and crew have access to shoreside medical evaluation and treatment if needed. In an emergency, Victory has the ability to quickly transfer passengers and crew to emergency medical services ashore by coordinating pick-up at municipal landings and docking facilities.

GROUND TRANSPORTATION

Victory will feature new protocols for all motor coach sanitation and safety. A reduced number of guests being transported on each motor coach (targeting 52% of capacity) will allow adequate space between individuals.

Contact Select Waterways to begin planning your next river or small ship 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. 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. Naturally, we have American river cruises with Mississippi River cruises, Ohio River Cruises, Columbia River cruises, Illinois River cruises and Tennessee River cruises. 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.

SAFETY FIRST

SAFETY FIRST

In today’s blog, we wanted to answer some of the questions potential travelers have regarding how safe they will be onboard a river or small ship cruise the midst of a pandemic. First of all, there’s a vast difference between sailing with 100 or so other guests on a small ship or river vessel than on a 4,000-passenger ocean-going megaliner. Many people don’t have a comfort level regarding vacationing by large cruise ship but feel better about a smaller ship. Major cruise lines don’t plan to resume service for months, while some smaller companies sailing America’s rivers and coasts plan to ease some ships back into service in the next few weeks. In fact, with international travel borders subject to closure, now is the time to travel within the Untied States. 

Each line with which we do business has their own protocols, of course, but to give you some idea of the extent to which river and small ship operators are going to ensure your safety during these challenging times, we decided to look at what American Cruise Lines is doing. The following information comes straight from their website. We’ve chosen not to edit this list down because we believe it’s important to know how extensive the changes that cruise lines such as American Cruise Lines are making.

SHIP DESIGN & SIZE

  • American Cruise Line (ACL) ships have approximately 350 square feet of passenger space per guest at full capacity. This amount was increased to approximately 450 square feet per guest through capacity reduction measures and compared to approximately 140 square feet per guest on other ships.
  • There are independent HVAC systems in every stateroom and lounge. Air conditioning ducting is cited as a source of virus transmission; ACL ships have no shared ducting between rooms or public spaces.
  • UV-C water filtration systems for all potable water. These filtration systems kill a wide range of bacteria and viruses.
  • ACL has implemented a touchless boarding and check-in process. Medical screenings may require contact between a medical professional and the guest, however proper PPE will be donned and utilized.

NEW OPERATING PROCEDURES

  • Guest capacity has been reduced by 25%. Each cruise will sail with a maximum of 75% of the allotted guest capacity. Capacity reductions increase distancing measures and increase the ability for private crew accommodation.
  • Increased time between cruises to allow for full vessel sanitation.
  • Extensive pre-cruise screening measures and denial of boarding to anyone with flu-like symptoms or other qualifications of concern.
  • Sanitation rounds to be conducted on an hourly schedule, including sanitation of all touchpoints, including railings, doorknobs, elevator buttons, and gangways. 
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) to be available at all times for guests and crew. PPE includes face shields, gloves, and face masks. PPE may be required during certain events as situations dictate.
  • Public bathrooms will be closed. Guests will be asked to use the restrooms in their stateroom.
  • Hand sanitizing stations placed throughout the ship and at the gangway before each boarding and unboarding.
  • Luggage sanitation prior to loading on the ship. Deckhands performing sanitation will be wearing PPE.
  • Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be kept behind transmission barriers and passed to guests individually. American Cruise Lines will not have buffets.

CLEANING & SANITATION

  • PPE will be provided for all housekeepers.
  • Guests will have the same housekeeper for the duration of the cruise.
  • Cleaning chemicals meet EPA and CDC Guidelines. Most cleaning and sanitizing chemicals provided by Ecolab, a company providing hygiene products to more than three million customer locations around the world, including to the foodservice and healthcare industries.
  • Hypochlorous Acid Electrolyzed Water (HOCI) system onboard for sanitation.
  • Daily sanitation of all touchpoints in staterooms, including doorknobs, light switches, sink, balcony railing, thermostat, etc.
  • Disposable cover applied to each TV remote control prior to guest boarding.

MEDICAL SERVICES

  • Onboard medical services provided by Vikand Solutions, a certified global medical company, with long-standing experience in the maritime and cruise industries.
  • Resident nurse or EMT on each ship for the duration of each cruise.
  • Compliance with CDC sanitation guidelines.
  • Medical facility to be provided onboard with supplies.
  • Covid-19 testing in conjunction with facilities ashore.
  • Isolation rooms will be created and made available as necessary. An allotment of staterooms aboard each ship to be sanitized and kept unoccupied unless they become necessary for isolation purposes.
  • Outbreak Management Plan in place to respond to confirmed Covid-19 case onboard.
  • Coordinated care with shoreside medical facilities and evacuation plans in place from every port of call.

EMBARKATION SCREENING

  • Denial of boarding to anyone with flu-like symptoms or who has tested positive for Covid-19 in the past 30 days.
  • Denial of boarding to anyone who has travelled internationally in the past 14 days.
  • Private transportation directly to the ship (or to the arranged pre-cruise hotel, if the hotel has implemented suitable sanitation practices).
  • Medical tent with pre-boarding screening including respirations, oxygen, and temperature check. Covid-19 testing will performed as needed.
  • Touch free boarding and check-in process.

DINING

  • Main dining room capacity reduced with removal of tables and chairs to allow for social distancing.

  • All dining tables to be used only once during each meal service. There will not be multiple seatings at any table during any meal.

  • The Back Porch Café will continue operating as an additional dining option.

  • PPE will be provided for all chefs and galley workers.

  • In-room dining will be available to all guests upon request.

  • Breakfast service to private balconies will remain available.

  • Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be kept behind transmission barriers and passed to guests individually.

DINING

  • All tour venues screened for social distancing and sanitation practices.

  • Private coaches travel directly to and from each venue.

  • Coaches sanitized before every boarding.

  • Reduced coach capacity to allow for social distancing during rides.

  • Excursion capacities reduced to allow social distancing at each venue. Additional excursion times will be added as needed for guest enjoyment.

CREW TRAINING AND SCREENING

  • Pre-boarding screening practices will apply to guests and crew members. Additionally, crew members will be screened at the conclusion of every cruise.
  • Reduction of crew movement in public spaces and reduced shore leave. Crew trained to engage in social distancing at all times, including when off-duty.
  • Covid-19 identification training for all crew members. This includes training on how to observe and report symptoms, as well as how to self-identify their potential symptoms.
  • Covid-19 response training for all crew members.
  • PPE training for all crew members, including the purpose, use, and donning of PPE.

Contact Select Waterways to begin planning your next river cruise and anticipate the time when the world of river cruising returns. 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. 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. Naturally, we have American river cruises with Mississippi River cruises, Ohio River Cruises, Columbia River cruises, Illinois River cruises and Tennessee River cruises. 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.

VIKING ANNOUNCES MISSISSIPPI RIVER CRUISES

VIKING ANNOUNCES MISSISSIPPI RIVER CRUISES

Viking Cruises has announced it is launching Mississippi River cruises two years from now. The company’s first custom vessel, Viking Mississippi, will debut in August 2022 and will sail voyages on the Lower and Upper Mississippi, between New Orleans and St. Paul. Viking’s arrival will bring modern river cruising to the Mississippi. 

Hosting 386 guests in 193 all outside staterooms, the new state-of-the-art Viking Mississippi is inspired by Viking’s award-winning river and ocean ships and will feature clean Scandinavian design, as well as public spaces that are familiar to Viking guests but that have been reimagined for Mississippi River voyages. Purpose-built for the Mississippi and currently under construction in Louisiana, the five-deck ship’s cutting-edge design, expansive windows and comfortable amenities will make it the largest and most modern cruise ship in the region. Highlights of the new ship include:

All Outside Staterooms: Guests can choose from an unparalleled seven spacious stateroom categories that range from 268 sq. ft to 1,024 sq. ft: Veranda, French Balcony, Deluxe Veranda, Penthouse Veranda, Penthouse Jr. Suite, Terrace Suite and Explorer Suite. All staterooms feature a private veranda or French balcony, king-size bed with luxury linens, large flat-screen interactive TV, mini-bar, large glass-enclosed shower, heated bathroom floor and 24-hour room service.

Viking Suites: Viking Mississippi will have some of the largest true suites on the river, with every suite featuring two rooms and a full-size veranda off the spacious sitting room. Guests in Penthouse Jr. Suites (400 sq. ft.) and Terrace Suites (425 sq. ft.) receive early stateroom access; expanded double-sink bathroom; mini-bar with alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, water and snacks replenished daily; welcome champagne; and laundry, pressing and shoe shine services. Guests in the expansive Explorer Suites (657 sq. ft. to 1,024 sq. ft) also receive a wraparound veranda and complimentary Silver Spirits Beverage Package.

Explorers’ Lounge & The Bow: Familiar to Viking’s ocean guests as one of the most popular onboard public spaces, Viking Mississippi will also feature an Explorers’ Lounge near the bow of the ship. The sun-filled, two-story Explorers’ Lounge has floor-to-ceiling windows that open to The Bow, a unique outdoor seating area at the front of the ship where guests can relax and enjoy ever-changing riverside views.

River Café: From American classics to Mamsen’s® Norwegian specialties, this indoor/outdoor dining venue on the top deck will offer alternative restaurant dining in a casual al fresco setting.

Aquavit Terrace: A public space beloved by many of Viking’s ocean and river guests, Viking Mississippi will also feature a revolutionary Aquavit Terrace on the top deck, providing a casual dining space ideal for an American barbecue experience. Combined with the River Café, the Aquavit Terrace will provide the most al fresco dining on the Mississippi.

Sun Terrace with Infinity Plunge Pool: Similar to Viking’s ocean ships, Viking Mississippi will have a glass-backed pool experience at the aft, allowing guests to take a dip while fully surrounded by their destination.

The Living Room: Clean Scandinavian design paired with American influences, the Living Room on Deck 1 is designed for socializing, relaxing and entertainment. Nearby, the quiet corner of The Library is a perfect place to discover a new book.

The Restaurant: This main dining venue on Deck 1 will serve daily-changing menus featuring delicious regional cuisine and always available classics prepared with fresh, local ingredients.

Full 360-Degree Promenade Deck: Guests can stroll the entire ship outside on Deck 1, stretching their legs while viewing scenic landscape and regional wildlife.

Every Mississippi River cruise fare includes everything guests need, with no surprises or hidden fees. Cruise fares include one complimentary shore excursion in each port of call, all onboard meals, and all port charges and government taxes. Guests also enjoy many complimentary amenities as part of their fare, including beer and wine with lunch and dinner service, lectures, alternative dining at no extra charge, self-service launderettes, 24-hour room service and free Wi-Fi.

2022-2023 Viking Mississippi Inaugural Voyages:

America’s Heartland (8 days; St. Louis to St. Paul)—From pristine farms nestled in rolling terrain to steep bluff rising from tributaries dotted with wooded islands, the Upper Mississippi offers a rich tapestry of beauty upon every turn of the river. This journey introduces you to the unforgettable experience of the locks and dams that control the flow of the heartland rivers. Hear stories of settlers migrating west; learn about Lewis & Clark, Mark Twain, John Deere and the Amish and Norwegian migrations; experience regional music like polka and Norwegian folk; and taste regional cuisine showcasing local beer, produce and Wisconsin cheese. 

Heart of the Delta (8 days; New Orleans to Memphis)—This journey on the Lower Mississippi is infused with American history, culture and heritage. Tour the area where the migrating French and Acadians settled; immerse yourself in the culture and lessons from the American Civil Rights Movement; discover the music of the South—jazz, blues and gospel; and experience the life and food culture of the South, from Cajun and Creole to the famed “dry” Memphis BBQ.

Southern Celebration (8 days; New Orleans–Vicksburg–New Orleans)—On this exploration of the Lower Mississippi, visit the historic homes of Louisiana and Mississippi; learn about Civil War history, touring sites like Vicksburg National Military Park; and discover the excitement and unique flavors of New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

America’s Great River (15 days; New Orleans to St. Paul)—Experience nearly the entire length of the Mississippi River on this incredible journey from the Gulf of Mexico to the northernmost reaches of the U.S. Relax and enjoy the variety of scenery, foliage and wildlife on this leisurely voyage. Absorb southern charm and beautifully preserved homes in Natchez; retrace the steps of Civil Rights leaders in Memphis; ascend the Gateway Arch in St. Louis; and visit “The Norwegian Valley” in La Crosse.

Contact Select Waterways now to be among the first to experience a Mississippi River cruise, Viking-style, in just two years. 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. 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. Naturally, we have American river cruises with Mississippi River cruises, Ohio River Cruises, Columbia River cruises, Illinois River cruises and Tennessee River cruises. 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.

VICTORY ADDING FOURTH SHIP

VICTORY ADDING FOURTH SHIP

Victory Cruise Lines recently announced the addition of its fourth small ship, Ocean Discoverer. Currently under construction, the Ocean Discoverer will be delivered in September 2022 and will join Ocean Victory in Alaska in 2023, offering additional small ship cruise options in the 49th state. Ocean Discoverer will make its debut with the Discover Beyond™ Alaska Expedition Adventure Cruise itineraries, which are currently available for booking on board the Ocean Victory.

The aptly named Ocean Discoverer was designed for in-depth destination access and exploration, while promoting responsible and sustainable travel. Providing world-class accommodations and amenities, guests will enjoy immersive shore excursions led by expert marine biologists, scientists and naturalists throughout the 12- to 13-day expedition voyages.

The 8,500-ton, 342-foot and 200-passenger Ocean Discoverer will be identical to the Ocean Victory and feature 93 suites, of which 68 will have balconies, nine French balconies and 16 panoramic windows. The vessel will carry a crew of 100 and boast a 2-to-1 guest to crew ratio. Onboard venues include two restaurants, in addition to an open-deck dining area, observation and lectures lounges, piano bar, library, gym, spa, swimming pool with a pool bar and jacuzzi.

Once complete, Ocean Discoverer will share the same cutting-edge design, technology and operating efficiencies as the Ocean Victory. Signature elements include a patented X-bow design which creates a smoother, more comfortable ride to lower noise and vibration levels and consequently seabed disturbance; Rolls Royce Zero Speed Stabilizers to reduce rolling and therefore make cruising more comfortable for guests; and Dynamic Positioning (aka “virtual anchoring”) – a computer-controlled system that automatically maintains the vessel’s position utilizing its own propellers and thrusters resulting in top-rated ship maneuverability. Lastly, the smaller size and low draft of Ocean Discoverer allows it to dock in many of Alaska’s smaller ports not accessible to larger cruise ships.

The Ocean Discoverer will also utilize Victory Cruise Lines’ partnership with the acclaimed Department of Marine Biology at California Polytechnic State University to feature marine biologists, scientists and naturalists among the ship’s expedition team. This along with the vessel’s fleet of zodiacs and kayaks, will provide guests with endless opportunities for active and responsible adventure and up-close wildlife viewing. Offering the same premier service, dining and accommodations guests have come to expect onboard Victory Cruise Lines and sister company the American Queen Steamboat Company, Ocean Discoverer will feature the finest regional cuisines, top-of-the-line entertainment and immersive shore excursions.

Bookings for Ocean Victory Alaska are currently available and bookings for Ocean Discoverer will be announced at a later date. Victory Cruise Lines also operates Victory I and Victory II, identical 202-passenger ships and offer all-inclusive cruises to Canada, the Great Lakes, New England, Mexico, South America and Alaska.        

Contact Select Waterways to be among the first to experience a small ship cruise, Victory-style, in Alaska. 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. 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. Naturally, we have American river cruises with Mississippi River cruises, Ohio River Cruises, Columbia River cruises, Illinois River cruises and Tennessee River cruises. 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.

VICTORY IN ALASKA

VICTORY IN ALASKA

Victory Cruise Lines, operated by American Queen Steamboat Company, has just announced its inaugural Alaska small-ship cruises for the 2021 season on board the 200-passenger Ocean Victory. Currently under construction, Victory Cruise Lines’ third vessel invites guests to explore the breathtaking scenery and wildlife of Alaska and British Columbia on expert led excursions and small-ship, scenic cruising.

To ensure that the Ocean Victory showcases the very best of expedition cruising, Victory is working with California Polytechnic State University to include marine biologists, scientists and naturalists among its expedition team of 19 to lead excursions, provide education lectures and act as a resource for all guests. 

The inaugural season of small-ship Alaska cruises includes:

NORTHBOUND: VANCOUVER, B.C TO SITKA, ALASKA

12-Day Cruise: May 21; June 11; July 2, 23; August 13; September 3

From the bustling city of Vancouver to the stunning views along the British Columbia Inside Passage, you will experience the best of this varied region. Fiordland Conservancy’s dramatic waterfalls dropping into majestic fjords, unbelievable wildlife sightings in Misty Fjords National Monument, expansive ice fields at LeConte, Sawyer and Dawes Glaciers and world-famous whale watching in Frederick Sound will leave you in awe. In addition, the fascinating culture of the Tsmshian people, Norwegian-inspired Petersburg, Alaska and Russian influenced Sitka, Alaska all welcome you to learn about the area’s diverse and storied heritage. Ports of call include: a pre-cruise hotel in Vancouver, B.C.; British Columbia Inside Passage; Fiordland (Kynoch Inlet); Ketchikan/Metlakatla; Misty Fjords National Monument; Wrangell/Stikine River Wilderness; Waterfall Coast/Baraof Wilderness; Petersburg/Le Conte Glacier; Tracey Arm/Sawyer Glacier; Kake/Frederick Sound/Five Finger; and Sitka, Alaska.

SOUTHBOUND: SITKA, ALASKA TO VANCOUVER, B.C.

13-Day Cruise: May 31; June 21; July 12; August 2, 23; September 13

The southbound itinerary reverses the northbound itinerary, with an additional day exploring Tracey Arm, Endicott, Dawes and Sawyer Glacier and Ford’s Terror Wilderness. On all Ocean Victory sailings 20 Zodiacs and dozens of kayaks will transport you through narrow inlets larger ships cannot access, giving expedition leaders the flexibility to choose the best spots for the day’s adventure, setting the Alaska adventures on the Ocean Victory apart from competition. Ports of call include: a pre-cruise hotel in Sitka, Alaska; Kake/Frederick Sound/Five Finger; Endicott Arm/Ford’s Terror/Dawes Glacier; Tracey Arm/Sawyer Glacier; Petersburg/LeConte Glacier; Waterfall Coast/Baranof Wilderness; Misty Fjords National Monument; Ketchikan/Metlakatla; Fiordland (Kynoch Inlet); British Columbia Inside Passage and Vancouver, B.C.

HIDDEN COAST: VANCOUVER, B.C. TO SEATTLE, W.A.

12-Day Cruise: September 24

This one-time itinerary will explore the ports and sights along Vancouver Island. Keeping with VCL’s dedication to education, guests will visit the Copeland Island Marine Park and U’Mista Cultural Center, one of the longest operating First Nations’ cultural facilities in British Columbia. On the southbound leg, striking views of Cortes Island, Von Donop Inlet and Desolation Sound await, revealing the majesty of British Columbia. Ports of call include: a pre-cruise hotel in Vancouver, B.C.; Princess Royal Reach/Princess Louisa Inlet; Copeland Islands Marine Park; Alert Bay/U’Mista Cultural Center; Cortes Island/Von Donop Inlet; Desolation Sound – Redonda Islands; “Sunshine Coast” – Pender Harbour; Nanaimo; Gulf Islands/Ganges; Victoria and Seattle, W.A.

The 341-foot Ocean Victory will feature 93 suites, of which 68 will have balconies, nine with French balconies and 16 with panoramic windows. The vessel will carry a crew of 100 featuring a 2-to-1 guest to crew ratio. Onboard venues include two restaurants, in addition to an open-deck dining area, piano bar, library, gym, heated outdoor pool, spa services and jacuzzi, plus observation and lecture lounges and a dedicated expedition and adventures launching platform.

Bookings for Ocean Victory Alaska cruises are now open, with early booking savings up to $1,400 per stateroom on reservations made by March 31, 2020.

Victory Cruise Lines operates Victory I and Victory II, identical 202-passenger ships, and the upcoming newly-built 200-passenger vessel, the Ocean Victory. Victory Cruise Lines operates all-inclusive cruises to Canada, the Great Lakes, New England, Mexico, South America and Alaska.        

Contact Select Waterways to be among the first to experience a small ship cruise, Victory-style, in Alaska. 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. 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. Naturally, we have American river cruises with Mississippi River cruises, Ohio River Cruises, Columbia River cruises, Illinois River cruises and Tennessee River cruises. 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.

VIKING GOES EXPLORING

VIKING GOES EXPLORING

Viking Expeditions, a sister company to Viking River Cruises and Viking Ocean Cruises, will begin sailing in January 2022 with its first vessel, Viking Octantis, embarking on voyages to Antarctica and North America’s Great Lakes. A second expedition vessel, Viking Polaris, will debut in August 2022, sailing to Antarctica and the Arctic. Bookings for the inaugural season opened on January 15. 

The new Polar Class 6 Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris will host 378 guests in 189 staterooms; both ships are currently under construction and will be delivered in Norway by Fincantieri’s VARD. Designed by the same experienced nautical architects and engineers that designed Viking ocean ships, the ships are optimally sized and built for expeditions – small enough to navigate remote polar regions and the St. Lawrence River, while large enough to provide superior handling and stability in the roughest seas. The ships will feature public spaces that are familiar to Viking’s ocean cruise guests but that have been reimagined for expeditions, as well as new public spaces created specifically for expeditions. Straight bows, longer hulls and state-of-the-art fin stabilizers will allow the ships to glide over the waves for the calmest possible journey; ice-strengthened Polar Class 6 hulls will provide the safest way to explore; and U-tank stabilizers will significantly decrease rolling by up to 50 percent when the ships are stationary. Viking’s expedition ships will feature modern Scandinavian design with elegant touches, intimate spaces and attention to detail.

An industry first, The Hangar brings true comfort to expedition cruising. This enclosed, in-ship marina permits the launch of small excursion craft through the ship’s multiple shell doors. The Hangar’s most innovative feature is an 85-foot slipway that allows guests to embark on RIBs (Rigid Inflatable Boats) from a flat, stable surface inside the ship, shielded from wind and waves. 

Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris, while hosting guests, will also be working research vessels with an onboard team of Viking Resident Scientists working on a variety of studies. Developed in consultation with Cambridge University and Viking’s other academic partners, The Laboratory, at 430 square feet, is designed to support a broad range of research activities and is equipped with wet and dry laboratory facilities, a sample processing area, fume cupboard, freezer and cool storage, comprehensive microscope optics and extensive bench space for analysis-specific instruments. Guests will have supervised access to The Laboratory, which is located in a glass-enclosed mezzanine above The Hangar, to learn from and participate with scientists undertaking primary research, an experience unique to Viking. 

Viking will offer a variety of ways for guests to experience their destination, according to their interests and activity level, at no extra charge. With a robust program of complimentary experiences, expedition equipment available for guests on Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris will include a fleet of military pro zodiacs designed for professional use in the harshest of environments; a fleet of two-seater Arctic-tested kayaks; and two 12-seater convertible RIBs. Each ship will also feature two six-guest submarines that feature revolving seats and 270-degree spherical windows for an incomparable undersea experience. Everything guests need will be provided: a Viking Expedition Kit will contain items like boots, binoculars and waterproof pants; each excursion will carry a full range of Safety Equipment, such as satellite phones, VHF radios, ropes, life jackets and a comprehensive shore survival kit; and all guests will receive complimentary use of Viking Excursion Gear, which includes specialty items like trekking poles, snowshoes and skis.

Viking has created the world’s most advanced venue for learning at sea with The Aula, a stunning panoramic auditorium at the stern. Inspired by the University of Oslo’s famed ceremonial hall where the Nobel Peace Prize was historically awarded, The Aula will offer a dynamic venue for lectures and entertainment, with floor-to-ceiling windows and 270-degree views. Adjacent to The Aula through sliding glass walls is the Finse Terrace, an outdoor lounge area with comfortable couches and warming lava rock “firepits” – perfect for panoramic views of the surroundings. Together the two spaces can be combined to create an unmatched indoor-outdoor al fresco experience for guests to be immersed in nature.

A first for polar expedition cruise vessels, all staterooms on board Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris feature a Nordic Balcony, a sunroom that converts into an al fresco viewing platform. Harnessing the Norwegian reverence for light and to create the optimal wildlife observatory at sea, the Nordic Balcony’s floor-to-ceiling, distortion-free glass at the very edge of the ship lets guests take the views in, while keeping the elements out. Should guests wish to feel even closer to nature, the top of the panoramic glass lowers to transform the stateroom into a sheltered lookout, with an observation shelf at elbow level to stabilize binoculars or a camera. Guests can choose from six stateroom categories that range from 222 to 1,223 square feet. All staterooms feature a Nordic Balcony, as well as a king-size bed and large bathroom with spacious glass-enclosed shower, heated bathroom floor and anti-fog mirror. Every stateroom is also equipped with a unique floor-to-ceiling drying closet that circulates warm air to dry and stores clothing and expedition gear.

Located at the stern and featuring a retractable glass dome, The Aquavit Terrace is an indoor-outdoor heated sanctuary will allow guests to be surrounded by their destination as they swim and lounge in three different temperature-controlled pools, including an “inside-out” swimming experience. 

In keeping with Viking’s Nordic heritage, The Nordic Spa on board is designed with the holistic wellness philosophy of Scandinavia in mind – with a thermal suite that features a Sauna, Snow Grotto and chaise lounges, as well as a warm hydrotherapy pool and badestamp (hot tub), surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows. A state-of-the-art Fitness Center will also provide the latest equipment and workout gear.

Similar to Viking’s ocean ships, Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris have a two-deck Explorers’ Lounge at the bow of the ship, offering the perfect spot for taking in stunning scenery through double-height windows over a mug of mulled wine or glass of Norwegian aquavit. 

Viking’s expedition ships will offer an array of dining options that build on the successful venues from Viking’s ocean ships, but which have been redesigned for expeditions. The Restaurant will offer fine dining featuring regional cuisine and always-available classics; the casual World Café will be a new “market” concept that offers live cooking, an open kitchen, bakery, grill and premium seafood and sushi choices, as well as a wide range of international flavors; Mamsen’s, named for “Mamsen,” the Hagen family matriarch, serves Scandinavian-inspired fare; Manfredi’s offers the best of Italian cuisine; and 24-hour room service will be complimentary for all guests.

2022-2023 VIKING EXPEDITION INAUGURAL VOYAGES

Antarctic Explorer (13 days; Buenos Aires to Ushuaia) – This ultimate adventure takes you into the heart of the Antarctic peninsula, where you will see where penguins and seals compress the cycle of life into a short season; hike on “The Last Continent” with your expedition leader for insight into the extreme geology of the dramatic landscape; and watch whales breach and glaciers calve into the sea from the comfort of your ship. Multiple sailing dates in January, February, November and December 2022; January and February 2023.

Antarctic & South America Discovery (19 days; Buenos Aires to Rio de Janeiro) – Embark on a journey of extremes, taking you from icy Antarctica to tropical Rio. Explore the Antarctic Peninsula, covered in ice and teeming with penguins, seals, whales and other wildlife; witness one of the thriving penguin populations of the Falkland Islands; and discover the cultural treasures of Montevideo, Buenos Aires and Paranaguá. Multiple sailing dates in March, October and November 2022.

Arctic Adventure (13 days; Roundtrip Tromsø) – Experience the Arctic summer on this expedition, centered on Norway’s Svalbard archipelago. Discover dramatic landscapes far north of the Arctic Circle, where deep fjords give way to glaciers; and look out for polar bears and seals from a RIB. Multiple sailing dates in August and September 2022.

From the Arctic to the Antarctic (44 days; Tromsø to Ushuaia) – Traverse the globe from the far north to the extreme south on this ultimate journey. Start in Norway’s northernmost town above the Arctic Circle and continue past rugged peaks and fishing villages to the rolling landscapes of the Shetland Islands and Ireland’s green shores. Next, cross the equator on your trans-Atlantic sailing to arrive in Rio de Janeiro, then further on to Buenos Aires and finally—to the “Last Continent”—to be amazed by the otherworldly scenery, pristine nature and abundant penguins, seals and other wildlife few will ever see. Sailing date: September 21, 2022.

Undiscovered Great Lakes (8 days; Thunder Bay, Ontario to Milwaukee) – From Northern forests to pristine lagoons, encounter the natural splendor of the Great Lakes. Visit bald eagle and bear habitats that abut charming frontier towns in this remote region of North America; and pass between Lake Superior and Lake Huron via the impressive Soo Locks.

Great Lakes Explorer (8 days; Milwaukee to Thunder Bay, Ontario) – Embark on a true expedition along “the nation’s fourth seacoast,” from Georgian Bay’s granite islands to Thunder Bay’s towering cliffs. Experience the car-free idyllic Mackinac Island, and learn about indigenous cultures and frontier life along the way.

Niagara & The Great Lakes (8 days; Toronto to Milwaukee) – From urban skylines to uninhabited islands, discover the wilderness nestled in the interior of North America alongside world-class cultural attractions in Detroit, Toronto and Milwaukee. Witness the majesty of Niagara Falls, and enjoy scenic cruising past North America’s busiest border as you cross Lake Huron.

Canadian Discovery (13 days; New York to Toronto) – Cruise from Canada’s southeast coast to the St. Lawrence River, where you will learn about the region’s rich past amid stunning natural settings and celebrated cities. Sail along the coasts of New England and Nova Scotia; discover the remote reaches and locally sourced seafood of Prince Edward Island; explore the Saguenay Fjord, home to seals, whales and other sea mammals; and go salmon fishing in Quebec’s Moisie River.

Just give us a call at Select Waterways to become one of the first to go exploring with Viking. Select Waterways are also 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. 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. Naturally, we have American river cruises with Mississippi River cruises, Ohio River Cruises, Columbia River cruises, Illinois River cruises and Tennessee River cruises. 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.