TORONTO — Cruise Strategies is joining forces with French America Line as the new company enters the Canadian market for its inaugural season.
Based in New Orleans, French America Line will introduce a new era of boutique U.S. river experiences this August with the launch of the intimate 150-guest flagship Louisiane. Formerly the Columbia Queen, the Louisiane is undergoing a multimillion dollar refurbishment to reflect an elegant French-inspired ambience. Inaugural sailings for a maximum of 150 guests are set to begin Aug. 22.
“We are extremely pleased with our new relationship with French America Line and to help launch them in their inaugural year,” said Vanessa Lee, President and CEO of Cruise Strategies Ltd. “Their itineraries are excellent and diverse and their small river vessel is perfectly positioned and in demand for the port collector clients of our retail partners. We will be announcing various initiatives shortly to showcase the product to the Canadian retail professional along with marketing plans, commission levels and other agent-friendly sales tools.”
From the ship’s home port in New Orleans clients can sail from the charms of the Mississippi Headwaters of the Ohio River Valley to the rugged beauty of Tennessee’s Wilderness, Cumberland and Red rivers regions. The luxurious ship will accommodate guests in 75 staterooms and suites for sailings that celebrate the cultural and epicurean influences of ‘La belle France’ mixed with warm Southern hospitality and refined, unobtrusive service, says Lee.
The Louisiane’s small size allows her to navigate in narrow areas and access historic river ports on five American rivers that larger ships cannot reach, creating a unique opportunity to see and experience locations that haven’t been accessed by a U.S. river ship in more than a decade.
“We are bringing a breath of fresh air to cruising America’s waterways by offering an exceptional product that redefines the American cruise experience and which can earn travel agencies a 15% commission on an average booking value of US$8,000 per stateroom in our inaugural season,” said Tom Markwell, President of French America Line. Clients can savour the culinary art of acclaimed Chef de Cuisine, Regina Charboneau and enjoy a host of extra amenities such as an included pre-cruise deluxe hotel night in their embarkation port, complimentary Traveler Collection custom-crafted shore excursions in every port of call, complimentary free-flowing hand-selected spirits, wines and beers, complimentary Wi-Fi, iPads in each stateroom/suite with pre-loaded e-books, daily programs and menus, and luxury touches such as a welcome gift of Parisian macarons from the House of Ladurée, he added.
To celebrate the Louisiane’s introduction to the Canadian market and the new partnership with Cruise Strategies, French America Line is offering pre-paid gratuities, a one-category upgrade and US$100 per stateroom/suite shipboard credit on bookings made by July 29. All bookings will be handled directly by French America Line’s call centre at 1-888-387-1140 (promo code: CSCA01).
Cruise Strategies’ team will provide sales and marketing support to its broad network of retail travel agencies throughout Canada for French America Line which is not currently serving the Canadian retail industry. Services include extensive sales and product training, support for group opportunities and group travel, webinars, promotional opportunities, co-operative ad campaigns and cruise and client event presentations as well as public relations and communications.