This Week in Cruise: South Africa and California Cruising

As cruise lines spread their reach across the globe, Norwegian Cruise Line announced that Norwegian Dawn will home port at Cape Town, South Africa, and Port Louis, Mauritius, between January and March 2024. That follows the recent conclusion of NCL's first season of Cape Town homeporting with Norwegian Jade

Closer to home, American Cruise Lines’ Modern Riverboat-series vessel, American Jazz, has begun its journey from the Mississippi River via the Panama Canal to California. Starting in February 2023, the ship will operate the first riverboat cruises on San Francisco Bay and along California Delta rivers since the 1940s.

Seabourn Venture, the new expedition ship launched last summer by Seabourn, is having stabilizer issues. As a result, the line has canceled three 2023 departures on April 7, April 16 and April 28, so the vessel can enter drydock for stabilizer repairs. Seabourn emphasizes that stabilizers don't affect safety, so the current Antarctica voyages are continuing.

In addition, some changes were made to Grandeur of the Seas' February 10 departure from PortMiami, given speed limitations caused by technical issues with one of the ship's engines. The Vision-class vessel is the oldest in Royal Caribbean International's fleet. 

Swan Hellenic announced that the 192-passenger Diana, the newest and largest ship in its fleet, has been floated out at Helsinki Shipyard. Interior fitting is now under way. The ship’s maiden voyage will sail from Palermo, Sicily, to Lisbon, Portugal on April 15, 2023.

Journeys to Discovery

In the second article of a three-part series about Silversea Cruises Antarctica Bridge” sailings, sister publication Luxury Travel Advisor reviewed the shipboard product on Silver Endeavour. The third article in that series focuses on expedition experiences, including onboard briefings, the Mud Room, Zodiac cruises, wildlife and wet landings ashore. Coincidentally, bad weather last week impacted one "return to Punta Arenas" Antarctic Air charter flight for guests disembarking Silver Endeavour. The line told us that they shifted some guests to Silver Wind so they could sail directly to Puerto Williams, Chile

Ponant and Smithsonian Journeys will partner on 21 journeys this year. Among them is Le Bellot’s eight-day “Iceland Voyage: Land of Fire and Ice voyage along Iceland’s west coast.

Travel Agent spoke one-on-one with Cindy D’Aoust, president, American Queen Voyages (AQV), about her vision and priorities for the small-ship line. Later in the week, D'Aoust and others on the AQV team including Regina Charboneau, the line's culinary ambassador, revealed a new partnership with America's Test Kitchen.  

At the same time, AQV promoted Janelle Valentino to director of national accounts, plus named Brandon Appel as a new regional account manager (RAM). Sales team territories have also been realigned. At the same time, David Kelley, AQV's long-time EVP of vessel operations for the brand, has left the company due to restructuring by parent comany Hornblower, according to Seatrade Cruise News.

The new luxury lifestyle brand Explora Journeys introduced “Journey Together Gatherings,” a new group travel program designed to expand travel opportunities for extended families or groups of friends. This builds on the “Journey Together” and “Journey Together+” programs. 

Trade and Personnel Moves

Cruise Planners launched Destination Hub, a new directory platform, to CP Central that will allow travel advisors to search, view and submit business recommendations (restaurants, hotels, shopping, transfers, tours and activities) for destinations across the globe.

On the personnel front, travel industry veteran Steven Simao was named the new vice president of sales, North America, for small-ship Variety Cruises. Most recently, he served as vice president of global sales at Windstar Cruises.

Scenic Group appointed Brandon Oscarson as Southeast USA regional sales director. His territory includes West Virginia, Virginia, the Carolinas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Washington, D.C.

In April 2023, Holland America Line plans to reposition Robert Morgenstern to head up the group's Alaska business. He'll succeed Charlie Ball, a decades-long veteran of Holland America-Princess Alaska who is retiring this spring.

Lindblad Expeditions Holdings is continuing to expand its global sales team and added two senior sales leaders for its expedition cruise brandChristine Stevens Robinson and Rachel Woodward.

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