Travelweek MARCH 28 2024

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Canada’s Travel Trade News
28, 2024
“It’s all we do, and it gets 100% of our focus”: Transcend Cruises’ B2B model targets travel advisors with groups and charters

TORONTO — ‘Find a need and fill it’: For anyone looking to succeed in business, truer words were never spoken, and for Matthew Shollar, they’re words to live by.

Shollar is the co-founder of Transcend Cruises, a river cruise company that works exclusively with travel advisors (and meeting planners) with groups of 50 clients or more.

Any travel agent with big groups looking to book into traditional river cruise lines knows how tough it can be to find big blocks of space, especially in these post-pandemic years of sky-high demand.

Transcend aims to fill that need. “Transcend Cruises is the only 100% B2B cruise line,” Shollar tells Travelweek. “Unlike current retail offerings, every sailing is a customized, private departure, built to fit the needs of

travel advisors and their valued clients like a glove.”

Everything from the itinerary to the duration to F&B and even the physical configuration of Transcend’s ships is bespoke to each client, adds Shollar.

Multiple venues onboard accommodate all guests for programming. “We also bring the client’s brand to life through a comprehensive suite of digital tech and we provide our client - the charterer - with additional accommodations, a fully enabled office with printing and storage, and a digitally-branded desk right in our lobby,” he adds.

The best part, for agents with groups? “No competition from us!” says Shollar. “No published retail pricing, blackout dates, lost revenue penalties, or heavy marketing costs that go into the costs of chartering.”

For 2024 Transcend is operating one ship: Transcend Advance. It has a good pedigree - it was formerly Crystal Mahler. More options will become available when Transcend’s new-build fleet begins to launch in 2025.

The 2024 season on Transcend Advance is getting underway now, and will continue through the end of the year.

The ship is filling up with bookings thanks to Shollar and his team. That team includes Jackie Coulson, wellknown in the industry thanks to her years with Trafalgar, Uniworld and Tauck. As Coulson notes, “our client is the charterer and we will work with them to create a 100% customized event for their guest. Think wedding groups, alumni groups, meetings in motion, incentive trips, multi- generational trips, celebrations and more.”

Coulson has been connecting with

Canadian travel agents at her coffee chats and training sessions, with several events under her belt and more on the way in the coming months.

In the meantime we got more details on Transcend’s value proposition for agents - and their group clientsfrom Shollar.

“Every travel advisor that sells groups of around 50 passengers and up can turn the challenge of hosting a group on a larger cruise ship or resort into the incredible client benefits and high satisfaction levels of an exclusive-use, private buyout with Transcend. It’s all we do, and it gets 100% of our focus, rather than being an afterthought,” he tells Travelweek. Travelweeek: How many ships does Transcend have at this point, and can you describe the ships?

Shollar: “Through 2024, we will be operating the Transcend Advance. Our new ships, purpose built for us and our group-focused clients, arrive in 2025 and beyond. The current ship, a more traditional luxury vessel, carries 110 guests in a five-star product and service level; our new ships boast 60 identical, oversized guestrooms that convert in pairs to two-room suites (guest count, room configurations and luxury level set by the client), five spaces on board that host all guests for group programming, up to eight additional breakout spaces, and up to nine dining location options. The ships are built to the latest sustainable standards and are future compliant with upcoming technologies for propulsion, waste, and hotel services improvements.”

March 28, 2024 | TRAVELWEEK | 3 TOP NEWS

Travelweek: Is there a minimum and maximum size for groups onboard?

Shollar: “We can host up to 120 guests on our sailings (110 on the Advance). There’s no minimum, and in fact many of the programs on our new ships will operate as all-suite, with a maximum of 60 guests and a near 1:1 staff to guest ratio.”

Travelweek: What rivers will Transcend be sailing - and to what extent is the itinerary up to the discretion of the charter group?

Shollar: “Transcend ships sail on about 70% of the navigable rivers of Europe - the Rhine, the Moselle, the Main, the Danube, and in Holland/Belgium. By starting with the needs of the particular client - not the canned, consumer-focused program typical in groups and charters - we can build out specific and unusual itineraries that focus on the interests, the demographics, and/or program needs of the group travelling, and the best duration for the group. We have a three-night minimum. By taking this approach, every client gets a program that fits them best - including sailings like roundtrips and the avoidance of seasonal water level issues.”

Travelweek: Would there ever be more than one group onboard at a time?

Shollar: “Transcend does not sail ‘part charters’ with unrelated groups put aboard one sailing by us. We do, however, allow agents and agencies to share a charter contract, so advisors that might each have less than a full ship can join together to operate

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a private program as a partnership.”

Travelweek: Is this concept a first-of-its-kind?

Shollar: “While chartering and group departures are well known in both the ocean and river cruise industries, working with B2C companies on these programs have presented numerous challenges and ‘pain points’ for advisors and their clients. Transcend has been created to eliminate these barriers and provide a product that is not currently available - including on land.”

Travelweek: Were you hearing from agents that it was tough to find charter space on ‘regular’ river cruise ships?

Shollar: “Chartering is complex, and the lion’s share of the attention of the present market is on their retail clientele. Unless the advisor was willing to take a ship built for another purpose, on a date and itinerary that suited the cruise line to sell, at a price that that has no transparency (and is always subject to competitive pressure by host line discounting), it can be nearly impossible to secure the space that the group needs.”

Travelweek: In recent weeks you’ve been offering some seminars to travel agents in the GTA and Ottawa. What’s been the reaction from agents so far?

Shollar: “People are beyond excited to learn about Transcend, and have responded really well to our focus on their needs and that of their valued clientele. The most common refrain is ‘you have thought of everything!’”

Travelweek: Do agents book air through Transcend as well?

Shollar: “Transcend does not have an air department. We allow the agent to make those arrangements or can furnish a third-party air booking service as needed.”

Travelweek: What about agent commission?

Shollar: “Transcend sells our programs on a net basis, and unlike other cruise lines and hotels, does not cap commissions. We work with our partner, the advisor, to incorporate whatever commission or override they see fit. We also offer a unique volume-based loyalty program called Boatload, which can add half- or full-gratuities, shipboard credits, all-inclusive beverages, and hold periods. These benefits sit at the agency level and can be extended to any client.”

For more details see or get in touch with Coulson at (705) 796-2224 or

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“Let’s take it to the next level”: Arizona reconnects with the trade, with fams and more

TORONTO — Travel advisors have always been a big part of the Arizona Office of Tourism’s strategy here in Canada.

Now the AOT needs Canadian agents more than ever, as it works to get visitation from this market back up to pre-pandemic levels.

In Toronto for Arizona’s Canada Sales Mission ’24 recently were Joanna Tejeda, Senior Travel Industry Marketing Manager, Arizona Office of Tourism, and Laura Nesteanu, Managing Director Canada for GMS shared the latest news with Travelweek. Arizona appointed GMS in fall 2023 to spearhead marketing efforts in Canada. Arizona also has representation with Reach Global.

“Canada is a really important market for Arizona, it’s our #2 international market so it’s very important that we keep a presence here and keep everyone updated on what’s going

on in Arizona so that we can keep awareness up throughout the year for Canadians,” said Tejeda.


Nesteanu says that one of Arizona’s top priorities for 2024 is to strengthen partnerships with travel agents.

“As we know, after the pandemic most consumers are now relying a lot on travel agents. We know that that percentage has increased due to the personalized attention and service they provide. So it’s very important for us to work closely with them on a daily basis to make sure we reach consumers through these partnerships,” she said.

Arizona’s suite of agent tools and resources includes the Arizona Specialist program, launched last year. Agents can complete the course at their leisure in order to be certified as an official Arizona specialist. Other resources at their disposal include webinars, a

monthly newsletter and fams.

Nesteanu also notes that the Arizona Office of Tourism also provided training with key travel agencies in Toronto and Vancouver, including Direct Travel and Flight Centre, during its recent sales mission.


Calling the pandemic a game-changer, Tejeda tells Travelweek that recovery has been slow going, with Canadian visitation peaking at just over 300,000 in 2023, far below the record breaking numbers in 2019, with close to one million visitors. This has largely been due to a drop in airlift, however, 2024 is looking promising with multiple options for Canadians.

“Air Canada has added lots of frequencies for the summer out of Ontario and Montreal into Arizona, and on the west side also from Vancouver and Calgary,” says Nesteanu.

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“We’ve been working hand in hand with airline partners to make sure that we have a stronger presence in Canada.”

Daily flights are available with Air Canada between Toronto-Phoenix, and twice-daily service between Vancouver-Phoenix. Flair offers 4x/weekly service between Edmonton-Phoenix and Vancouver-Phoenix, while WestJet offers three daily flights between Calgary-Phoenix and two daily flights between Edmonton and Vancouver to Phoenix.

Nesteanu also hints at a possible additional airline flying out of Canada into Phoenix later this year.


Arizona is set to welcome its largest hotel to date this year in Glendale –VAI Resort.

Considered a desert oasis and situated on a man-made island, VAI offers 1,100 rooms across four hotel towers, a six-acre swimming pool, private cabanas, white sand beaches, 10 bars, 13 deluxe restaurants and a shopping corridor. It’s also associated with Mattel Adventure Park, opening this year in Glendale as the first-ever Mattel-branded theme park. Other new hotels debuting in 2024 include The Ritz-Carlton Paradise Valley, The Palmeraie.

Just opened in February is Caesars Republic Scottsdale, the first non-gaming hotel from Caesars Entertainment in the U.S., located near Scottsdale Fashion Square. And opening in late 2024 following a US$110 renovation will be the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch, which will be rebranded as the Grand Hyatt Scottsdale Resort & Spa.

Outdoor enthusiasts should also note the opening of Rockin’ River Ranch State Park in Camp Verde, Arizona’s newest state park where hiking, kayaking and fishing opportunities abound.

After visiting this day-use-only park, visitors can explore the surrounding Verde Valley including Montezuma Castle National Monument and area wineries.

The Travel Agent Next Door celebrates 10 years in the business

TORONTO — The Travel Agent Next Door’s 10th anniversary celebrations kicked off earlier this month, marking a decade of success as a host agency.

During a media luncheon, Flemming Friisdahl, TTAND’s CEO and founder, shared highlights from the past decade – and plans for the next.

“The first 10 years were great,” he said. “I think the next 10 years are going to be so amazing in the industry. And we’re going to bring some really, really cool programs that no one else has.”

TTAND is aiming for what Friisdahl calls “the power of one.”

“I want an agent to be able to have a client’s first name, their email, and everything else can be automated for them to be able to book the file,” he said. “That’s what we’re working towards.”

In the evening, TTAND hosted a virtual anniversary celebration for agents with surprise guests, including Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy and Canadian comedian Shaun Majumder.

Celebrations will continue throughout the year and include TTAND’s upcoming annual conference, which will take place in Jordan this June (in partnership with G Adventures, Jordan

Tourism and Royal Jordanian Airlines).

It’s a big year for TTAND for other reasons, too. “This year, we’re on par to do half a billion dollars [in sales],” said Friisdahl. “And all that commission is going to go directly to the agents.”

Another big change will be the departure of Penny Martin, VP Agent Experience. Martin has worked alongside Friisdahl since TTAND’s inception, helping to build the host agency from the ground up. She’ll be retiring at the end of July, but said she may still stay involved in the travel industry in some capacity.

Jim Element, former president of The Travel Corporation (TTC), has taken on the role of Senior VP Operations, while Chris Senior has joined as CFO. Aside from building up its senior leadership team, TTAND is also focused on building an internal lead generation program that will make it easier for agents to prospect.

The host agency started out in 2014 with just three staff members and 60 agents. Today, it’s grown to 63 staff members (including 26 in India) and 1,250 agents. This year, TTAND expects to boost its numbers to 1,400+ agent partners.

TTAND’s 10th anniversary celebrations will run all year long.

March 28, 2024 | TRAVELWEEK | 7 TOP NEWS



Two of the biggest names in corporate travel are joining forces, as Amex GBT intends to buy CWT in a deal worth US$570 million. The acquisition is on a cash-free, debt-free basis and is expected to close in the second half of 2024, subject to regulatory approvals. Amex GBT says the transaction is projected to create greater capacity for investment in software and services, as well as what it says is significant shareholder value through $155 million of synergies. “Bringing CWT onto the proven Amex GBT software and services model will create more choice for customers, more opportunities for people and more value for shareholders,” said Amex GBT CEO, Paul Abbott.


The first Marriott International luxury hotel in St. Maarten is now open. JW Marriott St. Maarten Beach Resort & Spa embodies the brand’s mindful ethos. Some 200 guest rooms and suites blend modern flair and coastal elegance - plus, of course, stunning views of the sea, and St. Barths in the distance. The hotel also features four dining venues. There’s also a fully equipped fitness room, a spa and venue spaces spread across 30,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space. In total the hotel is home to 10,000 square feet of flexible indoor function and event space. JW Marriott St. Maarten Beach Resort & Spa is a 30-minute drive from Princess Juliana Airport.


The Sandals Foundation is doubling down on its commitment to improving the lives of people across the Caribbean on its 15th anniversary. Through initiatives focused on education, community development and environmental conservation, The Sandals Foundation has positively impacted some 1.5 million lives since its launch. The foundation was founded on three core pillars: Education; Community Development; and Environment Conservation. “Empowerment, to the Sandals Foundation, means providing individuals and communities with the resources, skills, opportunities and the inspiration necessary to take control of their own destinies and effect positive change,” says Heidi Clarke, Executive Director of the Sandals Foundation.

It’s been a record start for the Turks and Caicos Islands, with a surge in air arrivals for the first two months of the year that outpaced the same period in 2023. For January, the destination recorded 61,924 air arrivals, a 6% increase, while February saw an uptick with 64,088 arrivals, a 13.3% increase. On March 9, the Turks and Caicos Airports Authority (TCIAA) reported 10,077 passengers passing through the airport on that one day, a new record, said Minister of Tourism Josephine Connolly. “We entered the winter season with optimism based on our 2023 figures and our expectations were surpassed. The Turks and Caicos Islands continue to be the destination of choice for our affluent, luxury lifestyle market,” she added.


The CEO of Boeing will step down from his post at the end of the year. David Calhoun will exit the top job as part of c-suite shakeup that also includes the immediate retirement of the President and CEO of Boeing’s commercial airplanes unit. Meanwhile Boeing’s board chairman won’t stand for re-election in May. The beleaguered aircraft manufacturer has been under renewed scrutiny since early January when a panel blew off a brand new Alaska Airlines 737 Max.


ACTA, Avalon Waterways re-team for 2024 European River Cruise Summit

TORONTO — Avalon Waterways and ACTA are teaming up once again to host the European River Cruise Summit for the second year in a row.

Scheduled to depart on Oct. 28, the Summit will welcome 130 Canadian travel advisors aboard the Avalon Illumination as it sails the ‘Danube Dreams’ itinerary through Europe’s heartland.

Advisors can register for a chance to take part before the deadline date of April 8.

The announcement of the 2024 summit comes on the heels of the inaugural river cruise summit that took place in late 2023 along the Rhine with 125 Canadian travel advisors aboard the Avalon Vista.

“We’re doing it again!” said Denise Harper, senior director of sales for Globus family of brands, parent company of Avalon Waterways. “There’s nothing like having advisors onboard with us to experience river cruising first-hand and see for themselves what makes Avalon Waterways special. From award-winning Panorama Suites with beds facing the view and complimentary Happy Hours on board, to passion-packed adventures in port thanks to included Avalon Choice excursions, this summit welcomes Canadian advisors to learn more about river cruising and Avalon, while also investing in their own profitability with workshops and networking seasons.”

Wendy Paradis, ACTA President, added: “Providing high-quality, experiential learning and professional development opportunities for Canadian travel advisors is a key pillar for ACTA. The feedback about our 2023 European River Cruise Summit with Avalon Waterways was tremendous. Interested advisors shouldn’t

wait to register for this incredible opportunity!”

The 2024 travel advisor-only Cruise Summit will set sail in Budapest and last eight days. Advisors will enjoy ‘Classic,’ ‘Discovery’ and ‘Active’ Avalon Choice excursions, and participate in onboard workshops and special events before disembarking in Vilshofen, Germany. They’ll also get the chance to meet one-on-one with representatives from Manulife and Air Canada.

Advisors who are selected to set sail on the 2024 summit will be invited to share their full details and provide a nominal, non-refundable deposit of $250 on/after April 22, 2024. Selected advisors will also need to complete a new educational program offered by the Globus family of brands in order to attend.

The cost for the cruise is $1,300 (based on double occupancy), which includes pre-paid gratuities and port charges. All other details, including air options, will be shared with selected travel advisors, post-registration.

Only ACTA member travel advisors will be considered to attend. Advisors who are not currently ACTA members can submit their membership application at

A link to register for the 2024 European River Cruise Summit can be found at For more information email

ACV showcases Air Canada’s upcoming Tulum service

with fam

MONTREAL — Air Canada Vacations has introduced expanded vacation opportunities with direct flights from Montreal and Toronto to Tulum, known for sun-soaked getaways, seaside of Mayan ruins and pristine cenotes.

Air Canada’s direct flights will operate from Toronto to Tulum every Friday and Sunday starting May 3, and from Montreal to Tulum every Saturday starting May 4.

Clients can now choose from 36 vacation packages tailored to suit their preferences.

Plus, until April 7, vacationers can take advantage of savings up to $300 per couple on vacation packages arriving at Tulum International Airport for departures May 3 - Oct. 31. Clients can also maximize their benefits by earning up to 12,000 extra Aeroplan points per member when booking seven nights at select resorts through their favourite travel professional.

Says Ana Paula De Souza, ACV’s Director, Sales: “Air Canada Vacations is delighted to enhance accessibility to Tulum with exciting vacation packages for travellers.”

March 28, 2024 | TRAVELWEEK | 9


De Souza also had news about a new fam opportunity.

ACV’s inaugural flight to Tulum is cause for celebration, so ACV is offering a fam trip for travel advisors, offering an interactive training session, site inspections, and free time with options to explore the destination.

“Awareness and experience make all the difference and are key reasons why Air Canada Vacations brings travel agents to diverse destinations to discover. There is nothing better than to experience a product first-hand, to really understand it and present it effectively to customers. Our familiarization trip is an incredible way to achieve this, plus we guarantee you’ll have lots of fun,” says De Souza.

Upon completion of the FAM, participants will receive a Specialist Certificate. Agents can choose from two options: a five-night stay in Tulum from Toronto for $599 per person, or a four-night stay from Montreal for $499. Prices are based on double occupancy and inclusive of taxes and fees. Connector flights will be available at an additional cost.

Earn 4X STAR points with Sunwing’s Partner of the Month

TORONTO — Sunwing Vacations is giving both travel advisors and their clients the chance to earn and save with its Partner of the Month for March – Palladium Hotel Group.

On now until March 31, travel advisors who book their clients one of


Colin Wood takes on new role at VoX International

Travel industry veteran Colin Wood has rejoined the team at VoX International. Wood, who brings with him extensive travel and tourism experience with Air Miles, Sunwing, CAA and Travel Cuts, has been named VoX’s Senior Account & Business Strategy Director. He will be leading the Hawaii Tourism account and supporting overall client strategy and business development for VoX. “We are thrilled to welcome Colin back to the VoX team,” said Susan Webb, President of VoX International. “Colin brings an extensive experience in the travel and tourism industry, and I have no doubt that Colin will significantly contribute to Vox in his role as Senior Account & Business Strategy Director.” On his new role, Wood added: “I am very excited to be rejoining the VoX international team. I look forward to utilizing my experience as I direct the Hawaii Tourism account and help with overall client strategy and business development.” Wood can be reached at

the select Palladium Hotel Group vacation packages for travel by Dec. 15 will earn 4X the STAR Points on all eligible bookings. Plus, they will be automatically entered to win one of two 7-night hotel stays at either Grand Palladium Colonial Resort & Spa or Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton.

As an added incentive for clients, they will enjoy exclusive access to reduced rates, resort credits at participating hotels and no single supplement fees (restrictions apply) at select adults-only resorts, plus a chance to win a seven-night, all-inclusive vacation package for two at Grand Palladium Bavaro Suites Resort & Spa. Non-purchasing customers are also eligible to win but are limited to one entry during the contest period and must submit the form available at

NCL unveils new marketing solution for travel advisors

MIAMI — Norwegian Cruise Line has a new marketing solution for travel advisors.

Called NCL Connect, the integrated solution is designed to boost sales and marketing efforts, allowing travel advisors to instantaneously co-brand

10 | TRAVELWEEK | March 28, 2024



Introducing our 2025-2026 sailings in Europe.

Our 2025/2026 Europe season is full of incredible opportunities to be immersed in the culture, enjoy the mouthwatering cuisines, and marvel at some of the most amazing art and architecture in the world. We have six stunning ships from our fleet, including two Edge® Series ships, that offer incredible itineraries ranging from 7 to 12 nights. Every itinerary has been carefully curated to give your client the best experiences aboard the best premium cruise line in Europe for the past 15 years. Once again, we’ll be offering year-round sailings, so your client will have more opportunities to discover something new in the Old World throughout the year. Our newest ship in Europe, Celebrity AscentSM, visits a new port of call, Bar, Montenegro—a charming port city that offers a blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. To be even more immersed in the local culture of the places they visit, we’ve added more overnight stays to give them a taste of the nightlife as well as offering more port visits of 12 hours or longer, so they can do and see even more while ashore. In fact, with six ships, six departure ports, and a wide variety of itineraries ranging from 7 to 11 nights that visit more than 23 countries, and 98 ports of call, they're sure to find the perfect vacation in Europe to satisfy the explorer within. Visit for more details.

digital content with just one click and easily share it via all social media, email and other marketing media channels. With NCL Connect, advisors can leverage a co-branded website complete with NCL sailings for clients to explore while driving leads directly back to them.

Additional digital experiences will launch throughout the year on an ongoing basis.

“The team at NCL shares our vision for the future of trade marketing: make it personal, make it impactful, and most importantly, make it easy for travel advisors,” said Jennifer Raezer, co-founder and CMO of Approach Guides. “NCL is the first contemporary cruise line to deploy our solution, bringing the full weight of its in-house marketing expertise and technology to support the advisor’s business. I know advisors are going to love it.”

NCL Connect is powered by technology from Approach Guides, a leading content optimization platform for travel brands.

The new product complements NCL’s Marketing Headquarters featuring over 800 ready-to-use or customizable assets including videos, flyers and more. It also comes on the heels of sister brand Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ launch of Regent Connect last October.

Biggest year ever for Goway’s Groups Only division

TORONTO — Goway Travel’s Groups

Only division sent 500 group vacations worldwide in the past year, an unprecedented success for the company, says Shirley Rourke, Vice President of Groups Only at Goway.

“We are incredibly proud of the exceptional performance achieved


Family-run Rocky Mountaineer announces second generation for CEO

Rocky Mountaineer has announced a new CEO at its helm ahead of its 34th anniversary.

Tristan Armstrong, son of founder Peter Armstrong, has taken over the reins of the family-owned business, having served on the Board of Directors since 2016. He previously worked in numerous roles on Rocky Mountaineer’s operations and guest experience teams, where he gained experience in guest service, maintenance and hospitality. He also serves as president and CEO of Major Rock Corporation, a multi-generational family office operated by the Armstrong family.

“Rocky Mountaineer is a lifelong passion for both me and my family. My sisters, Ashley and Chelsea, and I have grown up with the business, so to become the CEO and build on this family legacy is truly an honour and a privilege,” said Armstrong. “I look forward to being even more involved in connecting with our partners, nurturing a strong internal culture and delivering an exceptional service for our guests.”

Rocky Mountaineer is currently recruiting for a president/chief operating officer to provide day-to-day operational oversight.

by our Groups Division in the past year. This success emphasizes our team’s commitment to delivering unparalleled customer service and unforgettable travel experiences,” says Rourke.

To celebrate the milestone, Goway Groups Only is offering a complimentary welcome reception to all new groups who book from March 20 to April 30. The gesture, featuring tastes of the destination upon arrival, is a token of appreciation for the unwavering support and trust advisors have shown, notes Rourke.

She adds that group travel is one of the biggest trends in the industry right now. And demand will only grow. What’s selling especially well? “We’ve seen growth in women-only group travel opportunities, culinary tours, multi-generational family travel, heritage and ancestry travel, and group trips for special events,” says Rourke. “We’ve also seen increased interest in multi-country itineraries. Travellers want to visit exciting places, but they also want to share the experience with friends, family, and like-minded explorers. Add in the cost savings, safety benefits, and ease of planning, and you can see why group travel is such an appealing option for so many people. Goway Groups Only makes booking groups easy.”

Some 40 team members make sure every Goway Groups Only trip goes according to plan. The division’s specialists handcraft customized group trips to over 115 countries worldwide. Rourke says travel advisors benefit from experience and expertise when planning with Goway Groups Only as well as Goway’s product line and supplier connections. They can also travel for free “and make great revenue on group bookings,” she adds. Goway Groups Only also offers cash rewards as part of the GowayPro loyalty program and helps travel advisors qualify for a free FAM.

12 | TRAVELWEEK | March 28, 2024

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Britain 2024: New hotels, attractions & offerings

With its fairytale castles, incredible landscapes and worldclass cultural offerings, Britain makes any trip feel like a luxurious, once-in-a-lifetime getaway. This year, the destination will be offering a wide breadth of new offerings and experiences that both first-time and returning visitors will find decadent and memorable.

In London, the luxury hotel scene is set to rapidly expand with exciting additions on the horizon. Coming in winter 2024 is The Other House Covent Garden’s 200 Club flats, accompanied by a public restaurant and rooftop bar. In the spring, Hyatt will be opening its new Park Hyatt London River Thames, while Six Senses is scheduled to also unveil a new property in London this year. Newly opened are Raffles at the OWO and Mandarin Oriental, both of which offer even more high-end accommodations.

This year will also see new additions to Britain’s museum scene. Perth Museum will reopen in the spring following a major redevelopment, while the V&A East Storehouse at London’s Olympic Park will also open in spring with an immersive experience combining object storage, learning spaces and galleries. In the fall of 2024, Leicester’s Jewry Wall Museum will be transformed into a hands-on experience that highlights Roman history, and London’s Design Museum is set to celebrate Barbie’s 65th birthday with

a brand new exhibit running from July 5 until February 2025. Also not to be missed in May 2024, the National Gallery will be celebrating 200 years by teaming up with 12 venues across Britain to showcase some of its key pieces.

Visitors can experience the royal life by exploring Britain’s most exceptional castles and palaces, including the Norwich Castle in the East of England, which will reopen in summer 2024 following a major redevelopment. In late 2024, visitors will be able to explore Raby Castle’s reimagined gardens and stylish shops housed inside the newly refurbished heritage buildings in Durham. Caernarfon Castle in Caernarfon, Wales recently reopened after a £5 million pound refurbishment that includes a rooftop deck, while Braemar Castle, a 17th-century gem, is set to complete a £1.6 million restoration this spring.

To round out the ultra-luxe offerings in Britain, visitors can sip and savour at new wineries, distilleries and breweries, including Port of Leith Distillery, the first ever vertical distillery located in Edinburgh, and Amber Valley Vineyards, known for its sunset tours and twilight tastings.

For more information about travel to Britain go to www.

March 28, 2024 | TRAVELWEEK | 17
Credit Photo from top-left to bottom-right: VisitBritain-Jesse Wolpert; City of London Corporation; VisitBritain-Jesse Wolpert; VisitBritain; Britain-@whatwegandidnext

Adults-Only Paradise in Costa Mujeres

Discover a luxurious, oceanfront resort tucked away in one of Cancun’s most idyllic locations. Secrets® Playa Blanca Costa Mujeres offers pristine white sand beaches, crystal clear waters and breathtaking natural surroundings. From snorkelling, kitesurfing, and cuba diving to cooking classes, wine tastings, spa treatments and more, this is the ultimate vacation experience to enjoy with friends or your one true love.

Transat Tours Canada Inc., registered as a travel wholesaler in Quebec (reg. #754241) with offices at 300 Léo-Pariseau Street, Suite 200, Montreal (QC) H2X 4C2; in Ontario (reg. #50009486) with offices at 5915 Airport Road, Suite 910 Mississauga (ON) L4V 1T1; and in British Columbia (reg. #2454) with offices at 11900 Haney Place, Unit 151, Maple Ridge (BC) V2X 8R9. Rendering

Transat’s Luxury Collection has all the luxe perks

Luxury abounds with Transat’s Luxury Collection, comprising 30 properties that have been carefully selected to ensure that every vacation is not only seamless and enjoyable, but also effortlessly simple for clients.

Transat’s approach to curating the collection embraces the grandiose, like world-class spa amenities, groundbreaking design and architecture, infinity pools and gourmet dining experiences. But luxury is also found in the smallest details, a philosophy that serves as the cornerstone of the collection. Featured properties have carefully considered thoughtful touches and amenities that make a world of difference, whether it’s a pillow menu, an inroom espresso machine, a private beach, curated wine list or extra attentive butler service.

In addition to these luxe perks, the Luxury Collection offers a number of exclusive benefits designed to enhance the travel experience from start to finish. These include:

• Complimentary access to VIP airport lounges

• An upgrade to Option Plus on Air Transat

• Private roundtrip transfers between the airport and hotel

• Early check-in or late checkout

• One complimentary hydrotherapy session per stay

Several top-tier properties in Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica have been added to the Luxury Collection, including:

• Paradisus Palma Real Golf & Spa Resort - The Reserve

• Secrets Tide Punta Cana

• Secrets Playa Blanca Costa Mujeres Spa Resort

• Secrets Riviera Cancun

• Secrets Tulum Resort & Beach Club

• Paradisus Grand Cana

• Zoëtry Montego Bay Jamaica

For more information go to www.transat. com/en-CA/book/sun-collections/luxury-vacations.

March 28, 2024 | TRAVELWEEK | 19


Discover why days and nights are unpredictable at Palladium Hotel Group hotels. Join the entertainment and turn your stay into a memory that lasts forever. Book at PALLADIUMHOTELGROUP.COM

‘Entertainment for all’ with Palladium Hotel Group

Palladium Hotel Group offers an array of entertainment options that promise an unforgettable vacation experience.

Chic Cabaret & Restaurant, located at TRS Hotels in Costa Mujeres, Riviera Maya, and Punta Cana, offers a five-course dining experience, accompanied by an acrobatic show, glamorous costumes, choreographies and music of all genres.

The venue and immersive setting of Chic Cabaret ensures that every seat in the house is the best seat, allowing the audience to be part of the magic unfolding before them. “Complemented by a gourmet dining experience that tantalizes the taste buds, this cabaret promises an enchanting night where artistry meets exceptional hospitality,” says Palladium Hotel Group.

Meanwhile, POP Entertainment at Grand Palladium Hotels & Resorts is an engaging experience designed to provide guests with an unforgettable vacation filled with fun and excitement. The POP Entertainment team offers a unique program curated daily; this daily itinerary covers all the bases and has something for all types of travelers from the active, to the foodie to the experiential. Featured activities can include dance classes, Spanish lessons, mixology and local dishes workshops, art show and guided classes, fitness classes from aqua aerobics to beach yoga. Through the Palladium Hotel Group app, guests will have access to the daily activities in order to plan accordingly.

And of course children are treated to a world of adventure as they participate in activities at the Kids Club. With games, arts and crafts sessions, and even mini-discos, young ones can create lasting memories. Grand Palladium

Hotels & Resorts’ Play at Palladium with Raggs entertainment program includes shared breakfast moments, surprise pop-up spectacles across the resort and more.

Grand Palladium Hotels & Resorts’ Bravo Dinner & Dance Experience is an immersive event that includes a sumptuous dinner with a backdrop of mesmerizing performances, from dance routines to acrobatics and aerial artistry.

“With a diverse array of captivating shows, engaging activities, and immersive experiences, TRS Hotels and Grand Palladium Hotels & Resorts seamlessly weave together innovation, artistry, and hospitality. From the dazzling performances that grace the stages to the intimate and interactive events that foster connections, a stay at Palladium Hotel Group properties is more than just a vacation – it’s an invitation to be inspired,” says the company.

More details are

FULL-PAGE AD RELAX IN LUXURY AND ENJOY EXCLUSIVE MOMENTS ON THE RIVERS OF EUROPE. Offer your clients an unparalleled travel experience with the first 6 star slow luxury river cruises. For details, simply drop us a line at, Tel.: 1-833-305-3313 or visit to register.

ACV welcomes new sales team members

MONTREAL — Air Canada Vacations is ramping up its Sales team with new appointments.

“These appointments and new additions underscore our dedication to building strong partnerships, providing unparalleled support and driving growth opportunities for the travel community and our travel partners,” said Ana Paula De Souza, Director of Sales at Air Canada Vacations. “Welcoming these talented individuals to our team is a testament to our dedication to building strong partnerships and delivering exceptional service.”

Taking on the role of Manager of National Accounts is Elish Tait, who’ll be responsible for supporting national partners and solidifying Air Canada Vacations’ market presence from coast to coast. She most recently served as Area Sales Manager for Toronto North, Northern Ontario and Toronto East, including Kingston regions. Prior to joining ACV, she provided agency support and spearheaded special projects at The Travel Agent Next Door. Tait can be reached at



Covering SW Ontario to Windsor, Clementina Iannuzzi joins the Sales team from Travel Experts, where she served as a BDM. Bruce Parkinson, with over 13 years of experience at Flight Centre, now takes on the role of Area Sales Manager. Iannuzzi can be reached at Parkinson can be reached at

Anna Teglasi is now overseeing Burnaby, Tri-Cities, Fraser Valley, Okanagan & Northern BC regions. Suzanne Morgan, a former travel advisor, is now responsible for Alberta, South Saskatchewan & Manitoba regions. Teglasi can be reached at Morgan can be reached at


In response to the success of the company’s program for independent travel advisors, Tina Kensett has been appointed Area Sales Manager for ACV@ Home in Western Canada. Krista Rothfuchs has been promoted to Independent Advisors Manager. Kensett can be reached at Rothfuchs can be reached at

WestJet Group names Diederik Pen as airline President

Diederik Pen has been named President of WestJet Airlines effective April 1. As WestJet Group Chief Operating Officer and President of WestJet Airlines, Pen will continue to report to WestJet Group CEO, Alexis von Hoensbroech, who will continue to maintain overall responsibility for the WestJet Group and its strategic direction. Pen joined the WestJet Group in October 2021, as Executive VicePresident and Chief Operating Officer. Leading operations into recovery, he has been influential across airline operations, inflight, airports, technical operations, labour relations, safety, crew resources and training. Now as WestJet Group Chief Operating Officer and President of WestJet Airlines, Pen will be responsible for the group’s day-to-day operations, successful labour negotiations and overall operational reliability that WestJet guests expect. He will also assume the role of the Transport Canada Accountable Executive.


Further supporting Air Canada Vacations is its Quebec team, comprising of Marco Gagnon, General Manager for Quebec, and Area Sales Manager Helena Inacio Silva, along with Nicolas Thériault and Jean-Luc Tremblay.

At the heart of Air Canada Vacations’ Sales team is the Sales Support team led by Christine Faulkner, Manager of Sales Operations & Planning. The team includes Barbara Mengué Mbo, recently promoted to Sales Operations and Trade Communications Manager; Erin Craft, Coordinator Sales Marketing; and Sabiha Guzel, Christina Hipolito, Claudia Jamett, Kathryn D’Mello and Diana Gerardi, who all serve as Sales Operations Coordinators.

Air France rolls out expanded summer 2024 program

PARIS — Air France is gearing up for a busy summer season out of Canada, with a program that includes over 59 flights per week.

During the peak summer season, the airline will offer four daily flights from Montreal; two daily flights from Toronto; daily seasonal service on the Ottawa-Paris route starting June 17; a return of the Quebec-Paris direct flight for a third season; and daily service for the Vancouver-Paris flight July 1 - Sept. 1.

Meanwhile KLM will offer a total of 39 flights per week from Canada, including two daily flights from Toronto; daily flights from Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver; and four flights per week from Edmonton.

In total, the Air France-KLM Group will offer 98 flights per week from Canada in 2024, compared to 95 in 2023.

Air France’s ongoing refurbishment of its B777-300ERs and A350-900s with the latest long-haul cabins will

March 28, 2024 | TRAVELWEEK | 23

continue throughout the summer. This new product will be available in Business, Premium Economy and Economy models.

After New York-JFK, New York-Newark, Washington DC, Boston, Houston, Rio de Janeiro, Bangkok, Dakar, Tokyo-Haneda, Hong Kong, Seoul-Incheon, Shanghai and Johannesburg, these new cabins will be introduced this summer on flights to Toronto, Chicago, Vancouver, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Papeete, Mexico and Tokyo-Narita.

‘Heroes and Villains’ theme for seventh DCL ship, Disney Destiny

CELEBRATION, FL — Disney Cruise Line revealed the first details about its next ship, the Disney Destiny, as it reached a new construction milestone with a keel laying ceremony at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany.

With the good luck garnered by this maritime tradition, this ship of legends and lore is beginning to take shape.

The design theme of the Disney Destiny, sister to the Disney Wish and Disney Treasure, will be ‘Heroes and Villains.’ Onboard, guests will encounter heroes and villains alike – including those from Walt Disney Animation Studios stories like The Lion King, Hercules and One Hundred and One Dalmatians – within the spaces, experiences and entertainment throughout their voyage.

New filigree artwork for the bow of the Disney Destiny depicts Minnie Mouse striking a valiant pose in a heroic ensemble.

“The Disney Destiny will celebrate our most legendary Disney stories and characters, bringing them to life in new and exciting ways exclusively for Disney Cruise Line guests,” said Sharon Siskie, SVP and General Manager, Disney Cruise Line. “As we continue to expand our fleet, the Disney Destiny will further strengthen our position as a leader in family cruising as we offer even more ways for families to experience Disney magic and world-class service at sea.”

The Disney Destiny is scheduled for delivery in 2025 as part of a multi-year expansion of the Disney Cruise Line fleet that includes the Disney Wish and Disney Treasure, the Disney Adventure that will homeport in Singapore, and the new island destination in The Bahamas, Disney Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point.

Miami Spa Months at Trump International Beach Resort

Miami’s Aquanox


This coming July and August, Trump International Beach Resort Miami is proud to take part in Miami Spa Months, offering guests special deals at its Aquanox Spa.

Spectacular deals for unique spa treatments will be on offer at the iconic Sunny Isles Beach property in sunny South Florida.

What sets Aquanox apart from other med-spas, destination spas, and more casual spas? A boutique, friendly and intimate space, focused on self-care and engaged with rest of resort. That’s reflected in Aquanox Spa’s ocean-centric treatments. It also means a more holistic experience.

Aquanox’s mantra is ‘Create a Spa Body.’ The goal is to attract guests interested in a healthy and holistic lifestyle, to participate in facials, body treatments, massage and community events as ways to enhance complete wellness for body, mind and spirit.

Renovations and recent offerings at Trump International Beach Resort Miami include new air-conditioned spa cabanas for all treatments, including couples treatments. There are also renovated pool / beach cabanas, additional entertainment options, and a new look at the popular Gili’s Beach Club.

Fun fact: August overlaps with the famed Miami Spice promotion, so Trump International Beach Resort Miami’s restaurant Azzurro will have many excellent dishes on a set menu as well.

See or call 305-692-5600.

24 | TRAVELWEEK | March 28, 2024

The perfect family playground

At the contemporary Catalonia Grand Costa Mujeres in the new Cancun North area, there’s never a dull moment for families, with a stunning beach and daily activities program for children and teens ages 4 to 17.

This 5-star, 4-diamond AAA resort also features spacious suites welcoming up to 6 guests and special rates for the kids.

Transat Tours Canada Inc., registered as a travel wholesaler in Quebec (reg. #754241) with offices at 300 Léo-Pariseau Street, Suite 200, Montreal (QC) H2X 4C2; in Ontario (reg. #50009486) with offices at 5915 Airport Road, Suite 910 Mississauga (ON) L4V 1T1; and in British Columbia (reg. #2454) with offices at 11900 Haney Place, Unit 151, Maple Ridge (BC) V2X 8R9.

Celebrity Infinity

elevates The Retreat with new suites and more

MIAMI — The newly renovated Celebrity Infinity is ready for clients seeking an unforgettable European getaway.

The project is part of a US$500 million ongoing fleetwide renovation, and includes a refreshed look to The Retreat Lounge (formerly Michael’s Club); an expansion of Luminae at The Retreat, giving more space for suite guests to indulge in sumptuous food and drink offerings; and brand new Sunset Suites located in the aft of the ship, offering expansive views from large private balconies.

Popular itineraries onboard Celebrity Infinity include the seven-night Greek Isles & Turkey sailings exploring the eastern Mediterranean coasts. Meanwhile the 12-night Canaries, Morocco & Spain sailing calls at Lanzarote, Gran Canaria, and Tenerife before heading up to Morocco’s renowned port cities of Tangier and Casablanca before sailing on

to southern Spain.

“We strive to exceed guest expectations - from elevated service onboard and thoughtful amenities through to interior spaces designed to make guests feel at home in their surroundings,” said Keith Lane, Senior VP Hotel Operations for Celebrity Cruises. “The enhancements to Celebrity Infinity, particularly the transformation of The Retreat Lounge, epitomizes our commitment to providing an unmatched experience for our guests, ensuring that every journey with Celebrity Cruises is memorable.”

Uniworld’s newest Super Ship to debut in 2026

LOS ANGELES — Uniworld Boutique River Cruises has a brand new ship on the way.

The company’s newest Super Ship, the S.S. Emilie, is set to debut in Europe in 2026. The ship will be a new build inspired by Austrian painter Gustav Klimt and named after his life partner and muse, Emilie Flöge.  People

Railbookers adds to Canada team as demand soars

Railbookers Group has responded to unprecedented demand and sales in Canada by adding new members to its Canada-based staff. Ivan Mansanet, who is based in B. C., recently joined RBG in the newly-created role of National Sales Manager for Canada. Aesha King, meanwhile, has been appointed Partnership Marketing Coordinator. Cris David, VP Global Sales, said: “We are excited to welcome Ivan as the latest addition to the Railbookers global sales team. He comes to us with a wealth of experience supporting travel agencies and advisors in all parts of Canada. As the National Sales Manager responsible for increasing brand awareness and growing sales in the Canadian market, we could not have hoped for a more well-liked and widely respected travel professional than Ivan.” RBG is seeing record growth in the Canadian market, with revenue up more than 81% over the same point in 2023. The company has seen 58% jumps in passenger and booking counts as well.



unveils 16-day ‘Safari and The Seychelles’ journey

Emerald Cruises has a new once-ina-lifetime experience with its new 16-day ‘Safari and The Seychelles’ itinerary, available to book now with departures from December 2024 to February 2025.

This unique journey aboard the luxurious 100-guest Emerald Azzurra yacht blends the excitement of a Kenyan safari with the serene elegance of a Seychelles cruise.

Kenyan safari highlights include two nights accommodation at Samburu Game Reserve, three guided safari drives, an overnight stay at the Lake Nakuru National Park, a stop at Thomson Falls, three nights at the Maasai Mara Game Reserve and more.

Post-safari, relax and set sail aboard Emerald Azzurra, exploring the Seychelles and the Indian Ocean’s hidden gems. This African adventure with Emerald Cruises offers a blend of wild exploration and modern luxury, meticulously curated for an unforgettable experience.

In addition to new offerings in the Indian Ocean and tropical Seychelles, Emerald Cruises’ new 2024-2026 brochure details a full collection of warm water yacht cruises onboard twin luxury yachts Emerald Azzurra and Emerald Sakara in the Med, Adriatic, Red and Caribbean seas. A full slate of voyages offers 15- to 24-day itineraries, including the 22-day Hidden Treasures of the Caribbean sailing with no repeat ports.

For more details see

26 | TRAVELWEEK | March 28, 2024
Fr i d ay , M a y 1 7 , 202 4 SAVE THE DATE
Abbey Golf Course Watch for more information

The new vessel will come just in time for Uniworld’s 50th anniversary, said Ellen Bettridge, President and CEO of Uniworld Boutique River Cruises.

“Our commitment to excellence is unwavering, and this outstanding new vessel reaffirms our dedication to providing the best and most luxurious ships on the rivers. We believe in delivering the highest level of quality to our guests, and our portfolio truly embodies the best of the best in the market,” added Bettridge.

Uniworld has a number of new Super Ships joining the fleet in the coming months. The S.S. Emilie will join the S.S. Victoria, debuting on the Rhine and Moselle rivers in 2024, and the S.S. Elisabeth, debuting on the Rhine in 2025.

Uniworld has also added five other Super Ships to its fleet since 2020, including the Mekong Jewel on the Mekong in Vietnam and Cambodia; Aria

Amazon on the Maranon and Ucayali rivers in Peru; S.S. São Gabriel on the Douro in Portugal; S.S. La Venezia on the Venetian Lagoon; and S.S. Sphinx on the Nile in Egypt.

Air Transat adds two new airlines to virtual interlining platform

MONTREAL — Air Transat has expanded its virtual interlining service with the addition of two new airline partners.

The airline’s connectair by Air Transat platform now enables travellers

to combine Air Transat flights with those of Pegasus Airlines and Volotea, bringing the total to 14 collaborating airlines and offering unprecedented access to over 275 additional destinations worldwide.

Pegasus Airlines offers travellers new opportunities to multiple Turkish coastal hotspots such as Istanbul and Antalya, while Spanish carrier Volotea offers gateways to an array of destinations across Europe and Africa, including Olbia in Italy, Oran in Algeria, and Strasbourg in France.

Connections are available through the search engine on and through some flight aggregators. The booking also includes an assistance service in case of flight delay or cancellation, ensuring that travellers arrive at their destination as quickly as possible.

28 | TRAVELWEEK | March 28, 2024

First 50 attendees at Granite Travel Trade Expos get $20 MasterCard

TORONTO — The first 50 attendees at each Granite Travel Trade Expos event this spring will receive a $20 MasterCard courtesy of Catalonia Hotels & Resorts.

The popular expos are back for 2024 after a strong and successful inaugural year in 2023. A series of Ontario shows kicks off in Windsor April 22.

“We are happy to be returning to the Granite Travel Trade Expos again this year, and really appreciate the opportunity to connect with so many top agents,” said Greta Hidalgo, North America Sales Director for Catalonia Hotels & Resorts. “We wanted the

agents in attendance to know how much we appreciate them taking the time to attend and learn about our Caribbean products, so we hope this small gesture is a show of our appreciation.”

Bradley Dean, Oakville Toronto Partner, Granite Productions, adds: “We recognize that in today’s economy and with high gas prices, there is an expense to attend events. We’re very grateful to Catalonia Hotels & Resorts who also recognizes this and was able to provide this token of appreciation to our agents who support us. As always, it is free to attend our Expos and there is free parking at every one.”

Here are the cities and dates for the spring schedule in Ontario: Windsor - April 22; Kitchener-Waterloo - April 23; Oshawa-Ajax - April 24; and Barrie - April 25.

Along with destination sponsor St. Kitts, and hotel sponsor Bahia Principe Hotels and Resorts, suppliers

taking part in the 2024 events include Oasis Hotels, WestJet Vacations, Majestic Resorts, Expedia TAAP, Catalonia Hotels & Resorts, Princess Hotels and Resorts, Blue Diamond Resorts, Iberostar Beachfront Resorts, Princess Hotels & Resorts Jamaica and the Cuba Tourist Board.

The expos are designed to connect industry suppliers and top-producing travel agents, facilitating valuable and essential in-person interactive consultations and presentations, says Dean. Each event will offer training and networking, with face-to-face interaction with agents and products. In each city, a presentation series featuring 15-minute segments by suppliers will be followed by a trade show, dinner, and prize giveaways.

Registration for the 2024 Granite Travel Trade Expos is now open. To register, or for more information, see

Celebrating 10 years of success!

March 28, 2024 | TRAVELWEEK | 29


Become a Polar Expert eLearning program

As the Leader in Polar Adventures, we explore the Polar Regions differently from everyone else. When you travel with Quark Expeditions, you’re exploring alongside the most experienced polar experts on Earth, setting foot where few ever will, and doing what few ever dream.

Welcome to Martinique! eLearning program

With its natural beauty, fascinating history, rich culture, and welcoming people, the island of Martinique is a jewel of the French Caribbean. We’ve gathered all of the information you need to get to know and love Martinique. We look forward to welcoming you and your clients soon! Explore the Isle of Flowers and become a Martinique specialist today.

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To help you learn more about Greater Fort Lauderdale’s exceptional offerings, Visit Lauderdale invites you to become a Lauderdale Loyalist. When you join this free program, you’ll have access to ready-made sales presentations, promotional materials, insider tips and promotions, and much more.


HX to launch allinclusive offering across its fleet

LONDON — HX (Hurtigruten Expeditions) is going all-inclusive, with a new product offering launching this October.

The expedition cruise line, which rebranded to HX in December 2023, will be introducing the new offering as part of a phased approach, starting with Antarctica & Galapagos expeditions departing in October 2024 before it as standard across the whole fleet from November 2024, covering all destinations.

The all-inclusive offering ranges from including expert-led daily expeditions, access to a whole series of science-led activities both on board

and out in the wild, to alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and even professional photographs. These changes are part of a larger project aimed at enhancing the onboard experience and, more importantly, simplifying the product offering for trade.

“Expedition cruising can be a complex product for agents to sell, given the unique destinations we visit and varying experiences by operator. We’re confident that by including so many elements as standard in the price, we can simplify life onboard and enhance our trade-friendly focus,” said Alex Delamere-White, HX Chief Commercial Officer.

For guests booking an HX expedition, starting with Antarctica & Galapagos expeditions departing in October 2024, their regular grade cabin will now include: daily expeditions and activities; full board dining, including breakfast, lunch and dinner

with house wine and beer; wine, beer, spirits and cocktails available across the day and evening; all-day coffee, tea and soft drinks; free WiFi; gratuities; HX’s interactive science program, Science Centre, and activities both on and off the ships; access to the sauna, hot tubs, fitness room and more; professional photos from the onboard photographer; and more.

“We want our guests to fully embrace being curious travellers when they’re with us,” added Delamere-White. “By making things as easy as possible, they can focus on exploring remote parts of the world and learning from our expert team. We believe adventure should be all-inclusive, which is why our daily expeditions, talks and access to the Science Centre come at no extra cost, alongside delicious food and drink.”

March 28, 2024 | TRAVELWEEK | 31






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