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American Cruise Lines has implemented stepped-up training and new tools for travel agents in preparation for the launch of new ships.
The Pearl Mist is scheduled to launch later this year in the Great Lakes. It will be the first ship for Pearl Seas, a new brand being launched by the owners of American Cruise Lines.
President Charles Robertson said the Mississippi River ship, which will join the 150-passenger Queen of the Mississippi, will allow the line to vary its offerings with new ports and both longer and shorter cruises. In summer, for example, American plans to place one vessel north of St. Louis, Missouri, and one south of the city.
“There are very good itineraries that haven’t been visited by cruises in the Mississippi River system,” Robertson said.
The Pacific Northwest vessel will feature regional decor and add capacity in the region, joining American’s 120-passenger Queen of the West. The company is offering a complimentary shore excursion in each port on the Pacific Northwest and the Mississippi in 2015.
The new river ships will carry 150-200 passengers and have private balconies and more single staterooms than Queen of the Mississippi, Robertson said. Staterooms on the Pearl Mist will be larger than those of other ships serving the Great Lakes and will feature free Wi-Fi, hotel-style bathrooms and sliding glass doors on balconies. The balconies will run 12 by 13 feet with a table and chairs so guests can have breakfast. Guests will find a coffee maker in all staterooms and can request a small refrigerator.
Both the American and Pearl Seas brands are beefing up their webinar programs to help educate agents about their products. Director of sales Susan Shultz also visits travel agents and agencies for training sessions.
The company offers customizable PDFs that travel agents can send to their clients, as well as brochures, videos and other marketing materials. The travel agent portal of the line’s website, due out in the very near future, is described as a tool-rich resource for agents who want to educate themselves to better sell the American product. The line also offers fam trips so agents can experience a particular cruise for themselves.
American Cruise Lines800-814-6880www.americancruiselines.com
Pearl Seas Cruiseswww.pearlseascruises.com