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Un-Cruise Adventures will deploy the Legacy, an 88-passenger replica coastal steamer, on the Columbia and Snake Rivers from April to November rather than positioning the ship in Alaska for the summer as it has in the past.
“Without this move, it would be hard to have a strong impact on the future of river cruising on the Columbia and Snake Rivers in just the spring and fall,” said Tim Jacox, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Un-Cruise. “Now all of our Alaska ships emphasize exploration and active cruising with kayaking, paddle boarding, etc., while Legacy’s heritage is travel on the rivers,” Jacox added. The company began sailing the Columbia and Snake Rivers early in its history.
Jacox added that Legacy is a great vessel for groups and charters and a perfect match for the mature market with its nostalgic design, elevator and multiple venues for entertainment and presentations. Special interest, milestone and older family groups are a good fit for the ship, he added.
Un-Cruise is an inclusive product so prime regional shore excursions — like the jet boat into Hell’s Canyon, purportedly the deepest river gorge in the U.S. — are included in the fare, along with port charges, premium spirits and micro-brews.
Jacox said he hopes the increased presence of ships on the Columbia and Snake Rivers will bring greater visibility to U.S. river cruising, which isn’t as well known as its European counterpart. In addition to Un-Cruise, American Queen Steamboat Company is entering the market and American Cruise Lines plans to increase its presence on the rivers.
According to Jacox, Un-Cruise sees growing interest in U.S. river cruising from international markets, particularly Australia, where the historical romance of the experience coupled with striking scenery has a strong appeal. He added that Un-Cruise sails roundtrip from Portland, which provides strong air access and allows drive-up traffic to leave their vehicles and reclaim them after the cruise.
Un-Cruise plans to introduce educational webinars for travel agents to help them sell the product to individuals and groups.