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Continuing its commitment to North American travel, Travel Dynamics, International (TDI), a small-ship cruise operator committed to high-end educational experiences, has launched 13 new programs for the 2013 season. TDI’s itineraries visit most of North America’s Eastern Seaboard, including the Great Lakes region, a program the cruise line re-launched last year. Furthermore, the company is introducing new itineraries in the South this year.
“We are reviving the tradition of North American cruising, exploring the history and culture that made this continent great,” said Vasos Papagapitos, co-president of TDI. “On these cruises, passengers have a rare opportunity to explore treasures found near home, support our local economies through tourism and experience firsthand the warmth and generosity of their fellow countrymen.”
The North American itineraries are available on sailings of the Yorktown, a 138-passenger vessel that was built in Florida in 1988 and added to TDI’s fleet in 2011. Staffed by an American crew and carrying an American registry, the ship can visit ports that are not open to foreign ships, providing a unique local perspective to an already distinct itinerary.
Day-to-day life on the Yorktown is informal with a casual dress code, and much of the activity happens in the ship’s lounge, including daily presentations by historians and scientists, who focus their talks on the local area. An outdoor sun deck is the perfect respite for viewing the stunning scenery as the ship follows historic waterways.
Although the passengers tend to skew older, including numerous passengers in their 90s, the Yorktown does not have an elevator onboard, which limits passengers with mobility issues. Many of the passengers, including alumni from Harvard University and the University of California, Berkeley, book the cruise through university-sponsored programs.
The ship has seven cabin categories, with the smallest at 72 square feet and the largest, cabin P60, measuring approximately 235 square feet. Cabin P60 includes two lower berths, which can convert into a queen bed, as well as an upper berth. Four balconied cabins, at 176 square feet each, are also available. All cabins are outward facing, with windows ranging from a porthole to a picture window, and all cabins include a private bathroom and a desk and a chair.
Onboard cuisine is plentiful onboard and is standard American fare. Breakfast and lunch are buffet style. Breakfast includes an omelet chef, while lunch consists of build-your-own sandwiches and one or two hot dishes. Dinner is served a la carte and features a daily selection of five entries and three appetizers. Room service is not available, but there are plenty of snacks, including an afternoon tea, offered in the lounge.
Cruise itineraries range from eight to 12 days and, during the summer months in the Great Lakes region, the turnaround ports are Duluth, Mich., Chicago and Toronto.
In port, passengers on the Yorktown have a variety of shore excursions, which are all included in the price of the cruise. In Niagara Falls, for example, visitors get an in-depth tour of the region from a local guide, with several photo stops. The tour culminates on the famed “Maid of the Mist” boat, which travels alongside the falls.
“Travelers are looking to ‘stay local’ and explore their homeland,” said Papagapitos. “The wealth of enriching historic and cultural experiences to be found in North America is astounding.”