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On Jan. 20, travel agents participating in a Travel Weekly webinar were introduced to Haimark Ltd.’s new product, Haimark Line. Tom Markwell, managing partner of sales and marketing for the cruise company, gave an in-depth picture of the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence Seaway and Central/South America itineraries on the 210-passenger Saint Laurent, which launches in May.
Denver-based Haimark will have nine ships by next January, most of them offering luxury expedition river cruises in exotic locations. Markwell said operations will be provided by FleetPro, the same company that oversees Silversea Cruises’ Silver Discoverer. He also pointed out that the company is debt-free.
Saint Laurent, originally Delta Queen Steamboat Company’s Cape May Light, is receiving a $3.5 million refurbishment to make soft goods current and stylish, along with a $750,000 investment in durable goods such as towels, robes, china and flatware. Accommodations range from 105 square feet to the two 400-square-foot Owner’s Suites.
As an exploration company, Haimark has some renowned lecturers scheduled for Saint Laurent, including journalist Dan Rather, who sails on the May 30 Montreal to Portland, Maine, cruise. Some spots are still available on this itinerary.
The inclusive product covers shore excursions; house beers, wines, spirits, soft drinks and coffees; 90 minutes of free Internet per cruise; and access to iPads in the lounge. In addition to the provided shore excursions, there will be special afternoon Individual Pursuits explorations, which are available at an additional cost and reserved onboard.
Markwell expects the typical passenger to be older than 60 years and also anticipates strong interest from groups and multigenerational travelers. Haimark will operate nine 12-night cruises between Montreal and Portland, Maine; Chicago and Montreal; Chicago and Toronto; Portland to Nassau, Bahamas; and Nassau to Trinidad before starting a winter season in Central and South America, including the Panama Canal.
Haimark, which Markwell noted is very agent-friendly, is offering an inaugural season fam rate of up to 75 percent off brochure pricing. The company is also rewarding travel agent partners with 15 percent commission on 2015 Saint Laurent cruises.