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Saturday,  July 13, 2024 11:09 AM 

Ensemble adds three new small ship partners

Ensemble adds three new small ship partners
The Hurtigruten is one of three new preferred partners for the Ensemble Travel Group. Photographer: Agurtxane Concellon for Hurtigruten

Ensemble Travel Group announced the expansion of its small ship program by officially welcoming three new niche partners – American Queen Steamboat Company, Hurtigruten, and Victory Cruise Lines. The move comes after careful analysis of the experiential marketplace as well as seeking valuable input from members across the U.S. and Canada.

“While each partner delivers unique features to our cruise portfolio, they all command a high price point and are in a growth mode by upgrading their respective fleets in the last year or so, both of which are key to our members’ success, said Libbie Rice, co-president.

“We’ve been closely watching this market segment, especially the domestic river cruise side, and feel that the time is right for growing our partner base as more and more members are requesting the small ship and expedition type products. We feel we’re strategically positioned to deliver this experience through our innovative marketing tools, multiple training platforms, targeted database intelligence – and most recently with the addition of American Queen, Hurtigruten, and Victory.”

American Queen Steamboat Company: With a solid presence in the Pacific Northwest, it’s primarily American Queen’s unique portfolio in the Mississippi River that attracted Ensemble to forge a partnership with this line. In addition, the boom in European river cruising has resulted in a growing audience of travelers who want to experience the product, but closer to home. “American Queen Steamboat Company greatly values our strong relationship with the travel agent community and is thrilled to partner with the prestigious Ensemble Travel Group. Exploring America’s scenic rivers and quaint river towns onboard authentic paddlewheelers is more popular than ever and the Ensemble network of member agencies represents a client base consistent with our guests,” said Ted Sykes, president and COO, American Queen Steamboat Company.

Hurtigruten: Founded in 1893 to operate voyages on Norway's western and northern coast, the company has grown its offerings over time to 10 diverse destinations including Arctic Canada and Antarctica. For Ensemble members, the draw of Norway’s natural beauty, coupled with the interest in expedition travel, make this partnership a good fit for the organization. “This new partnership brings together two seasoned organizations that collectively represent 175 years of success in our industry. We’re excited to work closely with Ensemble members as we expand our global footprint, especially as we introduce our two new hybrid powered expedition ships – MS Roald Amundsen and MS Fridtjof Nansen – and a collection of new itineraries, sure to please all levels of the adventure enthusiast,” said William Harber, Hurtigruten president, the Americas.

Victory Cruise Lines: Launched just under two years ago, Victory Cruise Lines will be releasing its second vessel in May with the Victory II inaugural voyage from Boston. The opportunity to cruise legendary coastal waterways closer to home, in particular the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence, was of great interest to Ensemble members. “Victory Cruise Lines is proud to have Ensemble as our first national travel agent account in North America. We believe Ensemble will be a great partner, as our high-end experiential product is best sold by knowledgeable travel consultants. We offer attractive commissions on an all-inclusive product, and destination experiences in some of the fastest growing destinations in the world,” said Hans Lagerweij, president and CEO.

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