American Queen Voyages shutdown no shock to travel advisors: Travel Weekly

The information that American Queen Voyages (AQV) had ceased operations on Feb. 20, canceling all long term cruises, did not occur as a shock to the trade.

The producing was on the wall, business gurus stated, noting that AQV experienced had ongoing provider and payment problems even prior to Travel Weekly reported in January that the U.S. river cruise line experienced been dropped by a selection of significant trade partners.

“I’m not stunned. Points have been brewing for a when. Late payments, or no payments, built up over the very last couple months,” reported Anthony Hamawy, president of Cruise.com

Hamawy explained his organization had stopped promoting AQV at the commencing of the calendar year. Various attempts had been manufactured to get to AQV, Hamawy claimed, but the river cruise line unsuccessful to answer.

As a result, “we despatched a memo to all of our agents, warning them” what was heading on, Hamawy mentioned. 

Still hoping to come across a remedy that could fulfill both of those functions, Cruise.com stopped shorter of issuing a “no guide” advisory.

“We convey to clientele what we’re observing and that if they continue to decide on to reserve, they need to have to be incredibly careful,” Hamawy mentioned. “Use a credit score card, invest in coverage.” 

Hamawy noted that some insurance policies firms will not pay out statements in selected situation if problems have now surfaced. For instance, Vacation Guard stopped covering financial default for Vantage Deluxe World Journey in the times immediately after reports arrived out that that business was on the lookout for a purchaser.

Still, Hamawy said he is “extremely cautious about putting a ‘no book’ on companies. We attempt to work with them when we can. We want to be partners, but at the exact same time safeguard our people.”

That is the strategy Signature Journey Network, Pleasurable Vacations and AAA Travel claimed they tried out with AQV when the firms experienced concerns with the line, prior to the slicing of ties.

Signature CEO Alex Sharpe explained the consortium had stopped promoting AQV in March 2023 but brought the line again after commissions experienced been paid out. Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel, stated the corporation — which bought AQV via Enjoyable Vacations — stopped promoting the line in November but would have regarded resuming gross sales if the excellent concerns had been fixed. (Pleasant Holiday seasons CEO Jack Richards mentioned before this month that no progress had been designed.)

After the shutdown, target now turns to refunds as well as to how AQV’s mother or father enterprise, Hornblower Team, could possibly be impacted and how AQV’s collapse might replicate on domestic river cruising.

To get a refund, vacationers have to total a a few-component approach, such as filing a claim sort, retrieving a denial detect to present to coverage providers and requesting a refund from Argo Surety, a Toronto-dependent business insurer.

Hornblower Team turns the website page

Much less than a day just after news broke about AQV, Hornblower Group declared that investment agency Strategic Value Associates would purchase a the greater part stake in Hornblower.

Hornblower’s recent guardian business, Crestview Partners, will keep a minority stake. Crestview will also turn into the sole owner of Journey Outside of, which operates rail and working day cruises in Australia and is a stand-on your own working unit of Hornblower. 

Hornblower Group explained that it is working to sell AQV but that if a customer can’t be found, the river cruise corporation would be wound down.

AQV was underperforming and unsuccessful to get better from the pandemic, in accordance to Hornblower Group president Adam Peakes. 

Hornblower Team claimed that excursions booked by way of its remaining property, tour/transportation corporation Town Ordeals and Journey Further than, will not be impacted and that outings as a result of those people companies are running as typical.

The existing U.S. river cruise marketplace

Even now standing amongst U.S. river cruise strains are American Cruise Lines (ACL), Viking and Lindblad Expeditions. 

ACL is by far the leader, with close to 20 ships in its fleet and much more on buy. The Guilford, Conn.-centered enterprise has tripled its U.S. fleet in the earlier five yrs, introducing 5 new riverboats on the Mississippi and launching a new class of hybrid river/coastal vessels termed Coastal Cats.

Viking has operated just one river ship in the U.S., the Viking Mississippi, considering the fact that 2022. Lindblad Expeditions has operated river cruises in the Pacific Northwest on the Columbia and Snake rivers for extra than 30 many years.