For five years running, the American Queen Steamboat Company has been voted “Best Shore Excursions” by the World Ocean & Cruise Liner Society, an accolade due in no small part to their land-based provider, Shore Excursions of America. With an emphasis on partnership with local suppliers and city visitor bureaus to create authentic, immersive tour experiences, Shore Excursions of America (SEA) continues to revolutionize the American river cruise industry with its innovative “Hop-On Hop Off” port-of-call motor coach sightseeing tours.
SEA, working in partnership with the American Queen Steamboat Company, boasts a multifaceted and “uniquely American” river cruise experience through inclusive city tours, which are designed in collaboration with local experts like historians, museum directors, and individuals from local chambers of commerce. These locally hosted tours are crafted to capture the very best attractions each port city has to offer, all in a streamlined day trip by deluxe motor coach, available at all 77 ports of call.
“The American Queen Steamboat Company’s presence has boosted visitation at our city’s attractions. It’s wonderful to see visitors with the AQSC walking along Washington Street in the heart of Vicksburg.” –Ashley Gatian, Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau
SEA’s first-of-their-kind motor coaches — nicknamed “steamcoaches” for their steamboat-like exterior designs — were specially developed by SEA’s land operations team based on five years’ worth of customer feedback, gathered through guest satisfaction surveys and suggestions. SEA worked directly with engineering teams at Van Hool coachbuilders and ABC Bus to incorporate many features distinctive to the high standards of luxurious European motor coach touring, then customized them to fit American sensibilities.
“Shore Excursions of America is unique in offering custom overhead parcel racks that allow more openness to the atmosphere and views. This high end TX45 features one of our premium options, a glass top roof. This allows passengers to view the sky and all the surroundings for better visibility and making the ride more enjoyable, scenic and attractive. We look forward to delivering more units like this one as it is very unique in its kind, therefore challenging other operators to experience more comfort and luxury.” –Jay Oakman, Senior Vice President of Commercial Operations
Special cooperative agreements with Easton Coach Company of Easton, PA provided enhanced motor coach services, and each custom component was specially sourced and requested. Special options include: second door access with wider, deeper steps for a more convenient and safer entrance to the center of the coach; skylights that provide guests with a panoramic view of their surroundings while on tour; lower, less obtrusive seatbacks for a better forward-facing view; restrooms located in the rear so that, unlike other coaches, guests will have better, safer access to the facilities; jump seating for tour guides for better access to the entrance door during tours; 100 percent accessibility across the entire SEA fleet, with wheelchair lifts in the rear of the coach; three rows of uniquely embroidered upholstery to better designate special seating for mobility-challenged guests; GPS and mobile cameras to allow guests to track their motor coaches’ arrival times; contoured overhead racks for more visibility from the side windows and skylights, and wireless microphones to save time for guides and guests when alighting from their coaches.
“The high-end experience that Shore Excursions of American creates for the American Queen Steamboat Company's passengers is the single best piece of business in which Easton Coach Company is involved. It was a thrill to be involved in the planning and design of these new, magnificent coaches. I have no doubt that they will enhance an already fantastic product. They are truly the most amazing motorcoaches that I've ever seen and exemplify SEA's "we can always do it better" attitude.” – Joseph Scott, President & CEO, Easton Coach Company
From air to land to water, Shore Excursions continues to provide new, innovative travel experiences with a refreshing take on local sightseeing. Their services cover pre-cruise hotel stays in all embarkation cities, luxury transportation to attractions and restaurants, and partnership with local tour guide groups. And cruise operations are growing; the American Queen averages 810 tours a year while its sister ship, the American Empress, averages 745. Plus, 2017 marks the inaugural year of a new ship in the fleet, the American Duchess, scheduled for 307 additional tours.
This is an intermodal tourism project using many, if not all aspects of sustainable and progressive tourism marketing. With tours to over 300 attractions in 16 states, Shore Excursions of America offers more shore excursions than any other tour provider in the United States. Partnerships with local tourism operations allow for more exclusive tour experiences than any other shore excursion supplier to date. For more information, call 888-966-0938 or visit www.shoreexcursionsofamerica.com.