Multi-Juno award winner Colin James will be sailing the Rhône and Saône Rivers with Stewart Travel Group in October 2024, just in time for a 10th-anniversary celebration for the Prince Edward Island travel agency.
When you have found a winning formula, it makes sense to repeat it. Hot on the heels of two successful full-charter European river cruises in 2022 with Canadian musician Jim Cuddy, and with another sold-out cruise this November with musical icons Blue Rodeo, the combination of music and river cruising appears to be one to keep.
The exclusive Stewart Travel Group river cruise with James will be onboard AmaWaterways’ ship AmaCello. It sails through the heart of southern France in Burgundy and Provence from October 24-31, 2024. With just 72 staterooms, the intimate setting will be rocking with two performances by Colin James and his fellow musicians and longtime collaborators, Steve Marriner on bass and harmonica, and Chris Caddell on guitar.
l-r: Steve Marriner, Colin James, and Chris Caddell
There will also be a songwriters’ circle and a fundraising dinner with the trio, to support Hospice PEI (https://hospicepei.ca/).
With a career spanning over 30 years, Colin James is arguably one of Canada’s best-known musicians. When the late great guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughn told him, “I’m opening doors for you, walk through them.” he took those words to heart. James now has 20 studio albums under his belt and eight Juno awards on his shelves, along with multiple other accolades like 20 Maple Blue awards, and multi-platinum record sales.
His self-titled debut album in 1988 was the fastest-selling album in Canadian history. With songs like Five Long Years and Voodoo Thing, it garnered him his first Juno award and an opening spot on tour with Keith Richards.
His second album, Sudden Stop, with its hit song Just Came Back, saw him win his second Juno, and the door Vaughan told him to walk through was in his rearview mirror. As he continued to write, perform, and record albums, his sound evolved. James is credited with launching the swing revival, and in 2016, James found himself on new charts – this time for the blues. Blue Highways spent 10 weeks at number one on the Roots Music Report’s Blues Chart, and one of his biggest hits, Riding in the Moonlight, has millions of hits on Spotify.
Just a few years earlier, if you had told Travis Stewart that his new travel agency would be chartering full river cruise ships to host chart-topping artists like Colin James he would have been skeptical at best. It was 2014 and he had quit his secure travel management job and sat in his Charlottetown home office with nothing but a laptop, a phone, and the phone book.
Paula & Travis Stewart, co-owners, Stewart Travel Group
“I stared at the phone that first morning, and thought ‘What have I done?’” Stewart recalled. With no client list and nothing but dreams to make big things happen, the phone book came into play. “Paula [co-owner of Stewart Travel Group] opened it up and started to find names of folks we knew, and I just started calling.”
Fast forward a decade later, and the PEI-based travel agency has gained a reputation for unique travel experiences. They’ve grown to 14 advisors across the Maritimes and added a business manager to their team.
Each year since 2016, Stewart Travel Group has been awarded Top Agency awards in Canada (with The Travel Agent Next Door). Late last month, ten members of the team returned from their annual conference with another seven awards from The Travel Agent Next Door. They also came home with five national supplier awards, including one from AmaWaterways, well-known for their premium ships and service.
“With fine dining and wines, and included excursions, river cruising with AmaWaterways is one of the best ways to explore France,” Stewart said. “Add in the energy that the Colin James Blues Trio brings to the stage and this is one incredible way to celebrate our company’s 10th anniversary year!”
Pricing for the exclusive sailing with AmaWaterways starts at $5,275 per person and includes gratuities.
Full details on the cruise are online at www.stewarttravelgroup.ca/2024-colin-james