Today Empire Cruise Lines announced expansion of its culinary cruises featuring sustainable Hudson Valley agriculture.
After a successful 2011, carrying more than 3500 passengers from 40 states and more than 20 countries, Empire Cruise Lines is deepening its commitment to Hudson Valley sustainable agriculture and the tourism economy.
According to Captain Pyle, “2011 saw a tremendous desire on the part of the inbound tourism market to support local sustainable agriculture. As a veteran owned and family run business, we’re striving to strengthen the connection with local chefs who truly embrace the sustainable agriculture ethic in the City of Poughkeepsie and the Hudson Valley.”
“Empire Cruise Lines has a great partnership with Crave in Poughkeepsie. We want to expand our culinary options. One of our goals is to showcase Hudson Valley produce and culinary skills. With passengers coming from as far away as Asia and Australia, it can be very challenging to find a chef who can do this.”
Captain Pyle’s travels around the region lead him right back to the City Of Poughkeepsie for a surprising and very informative contact with Erik Morabito, a Poughkeepsie native who established Café Bocca in the Mount Carmel section of the city.
“When I went to Café Bocca I noticed that people were frequently stopping in with vegetables and produce directly from the farm.” According to Capt. Pyle, “This direct connection to the farmer is what we are looking for in our dinner and lunch cruises. The chef’s commitment to utilizing local produce, and Café Bocca’s demonstrated flexibility are what we are looking for, so we approached the chef to see if he would be interested in working with us.”
According to Erik Morabito, the owner of Café Bocca, “Word of mouth has always been regarded as the best form of advertising.” This proved to be true since it was Mary Kay Vrba, the Director of Dutchess Tourism, who first made the connection between Empire Cruise Lines and Café Bocca.
“The partnership between the two businesses seemed like a natural fit” said Ms. Vrba. “Café Bocca is a restaurant close to the Poughkeepsie waterfront that promotes local farm fresh foods. Combining Café Bocca with a cruise on the river allows Dutchess County visitors to enjoy the beauty of the river and the taste of the Hudson Valley.”
The 60 foot, double-decked passenger vessel cruises the Hudson River May through October from the City of Poughkeepsie’s Waryes Park, 29 North Water Street. Visit www.empirecruiselines or contact 866-797-9024 for more information.
Stephenie R Pyle, General Manager
Empire Cruise Lines