Expedition Cruising Takes Centre Stage At Inaugural ECN Dublin Event

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Last night, the Expedition Cruise Network brought its inaugural roadshow to Dublin’s Morrison Hotel, where members of the Irish travel trade had the chance to network with and hear presentations from 6 expedition cruise companies and were treated to welcome drinks and a tasty buffet dinner.

Martin Johnson & Akvile Marozaite

The Expedition Cruise Network (ECN) is a B2B membership organisation committed to connecting expedition cruise operators with travel professionals, in order to promote expedition cruising as a wonderful choice for holidaymakers from around the world.

Akvile Marozaite, ECN CEO and Martin Johnson, ECN Chairperson, thanked the Irish travel trade for a great turn out and for their interest in expedition cruising, as this sector grows year-on-year. Akvile stated that there are now 101 expedition ships operating globally, with over 16,000 berths available across multiple cruise lines, offering wonderful options for all types of customers.

Some 35% of operators rely on the Irish and UK trade for over 20% of their business, however reports show that less than 50% of travel agents in UK&I currently sell expedition cruising. With the average booking value of an expedition cruise being approximately €7,000pp (£6,000) in 2023, Akvile and multiple suppliers reiterated the high earning potential with selling expedition cruising and encouraged delegates to speak to their customers about expedition cruising.

Like with any growing sector, education is key, so the Expedition Cruise Network has created a training hub for travel professionals to learn more about the myriad of offerings for families, solo travellers, honeymooners and older clients. Akvile encouraged everyone to sign up to access e-brochures, insight reports, blogs and so much more, on the Expedition Cruise Network website.

Let’s take a look at each of the Expedition Cruise Operators…

AUSTRALIS

Frederic Guillemard, GM of Europe & Asia for Australis started off the presentations with a wonderful overview of the Australis brand, which focuses its itineraries on Patagonia and offers 4-night, all-inclusive (and, yes cocktails are included!) sailings in the Tierra del Fuego region.

Read more about Australis here, or check out the ECN website for webinars and e-learning.

Contact Frederic on [email protected]

Frederic Guillemard

AQUA EXPEDITIONS

Max Campos, Regional Sales Manager for UK & Northern Europe for Aqua Expeditions was up next, where he spoke passionately about luxury expedition cruising in some slightly warmer parts of the world including the Peruvian Amazon, the Vietnamese and Cambodian Mekong, as well as the Galapagos and Indonesia. With a minimum star rating of 5*, Aqua Expeditions offer luxury in abundance and cater to all age ranges with a minimum child age of 5. Max advised that 65% of their sales come from the trade and agents can hold cabins for 7 days as an option for their customers, using their agent portal.

Read more about Aqua Expeditions here, or check out the ECN website for webinars and e-learning.

Contact Max on [email protected]

Max Campos

AE EXPEDITIONS

Andy Tait, Senior BDM EMEA of AE Expeditions, took to the floor next for a rousing and engaging presentation about AE Expeditions, an Australian company who focus on relaxed luxury expeditions. AE Expeditions were awarded the highly coveted B-Corp Certification last month, which Andy explained that AE Expeditions puts people and planet ahead of company profits. With a crew to passenger ratio of 1 crew to every 7 passengers, travellers will learn all about the scenery and wildlife in the destinations they are visiting and the professional photographers onboard will share their photographs of the scenery with guests for their own personal use.

AE Expeditions have two ships currently sailing in Antarctica and the Arctic – the Greg Mortimer (named after the company’s founder) and the Sylvia Earle (world renowned marine biologist and oceanographer) – and will be introducing the Douglas Mawson in 2025 (named after the Australian geologist)

Read more about AE Expeditions here, or check out the ECN website for webinars and e-learning.

Contact Andy on [email protected]

Andy Tait

SILVERSEA

After dinner, Peter Shanks, MD of Silversea Cruises, presented guests with stunning itineraries closer to home, announcing that Silversea will have five Dublin to Dublin sailings in Summer 2024 and are excited to host agents for ship visits in the coming months. The Dublin-to-Dublin, no fly sailings will be onboard the stunning Silver Wind and will visit Ireland, Scotland and Iceland. Silver Wind will also be servicing the Dublin to Copenhagen (and reversed) and Dublin to Portsmouth (and reversed) sailings.

Read more about Silversea here, or check out the ECN website for webinars and e-learning.

Contact Peter on [email protected] or reach out to Amanda Middler (Regional Sales Manager Ireland & Scotland) on [email protected]

Peter Shanks

LINDBLAD EXPEDITIONS

Offaly-native, now New York based, Jactina McEvoy, introduced attendees to Lindblad Expeditions who have been in operation for 58 years and were the first expedition cruise line to offer non-scientific expeditions to travelers – with their first expedition seeing 60% female passengers. In 2004, Lindblad Expeditions joined as a partner of National Geographic and LindBlad now have 10 ships in their fleet, with capacity ranging from 148 on National Geographic Explorer to 48 on the National Geographic Islander II. Lindblad Expeditions also charter ships to sail in Vietnam & Cambodia, Peru, Scotland, the Mediterranean and Caribbean and Egypt. Jacinta advised that solo travellers make up a large portion of their guests and the option to share a cabin with another solo traveller makes expedition cruising more affordable for solo guests. Jacinta urged avid-readers to pick up their founder’s book titled ‘Passport to anywhere’, by Lars-Eric Lindblad.

Read more about Lindblad Expeditions here, or check out the ECN website for webinars and e-learning.  

Contact Jacinta on [email protected]

Jacinta McEvoy

PONANT

Last up was the ever-popular Danny Giles, Sales Manager for Ireland, Northern England, Scotland & Northern Ireland for Ponant, who gave an enthusiastic presentation focused on Ponant’s stunning ships, their sustainability efforts, and the demographics onboard a Ponant sailing. In March 2024, Ponant were awarded the Green Globe award, making them the first maritime cruise line to achieve this certification.

Earlier this month, Ponant launched the Spirit of Ponant, a 24-metre, 6-cabin maxi-catamaran (max 12 guests) which will be setting sail in Summer 2024 in Corsica before moving to the Seychelles archipelago in Winter 2024.

Ponant’s Le Boréal will be sailing into Dublin on 9 May and Le Champlain on 16 May and Danny invites agents to register their interest by filling out this form. Danny also advised retail agents that full window displays are available for shop windows for up to 6 months, and urged interested agents to reach out to him to discuss this opportunity.

Read more about Ponant here, or check out the ECN website for webinars and e-learning. Join Ponant’s agent Facebook group here.  

Contact Danny on [email protected]

Danny Giles

The evening concluded with a spot prize draw for a €100 Patagonia gift-card, which was won by Paula Kavanagh of Inteletravel.   

We’re already looking forward to the next Expedition Cruise Network Dublin event and stay tuned to ITTN.ie for more from the ECN team.

Paula Kavanagh, Akvile Marozaite, Martin Johnson


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