Expedition cruising.

Sounds intimidating, right? Not only does this style of travel take people to remote corners of the world that might not be on your regular sales roster but there are also many misconceptions that might be preventing you from venturing into the niche in the first place. To unpack the ins and outs of this specialization, KNOT spoke with Ben Stasiuk, General Manager, Central & South America and Polar Voyages, Goway Travel, for his professional insights. Here’s what we think you ought to know.

  

The Basics:

Goway ship

  • Expedition cruises are multi-day experiences that visit remote locations of the world, away from cities, towns, accommodation, roads, tourist attractions and infrastructure, often only accessible by waterways.
  • The cruise vessel becomes home for the travellers throughout the trip, but the purpose of the cruise is less about the ship and more about the destination. As such, small ship and expedition vessels have fewer on-board facilities and activities compared to mainstream ocean liners.
  • Excursions are the highlight of the cruise, allowing travellers to get up close and personal with a destination, showcasing the natural world and learning about the remote communities and way of life in these areas.
  • Onboard each expedition cruise is a crew of well-trained, professional guides who bring a lot of knowledge and value, which is an important part of the experience.

  

The Appeal:

  • To visit locations that would otherwise be cost prohibitive and very difficult (if not impossible) for an individual to visit otherwise.
  • To offer an all-encompassing experience of a cruise (accommodation, meals, familiar crew).
  • To gain a better understanding of the world and experience first-hand the magic, magnitude and beauty of the natural world.

  

The Destinations:

GalapagosDavis Pan | Galapagos

  • The Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
  • Australia’s Kimberley region
  • Antarctica (in combination with other southern islands)
  • Northern Canada (Baffin Island, Northwest Passage in
    northern Canada)
  • Coastal Greenland
  • The Svalbard archipelago (Norway, specifically the island
    of Spitsbergen)
  • Patagonia region of southern Chile and Argentina
  • Amazon River (Peru, Ecuador, Brazil)
  • French Polynesia (South Pacific islands)

  

The Client:

  • Expedition travellers are curious, adventurous in spirit, very interested in nature and wildlife and want to travel to the frontiers of the planet to experience and learn about the world in ways different to most. They like to be in close contact with raw nature.
  • These journeys attract very well-travelled people. Often, travellers have already visited dozens of countries and most continents, and are at the point in their international travel that they want to get away from the top sites and mostvisited locations.
  • Often these are travellers in their late 30s to early 60s, with average age typically increasing on journeys longer than 10 days, and on higher-end cruises.
  • Budgets vary, often from $500-3,000+ per person per day, depending on the cruise vessel, service level, destination and cabin type.

  

The “Need To Know”:

AntarcticaTorsten Dederichs | Antarctica

  • Understand your client, and know who would be a potential client for this type of travel. Find out what interests them, and if they fit the aforementioned profile.
  • Cruises are often small, from 12 – 200 passengers. This means there is less anonymity on the cruise and more of a chance to establish real bonds between fellow passengers and the ship’s crew. The expedition crew-to-passenger ratio is a selling feature; often it’s a 1: 12 or 1:16 ratio.
  • These cruises are about getting off the ship to experience the world, and not about what the ship itself provides in terms of entertainment.
  • The expeditions are active, most with wet and dry landings (i.e. not all excursions will involve a dock, pier, or easy transition from ship to shore)so clients will need to be  independently mobile and have some flexibility in their knees and hips in order to maneuver themselves from one vessel to another. On-shore excursions tend to be easy-to-moderate in difficulty, but options may exist for more challenging and adventurous activities, like kayaking or hiking.
  • By partnering with a wholesaler such as Goway, you will have access to a variety of cruise destinations, ship sizes and categories, plus the expertise of sales consultants.

  

The Upsell:

  • First, be aware of where in the world travellers can embark on an expedition so that any time you have a client interested in those areas (or an area within reach), recommend a short expedition cruise add-on. This is a great way to introduce clients to a new style of travel.
  • There are three-to four-night cruises in many destinations that make for a valuable addition to existing land-based itineraries (i.e. add-on an Amazon river cruise to a PeruMachu Picchu experience).

Want to learn more?
Contact info@goway.com or visit www.goway.com

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