Ponant's Sauer and three more cruise line executives from Hurtigruten, Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours and Silversea Cruises were table hosts at the Beyond the Poles Expedition Cruising Workshop during last week’s Seatrade Cruise Med in Málaga.
Prior to the exercise, the table hosts shared insights into opportunities for ports and destinations outside of the polar regions to attract expedition cruise ships, their must-haves and common mistakes made by destinations when working with the expedition sector.
James Griffiths, VP marine operations, Scenic advised to remember what makes polar expedition successful is taking guests to off-the-beaten track destinations: ‘the same applies for warmer water expedition cruising. We have our own Zodiacs and we want to offer lots of wet landings in non-polar regions, too.'
Interaction and immersion
Linda-Marie Hogsten, head of shore excursions, Hurtigruten Expeditions said: ‘Must-have offers are wildlife sightings, interaction with, and immersion in, the local community and culture and there must be opportunities for wet landings with zodiacs.’
She added, ‘Destinations must design landside experiences targeted for expedition cruise lines. Be mindful of your marketing for this sector. If I get presented with a promotional collateral with a large cruise ship on the front cover then I am automatically cautious about the destination offer. Not all expedition lines have the same equipment onboard and we all have different nationalities onboard. Please keep this in mind as that is a real differentiator.’
Completely different approach
Frederique Patry, manager itinerary designer at Silversea Cruises explained, ‘Expedition cruise passengers expectations are completely different to our classic cruise passengers - they don’t want go on buses or visit museums - so it’s really important that you create land based experience that match those expectations.’
Mythical country of Burdarno
Around 40 participants worked with the four cruise executive table hosts to plan a seven- to 10-day expedition itinerary along the coast of the mythical country of Burdarno. Liz Gammon, moderator and curator of the workshop exercise provided each table with information on land-based activities, sightseeing and natural landscapes in and around Burdarno.
Each table shared their designed itineraries and land-based activities with all participants at the end of the exercise. ‘It was amazing how each table approached it and all came up with very different offers. It was great seeing the interaction and also nationalities from across the globe working together and learning,’ said Gammon.