ACE announces first ‘Expedition’ cruise expo
Andy Harmer’s weekly ACE column for Cruise News UK
It was wonderful to go to Canary Wharf last week to visit and dine on-board the Caledonian Sky. Formerly known as ‘Hebridean Spirit’, she accommodates a maximum of 114 passengers in 57 outside suites. And at just 4,200 tonnes she is small but perfectly formed.
After some initial voyages in the British Isles, Norway and Europe she will eventually make home in some of the most beautiful and remote places on the planet, where even their names give an impression of adventure and exploration. Kota Kinabalu in Borneo, Sandakan in Sabah, the Spice Islands, Petropavlovsk in the Russian far East, and the Kamchatka Peninsula.
Caledonian Sky will not be the only ship taking guests to these destinations, and there are plenty of other destinations that are visited by other expedition cruise lines around the world that are just as remote and un-touched. But there is a thread that weaves throughout the sector, and that is that these places either can only be properly explored by ship or are much easier to explore by ship.
The increased focus on destinations, on holidays providing ‘authentic’ experiences, and on trips being educational as well as about relaxation means that expedition cruising looks set to become a major player in cruising.
And dinner on-board Caledonian Sky was timely because it was on the day when ACE announced its first Expedition Expo would be taking place in London on September 18th with guest speakers, networking and a tour and lunch on-board Hapag Lloyd’s MS Hanseatic. It is the first time in our 25 year history that we have held such an event which tells us a great deal about how cruising as an industry has been embraced by travel agents and customers alike.