Sam Ballard speaks to the river cruise line’s new UK sales director about how he intends to increase the French-owned company’s presence in the country
CroisiEurope is a big cruise line. To some travel agents that will come as a big surprise, but with almost 50 vessels located on the rivers of Europe, Asia and Africa – as well as barges on the canals of France, coastal cruises off the coast of Italy and Croatia and safari lodges in Namibia and Zimbabwe (that includes cruising in Botswana and South Africa) – the scale of the company is staggering. Recent additions include river cruises in eastern Canada, an area previously left off most river cruise programmes.
Unsurprisingly, the company is now seeking to grow its source market beyond its native France and has brought in industry stalwart John Fair to help lead the efforts with the UK trade. Fair, who worked
with CroisiEurope during his time at Cosmos Tours and Cruises, will now be the focal point for those efforts. We caught up with him to talk more about the newly-created role and what it entails.
What are your main responsibilities going to be with CroisiEurope?
My key target is going to be raising awareness of CroisiEurope with travel agents here in the UK. Not many people know where to place us in the market: we are a French, family-owned international river cruise line that offers a phenomenal level of service for a very reasonable price point. Being French, cuisine plays a major role in our cruises, as does our heritage. Everything is done with that famous French flair, meaning we’re perfect for discerning travellers who want to enjoy our French cuisine with some fine wines. We include alcohol in the price of the cruise, too, making us even better value for money.
What is CroisiEurope’s biggest strength?
The depth of our offering. We have paddleships operating on the Elbe, incredible cruises in Africa that are paired with stays in African lodges as well as coastal cruises in Europe. That’s on top of our river cruises throughout Europe and Asia, with more destinations being launched
all the time – including the St Lawrence River in Canada.
Can you tell us something that most agents won’t know about CroisiEurope?
We are Europe’s biggest river cruise line with 50 ships on more than 20 rivers worldwide. That includes some destinations totally unique to us such as the Loire in France, Guadalquivir and Guadiana in Spain and Portugal, St Lawrence in Canada and Lake Zariba in Zimbabwe.
What is your biggest challenge?
Getting across the quality of our offering and matching that up to our price point, which is very reasonable without compromising on quality for what our guests experience while on board.