Specialists form Expedition Cruise Network

Specialists form Expedition Cruise Network

First membership organisation dedicated to expedition cruise has been founded

A group of industry specialists have formed the Expedition Cruise Network (ECN), a new membership organisation dedicated to the sector.

Akvile Marozaite, the luxury expedition-cruise specialist with more 12 years in the sector, becomes CEO and Martin Johnson, founder of Latin Routes and Polar Routes, who currently works with 22 leading expedition cruise brands, co-founds the B2B organisation as Chairman.

The ECN’s mission is to become a global organisation and authority on expedition cruising. Its aim is to connect expedition cruise operators and inform, educate and promote their products to a well-targeted global travel-trade community in order to grow sales.

The network will have three categories of members:

  1. Expedition Cruise Members – the expedition cruise lines. The network launches with 11 members: AE Expeditions, Albatros Expeditions, Australis, Hapag Lloyd Cruises, Hurtigruten, Intrepid, Latin Trails, Lindblad Expeditions, Ponant, Quark Expeditions and Swan Hellenic
  2. Travel Trade Members – including travel agents, tour operators, travel designers, product, marketing and professionals supporting sales of expedition cruises
  3. Associate Members – companies and organisations supporting and/or have a commercial interest in the expedition cruise sector.

The expedition cruise sector has doubled in size since over the past two years.

Martin Johnson, chairman of the Expedition Cruise Network said: “While the expedition cruise sector has developed significantly over recent years, it is still hugely underrepresented. Consumers who have not yet been on an expedition cruise do not realise what an incredible way of travelling it is. As the sector matures, it’s important it has its own, authoritative industry voice to advocate on key topics including challenges to the sector and sustainability, as well as key trends and data.

“We soon realised if expedition cruise operators worked collaboratively, we could achieve a great deal, but we needed a knowledgeable and experienced driving force, which is where Akvile came in. After several more months of consultation, research and planning, the Expedition Cruise Network was born.”

Akvile Marozaite, CEO of the Expedition Cruise Network said: “The first objective for the organisation is to create a great database of travel trade professionals who either already sell expedition cruising or have an interest to. These members can join the network free of charge by signing up via this link: https://www.expeditioncruisenetwork.com/member-signup.

“Expedition cruising is often sold by a wide variety of travel trade professionals including travel agents, tour operators and travel designers, but we also want to appeal to those that support those sales including product, marketing and managers too. Whether you know a little or a lot about expedition cruising, there will be something relevant for you to engage with.

“Our travel trade members will benefit from access to our directory of expedition cruise members including key contacts, destination information, customised webinars and learning opportunities, events, fam trips, and more. Our blog and newsletters will feature diverse topics pertinent to expedition cruising and provide a platform for our expedition cruise brands to showcase the various fantastic elements of expedition cruising as a form of travel.

“Sustainability will also play an ever-growing role and the sector must grow hand in hand with its commitment to meet UN targets to become zero emissions by 2050. As an organisation, we will support our expedition cruise and travel trade members by providing educational tools and keeping the sustainability topic at the front of all we do.”

The ECN has launched with a competition. Ten travel trade professionals who join the Expedition Cruise Network by the end of May will have an opportunity to spend an evening in June in London, hosted by Lindblad Expeditions. The evening will entail a rib boat ride onboard Thames Rockets speedboat with expedition leader and marine biologist Brad Siviour followed by a drinks’ reception in one of the riverside venues.

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