Nearly one hundred people, including representatives from the international adventure/expedition cruise sector, will come together October 28–30, at the Greenwood Inn & Suites in Corner Brook.  Cruise Newfoundland and Labrador has organized the second provincial  Exploration Cruise Forum providing an opportunity for delegates throughout Newfoundland and Labrador to interact with adventure/expedition cruise line owners/operators and planners.

Cruise NL Chair, Dennis O’Keefe, said the program is designed to generate dialogue among the delegates and to extract vital information that will assist with further development of this particular cruise sector. “The adventure/expedition ships are calling on ports in Newfoundland and Labrador because this province has the product with the greatest appeal to their target market.  In order to bring this cruise sector to the next level, we need to continue to work with the market, to examine what more we can do as a destination to attract a greater number of these ships, especially to rural ports in the province.”

Cedar Bradley-Swan of Adventure Canada will be in attendance at this year’s event. She said, “With more than a decade of designing and leading expeditions throughout Canada and the world, my top destination remains the shores of Newfoundland and Labrador.”  Bradley-Swan said she truly enjoys sharing the vast range of experiences found in this province with her clients. “We just wrapped up an outstanding season with an absolutely perfect call at Cape St. Mary's.” Adventure Canada offers annual cruises to the province’s ports.

Aaron Lawton, Operations Manager at One Ocean Expeditions, said the inspiration for a “Labrador Explorer” voyage that ran in July 2008 on the Academik Ioffe came out of the first Exploration Cruise conference in 2006.  Lawton says, “From all that I have heard from the staff, it was a sensational trip.”

Dennis O’Keefe is adamant that homeporting potential is an added advantage with the adventure/expedition lines.  “On the occasion that an adventure/expedition cruise line has used one of our ports to start and/or end a cruise, the economic benefit was clearly evident.  Increased homeporting is definitely a part of our development strategy.”

Ports in Newfoundland & Labrador have benefited from exploration cruise ships homeporting, which bring additional economic benefits through the purchase of accommodations, provisions from local suppliers and transportation.  For example, Canadian Sailing Expeditions, an Exploration Cruise company based in Halifax, utilized Corner Brook as a homeport for five cruises in 2008.  The company offered an itinerary called “Fjords, Bays & Tickles,” showcasing Corner Brook, the Bay of Islands and Gros Morne National Park.  St. John’s hosted ten expedition cruise ship visits this past summer.  In total, provincial ports had 151 visits by 25 different ships this season.

The theme of this year’s Exploration Cruise Forum is “Explorers’ Routes and Beyond” celebrating the ongoing discovery of this unique destination. Panel topics will cover market trends, best practices, marketing, developing shore excursions and protecting natural resources.  The forum will also provide an opportunity to introduce Newfoundland and Labrador cuisine, to showcase multiple Newfound and Labrador ports and to extend our famous hospitality.

Jackie Chow and Nora Mercer from the Corner Brook Port Corporation are the Co-Chairs for 2008 Exploration Cruise Forum.