Poseidon Expeditions is inching closer to confirming a new ship in time for the 2020 Arctic cruise season.
“We’re going to be operating a new vessel starting with the 2020 Arctic season,” said Steve Wellmeier, North American Sales Director for Poseidon Expeditions. “With all the new tonnage coming online there will be a lot of competition; we want to make sure we can maximize our efforts with the new vessel.”
While the company is still negotiating the deal, it expects the ship to be in the 150-passenger range, giving it the opportunity to visit more landing sites in Antarctica.
Before then, however, its business as usual for Poseidon, which operates the Sea Spirit on a year-round charter agreement from SunStone. In addition are handful of summer departures on the 50 Years of Victory.
The company got its start as Poseidon Arctic Voyages in 1999, offering charter voyages on icebreakers to the North Pole and Russian High Arctic. Offices were setup in the UK and Cyprus and an international passenger sourcing strategy was put in place led by owner Nikolay Savelyev.
Since then, sustainable growth has seen more charters, longer seasonal operations and the year-round deal to sail the Sea Spirit. A U.S. sales office was opened in 2014, and has since been expanding.
Unique about the Sea Spirit's season is a handful of intense expedition voyages to Franz Josef Land, a Russian Archipelago.
“There is appeal there because it is a new Arctic destination,” said Wellmeier. “We go there directly from Svalbard.”
The Sea Spirit ventures south to Antarctica for the winter, running a longer season than most operators, starting in early November.
Setting the product apart, according to Wellmeier, is the company’s expedition team.
“That is what creates the experience for passengers. They are the curators for the voyage, creating the experience passengers will take home with them,” he told Cruise Industry News.
With 20 expedition ships on the orderbook, Wellmeier said the trend was moving toward the luxury end of the market.
“Everyone seems to be upgrading to the upper end,” he continued. “We don’t consider ourselves luxury. Our rates are much more mid-level. Our accommodations, food and service are at a premium level. People look at the ship, the per diems and the size of the rooms and look at the reviews we get and say ‘this looks like a good deal – lets book.’”