Abercrombie & Kent Growing Cruise Programs

Bob Simpson

Abercrombie & Kent (A&K) is growing its cultural cruise program in 2019, returning to Greece along with programs in Japan and Italy to go with the company’s core bread and butter Polar expedition deployments, according to the 2019 Expedition Market Report by Cruise Industry News.

Using chartered Ponant ships, A&K trims the capacity down, staffs them with their own expedition team, and delivers a top-end luxury product.

“We operated our first Greek Isles cruise on the Le Laperouse, which is a good size and fit for us,” said Bob Simpson, vice president of expedition cruising. “We are looking at areas  where we can develop our cultural enrichment programs … it’s not so much using the zodiacs, but the same concept as in delivering the same educational enrichment experience that is more land-centric.”

Joining Japan, Italy and Greece for 2020 will be a cultural program in the Baltic, sailing from Copenhagen and ending in St. Petersburg, where the land component of the trip starts at the Four Seasons.

The big news for the 2019-2020 Antarctica season on the company’s 52-day charter of Le Lyrial is a 15-day Antarctica Discovery program, marking the 1820 discovery of Antarctica with special programming and lectures. The itinerary will add two days, with the goal to go further south, beyond the Antarctic circle, condition permitting, and replicate the Nathaniel Brown Palmer Expedition that landed at Marguerite Bay.

While Ponant’s chartered Boreal-class ships have capacity for 260 guests, A&K only fills them to 199 in the Polar areas. The Le Laperouse is also trimmed down, from 184 guests to 148.

“We keep all the local guides onboard for the tour components, and they are there from start to end,” said Simpson. “It gives us a great level of community. We’re never more than 80 percent of what the ship’s capacity is designed for, and we don’t take any crew off. It translates to a great level of service.”

A&K also staffs up, adding butlers to more suite categories. Product enhancements this year include laundry and WiFi included in the ticket price, as is everything else. Polar guests can look forward to their gear waiting for them in their staterooms.

As far as expansion, Simpson called the company’s growth strategic.

“We are pretty strategic in where we want to operate and the number of departures we want,” he said. “In the Polar Regions, that is limited in scope and scale and where you can go, and very seasonal as well.”

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About the Expedition Market Report:

The 2019 Expedition Market Report by Cruise Industry News is a comprehensive overview of the booming expedition market, profiling 39 operators, over 40 new ships and projecting capacity growth through 2027. The 196-page PDF is a deep dive into all aspects of the expedition cruise market.

Report Preview | Table of Contents | Download Now

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