Cruise & Ferry Review - Spring/Summer 2021

5 6 INTERV IEW Wilderness adventures Jon Ingleton talks with Albatros Expeditions’ Hans Lagerweij about the family business and its forthcoming new arrivals F ounded by Soren Rasmussen in 1986, Albatros Travel began chartering a few Greenland cruises in the 1990s – a move that led Rasmussen to investing in several expedition cruise ships, most of which were on long-term charters to other expedition companies. Albatros Expeditions was born from this experience in 2015, focusing on the Scandinavian and Chinese source markets. Nowadays the company is a renowned international player in a booming niche market. Rasmussen opted to pursue a managed fleet business model for his company. “Soren has an interest in Cruise Management International (CMI) and Cruise Management International Leisure (CMI Leisure) and, although they are independent companies and we are not compelled to work with them, they are a perfect fit for us,” says Hans Lagerweij, the company’s president. “We really appreciate their knowledge, expertise and experience, and we love working with them.” For Lagerweij, the benefits of the model are clear; with the right ship management partners in place, a cruise operation can thrive. “It gives us more time and energy to focus on our core competences: expedition programming, marketing and selling our adventures,” he explains. “CMI and CMI Leisure are experts in ship management and provide excellent hotel offerings at great value. It would have cost us a lot of energy and money to develop in-house expertise in these areas, particularly to the standard that they are able to deliver.” Albatros Expeditions has also developed a network of partners over the past five years to extend its sales reach. “Our distribution partners, and especially our full charterers, are critical to our business,” says Lagerweij. “Outside Scandinavia we are purely business-to- business – we never compete with our partners. They trust us entirely and have an active input into the development of new products and services. Our partner cooperation goes much further than a traditional buyer-supplier relationship.” Historically, Albatros Expeditions has operated a breed of ships synonymous with the raw expedition product that is much loved by so many. However, when newbuilds Ocean Albatros and Ocean Victory enter service in November 2021 and November 2022, the company’s offer will be transformed into a state-of-the-art experience. “Expedition cruising started with old, small and mostly Russian scientific vessels,” says Lagerweij. “They Company president Hans Lagerweij enjoys testing out the available guest activities