Cruise & Ferry Review - Autumn/Winter 2023

180 route and guests will be able to explore some of the unique natural highlights in places like Denmark’s northernmost town Skagen and both the Shetland and Orkney Islands. Our Scotland voyages are very popular, and we have high expectations for this itinerary.” Albatros Expeditions considers several key factors when evaluating which ports and destinations to incorporate into its itineraries. “Expedition cruising is all about moving away from crowds and exploring remote areas, so our main focus is to look for quiet ports,” says Lagerweij. “Well-equipped port facilities are a secondary need, and a good mix of shore experience options is fundamental.” The brand aims to give guests every opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the nature, culture and history of these destinations. “Our guests don’t like to be packed into tour buses and driven around destinations; they want to be out in nature, taking long walks and enjoying authentic and immersive experiences,” says Lagerweij. “Wildlife encounters are at the top of our guests’ preferred activity list, and visits to unique and endangered nature areas are extremely popular too. In Kangerlussuaq, for example, we offer guests the chance to walk the famous Greenlandic ice cap, and in Ilulissat we take them to the magnificent Unesco World Heritage Icefjord.” Ilulissat is one of Lagerweij favourite destinations. “The views on Icefjord are so impressive that I can sit and enjoy the same scenery for hours – and that’s quite rare for someone who generally finds it difficult to stay still for more than a few minutes,” he says. “There’s also nothing more rewarding and impressive than seeing Antarctica for the first time after sailing for two days on the infamous Drake Passage – it’s a very emotional moment.” Albatros Expeditions owns and controls destination management companies in Greenland, and also collaborates closely with partners such as the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) and Association of Arctic Tour Operators (AECO) to optimise these destination experiences. “Our guests want to be ‘alone’ at the sites they visit so they feel like real explorers, and we wouldn’t be able to give them this experience if there were three other ships in the area,” says Lagerweij. “IAATO and AECO both work with a scheduler to reserve the sites we want to visit, which not only improves the experience for our guests but also protects the destinations against overtourism. These partnerships are critical, especially with the current growth in expedition cruise ships making it even more important for us to schedule our calls around those from other brands.” The brand is actively seeking similar partnerships with organisations in other areas of the world too. “Now that we’re growing our Northern Europe itineraries, Cruise Europe is an interesting association for us to work with,” says Lagerweij. “I visited the conference for the first time this year and was inspired by the passion and ideas of the different ports I met.” Photo: Matthew Cheok Expedition cruises enable guests to explore remote, uncrowded destinations with striking scenery PLANNER PERSPECTIVE