Cruise & Ferry Review - Autumn/Winter 2023

53 Photo: AE Expeditions travel designers, home workers, independent agents and luxury, cruise and adventure specialists, so we designed ECN to bring all these unique businesses together,” says Marozaite. “We provide something of interest to anyone looking to sell or develop their knowledge of expedition cruises. In 2023, the key focus is to deliver value to our members through various online events including the most extensive webinar series in the sector and the first expedition cruise exclusive virtual conference in September, to be hosted in association with TTG. Our longterm plans include in-person events, an expanded webinar programme, and continuous enhancements of our current offerings.” Another of ECN’s key focuses for 2023 and beyond is to help the expedition cruise sector operate more sustainably and responsibly. “We recognise that sustainable marine travel is an urgent task to accomplish, and that the industry still has a long way to go to achieve net-zero goals set out by the United Nations (UN) for 2050, but expedition operators are leading the way to a more sustainable cruise tourism future,” says Marozaite. She explains that many expedition cruise brands are already making significant strides in tackling various environmental issues, citing examples such as Quark Expeditions, which is working towards eliminating onboard waste, and carbon-neutral company AE Expeditions, which is seeking to become a Corp B organisation in 2024. “The newbuilds that are replacing old ships are optimised to use the best and most efficient technology available today to make them quieter and more efficient, thereby reducing their environmental impact,” says Marozaite. “For example, the innovative X-bow hull developed by Ulstein Design & Solutions has been used on vessels in the Albatros Expeditions, AE Expeditions and Lindblad Expeditions fleets. Meanwhile, operators such as Guests from AE Expeditions participating in a citizen science project to study microplastics in Saunders Island in the Atlantic Ocean