Fred Olsen Cruise Lines Grand Voyage

Fred Olsen head of sales Geoff Ridgeon: ‘The joys of a Grand Voyage’

In his regular column for Cruise Trade News, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines head of sales Geoff Ridgeon explains the virtues of exploring a particular part of the globe on the line’s new Grand Voyage itinerary.

I can’t quite believe as I write this that we have somehow found ourselves well into spring. It seems only yesterday I was putting pen to paper to welcome you into 2022, and now we are seeing longer days, shorter nights and summer is just around the corner.

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines head of sales Geoff Ridgeon
Fred Olsen head of sales Geoff Ridgeon

And what those hints towards warmer temperatures also bring with them is a real yearning for a holiday, which means now is a great time to capitalise on making those bookings.

You will find some customers have a little more to play with now, having saved so much at a time when we could do so little.

There will also be those who will now prioritise travel over other outgoings, having really felt the absence of exploring new destinations, new cultures and experiences.

Either way, more and more people are looking to spend a little more to make the most of their time travelling, with many keen to get those big trips booked and really make the most of being able to explore the world again.

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Of course, we can’t all commit to packing up our bags and setting sail on a world cruise (we can all dream though, right?) but a great alternative could be a grand voyage. These are longer cruises, typically between one and three months, that focus on exploring a particular part of the world.

We at Fred Olsen recently unveiled our 93-night The Intrepid Beauty of Africa and the Indian Ocean Grand Voyage, offering chances to explore many well-known destinations such as Cape Town and Mumbai to the lesser-known gems of Mombasa, Kenya, and Toamasina in Madagascar.

On board, we will celebrate the joy of the journey with an entertainment and enrichment programme centred around the destinations, shining a spotlight on nature, history and culture.

There is such a sense of community on these cruises, as guests share their experiences with like-minded travellers.

Every cruise line will have their own way of making their voyages unique to them, and while I know I say it every time, what is key here is matching your customer to the best cruise line for them. This is arguably more important for these longer duration cruises than for any other.

Whether it is the first or fifth time a customer books such a voyage, it is so important to make it feel special every time. Grand Voyages are a big investment, both in terms of time and money, and so we must treat every booking as though it’s a once-in-a-lifetime booking.

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