On The Deck: Grant Hunter

On The Deck: Grant Hunter

Managing Director Classic International Cruises Australasia

Managing Director Classic International Cruises Australasia

Grant Hunter – managing Director Classic International Cruises Australasia

Your company operates a number of smaller ships which are quite old by today’s standards. What continues to make these ships relevant in today’s world of cruise where ships are built bigger with virtually every imaginable amenity onboard?

Classic International Cruises commenced operating traditional cruise liners in 1982. Today traditional smaller capacity cruise ships are as popular as they have ever been. Clients enjoy the less crowded environment, family atmosphere (where you’re a name not a number) and the traditional excellent food and service standards of the traditional liners.

Your company operates a couple of voyages each year between the UK and Australia. Can you tell us a bit more about these long voyages and when these operate?

CIC operates traditional voyages between UK/Europe and Perth, Australia annually. These voyages are in the region of 33-40 nights depending on the route/ports of call. On 14 April 2012 Athena’s 40 nights Northbound voyage departs for the UK via South Africa. This itinerary includes Mauritius, Renuion Isd, Durban, Mossel Bay, Cape Town, Tenerife, Casablanca and Lisbon arriving in Portsmouth May 24. The popular Southbound voyage to Australia leaves Marseille 14 November and calls at Rome, Livorno (for Florence), Rome, Dubrovnik, Kotor, Port Said (for the Pyramids), Suez Canal, Aqaba, Salalah in Oman, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Singapore arriving in the Perth port of Fremantle 18 December in time for a sunny warm Christmas.

What type of demographic is attracted to your vessels and is there a different client taking the shorter voyages as opposed to the longer voyages between the UK and Australia?

The demographic on short break 3 and 4 night cruises is a younger age group. Whereas on the longer voyages and cruises from Australia to the Far East are the favourite with retirees who have the time for these wonderful journeys.

Your ships spend a number of months in Australia each year. What makes the product so popular in that market which is already well served by many of the leading cruise lines?

Athena spends five months in Australia operating 2, 3, 5, 10 and 38 night cruises home porting in Perth and Adelaide. Athena’s 600 – berth capacity is ideally suited to both markets and is an entrenched product in the Australian market. On longer cruises up to 62% of guests are repeat clients, underlying Athena’s popularity in Australia. Although relatively small compared to the US and European, the cruise market has doubled in Australia in the past five years.

Are the long repositioning voyages to and from the Southern Hemisphere popular with the British market and if so why?

The Voyages to and from Australia are very popular with the British market and have been since the 1960’s. Disembarking and embarking at a British port, where guests unpack once and relax is important, as is the high standard of food and service on Athena. Athena’s 2013 southbound voyage to Perth Australia via South Africa will depart from Tilbury.

How does a UK travel agent book any of the Classic International Itineraries?

We welcome all UK travel agents bookings, which can be made with Classic International Cruises UK, telephone: 020 8324 3115, email: sales@classicintcruises.com or website www.classicintcruises.co.uk

How does a British agent find out more about the ships and itineraries on offer?

By visiting our UK website: uk.cic-cruises.com or via email sales@classicintcruises.com

For more details on the Voyages from UK/Europe to/from Australia visit our Australian  website www.classicintcruises.com or email admin@classicintcruises.com

Does your company have the facility to train British agents?

Emma Ward and her team would be pleased to arrange training for agents.

How many seasons have you operated capacity in Australasia?

The 2013 season will be our 10th and longest season in Australia, which we think demonstrates the popularity of traditional classic cruising.

Gary Marshall
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Gary Marshall
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