Some 800 agents to be invited onboard new luxury cruise ship Explora I

Explora 1 agent ship visits
By Linsey McNeill
Home » Some 800 agents to be invited onboard new luxury cruise ship Explora I

New luxury cruise line Explora Journeys is to host 800 UK and Ireland agents onboard its first ship, Explora I which embarks on its maiden voyage from Copenhagen tomorrow.

The visits will take place over the next couple of months, as Explora Journeys is keen for as many agents as possible to experience what it is describing as a ‘new European luxury cruise lifestyle brand’.

Some 70 UK agents are currently on the 922-passenger ship’s three-night ‘shakedown’ cruise from Portsmouth to Copenhagen, from where Explora I will embark on a series of Northern European sailings before heading to Canada and North America in September.

Antonio Paradiso, UK and Ireland MD for Explora Journeys and sister line MSC Cruises, said around 800 agents will visit the ship before mid-October.

“We are keen to get as many agents onboard as possible to see the ship while she’s in Europe,” he said. “They will be given a tour so they can see her for themselves.”

Those invited will include agents who have taken a booking for Explora I, along with others who have done something to support the cruise line, he added.

Agents who make at least one booking will be awarded Pioneer status, and in addition to being invited onboard and receiving discounts on personal trips, they will receive up to 10% discount on subsequent bookings.

Addressing agents onboard Explora I during the shakedown cruise, Explora Journeys CEO Michael Ungerer told them: “You travel advisors are really, really important to us. You are the most critical part of what we do.

“Your ability to advise and guide potential guests is critical.”

In return, Michael said Explora Journeys was offering ‘good commission’, which is also paid on add-ons. “We have no non-commissionable fees,” he added.

Explora Journeys recently agreed to protect agents’ commission on cruises it was forced to cancel due to a slight delay in the ship’s delivery.

To support agents, the line has launched an Explora Travel Advisor Centre, which includes information and marketing material for retailers to use, in addition to a booking suite.

Michael promised this would be updated with new material ‘every couple of weeks’.

At the same time, the Explora Journeys’ UK sales team will be expanded by 50%, with two new appointments to support travel agents.

“We have a team of four now and we want six in total ASAP to make sure we are covering the UK, including Scotland and Ireland,” said Antonio. “We need to make sure we have enough people to support our expansion and we want to make sure that travel advisors receive all the support they need.”

He is also hiring a new marketing and PR executive to promote the brand, which positions itself alongside luxury lines such as Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn and Silversea.

A second ship will join the fleet next summer, and the line has firm orders for a further two ships and options on a couple more, bringing the total to six by 2028.

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