Abercrombie & Kent Adds New Luxury Expedition Cruise in the Baltics

by Cheryl Rosen
Abercrombie & Kent Adds New Luxury Expedition Cruise in the Baltics

 Through its partnership with Ponant, A&K already sails a number of itineraries, including some on Le Soleal. Photo: A&K.

Abercrombie & Kent has added some new itineraries to its Luxury Tailor Made expeditions program — and spent some time talking with the press in New York last week to debut them.

Just about ready to go is a new luxury expedition cruise in the Baltics, from Copenhagen to St. Petersburg, which “will be announced very soon,” A&K's Resident Tour Director Gabe Kovacs told Travel Market Report. It will join other new itineraries that rolled out this year, including “Poland: Warsaw & Krakow”; “Norway: Bergen & the Fjords”; and “Slovenia & Croatia: Ljubljana, Lake Bled and Zagreb.” Also on this year’s agenda are some river cruises, including a Dutch tulip cruise, and a cruise from Budapest to Prague.

The combination of Slovenia and Croatia is proving particularly popular, Kovacs said — and so is the addition of Zagreb to the Croatia itineraries. While many of the well-traveled customers who come to A&K are familiar with the coastline, few have made the journey to the center of the country and its beautiful capital.

Like all Luxury Tailor Made trips, these begin with prepared itineraries that are designed to be just a starting point from which customers build the trip of their dreams.

“We can do whatever you want,” Kovacs said. “We can go anywhere and do anything. What you are buying from us is time; if anything pops up, we will do whatever it takes to get your little private group whatever you need.”

For one recent, multigenerational trip including a grandmother who had fled Poland during World War II, for example, Kovacs added two days to take the private group of four to places of Jewish historical interest, including the Warsaw Museum, which was memorialized in the movie, “Zookeeper’s Wife,” for hiding many Jews from the Nazis.

Within Central Europe, one of the best-selling itineraries this year is Budapest-Vienna-Prague, often with an extension to Berlin; prices there are “cheaper than Paris or London, and I believe that Budapest, which is not marketed very much, is a big and pleasant surprise.”

While Abercrombie & Kent has done fam trips for travel advisors in the past, none are currently planned — but “they [travel agents] are an important channel for us,” he said.

Luxury Tailor Made journeys are all private groups with a private tour director who travels with the guests. At each destination, local guides join the group to offer an even more authentic, insider perspective.

More and more, A&K — like travel advisors, in general — is finding that “many folks are really happy to pay for service. They don’t want to deal with luggage and logistics, or read a 20-page leaflet to choose a restaurant for dinner.”

All A&K tours — including its cruises on Ponant ships, where the first language is usually French — are run in English, and 99 percent of customers are from North America.

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