Saturday, 8 June 2013

Lindblad to bring new competition to Kimberley cruises




Expedition cruising in the Kimberley region of Australia is about to get some new, healthy competition, says Sven Lindblad.
Sven Lindblad (file image)

THE founder of Lindblad Expeditions, Sven Lindblad says his purchase of the soon-to-be former Orion Expedition Cruises (CW 07 Mar), will add some new spice to the local market.

Speaking to Cruise Weekly during a visit to Australia last week, Lindblad said he had great respect for other companies operating in the Kimberley region but that his operation brought a new diverse option to the region.

Lindblad praised two particular operators but said he didn’t look at other operations in the same way most would look at a competitor.

“Both Coral Princess and True North are really good companies. They offer something slightly different, True North being much smaller and Coral Princess being in the middle in terms of size and they have different emphasis on price points so that’s good,” Lindblad told CW.

Over the next year, Lindblad says he plans to closely study the Australian appetite for expedition cruising and that if there is a strong response to the products he offers, there was potential for a larger presence down under.

“If we can grow this market significantly, which I believe we probably can, then it would lead to expansion here. But I don’t know yet”.

The Lindblad Expeditions founder said passengers aboard his vessels would be aware of ocean conservation programs he supports along with the National Geographic Society.

“We’re kind of zealous about education, conservation and exploration,” Lindblad added.

Together, the two organisations invest approx $1m per year into a number of conservation activities and educational programs, including a teachers program where educators are invited to join Lindblad ships to participate in research and to learn about the environment.

“The National Geographic Explorer – our flagship – has an ongoing ocean health campaign that we work on and work together with scientists and raise monies towards things that relate to ocean preservation.

“The ocean is in real trouble on a global basis and as far as we’re concerned, people who travel have two ways they can be of value.

“One is, they can understand the challenges better and become part of that conversation and the other is just to help with resources we need,” Lindblad concluded.