With the 1991-built Sea Spirit on a long-term charter agreement to 2021, Poseidon Expeditions is feeling bullish about its position in the expedition market, according to Steve Wellmeier, managing director.
The company splits the year between Antarctica and the Arctic, with a summer season that started in western Greenland this past May. Next year the line will offer the British Isles to start its summer program before heading to Svalbard, according to the 2018 Expedition Market Report.
“This summer is virtually sold out,” said Wellmeier, talking to Cruise Industry News in early April.
Poseidon also offers handful of sailings to the North Pole on the 50 Years of Victory, a nuclear-powered Russian icebreaker.
For the Sea Spirit, staterooms were redone in 2017, and a set of state-of-the-art stabilizers are planned for an extended drydock in 2019.
The 114-guest vessel is just about the perfect size, according to Wellmeier.
“We feel we can pull a segment of the market looking for a slightly smaller ship,” he said. “It’s attractive to groups and charterers and our approach is to have a mix of that business. We want a good balance of a few charters each season, some good sized groups and then fill it in with FIT (frequent independent traveler) and small groups – it’s like an investment portfolio.”
Adding more capacity onto the ends of the season is helping drive growth for the company, as the Antarctic program starts this October with a sailing to the Falklands and the Antarctic peninsula.
Up north, the end of the summer season has traditionally seen the ship offer its final sailing from Reykjavik to East Greenland. That is being doubled for 2019 with a second sailing, with Wellmeier citing demand.
“We want to maximize our revenue days in the polar regions and get from the Arctic to Antarctica and vice versa as quickly and efficiently as possible,” Wellmeier noted.
Further plans call for the eventual addition of a newbuild.
Increased passenger sourcing from China is also in play for Poseidon, and those guests come with a completely different set of expectations.
Representing the company in the key U.S. market, Wellmeier said he was pushing clients to plan ahead.
“Get the cabin category you want, the departure date, and an early booking discount, as our focus is on 2019,” he added. “Even with the new ships coming, we thought it may reduce the price a little, but it hasn’t.
“We’re positioned in the market in a sweet spot where our vessel offers spacious accommodations and premium-level service, but the prices are not premium.”
Excerpt from the 2018 Expedition Market Report.
About the Expedition Market Report:
The 2018 Cruise Industry News Expedition Market Report presents a complete 127-page overview of the entire expedition market, including capacity projections through 2027, and profiles of 30+ major players, with exclusive interviews and insight, along with trends, original data, operational coverage and much more. Original reporting, analysis and research.