Australis closed outs its 2018-2019 season having two ships in service for the entire program, representing another capacity increase after welcoming the Ventus to the fleet in early 2018 and promising to take guests to the “end of the world.”
The expedition vessels, the 2010-built Stella and 2018-built Ventus, are sisters, each with 100 cabins and each offering a unique four-night program in Cape Horn and Patagonia.
It was a nice increase in the number of cabins, which was great for us, the product and the region. It gives us more opportunity to promote and bring people down there,” said Felipe Castro, sales director for North America, in an interview for the 2019 Expedition Market Report by Cruise Industry News.
“We have seen very good growth,” Castro added.
Cruise options include one-way sailings between Punta Arenas and Ushuaia at four nights. Guests can also sail roundtrip from Punta Arenas or Ushuaia at eight nights.
Guests can look forward to wild scenery in Patagonia, two landings a day, and a mostly all-inclusive product (gratuities are not included). Highlights are Cape Horn and Wulaia Bay as well as the Beagle Channel with time in the fjord areas. There’s also a shore excursion at Magdalena Island with its rowdy penguin colony.
“One of the reasons we can do that is we have special ships with a shallow draft, we can go inside and maneuver, put the zodiacs in the water, and take people on excursions,” said Castro.
Based in Miami, Castro oversees North America for the company, and has a number of new business development managers all over the continent driving business to fill the additional capacity the company introduced. The cruise season runs from late September to early April, with the ships laid up the rest of the time due to a simple lack of daylight.
The locally owned company has been in operation in the region for 25 years, and has its own niche market without any real rivals, although the lack of awareness in Patagonia remains a challenge, Castro said.
“We have to sell the area, and also what Australis is doing,” he explained.
About the Expedition Market Report:
The 2019 Expedition Market Report by Cruise Industry News is a comprehensive overview of the booming expedition market, profiling 39 operators, over 40 new ships and projecting capacity growth through 2027. The 196-page PDF is a deep dive into all aspects of the expedition cruise market.