The cruise line has just launched its first venture into river cruising. Ellie Fulcher, sales manager for groups explains why the added offering will have so much appeal to Fred. Olsen customers.
Ellie, please tell us why river cruising has been added to the Fred. Olsen portfolio.
Our river and waterways cruises on ocean ships have always been some of our most popular itineraries. Guests love the experience of scenic cruising and arriving right in the heart of destinations, with everything just a short walk away. This river cruise programme is, therefore, a natural extension to what we already offer. Although river cruising is growing in popularity, it is still smaller than ocean cruising, with a lot of growth potential.
Where are the new cruises going?
The river cruise programme will take in some of Europe’s most beautiful rivers, including the Danube, Rhine, Main and Moselle, on a total of 30 departures between 5th April and 3rd November 2018, on board 156-guest river boat, Brabant.
The itineraries include: Düsseldorf, Germany to Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Düsseldorf to Nuremberg, Germany; Nuremberg to Budapest, Hungary; Budapest to Hirsova (Bucharest), Romania; Düsseldorf to Basel, Switzerland; and Hirsova (Bucharest) to Düsseldorf.
What do some of the itineraries include?
We’ve incorporated a large amount of scenic cruising in daylight hours into our new river cruise itineraries, so that guests can make the most of the spectacular scenery on offer at the best time of the day. Groups can choose to sail the Danube, taking in the major cities and wildlife-rich Danube Delta; spot the highlights of the heart of Europe along the twists and turns of the Moselle, Rhine and Main valleys; or enjoy a ‘taster’ cruise to Amsterdam, when the tulips are in full bloom.
Pictured: Ellie Fulcher, sales manager for groups.
Do you have a particular river cruise you predict will be popular?
The best-selling river cruises for 2018 to date are the Danube river cruises, featuring the wonderful Danube cities such as Vienna and Budapest.
Have you anything planned yet for river cruising in 2019?
I can confirm that we will be operating a Brabant river cruise programme in 2019 to the same rivers, the Danube, Rhine, Main and Moselle, offering 19 departures from April through to October 2019, ranging from five nights to 25 nights duration. This new 2019 programme will go on general sale on 12th March this year.
Why do you think the new cruises are appealing to groups?
Many groups are already familiar with the Fred. Olsen brand and its intimate small ship cruise experience. Several groups have already enjoyed a river or waterways cruise experience in Europe on board our ocean cruise ship Braemar. Therefore it is a natural progression for groups to transition to a Fred. Olsen river cruise aboard Brabant in Europe.
What will make Fred. Olsen’s river cruises stand out from the crowd?
We do not believe that anyone else is offering our unique combination of a traditional, British experience; a friendly, welcoming atmosphere; and ‘closer’ scenic cruising. We believe that, with these elements combined, backed by the reliability of the Fred. Olsen brand and underpinned by our ‘Enjoyment Promise’, we are unique in the UK market.
And Ellie, if you had to give one reason, why should groups book their holiday with Fred. Olsen?
Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is proud to have won the Best Cruise Line for Groups Award seven times in recent years as voted for by readers of Group Leisure & Travel magazine. We believe that we can offer group organisers a reliable pre-cruise personalised service, and all group quotes are tailor-made subject to their individual needs. GTOs and their groups can relax, happy in the knowledge that all the holiday details will be taken care of. All they have to do is relax and enjoy it every step of the way.
Pictured: The restaurant onboard the Brabant.
Three benefits for groups sailing with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines
1. Groups have the choice of buying either a fly/cruise package with scheduled flights and transfers from UK airports, or the option of buying ‘cruise only’, arranging their own transport arrangements to/from the vessel.
2. There is a choice of free value-added benefits which will be available to groups on request (these may vary depending on the cruise chosen).
3. A dedicated group sales team recognise that every group has solo travellers, and based on this Fred. Olsen will be offering reduced sole occupancy rates in selected grades of twin cabins to accommodate these guests.
Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines - Group Sales Team: