The recent launch of two new cruise lines tied to the former Orient Lines brands, which operated one small, upscale cruise ship and focused on culture and history, suggests that there may be room to expand the niche cruise market.
Gerry Herrod, the founder of Orient Lines, is behind the launch of Voyages to Antiquity, a cruise line centered on Mediterranean history and culture. Herrod purchased a 1973-built ship, the Aegean Odyssey, to launch Voyages to Antiquity, a line that is focused on cruisers more interested in culture than caviar, and less about hardware than hard facts.
Herrodd’s inspiration for the line came from a history book, John Julius Norwich’s “The Middle Sea,” that examines the rise and fall of civilizations in the Mediterranean region, from ancient Greece to World War I.
The 42-year-old Marco Polo, the sole former Orient Lines ship, will be used to launch an adults-only, U.K.-based cruise line called Cruise & Maritime Voyages. Cruise & Maritime Voyages will target mature UK cruisers that appreciate being at sea, but are looking for an experience that is both dignified and affordable.
The birth of these cruise brands contrasts with the current trend of building huge floating resorts or very luxurious smaller ships. These new lines focus on culture and enrichment, and deliver it on classic cruise ship experience.
While cruise news headlines focus on the largest ships and their most jaw-dropping, newfangled amenities, there are many people out there who cruise in order to see new parts of the world and understand their significance.
What do you think? Can these classic vessels offer enriching travel experiences while sustaining a financially viable business? Or does dated hardware no longer have a place in the modern cruise industry?
Visit Ralph’s web site, www.avidcruiser.com, to contact him and for additional articles about cruising.