Alaska-based UnCruise has rolled out the list of itineraries its nine adventure ships will sail from now through spring 2023—and shared with TRO some of the behind-the-scenes changes being instituted to support them.
The roster of 7- to 14-night cruises covers eight destinations in the United States, Latin America, Mexico, and the Galapagos Islands. New for 2022 is the “Wild, Woolly and WOW” seven-night adventure itinerary in the Alaska outback, “which includes hikes, trekking, kayaking and wandering in our guides’ (and CEOs’s) favorite remote locations only accessible by small boat,” marketing director Liz Galloway says.
Returning this year by popular demand is the 86-passenger Safari Endeavour, newly refurbished and sailing Alaska for the first time in two years, and the popular stopover in Haines for historical and land activities.
Behind the Scenes
Like many cruise companies, UnCruise has been seeing a shorter booking window, with many guests booking only 30-60 days in advance rather than the usual 8-12 months, Galloway says. Alaska and Hawaii remain the most popular and frequently booked destinations, though Belize also has been seeing high interest this year.
The demographics of UnCruise customers remain the same, with most being return customers in the 45-75+ age range. But “we are finding that more travelers in the 30-45 age range are now also seeking our style of small-ship cruising, as solo travelers and with families and groups,” she says, “due to both a shift in traveler behavior and our additional advertising for different travel styles.”
Internally, UnCruise has been making a number of changes in the way it does business. It launched a new ad campaign, Break Up with Boring, at the beginning of 2022 to entice people to think differently and create their own “non-boring” adventures.
On the technology front, data analytics are driving more decisions and keeping UnCruises agile and competitive, while a new ERP system creates cohesive access to data across departments.
In the distribution channel, “travel advisors are coming back strong and strongly motivated”—and the company has just finished up a series of webinars and educational panels for them. “They know people are looking for a new and unique product, and small ship cruising is now trending more than ever, with a new consciousness about small footprint slower travel,” Galloway says.
While more than half of its customers book direct, UnCruises also has a great relationship with its travel advisors and features them in its online travel advisor search tool “with their accomplishments like these,” she notes. The company offers “various options to allow travel advisors to join us onboard and understand our unique selling points throughout the year.” These are accessible at https://uncruise.com/pages/agent-fam-and-groups.
The full list of US itineraries through 2023 includes Alaska, on the Safari Endeavour, Safari Explorer, Safari Quest, Wilderness Adventurer, Wilderness Discoverer, Wilderness and Wilderness Legacy; Hawaii on the 36-passenger Safari Explorer; the Pacific Northwest on the 22-guest Safari Quest; and the Columbia and Snake Rivers on the 86-guest Wilderness Legacy.
Also on the agenda are Latin America and Mexico itineraries on the Safari Voyager, and the Galapagos Islands, roundtrip from Ecuador, on the 48-guest La Pinta. And for 2023, the company plans some new additions to its Belize 2023 itineraries to highlight the annular solar eclipse on October 14.