Friday, 27 December 2013

New river cruise line sails in Russia, Ukraine

New river cruise line sails in Russia, Ukraine

By Michelle Baran

Two cruise operators have partnered to create World Quest Cruises, which is offering river cruises in Russia and Ukraine, among other destinations, to travellers in North America.

World Quest Cruises is a joint venture of Huntington, N.Y.-based Imperial River Cruises and Moscow-based Orthodox Cruise Co. Global Voyages Group of Bellevue, Wash., has been tapped to provide North American sales, marketing and call center support.

Imperial and Orthodox have been operating cruises in Russia and Ukraine for more than 20 years, and finally decided to sell their product directly to the North American market.

“The principal advantage is the experience — they’ve been operating ships in Russia for more than 20 years,” said Tom Russell, managing partner at Global Voyages Group. “The second is the value. Their products are typically 20% lower-priced than some of the other products that are available. That’s because there’s no middleman involved. They are the supplier.”

Starting in 2014, World Quest Cruises is offering river cruise itineraries in Russia and Ukraine, Portugal, Vietnam and Cambodia, as well as expedition cruises in Antarctica and the North Pole.

The company will sell into ships that Orthodox owns and operates in Russia and Ukraine, and charter other river cruise vessels.

World Quest's expedition cruises to Antarctica will be aboard the 114-passenger Sea Explorer. The 128-passenger icebreaker 50 Years of Victory will travel on a 14-day trip from the Russian port of Murmansk to the North Pole.

The North Pole itinerary will run from June 19 through Aug. 8, 2014, with prices starting at $24,995 per person, based on double occupancy.

In 2015, the company will expand its Russian river cruise offering with a 12-day itinerary between Moscow and St. Petersburg aboard the 100-passenger Princess Anabella, a vessel that is being refurbished for the 2015 program.

Prices for this river cruise start at $4,495 per person, plus port taxes and fuel surcharges. World Quest Cruises will have exclusive access to the Princess Anabella in 2015.