New Caledonian Sky marks a bright start for APT. APT’s new association with Noble Caledonia arrives just as the expedition ship MS Caledonian Sky joins sister ship MS Island Sky in the Noble Caledonia fleet.
APT’s General Manager Marketing, Debra Fox said both ships offer a warm and peaceful ambience, “what you might expect from a private yacht or country hotel.” “Both reflect the onboard service standards, comfort and luxury style of APT river ships in Europe, so our passengers will be at home with the Noble Caledonia brand,” she said.
“These luxury expedition ships are the size that allow us to access areas not available to large sea cruise ships, so with inflatable Zodiac landing craft we provide easy discovery shore excursions which is what we deliver on our river ships,” Ms Fox said.
MS Caledonian Sky will first sail around Britain, then north to the Arctic before heading for South America, Australasia and the Pacific Rim. APT will have a number of exclusive sailings, including its 85th anniversary celebration cruise in 2013, hosted by Geoff McGeary, cruising through the seven seas of the East Indies from The Philippines to Darwin.
The MS Caledonian Sky accommodates a maximum of 114 passengers in 57 spacious outside suites. John Pond.
“Innovation and growth have gone hand-in-hand,” he said. “It’s an exceptionally fit business and it’s our customers who have made it so, because they keep pushing us for new experiences, as long as those experiences are supported by the APT way of doing things.”
“Our focus is on our customers, making changes quickly, having control over product standards and service delivery and establishing trusting working relationships with our business partners and suppliers.” ”Being a privately owned company, APT also enjoyed the freedom to create and innovate, and deliver operationally … and quickly. The company’s product diversity, financial security and 85 years of experience are integral elements of continuing support APT received from both agents and consumers,” he said.
European river cruise market had grown at a rate of 22% from 2010 to 2011, APT’s growth rate was 36%. This above average growth rate has APT with over 40% of the market here, which makes APT the largest operator. As a result of the recent growth, APT Head Office in Hampton was bursting at the seams. Last year it moved management, reservations, sales and marketing into smart new premises in Cheltenham which Mr McGeary said immediately delivered service efficiencies to agent customers.
Mr McGeary said APT listened to its customers. He is renowned for his own market research, opting to dine and meet with as many customers as possible when ‘road testing’ an APT cruise or tour. In an exotic location, in a relaxed environment over great food and wine, passengers tend to be unrestrained when offering an opinion or comment, he said. Report by John Pond.