Classic Collection hints at cruise portfolio launch

Classic Collection has hinted it will launch a luxury cruise portfolio next year.

Speaking at the operator’s third annual conference in Crete, chief executive Andy Freeth (pictured) suggested adding cruise would be a “natural progression” for Classic Collection, and would “complement” its existing product base, which includes a small selection of Egypt and Croatia sailings.

He told Travel Weekly Classic Collection is discussing the expansion with travel agents and suppliers to see where how it could differentiate itself from other operators to create a “unique twist” on the luxury cruise space.

Freeth previously introduced a cruise portfolio in his role as chief executive of If Only, while Classic’s director of agency sales & marketing Si Morris-Green spent five years as marketing director for Planet Cruise, so “this wouldn’t be our first rodeo”, Freeth added.

“Adding cruise is something we’re talking about with our agent partners and we’re looking at how we can strike up partnerships with suppliers,” Freeth said.

“We don’t want to be the same as other people in this space, we need to bring differentiation and value.

“Cruise does complement what we already do. Si launched a cruise business and I brought cruise into If Only so at a senior level we’ve got the knowledge and the networks but we need to think carefully before we launch it.”

Classic Collection currently offers river cruises on the Nile as well as a small range of Dalmatian coastline cruises in Croatia.

Freeth said that if the operator expands its cruise portfolio, it would focus on selling boutique ocean cruises and would consider adding a wider range of river cruises at a later date.

“We’re already in the cruise space in Egypt and Croatia and it’s selling really well so it makes sense to build on that.

“We might need to bring in some talent to support our plans or we might even have some inhouse who we can then offer additional training; there’s a lot to look at,” he said.

He added: “We don’t have a firm date of when we would launch but watch this space.”

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