Explora Journeys accepted into Virtuoso

High-end travel network Virtuoso has welcomed new luxury cruise line Explora Journeys into its portfolio of travel partners.

The line, which was unveiled earlier this year by parent company MSC Group, will launch the first of four new ships in 2023 with a focus on state-of-the-art technology and responsible tourism. 

It is the first cruise line to be invited into Virtuoso’s Preview programme, which allows brands to partner with the network during their crucial launch phase to receive guidance from travel advisors and get a head start on bookings.

“We are excited to name Explora Journeys as our first Preview cruise line,” said Matthew D. Upchurch, chairman and chief executive of Virtuoso.

“What Explora is doing in terms of responsible tourism aligns with our own ethos of travel as a force for good. And, coming out of the gate with such an innovative compensation model shows their strong support of travel advisors. 

“Welcoming Explora into the Virtuoso network prior to their first ship launching is a testament to our faith in this company, their leadership, and their product.”

Luxury travel network Virtuoso comprises more than 2,000 preferred suppliers in 100 countries. Its agencies sell an average of $25-30 billion annually worldwide.

Explora Journeys' acceptance into Virtuoso gives it direct relationships with leading leisure travel agencies in North and Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa and the Middle East. 

The cruise line will offer a By Appointment Service, which allows travel advisors the exclusive ability to wait-list a suite with no obligation for any of its inaugural journeys.

The line said it will also offer “generous” commissions, no Non -Commissionable Fees (NCFs), commission paid on optional add-ons, easy move-and-change policies and a “robust” experience centre for e-learning and performing and marketing suites. 

The line’s chief executive, Michael Ungerer, said: “We are immensely honoured and excited about the opportunity to partner with Virtuoso, which is a testament to our commercial strategy.

“Through a significant investment in research, including luxury roundtables, surveys and focus groups, we have created a customer-centric brand that will exceed the expectations of discerning luxury travellers looking for sustainable and responsible travel. 

“We therefore feel very privileged to be starting our journey with Virtuoso, and on behalf of the entire Explora Journeys team, we look forward to a mutually beneficial and respected strategic partnership for the long term.”

Explora Journeys’ chief sales officer, Chris Austin, added: “We are totally committed to our partnership with Virtuoso. The travel advisor community has been at the core of everything we do, and they remain a vital part of our future.

“Our relationship with Virtuoso is based on long-held respect and commitment, and our new partnership provides all global Virtuoso member agencies with a compelling new brand, stunning ships and guest experience designed with purpose, and a portfolio of commercial policies to ensure doing business with us is joyful. We are so looking forward to engaging proactively with Virtuoso members for many years to come.”


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