Abercrombie & Kent
800 554 7016 M-F 8-7, Sat 9-1 CT
or speak to your travel professional

Meet Our Passionate Expedition Team

Our award-winning experts lend invaluable insight throughout the journey. Meet the team accompanying you aboard exclusively chartered, all-balcony 'Le Soleal.'

Expedition Cruise Staff

Jannie Cloete
Cruise Director

A South Africa native, Jannie Cloete has travelled around the globe from the Antarctic to the tropics and the remotest hidden gems in between. She has served as A&K’s principal Cruise Director since 2003 and has led more than 10 journeys throughout Japan.

Suzana Machado D’Oliviera
Expedition Leader

Brazilian-born, Suzana is an accomplished adventurer who studied history at the Catholic University in Rio de Janeiro. She led A&K’s 2013 Wonders of Japan cruise and has worked as an expedition leader, cruise director, naturalist, lecturer and Tour Director since 1988.

Sally Escanilla
Assistant Cruise Director

Even as a child, Sally dreamed of a life at sea. Joining ‘Le Soléal’ from New Zealand’s South Island, Sally’s great love of the ocean has drawn her back to the sea in many different roles over the years. She has worked with A&K for almost 14 years, in roles ranging from deck hand to chief purser, cook and Zodiac driver.

Patricia Silva
Naturalist/Tour Director

Born in Mercedes, Uruguay, Patricia received her doctoral degree at the National University of Mar del Plata in Argentina, where she continues her research today. An A&K favorite, Patricia has worked as a Tour Manager and lecturer for over a decade onboard expeditions throughout the world, including in Africa, South America and South Pacific.

Riëtte Botes
Excursion Manager

A Johannesburg, South Africa, resident, Riëtte previously worked in various management positions on cruise ships and as shop manager on A&K’s ‘Explorer.’ Riëtte is a seasoned veteran, having held various management positions aboard cruise ships worldwide for nearly 20 years.

Nadia Eckhardt
Tour Director

Born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa, Nadia earned a business degree before beginning her cruising career in Southern Africa and Europe. She went on to explore the Polar regions, Central and South America, the South Pacific, and East Asia.

Richard Escanilla
Tour Director

A native of Manila, Philippines, Richard has travelled throughout the Polar regions and the Pacific. He now resides in New Zealand, where he is a sea kayak guide at Abel Tasman National Park.

Enrichment Specialists

Chieko Sakihana
Cultural Expert

Born and raised in Osaka, Japan, Chieko attended a graduate program in linguistics before teaching at the high school and college levels and, later, becoming a tour guide. During her 25-year career, she has escorted everyone from European royalty and heads of state to distinguished A&K guests visiting Japan.

Richard Harker
Photography Enrichment

A wildlife and landscape photographer for over 20 years, Richard helms the expedition’s photo enrichment program, offering hands-on, technique-driven instruction and lectures. He assists guests with wide range of photo techniques and strategies, whether they favor a simple point-and-shoot camera or a state-of-the-art digital SLR.

Mark Brazil
Natural History Enrichment

A resident of Hokkaido in northern Japan, Mark was born and educated in England and Scotland and has spent several years living in New Zealand. He earned his Ph.D. for his work on Icelandic avian ecology and behavior from Stirling University in Scotland. He has penned a natural history column for The Japan Times since 1982 and authored several books, including The Birds of East Asia.

Mayumi Kanamura-Brazil
Japan Culinary and Contemporary Culture Enrichment

Born and educated in Hokkaido, Japan’s northern most island, Mayumi studied Japanese literature, and she is a trained reflexologist and interpreter. She has traveled throughout Europe, South Asia and New Zealand, and especially she enjoys sharing her own culture with others.

Dr. Lee Makela
Japanese Gardens, Architecture Enrichment

Holding a Ph.D. in East Asian History from Stanford University, Dr. Makela is an Associate Professor Emeritus at Cleveland State University. He has lived and worked in Japan over fifty years. His research interests include urban cultural history, traditional and contemporary architecture and garden design.

Kim Saunders
Arts, Textiles and Religions Enrichment

A graduate of international politics and history with a master’s in education, Kim has authored pieces on dyed and hand-woven textiles, and she works on cross-cultural programs emphasizing ethnography, religion and the arts and cultures of Japan.

Michael Saunders
Japan Business and Economics Enrichment

A graduate from New College Oxford with a master’s in modern history, Michael has lived in Southeast Asia for 25 years. He regularly lectures in Asia and Europe on Asian business practice, cultural adaptation and leadership skills.