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Discover the Story Behind This Video Celebrating 30 Years at Sea

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Discover the Story Behind This Video Celebrating 30 Years at Sea

We sat down with Bob Simpson, Vice President of Expedition Cruising, to talk about the story behind A&K’s new video celebrating 30 years of Luxury Expedition Cruising and capturing things you can’t convey in a brochure. Here’s our conversation with Bob.

By Nina Kokotas Hahn, A&K Staff Writer | October 22, 2020


Q. To celebrate 30 years of Luxury Expedition Cruises, A&K sent a film crew to Antarctica to shoot a new video focused on the Expedition Team. Why the focus on the team?

We wanted to visually show the intangible aspect of what we do differently on our cruises. A big part of this is the incredible Expedition Team we’ve put together over decades and that add tremendous depth to the experience. There are two quotes from the video that I think really nailed it.

Naturalist and Zodiac Driver Rich Pagen talks in the beginning about the value of travelling in the company of experts who can convey to you everything that you’re seeing and learning about at exactly the right time and in a way that engages all of your senses. He says, “the value of coming with Abercrombie & Kent to a place like this is that you have a team of experts, who are with you in your experience — who are next to you, who are showing you things that you may not have seen on your own, who are answering your questions and helping you to take advantage of these moments where you can really use all your senses to experience this magnificent place.”

Our Expedition Director Suzana Machado D’Oliveira also says something that’s essential to the ethos of our team. “For us,” she says, “the important thing is to teach and make people understand where they are and make that go right into their soul.” That’s a very powerful concept that’s hard to show it in the pages of a brochure. But through the course of this video, you can glimpse these inspiring moments. You can see exactly what we do.

Q. What was the one thing you hoped the video would show?

Short of actually being there, I wanted it to show what it was like to cruise with us and how incredible it is to experience Antarctica. It’s difficult to do these things justice in words or pictures — our team and the places we cruise to have always been something you’ve just got to see for yourself. Still, I hoped people watching the video would get these “a-ha” moments. I feel we got pretty darn close to the real thing. The wildlife encounters with marine life were unbelievable. Whale sightings in Antarctica are some of the best in the world and their appearances in the video are breathtaking. The comments shared by our guests about what they were experiencing and learning were also a highlight.

 

Bob Simpson 800x450

Bob Simpson, Vice President, Expedition Cruising at A&K

 

A&K’s Expedition Team is often referred to as “award-winning.” What does that really mean?

One of the guest comments in the video is about being stunned that there were so many highly credentialled academics on board. And it’s true: Members of our Expedition Team include Polar Medal recipients, a Nobel Prize winner, speakers at the Royal Geographical Society and Nikon ambassador photographers. There are scientists like climate change expert, Dr. Jim McClintock, who has had a nearly 30-year endowment from the National Science Foundation for his work in Antarctica, and former astronaut Dr. Kathy Sullivan, who was also the first American woman to walk in space. So, yes, while A&K has won awards for our expedition cruises, when we say award-winning, we’re really talking about this team of incredibly qualified individuals with an exceptional depth of experience and accomplishment. These are the experts that know how to share an experience that, like Suzana says, touches your soul. They don’t just show up for lectures — they’re always out and spending time with guests out on deck, in the lounges and restaurants, on the zodiacs, out on shore. This is why they are here, it’s a huge part of the experience we deliver and you see this in the video.

Q. The video marks A&K’s 30th anniversary in Luxury Expedition Cruises. Why did you choose to film the video in Antarctica? How has expedition cruising changed in the last 30 years?

Geoffrey Kent begins the video with a nod to the answer when he says this whole journey started 30 years ago, when A&K embarked on its first expedition for Antarctica. Many things have changed since then. When we first started doing this, we were among a small handful of companies operating in Antarctica; now it’s grown to dozens of operators, if not more. I think what inspires people to go to places like Antarctica is largely the same, but compared to years ago, more travellers want to go because the level of comfort and luxury has evolved and is much higher on the modern ships we charter today. It’s not at all a hard way to get to Antarctica. All that said, so much remains the same for us. We still focus on destinations that are best explored by small ship. Antarctica has always been the genesis of the experience for A&K and our Luxury Expedition Cruises, whether to Antarctica or the Arctic or Greece or the Australian Kimberley, are designed to deliver a thrilling sense of enrichment and education and to reflect the spirit of adventure and flexibility. This is our definition of luxury expedition cruising and we remain true to that.

Q. Does the video tell us anything about the other places A&K cruises to?

People definitely see how incredible Antarctica is, but my hope is that they also see how this rich experience with our Expedition Team is an experience that translates to every destination we go to and everything that we do. Whether it’s out on a Zodiac with our naturalists in Antarctica or in Japan with our local guides and tour directors, guests on A&K Luxury Expedition Cruises are getting the same engaging, adventurous and deeply enriching experience. That because what we do is more than the destination. What A&K delivers is an experience and a team deeply connected to the places we explore.


Watch A&K’s Video Celebrating 30 Years of Luxury Expedition Cruises


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