Harry Kemble speaks to cruise specialists onboard line’s debut vessel as it prepares for maiden voyage this week
Agents on Tradewind Voyages’ VIP fam trip have hailed the arrival of tall ship Golden Horizon ahead of its maiden four-night sailing from Dover this week.
Almost 80 agents are currently sailing on the 272-passenger vessel from Portland to Dover after a short shakedown cruise last week.
The new line has had to deal with a series of operational issues brought about by logistics and Covid-19 travel restrictions, forcing the cancellation of two dress rehearsal sailings this summer.
However, the five-mast vessel, which is 70% wind powered during sailings, has been commended by agents with those on board claiming that Tradewind Voyages’ product is “exactly” what experienced cruise customers are looking for.
Agents also believe that customers with a nautical background would be more inclined to book sailings on Golden Horizon’s debut programme rather than new-to-cruise passengers.
Harrow-based Cruise2 managing director Chander Prakash said: “Golden Horizon is something new and fresh – not just for travel agents but for customers. People are looking for bucket list [sailings] and that is exactly what Tradewind Voyages offers.
“Golden Horizon is more for the experienced cruise passenger because new to cruise passengers look for shorter cruises generally. We’ve done quite a lot of bookings. The price point is very competitive for a six-star cruise brand, so this is a good introduction to luxury cruise.”
Scott Anderson, cruise product and marketing director at new agency Luxury Cruise And More, said: “I’ve been marketing it for months and there’s nothing like actually coming on board. You do not realise how big and wide it is. The amount of open space is really impressive.”
He also added that the double deck dining room “is a real treat for guests” and that Tradewind is “elevating the sailing product to the next level”.
“We’ve booked a lot of people that are into yachting or they’re from a nautical background,” he said.
“It will operate under sail for 70% of the time and passengers appreciate that it is more of a sailing experience. Every time a new line comes out which is a bit different it’s always good for the cruise industry because people might be tempted to try this.”
Prakash urged Tradewind to “promote themselves a bit more” to raise awareness.
Sam Redfearn, senior cruise consultant at Paramount Cruises, said: “It is bigger than I thought it would be. Customers are interested in sailing on Golden Horizon because it’s a different experience. I am looking forward to sailing on it.”
Paramount Cruises has already booked customers on Golden Horizon’s six-night Seychelles voyage departing on April 1, 2022. Prices start from £1,749 per person based on two people sharing a cabin.
“We’ve made a handful of bookings so far,” said Redfearn, adding: “The best success we’ve had is with the Seychelles sailing.”
Lee Johnson, Iglu’s head of training, said: “Tradewind is cost accessible. The people that we’ve booked are experienced cruisers that are looking for something a bit different as it’s quite unique.
“Golden Horizon definitely sticks in the mind a lot more and there was interest right away from consumers.
“Tradewind has been really good at providing information and content.”