|Le Boreal will be chartered by A&K in Antarctica in 2010.|
There might be a new leader in Antarctica cruise, and it goes by the name of Abercrombie & Kent. The president of the luxury tour operator, Scott Wiseman, stopped by Travel Agent on Thursday and clued us in on its newest ship charter, the newly built 199-passenger Le Boreal, which is really unlike any expedition ship we’ve ever seen before. It’ll debut in the region in December 2010.
It should also benefit from new IMO regulations in Antarctica, which ban the transportation and use of heavy grade oils by ships in the Antarctic Ocean and come into effect in 2011. In essence, it will only allow ships to use only lighter grade oils, which are easier to clean up if there is a spill. “This could result in a drop of around 42 percent of vessels operating in Antarctica,” Wiseman says.
Le Boreal has many of the same bells and whistles of a luxury ship, including balconies on all staterooms. Onboard, there will be two restaurants: La Licorne, which will offer gourmet cuisine, and the casual La Boussole. Wiseman tells us there will also be a heated outside pool and a full spa.
Pricing for the Antarctica itineraries is from $9,995 per person.
Wiseman also gave us an update on A&K’s business over the past few months. “It has looked good,” he said. “Folks are booking farther out. When they call shorter out, they are stunned with the lack of availability.
Abercrombie has also done many things to make their 2010 pricing more appealing and added levers such as price assurance and job-loss protection. “It  will be one of the best years to travel from a value standpoint,” he said.
He also promoted A&K’s “very popular” Private Journeys, which is kind of like a pre-built FIT program for 1 to 4 people.
Travel advisors are advised to check out A&K’s travel agent portal on their website, www.abercrombiekent.com.