Cruise lines seeking endorsement for new capacity will find it hard to top Hebridean Island Cruises.
The niche small-ship operator has been granted a royal warrant by the Queen, making it the only holiday brand to enjoy her official seal of approval.
It means the operator, part of the All Discovery Cruising group, can display the royal crest and the words “by appointment to HM the Queen” on its brochure and website.
Sister operator Voyages of Discovery will almost double capacity next year when 556-berth ship Voyager becomes the brand’s second ship.
The granting of the warrant for the ‘provision of cruise holidays’ comes after the Queen chartered Hebridean Princess for her 80th birthday in 2006 and chartered the vessel again in 2010.
It comes as All Discovery Cruising, which also owns sister line Swan Hellenic, revealed its intention to increase the proportion of its sales made through the trade from 25% to 45%.
Roger Allard, chairman of All Discovery Cruising parent All Leisure Group, said: “We are very proud of the fact that we have been involved in providing holidays for the Queen and her family.”
Allard said the operator currently deals with 540 travel agents in the UK, but he wants to sell more through them and to find new agents to work with.
The group has strengthened its trade sales team including the recent additions of former Fred Olsen marketing director Nigel Lingard and Rebecca Lott in a business development team.
Allard said: “We decided that with new ship Voyager soon to join the fleet we wanted to increase our business though travel agents.
“We pay a basic 10% commission and our average selling price is between £3,000 and £6,000, so we think that’s a good stimulus for agents.”
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