Ann-Cathrin Bröcker, general manager and owner of Iceland ProTravel Germany, was recently interviewed by Global Cruise News. Here are some excerpts from that interview:
What makes the product so outstanding?
Two-thirds of the people [in Iceland] live in and around the capital Reykjavik, which obviously implies that the infrastructure on the rest of the island is not that well developed. The guests on our ship, Ocean Diamond, are not dependent on any hotel on land. Since there has been a real hype for traveling to Iceland since 2011, there is not much capacity left on land.
We are the sole company offering cruises with stops at every minor harbor around Iceland onboard a compact ship, so that the small villages around the coast won’t get overcrowded. The island has the perfect size — with nine stops there are a lot of possibilities to explore Iceland every day.
The Icelandic Krona [currency] developed strongly and the prices on land have risen to about 30 percent in the past three years. We charter the Ocean Diamond in US dollars, therefore our prices have barely changed at all.
Our main concept though is to bring Iceland onboard the Ocean Diamond. We buy our fish from local companies, we sell Icelandic beer as well as handcrafts and clothes in the store, and also our English and German speaking expedition team comes from Iceland.
Which nationalities are mainly onboard the Ocean Diamond?
When we started five years ago, 60 to 65 percent of our clients came from Germany, Switzerland and Austria, the rest mainly from the United States and Canada. Presently, the numbers have switched and we welcome more clients from the United States on average.
What the role of partners in selling the cruises?
We sell 35 percent of our cruises directly over the website and around 65 percent over our sales partners, which include travel agencies and operators.
In the US market, the main part of our cruises is sold over our sales partners. We work together with Emerging Destinations, a company that organizes webinars and introduces our products to their clients consisting of travel agencies and operators. This was a very successful way to grow here.
Is IPC is searching for a new [second] ship?
We only cover a very small part of the big demand, especially in the United States. So of course, we are thinking of a second ship, perhaps cruising in the opposite direction of the Ocean Diamond or simply following her two or three days later. Having two ships available would enable some huge advantages. For example, we could provide one ship only for the German-speaking market and the other ship for the guests from the US/UK.