New for 2020 — Audley Travel expands its cruise offering and introduces further new destinations
Spain, Portugal and South Korea join the portfolio of destinations for land-based trips
Cruising the Audley way
Tour operator Audley Travel is expanding its cruise offering for 2020, partnering with a carefully selected group of cruise operators to offer clients the best of land and sea as part of its tailor-made trips.
Audley’s cruise specialists not only understand the ships and intricacies of cruising, but also the destinations and most importantly, how to design a cruise itinerary the ‘Audley way’. The itineraries will not be just water based, instead the cruise element will be incorporated into a client’s trip in a way that suits them best, for example, short cruises at the start or end of their itinerary, as a journey between two destinations or a longer cruise exploring one or more countries in the middle of an itinerary.
The cruise portfolio is focused on providing a quality client experience — the selection will cover a broad range of prices and experiences to suit all budgets and interests. All of the cruise partners have been carefully selected to ensure they meet Audley’s responsible travel ethos and high expectations toward quality and service to ensure Audley can continue to provide unique, meaningful travel experiences to clients.
Audley’s tailor-made cruise itineraries allow clients to reach areas otherwise inaccessible, for example, the Galapagos Islands, Antarctica, the Mekong, Alaska, Komodo and the Chindwin River. Cruises around the Mediterranean will be available later in 2020.
Equally, a client choosing to cruise with Audley will be able to explore a destination in a new way, from a different perspective that enhances their overall trip experience. Destinations include the Arctic, the north and west coasts of Australia, North Africa, Seychelles and the Caribbean.
Alex Bentley, Head of Product for Audley Travel, said: “Audley’s cruise specialists have explored extensively and often lived in their respective destinations or worked on cruise ships during their travel careers, and therefore know exactly where to guide clients in choosing the right cruise and land experiences.”
As with everything Audley does, itineraries including cruises will be tailor-made for each client based on their wish list, budget and tastes. Sample itineraries to inspire their planning include:
Incas & Islands: Machu Picchu and Galapagos tour – a 14-day trip exploring Cusco, the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu and Quito before embarking on a four night Galapagos cruise. The trip costs from £8,150 per person (based on two sharing) and includes all flights, transfers, land-based accommodation on a B&B basis, cruise on a full board basis and excursions.
Cruising the Mekong from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap – a 15-day trip including an eight day cruise along the Mekong from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap, as well as two days exploring the temples of Angkor. The trip costs from £4,395 per person (based on two sharing) and includes all flights, transfers, land-based accommodation on a B&B basis, cruise on a full board basis and excursions.
New Zealand and Australia cruise with Azamara Club Cruises – a 24-day trip including a 15-night cruise covering many of New Zealand’s highlights as well as a few key destinations in Australia, together with time in Sydney, the Blue Mountains and Auckland before and after sailing. The trip costs from £7,760 per person (based on two sharing) and includes all flights, transfers, land-based accommodation on a B&B basis, cruise on a full board basis and excursions.
Spain and Portugal
Following the launch of Iceland, further European destinations will follow in 2020. Sample itineraries are still being worked on, but Audley is delighted to be able to announce that its award-winning tailor-made trips will be available in Spain and Portugal for UK clients from November. The trips will focus on Barcelona, Madrid, the Basque Country (Bilbao and San Sebastian) and Andalucía (Seville, Granada, Córdoba and the Costa del Sol) in Spain, and visitors to Portugal will enjoy exploring Lisbon, Porto, the Douro Valley, Alentejo and Algarve regions.
Clients visiting Spain with Audley will gain new perspectives on the country’s highlights, from the cosmopolitan streets of Madrid to the wineries of La Rioja and the Moorish architecture of the south. Excursions will include local tapas tours, visits to both the highlights and to lesser-known Gaudí buildings of Barcelona, gourmet cooking courses and pintxos tours in San Sebastian, hiking to an ancient monastery in La Rioja along with numerous options for winery visits, Jamon Iberico, sherry and olive oil tasting and guided tours to some of the country’s lesser known highlights.
Audley’s Portugal specialists will draw on their knowledge of the country to plan tours which take in enjoying melancholy fado music in Lisbon, tasting port in Porto and the Douro Valley, and sampling the traditional custard tarts of Belém. Excursions will include a private sailing experience to see Lisbon and Belém from the Tagus like a discovery age explorer, a private river cruise between vineyards with gourmet lunch on the River Douro along with options to explore the storybook landscapes and palaces of Sintra, seeing the country’s iconic, azulejo-clad churches or relaxing on a hacienda style retreat in the countryside, surrounded by vineyards and olive groves.
Audley is delighted to add South Korea to its portfolio of destinations, available to book from early 2020. Until now, a limited number of clients have travelled to Seoul as a stop-over on the way to other Asian destinations (with excellent client feedback) and the programme is being expanded to showcase South Korea as a standalone destination for clients to experience the contrast between the ancient and modern sides of the country. Itineraries will focus around Seoul, Gyeongju (a city on the southeast coast and capital of the 1,000 year long Silla dynasty), Busan (a large port city known for its beaches, mountains and temples) and Jeju island (known for its beach resorts, volcanic landscape of craters and lava tubes).
Excursions are being finalised, but will allow Audley to showcase the food, scenery and outdoor experiences of the country. For example, a popular tour is expected to be a private evening food tour in Seoul with a local guide. The evening will start at the Gwangjang market (popular with locals rather than tourists) to sample the different tastes, flavours and dishes and then move to the Ikseondong area, where the old, protected buildings are converted to bars and cafés. Clients will have the chance to visit the demilitarised zone, where glimpses can be seen of everyday life over the border in North Korea.
Sample itineraries and pricing will be available later in 2019, with trips available to book from the start of 2020.
For more information on all Audley’s trips visit www.audleytravel.com or call 01993 838000.