Virtuoso invites Aurora Expeditions into the family

Australian cruise company joins stable of preferred APAC partners

Sylvia Earle render, South Georgia

The Virtuoso luxury travel network has welcomed Australian expedition cruise operator, Aurora Expeditions, into its Regional Preferred Partners Program across Asia-Pacific.

Aurora Expeditions joins Virtuoso’s handpicked list of luxury travel partners across the airline, hotel, cruise and tour operator sectors.

The partnership connects Aurora Expeditions with 1,500+ elite Virtuoso luxury travel advisors in the region.

“As leaders of experiential travel, Virtuoso members are certainly an outstanding fit for Aurora. It was a really natural progression for us and a perfect fit,” said Monique Ponfoort, CEO Aurora Expeditions.

Greg Mortimer in Antarctica | Credit: Scott Portelli

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“We truly value the unrivalled reputation of Virtuoso member advisors, and we really look forward to offering their clients next-level expedition travel experiences that surpass their expectations.”

Ponfoort told LATTE discussions between Aurora and Virtuoso had been underway for some time, and she was now “thrilled” to make the news official.

“Being invited into the Virtuoso APAC family means the absolute world to us. We’re absolutely thrilled to join the powerhouse network and deliver these exceptional expedition experiences for their customers.”

Under the partnership, Virtuoso travel advisors will be able to offer their clients booking Aurora Expeditions a bonus perk of US$100 per person per cruise, to put towards an onboard amenity.

Michael Londregan, SVP Global Operations for Virtuoso, said: “Aurora has a rich history of exploration and innovation, which drives unique experiences, and we are looking forward to working with the Aurora team as we get our clients travelling and living their best travel lives.”

Superior Balcony Stateroom, Greg Mortimer

Quizzed by LATTE if the Regional Preferred Partner Program admission is a foot in the door to expand globally, Ponfoort said: “We always have an eye to the future, and that would be a great next step, and certainly a good fit with us, but the immediate focus will be to increase advisor awareness and knowledge in this region of Aurora’s unique proposition.”

“Right now we are very focussed on Asia Pacific and the network of members we can work with here.”

“Being an Australian company, it’s a natural fit for Aurora to start with members in its own region.”

Ponfoort and Steve McLaughlin, Director of Sales, Asia Pacific will attend the upcoming Virtuoso Forum in Sydney to reconnect and engage with industry partners and friends.

“A lot of people know us very well, and other people are still learning what our product is and why we are so clearly differentiated as an expedition small ship operator.”

“We are so humbled and so privileged to be invited into Virtuoso APAC family and for that, we are very, very grateful,” Ponfoort said.

Library, Greg Mortimer

“While the last year has been incredibly challenging for travel advisors, we know the future is bright and we look forward to welcoming Virtuoso agents and their clients into our Aurora Expeditions community,” McLaughlin added.

Virtuoso travel advisors can access the Aurora Expeditions profile which includes voyages, pricing sheets, images, trip notes and other relevant collateral via their portal.

Lead image: Sylvia Earle render, South Georgia

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