Glacier Bay Cruiseline was recently sold, and the line's new
president, Bob Brennan, the former president of Sunmakers Travel
Group, talked with Travel Weekly senior editor Rebecca Tobin about
running the small-ship line in Alaska.
Q: What interests you about a small company
like Glacier Bay Cruiseline?
A: Its uniqueness. I've tried several times to
buy a company like this. ... What interested me is that it's an
adventure product. It's not like your typical cruise operation.
Q: What are your plans for Glacier Bay?
A: We [Brennan and his fellow investors] bought
three of the four ships: the Wilderness Explorer, the Wilderness
Adventurer and the Wilderness Discoverer.
The other ship, the Executive Explorer, is a 49-passenger,
overnight vessel, and we're in the process of putting a deal
together to buy it, as well. We've got our 2004 brochure out.
Q: We've heard that commissions have not been
paid out on voyages taken last year. What's going on?
A: I'm dealing with every one of [the agents
who haven't been paid]. I have paid several of them. I didn't have
to do it because I bought the assets of the company. [But] I'm a
firm believer in the travel agent community.
I want to introduce myself [to agents], if nothing else, and
check the validity of the claims.
Q: Are you concerned that there might be
hesitation for agents to book?
A: I was fully aware there were commissions
that had not been paid, and I'm dealing with that.
It wasn't just travel agents [who didn't get paid], it was
suppliers and everybody else. I personally deal with all of those
folks. Nobody wants to get a form letter.
All of our money that comes in goes to an escrow account. From
that standpoint, [agents] should feel comfortable.
Q: Do your ships typically operate during the
A: We're looking at maybe Costa Rica or the Sea
of Cortes. We're not sure yet how we're going to position it.
[Right now] we're just looking to get through Alaska. We've lost
a few months of marketing time.
Q: How will you market and promote this
A: The normal, run-of-the-mill advertising. In
publications such as [Travel Weekly]. Newspapers. Tertiary markets,
not the big ones. We have some new offerings. We had early booking,
which most of the cruise lines have. And then we have a standby
seniors program, on short notice.
We have a new program in the Columbia River, which allows the
customer to do seven rivers in seven days. I'm excited about the
Columbia River [cruises] because nobody's tried the high adventure
stuff. It's not only very scenic, but there's a tremendous amount
To contact reporter Rebecca Tobin, send e-mail to [email protected].