Alexios Tsokos is hoping that American cruisers will have fond memories of the two ships his company is operating: the Marco Polo and the former the Cunard Countess.

Tsokos is vice president of operations at Cruise & Maritime Voyages USA. The line is based in London, but in September it  officially opened a U.S. sales office, in Fort Lauderdale.

InsightBoth the Marco Polo and the Countess, now operating as the Ocean Countess, accommodate 800 passengers and sail predominantly within Northern and Western Europe, with a focus on the British Isles and Norwegian Fjords, he said.

“In 2012 we will do 13 cruises around the British Isles, visiting remote areas such as the Scottish Shetland and Orkney Islands, while still stopping at major cities such as London, Edinburgh and Dublin,” he said.
Also next year the line will offer 15 Norwegian fjords cruises, with some of them extending into the Arctic Circle and calling at the North Cape and Spitzbergen, Norway.

Up to now, the lion’s share of passengers have been British, but with the new Florida office, Tsokos said that eventually Americans will comprise upward of 20% of passengers.

The line offers standard 10% commission but will pay higher rates depending on productivity, Tsokos said.
Due to the size of the vessels and, in the case of the Marco Polo, a reinforced hull, the ships can visit several smaller and more remote ports than larger ships can get into, Tsokos said.

Onboard, he added, clients can expect a leisurely “home away from home” experience.

The line doesn't allow passengers younger than 16 on the Marco Polo. “This has proven to be well liked among our guests,” said Tsokos.

In addition to Britain and the Norwegian coast, other itineraries feature the Baltic and Russia, along with Spain, Portugal, Morocco and the Canary Islands.

The ships sail from six U.K. ports -- London, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Hull, Newcastle and Greenock -- and the line offers pre- and post-cruise packages in London and Edinburgh.

The line’s Treasures of the British Isles, a 10-night cruise from Newcastle, departs May 13 with fares from $1,358 per person, double. Port calls include Honfleur, France; St. Mary’s, Isles of Scilly; Kirkwall, Orkney Islands; Tobermory, Isle of Mull; Invergordon, Scotland; Milford Haven, Wales; and Belfast. Retailers can review itineraries and pricing at www.cruisemaritimevoyages.com.

The phone number for the U.S. sales office is (954) 616-5343.

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