Australis, the cruise line of Patagonia, is expanding its
sales efforts in the U.S. ahead of the delivery of a new ship next year.
The line expects to begin sailing the 210-passenger
Ventus Australis in January 2018, when it will join a sister ship, the Stella
Australis, on routes between Ushuaia, Argentina, and Punta Arenas, Chile.
In recognition that the small expedition line needs more
marketing resources devoted to the U.S. market, Australis has hired a new North
American sales director and is adding five regional sales representatives.
Sales director Filipe Castro said he has almost finished
hiring the new sales reps for territories in Florida, Texas, New York, Chicago
and the U.S. West Coast.
"Travel agents don't know we exist," said Castro,
who spent nearly two decades with LAN Airlines in Miami and Peru, and most
recently was an independent GSA for Marriott International in Santiago, Chile.
The line, owned by three Chilean brothers, has been in
existence for 27 years but only offers cruises in Patagonia, primarily to
markets in North America and Europe.
Castro said earlier this year he held meetings with 66
agencies in Florida and came away with interest from 25.
Castro said the typical passenger is seeking adventure,
looking for new things and wanting to learn. Most North Americans doing the
cruise extend their stay in Chile or Argentina. He said they generally are city
lovers who spend time in Santiago or Buenos Aires, or they are rugged nature
lovers who spend more time on land in Patagonia.
Some passengers also combine an Australis cruise with Easter
Island, Castro said.
The Ventus, being built at the Asenav shipyard in Valdivia,
Chile, will have more floor-to-ceiling windows than the Stella but will
otherwise be similar, Castro said. He said their shallow-draft construction
allows for a more complete exploration of Patagonia than an ocean-going ship
Australis commissioned the new-build after selling its
smaller Via Australis ship last year to Lindblad Expeditions for use in the
The Ventus will sail four-night cruises, one departing
Ushuaia going west and one departing Punta Arena going east, at prices starting
at $1,440 per person.