Seabourn Cruises has partnered with Unesco, the education and culture arm of the United Nations, to support the agency's list of World Heritage sites with donations and a package of cruises to World Heritage destinations, many of which are attractive to upscale cruisers.
As part of the alliance, Seabourn has committed to raising $1 million for Unesco over several years.
Seabourn currently visits about 150 of the nearly 1,000 sites that have been listed since the recognition program began in 1978. A donation to Unesco will be included on excursions to select sites, Seabourn President Rick Meadows said in a video about the program.
In addition, Seabourn plans to create a series of premium tours with content exclusive to Seabourn. A Unesco donation will also be included in the price of the tour.
Seabourn said the agreement would enable its guests to get new insights and behind-the-scenes information about current and future World Heritage sites and programs.
A series of World Heritage books will be available onboard, and experts on world heritage subjects will be part of Seabourn's online enrichment program, Seabourn Conversations.
"We are committed to providing our guests with a deeper appreciation and understanding of the many World Heritage sites we visit around the world and the important work Unesco is doing," Meadows said.
Rich Skinner, co-owner of Cruise Holidays of Woodinville, Wash., said very experienced cruisers and upper-end customers are likely to respond to the partnership.
"It is often the determiner of what itinerary to choose, because they've been to so many of the standard cruise port destinations," Skinner said. "This is still a very slim segment, but these kinds of new attractions are often more enticing than, say, a new restaurant concept or some other product improvement."
Of the 981 sites currently listed, 46 are marine sites, such as the Galapagos Islands. Scores of others are either port cities, such as Venice and Bordeaux, France, or are within a several-hours bus ride of a port.
Last year, 19 sites were added to the list, including Mount Etna in Sicily, which is on a Seabourn excursion offered from Messina.
To qualify for Unesco's list, a site must have "outstanding universal value" and meet at least one of 10 other criteria.