One of Australia’s largest tour operators, APT today announced it would be partnering with American line Seabourn in the Kimberley and around the world.

The move follows APT’s decision to sell Caledonian Sky, its ship in the Kimberley.

While APT celebrates its 100th birthday this year it has also seen founder Geoff McGeary hand the running of the business over to his son and daughter, Rob and Louise, who have already made major changes to the river fleet.

Meanwhile, next year ends the three-decades-long partnership it had with AmaWaterways with APT now building its own new fleet of ships.

News of its alliance in luxury ocean cruising was made by Seabourn President Natalya Leahy and APT CEO David Cox.

“It’s been a tough three or four years and we haven’t really been out in the press or trade as we have been quietly building,” said Cox, speaking onboard the Seabourn Odyssey. “Coming back, we knew there was massive pent-up demand.

“We are the largest tour operator in Australia and we have the biggest product range of any tour operator at the last count. This is a true partnership, not only with expedition ships, but we’ll also be taking inventory on the other ships.

“These ships are outstanding, and we‘’re delighted that we‘’ll be taking charters, of the expedition ships in the Kimberley in Antarctica and the Arctic. But we’ll also be taking charters in the Mediterranean and Alaska.”

Australians and Seabourn

Seabourn will be sending expedition ship Seabourn Pursuit to sail South Pacific and Kimberley itineraries for 2024. APT will be using some of their expedition leaders on certain voyages.

Leahy said Australians make up 40 per cent of the bookings for Kimberley in 2024.

“We’ve been debating about the destination. It is such a wonder of the world, but it’s not as well-known as some other regions,” she said.

“We thought about 80 per cent of guests would come from Australia but to our delight, 55 per cent come from over parts of the world. We have had the largest booking from North America, and then the United Kingdom.”

Leahy stressed, though, the importance of the Australian market, which is Seabourn’s third-largest source region. And while Europe is still extremely popular, Alaskan sailings are also high on the list.

“Australia is one of the most loyal markets and it is also the fastest-growing expedition market in the world today. We are incredibly excited to take the Seabourn Pursuit to warm water expeditions in the Kimberley and the South Pacific this year.

“Australia has the highest number of loyal Diamond League guests.”

The South Pacific itineraries

Searbourn will sail 10 expedition voyages in the South Pacific in 2024 and 2025 on Seabourn Pursuit.

Seabourn will offer included expedition experiences at every island, including Zodiac cruising SCUBA diving among untouched coral reefs, to cultural interactions and performances by local communities.

In addition, there will be optional expeditions and excursions available such as submersible dives and kayaking tours in the waters surrounding the numerous islands.

“The South Pacific is a destination that offers the most incredible cultural encounters with indigenous communities whose ancestors explored and settled the previously untamed Pacific Ocean,” said Robin West, Seabourn’s vice president and general manager of expeditions.

“Guests can watch traditional fire dances and visit local villages steeped in ancient traditions while appreciating the natural history.”

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