Founded in 2000 by travel industry veterans Phil Hoffmann and Kevin Dale, Cruiseco was initially conceived as a private club-cum-industry association for leading cruise specialist travel agencies. There was a start-up membership of 20 people.
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Today, Cruiseco, which is based in Sydney, distributes more than 50 cruise brands to more than 300 member agencies in Australia, New Zealand and the UK. These agents have been selected for their expert and firsthand knowledge of the cruise industry. Cruiseco's head office is in Sydney, with 70 employees, plus four more full-time staff in the UK office.
During the past 18 years, Cruiseco has become a major charterer of ships. In October 2012, the company launched its own custom-built river ship, Cruiseco Adventurer. A boutique vessel carrying no more than 60 passengers, the ship offers almost weekly departures on the Mekong River to key destinations in Vietnam and Cambodia. The success of this launch was followed in October 2014 by the maiden voyage of Cruiseco Explorer, another custom-built luxury vessel. Designed for Burmese waters, the elegant ship cruises the Upper Irrawaddy and Chindwin waters on 14-night itineraries throughout Myanmar.
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Both ships, Cruiseco Adventurer and Cruiseco Explorer, are triple-decked luxury ships. Adventurer carries a maximum of 60 passengers in 30 staterooms, including four suites, while the Explorer can host up to 56 passengers in 28 cabins. With polished timber floors throughout and floor-to-ceiling French windows that open to reveal private balconies, the cabins resemble upscale hotel rooms.
Cruiseco's river cruises are all-inclusive, with fares covering onboard gratuities, extensive sightseeing with local guides, all meals plus soft drinks and alcoholic beverages served with lunch and dinner. Meals are served in the restaurant on the upper deck, from a menu featuring local produce and Western cuisine.
An outdoor terrace sun deck has tables, chairs, banana lounges and a small pool. A compact gym meets the onboard needs of dedicated exercise enthusiasts, while a small spa offers facials, massages and other treatments.
Entertainment includes live music and movie nights as well as special demonstrations by local performers in select ports.
Passengers stay in deluxe accommodation -- both pre- and post-cruise -- at well-known five-star hotels including Raffles Grand Hotel D'Angkor in Siem Reap and Sule Shangri-La Hotel Yangon.
Cruiseco's two river ships attract well-travelled, time-rich passengers who are interested in authentic holiday experiences. According to the line, Cruiseco Adventurer and Explorer river cruise passengers tend to be aged over 40, with interests ranging from the arts and music to local culture and history. The majority of passengers are from Australia, followed by New Zealand and the UK.
Customers of Cruiseco travel agents are as diverse as the wide selection of worldwide cruises and packages on offer, from family holiday cruises to themed trips, small ship expeditions to luxury ocean voyages.