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Quirky Cruise
October 24, 2015

Small Ship Cruise Line Review: Abercrombie & Kent (tour operator)

Snapshot: Abercrombie & Kent was founded in 1962 as a safari tour operator in East Africa and has since expanded to include much of the world on land tours and a selection of small-ship cruise offerings, on various ships that it charters or books into.


The mighty Rhine flows through the heart of Europe. * Photo: A&K

The mighty Rhine flows through the heart of Europe. * Photo: A&K

Europe: For the extensive riverboat program, with numerous departures scattered throughout the cruising season (April to December), A&K uses Amadeus riverboats, such as AMADEUS SILVER built in 2013 and AMADEUS PROVENCE completed in 2017 and taking from 142 to 180 passengers. The A&K group aboard each departure is limited to 24, led by an A&K tour director in conjunction with a local guide and using a private vehicle when going ashore. Most river cruises last a week, a few longer, and cover the Rhine, Main, Danube, Rhone and Soane, plus Belgian and Dutch waterways during the bulb season and the Danube during Christmas season. Cruises are bracketed by hotel stays that add up to 10-day cruise tours. All cabins have large picture windows and either walkout balconies or French balconies. Beer and wine are included with lunch and dinner, and A&K passengers have separate reserved tables at meals. and occasionally, some are taken ashore.

A&K also sells barge trips in France, Netherlands, Italy, Ireland and Scotland.

For sailing ship cruises, the venerable 64-passenger SEA CLOUD (b.1931) and companion ship, the 94-passenger SEA CLOUD II (b. 2001) cover the Mediterranean, Iberian Peninsula and Northern Europe.

In 2018, A&K is also offering luxury expedition-style cruise charters in the Greek Isles aboard the brand new 150-passenger LE LAPEROUSE, described as “mega-yacht,” and including butler service in all suites, spa and gym with a hamman, underwater lounge, heated outdoor infinity pool, and a marina with  hydraulic platform and Zodiacs

Asia Rivers:  In China, Yangtze River cruises are aboard SANCTUARY YANGTZE EXPLORER; in Myanmar, cruise the Irrawaddy River on the SANCTUARY ANANDA; and on the Mekong River, sail on MEKONG PRINCESS.

Egypt: A&K uses the posh 12-passenger ZEIN NILE CHATEAU for a short three-night Nile cruise that is part of a longer 14-day itinerary that takes in Jordan (Amman, Jerash, Madaba & Petra) and Cairo, the city and pyramids. Three 2017 Departures are March, October and November.

Expedition Cruises: A&K takes a full ship charter of Ponant Cruises’ LE BOREAL built in 2010, limiting the capacity to 199 in all balcony cabins and  the similar LE LYRIAL  completed in 2015. On selected dates, expeditions visit the Antarctic Peninsula with others extended to the Falkland Islands and South Georgia. During the Christmas and New Year holidays, the expedition staff caters to children between the ages of 7 and 18 with programs aboard and trips ashore. In the Arctic, the chartered LE BOREAL undertakes an expedition-style cruise beginning in Norway and visiting Svalbard, Greenland, and Iceland, followed by a second departure from Iceland to Greenland. Also, Northwest Passage voyages. Other chartered expedition ships cruising for visit the islands of Japan the Galapagos Islands.

Antarctica beauty. * Photo: Abercrombie & Kent

Antarctica beauty. * Photo: Abercrombie & Kent

Cuba: The chartered LE PONANT (built 1991 & 58 passengers) will be the focus of an 11-day cruise tour with two departures in March 2017. Hotel stays in Havana and Santiago de Cuba bracket a 7-day partial circumnavigation of the island via the western tip and the south coast.

Special Notes: See Ponant Cruises for more complete information on their vessels.

Contact: Abercrombie & Kent, 1411 Opus Place, Executive Towers II, Suite 300, Downer’s Grove, IL 60515-1098;; 800-323-7308.


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Africa, Antarctica, Arctic, Atlantic Ocean, Austria, Belgium, Caribbean Islands, Croatia/Adriatic, Cruise Regions, Cuba, Egypt, England/Wales, Europe, Europe, the Mediterranean, Expedition Ship & Line Reviews, Falkland Islands, France, French Rivers/Canals, Germany, Greece and Greek Islands, Greenland, Holland, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, North Pole, Oceangoing Ship & Line Reviews, Portugal, Rivers Ship & Line Reviews, Sailing Ship & Line Reviews, Ship & Line reviews, South Georgia, Spain, Spitzbergen/Svalbard, Switzerland, Uncategorized

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