Quirky Cruise
September 26, 2018

QuirkyCruise’s Ben Lyons is Named to Seatrade’s ’20 under 40′

QuirkyCruise’s Ben Lyons is Named to Seatrade’s ’20 under 40′

By Anne Kalosh. contributor Ben Lyons has been named to a prestigious list of 20 people under 40 who are making an outstanding contribution to the global cruise industry. Lyons, a maritime expert, licensed captain and CEO of Expedition Voyage Consultants and EYOS Expeditions, is also a travel writer — to the benefit of Quirky readers.

The “20 under 40” competition is the brainchild of Seatrade Cruise News, a leading news site covering the global cruise industry. Seatrade sought young professionals who show great initiative, an exceptionally hardworking culture or strong leadership.

Ben Lyons

Ben in Staten Island Argentina during the first call by a foreign ship with Lindblad Expeditions.

“The caliber, talent and achievements of the nominees was of an amazingly high standard, which made the judging process extremely hard,” says Mary Bond, managing director of publishing, Seatrade. “It’s so encouraging to see so much young talent build, maintain and innovate this thriving and exciting industry and all the judges were left invigorated by the exercise and applaud the winners.”

Lyons, 39, has demonstrated all the winning qualities and more. His company, Expedition Voyage Consultants, designs itineraries and plans expeditions to the remotest areas; provides expedition team staffing and management; operates helicopters, ROVs and submarines; consults on expedition ship design; and assists in writing Polar Code operating manuals.

Ben Lyons

In front of Windstar’s Star Legend in Geraingerfjord in Aug 2017 in prep for her Alaska season this year which Ben’s company Expedition Voyage Consultants assisted with.

“We are lucky to have a tremendous team of some of the best expedition talent in the industry. With such a diverse set of skills in-house, we’ve been able to tackle wildly different projects,” says Lyons.

Accomplishments have included designing the pioneering Crystal Serenity expedition through the Northwest Passage in 2016 and partnering with Damen Shipyards as expedition design consultants to help create a new line of expedition cruise ships.

Ben Lyons

Ben Lyons, second right, at Pond Inlet, Nunavut, during Crystal Serenity’s 2016 Northwest Passage expedition. * Photo: Anne Kalosh

EYOS Expeditions, meanwhile, provides many of the same services for yachts and superyachts, and was involved in Damen’s cutting-edge SeaXplorer design.

Lyons says he has always been captivated by ships and travel. “Ever since I was five years old, I remember being fascinated with ships. It may have started with taking the Cape May-Lewes ferry as a child, but it quickly turned into passenger ships. I remember welcoming QE2 into Baltimore on her maiden arrival there when I was six years old. Four years later I was invited onboard by former CEO Ralph Bahna for a tour of the ship,” Lyons says.

Ben Lyons

Ben as a 10-year-old meeting Captain Robin Woodall on the QE2.

In-between breaks from Groton school, Lyons would volunteer onboard the WWII Liberty ship John W. Brown in Baltimore, which inspired him to attend the U.S Merchant Marine Academy. Afterwards, he served as an officer aboard a variety of vessels, ranging from large cruise ships in Hawaii to cable ships installing undersea fiber optic systems. In 2003, he was recruited for Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2, then under construction in France, and consequently became the first American officer the company had hired in its over 160-year history. He served for five years on board, ultimately as chief officer.

Ben Lyons

Ben Lyons in 2006 as an officer aboard Queen Mary 2. At far left is co-founder Ted Scull and center Ralph Grizzle of Avid Cruiser. * Photo: Anne Kalosh

After traveling to Antarctica in 2007, he fell in love with the continent and joined Lindblad Expeditions to explore more of the world’s polar regions. He sailed on National Geographic Endeavour and National Geographic Explorer, first as chief officer and later as captain.

Ben Lyons

Dry dock in Germany as captain onboard Lindblad’s Nat Geo Explorer.

Lyons’ interest in the business of shipping and expedition travel spurred him to earn an MBA at Columbia Business School in his adopted hometown of New York City.

“Of course, I miss being at sea full time — the camaraderie with crew and getting to know guests (in particular on the smaller ships), plus the incredible destinations you are traveling to. However, there is a lot to love about being on the other side, helping companies behind the scenes develop their product and watching how the industry is changing. It is definitely an exciting time to be in the expedition world,” Lyons adds with a smile.

Ben Lyons

Ben lives happily ever after in NYC with wife Kathryn Harrison 💕

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