QuirkyCruise’s Heidi Sarna had an e-chat with Ruxandra Nicolescu, General Manager North America, for eWaterways Cruises Ltd, to find out more about this small-ship cruise specialist.
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QC: When was eWaterways founded and by whom?
Ruxandra Nicolescu: Back in 2008, a group of top industry professionals had the vision that small-ship cruising is one of the last true niche markets in the travel industry that will see a huge expansion in the years to come. After sourcing partners that offered unique cruise products and met the highest standards of qualification in service, value and safety, eWaterways — the small-ship cruises experts — was born as the first small-ship cruise online consolidator. We sell small-ship cruises directly to individual consumers and also through travel agents.
In 2018, as we celebrate our 10-year anniversary, we are still the largest online aggregator of small-ship cruises, distributing more than 2,000 itineraries around the world, operated by over 400 suppliers with more than 1,200 ships. eWaterways has its headquarters in London, England, with its global team of travel, technology and small ship experts in offices located in Europe, North America and Australia.
QC: What kinds of small-ship cruises do you sell?
Ruxandra Nicolescu: eWaterways products are all things small-ship cruising — river cruises, luxury yachts, small boats and expedition cruises, sailing, and hotel barges. eWaterways covers the world and caters for every style of travel, from luxury accommodation to budget cruises and everything in between.
QC: What value-added benefits do you offer your customers?
Ruxandra Nicolescu: For all our direct customers, we are the best industry resource: a one-stop shop for small-ship cruises, unmatched inventory, and a great supplier and price comparison tool, coupled with expert customer service and the “Lowest Price Guarantee” promise.
eWaterways also proudly serves around 9,000 travel agents — out of which approximately 2,500 are in North America — who count on us for specialization, education, guidance, support, preferential special offers, training and familiarization trips.
QC: How do you see the small-ship cruise niche evolving?
Ruxandra Nicolescu: The vision that our founders had back in 2008 could not have been more validated by reality. We believe small ship cruising has been the fastest growing segment in the travel industry in the last few years. And, despite the challenges in travel today, or maybe because of them, small ship cruises will stay relevant to all travelers who desire more intimate, personal and unusual experiences away from madding crowds and away from mainstream itineraries and ultra-crowded destinations.
As a company, eWaterways has grown with the industry, never stopped innovating, and we have more technology integration in our plans for 2018. But some things have never changed — our passion, our dedication to excellence, always expanding our professional expertise, and most importantly, the special attention we give to our clients and partners.
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