A high-end boutique ocean cruising business – complete with a brand new 44-metre luxury yacht – have been placed on the market for sale.
The company known as ISLAND ESCAPE CRUISES has been operating in New Zealand and the South Pacific for 12-years – delivering intimate cruises to a niche clientele seeking highly-personalised sailing experiences
The company’s long-serving twin-hull catamaran Island Passage was retired from service in 2016 while a replacement vessel christened SEASONS was built. Now with a firm delivery date for the new ocean-going ship confirmed, the company, along with the vessel, have been placed on the market for sale for $16 million plus GST.
The ISLAND ESCAPE CRUISES business and assets are being marketed for sale as a going concern by Bayleys’ tourism and business division. Salespeople Paul Dixon and John Greenwood said that with a brand new boat and selection of tours, ISLAND ESCAPE CRUISES was set to enter a new era.
Mr Dixon said the company already has a varied catalogue of cruises scheduled in for the 2019/20 season, including:
• A seven-night return jaunt from Auckland to the Bay of Islands via Waiheke and Great Barrier islands
• An eight-night sojourn around the sounds of Fiordland National Park
• Seven and 10-night voyages around the islands of Tahiti
• A 12-night exploration of the Pacific Islands taking in Fiji, Tonga, Niue and Rarotonga.
Multiple departure dates were already locked in for SEASONS’ New Zealand-based summer schedule before heading north to the Pacific Islands between June and October. In Tahiti, the ship’s cruising schedule had been strategically configured to link up with international flights connecting from the USA, Australia and New Zealand to remove the need for guests to book additional on-shore accommodation ahead of or at the conclusion of their trip.
Mr Dixon said the new ship SEASONS was surveyed to accommodate up to 18 passengers in luxurious surroundings, with a crew of nine – including a chef, two stewardesses, engineer, and captain.
Guest amenities on board the vessel include a pair of crane-launched 7.5 metre aluminium landing craft, kayaks, paddleboards, snorkeling kit, and fishing equipment. The three-level ship also has a helicopter landing pad above the al-fresco dining area.
“ISLAND ESCAPE CRUISES’ service offering is very much targeted at a mature clientele who want to relax on board and take in the scenery. The business isn’t there to compete with the likes of P&O, Carnival and Princess style operations,” Mr Dixon said.
“For example, dinner is a very intimate event – whether indoor or outdoor – and afterwards guests tend to mingle at the bar and talk rather than party the night away at the disco.
“Traditionally, the company’s biggest market shares have come out of Australia and New Zealand, with the USA, UK and Europe accounting for the remaining 20 percent.”
Revenue projections based on the company’s last two full years of trading forecast turnover of $7 million for the 2019/2020 cruise season beginning in August, delivering an operating profit of $3.5 million.
Mr Greenwood said the boutique and exclusive nature of the motor-vessel SEASONS, like its predecessor Island Passage before it, meant ISLAND ESCAPE CRUISES had no real competition to its offering in the Bay of Islands, Fiordland and Tahiti markets.
“This advantage will further be enhanced by servicing the routes with a brand new vessel,” he said.
“Reinvigorating interest from former cruise guests is underway, as well as re-establishing relationships with travel agencies both in New Zealand and throughout the Eastern Australian seaboard. This will obviously increase as the launch date for Horizon draws ever-closer.”
Mr Greenwood said one full-time administrator had been retained by the company over the past 18 months.
The self-contained suites range in size from 13 – 15 square metres. All guest suites have their own stereo systems and TVs, with individual doors leading onto the decks. The ship will sail under a Cook Islands-registered flag, and is capable of being self-sufficient with a full complement of guests for up to 30 days.