EYOS announces Iceland expedition
Ben Lyons, EYOS Expeditions CEO, discusses Iceland, exploration, and single cabin chartering…
EYOS Expeditions have announced their latest per cabin charter expedition onboard the private 47-metre expedition yacht Hanse Explorer from 3rd- 10th July 2021. The expedition departs from Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik, then cruises through the northwest coast before ending in Akureyri.
SuperyachtNews speaks with Ben Lyons, EYOS CEO, shortly after the itinerary was announced, to explore the ethos behind the trip and the merits of single cabin exploration chartering. With a wealth of exploration experience, the itinerary was perhaps not the hard part for Lyons and the EYOS team. “We know these areas very, very well; we have an intimate, in-depth understanding of the destinations that we're taking guests to. We can curate these experiences and set a programme that takes in the highlights of these regions, with the flexibility to deviate if need be.”
Speaking specifically about the upcoming expedition to Iceland, Lyons highlights, “This is a unique opportunity to experience a private superyacht without having to charter the entire vessel. Travelling with a maximum of 12 guests allows for a very personalized and intimate experience, whether onboard at dinner or onshore watching puffins. Time and time again, we find that the sheer excitement of an expedition always creates a natural camaraderie onboard. After more than a year of COVID, escaping to the wilds of Iceland is a wonderful way to celebrate the ability to travel and explore again!”
Chartering individual rooms does not apply to many vessels at present and may not necessarily be the future for most of today’s fleet. Still, as Lyons points out, it presents an opportunity for expansion and growth into new markets and new destinations. “We think this is an interesting opportunity for certain yachts to expand their charter season and to potentially reach new clients who wouldn't have otherwise thought of chartering a full yacht initially. It is a great chance to grow the industry. Of course, not everyone is going to want to pursue this model. But we think that with the right yacht and the right mindset from the owner, that there are some exciting opportunities.”
The cost of €16,000, per person per week is not a quantum leap from the high end of the expanding world of high-end eco-tourism. However, an experience such as this may present an embarkation point for HNWIs to engage with a more environmentally conscious brand of exploration and the yachting experience. As Lyons clarifies, there is a responsibility that comes with a trip such as this. “We are looking to hopefully inspire the guests who travel with us, to educate them, and to have them come away as ambassadors of these regions. It's a tremendous privilege to go to these areas, and with that privilege comes a tremendous responsibility to ensure that we do it correctly.”
The simple equation of bringing influential people to regions that need protection is not hard to quantify. If presented well, it is an excellent opportunity for a positive impact from yachting; as Lyons concludes, “To have some of the yachting community passionate about these areas. Gosh, the impact that you can create is huge, right?”
The arbitrary association of yacht+fuel+crew = exploration is reductive at best. To truly explore involves more than merely visiting an area, as Lyons elaborates. “Expedition does not have to mean polar regions; it is about a mentality as well. It's a sense of discovery and a flexible education programme, and immersion in an experience. It is not just sitting on the deck of the yacht. It is using the yacht as a platform to experience new places, new sensations, new feelings; that’s the point of these trips.”
The association of exploration and far-flung destinations will remain an integral part of the allure. It is strange to think of there being cliche traditional exploration destinations. Still, it speaks volumes for expanding fleet and the appetite of owners and charterers for exploration that we do need to be thinking about more interesting and unique experiences. As Lyons mentioned, as I spoke to him from my home in London, we don’t necessarily have to look as far north as Iceland.
“The Outer Hebrides are a great example; it’s a part of the country that many locals have never seen. If you visit St Kilda, Fair Isle or the Isle of Lewis, these are all places that if you're living in London, for example, you don't necessarily get to visit and you are not thinking about, and they're wonderful! There is incredible marine life, such as dolphins, basking sharks and seabird cliffs; it's wild. I love Scotland as an expedition destination, and we will defiantly look to have some more presence there in the near future.”
Lyons assured me that, as always, there are many fantastic trips in the works for the team at EYOS and to expect more announcements imminently.
Image credit Coulson and Tennant / EYOS.
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