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Expedition Ships: a better way to partner with host communities

17th century buildings
Ilha de Mozambique. A little-known Jewel of the East African coast

All around the world Expedition cruise ships are looking to diversify their offering beyond the polar regions and popular warm water destinations such as the Galapagos and Kimberley Coast. They are becoming increasingly interested in less well-known but equally fascinating coastal towns and remote islands particularly in East and Southern Africa as well as elsewhere in the Indian Ocean. This diversification is partly driven by the need to avoid overcrowding, but it is also recognition of the opportunity to open up a range of new and exciting experiences to keep guests engaged and excited about doing more cruising.

However, expedition cruise companies face a challenge; making the most of these new opportunities requires a different mindset, a break with the past.

Guests’ preferences are changing, they demand immersive experiences with increased local content and measurable community benefits, all of which requires trust and collaboration with local communities, and this takes time and commitment to develop. This has led to the recognition that a new style of intermediary between ship and host community is required, and Blue Zissou is well established in this enterprise space.

Traditional Dancers
A beautiful moment of mutual respect and gratitude between guests and hosts

While Expedition Leaders are good at scouting out new destinations, they don’t have the time to bring all the key elements together. And destination management companies (DMCs) are reluctant to commit to the cost of placing staff in remote locations, besides, do they have the skills for this type of cross-cultural planning and consultation work? Blue Zissou are providing Expedition ships with a better way to partner with host communities.

Group photo shore expedition team
A quick meeting and photo op before the first guests come ashore

We all recognise that the comfort and safety of guests is paramount, yet Expedition cruise passengers do not want sanitised experiences. We believe that a degree of discomfort and a carefully managed level of risk is acceptable when it gives guests the sense of participation and achievement they are seeking. But getting this balance right requires careful planning and close communication with the Expedition team to ensure there are alternatives in place for guests that require easier options, and contingencies in case the weather or other factors upset the order of things. This is challenging and the local community cannot be expected to manage all these complications without professional support. This is where companies like Blue Zissou come in.

passengers on traditional sailing dhow
Guests safely onboard and setting sail to join the others in the Dhow Flotilla

Embedded in the UNESCO World Heritage location of Ilha de Mozambique, Blue Zissou provides “transformative” experiences all along the Mozambique coast. By drawing upon more than 30 years of professional adventure travel experience underpinned by an anthropological background, a keen interest in nature and history, commitment to social justice, environmental protection and regeneration, the company creates shore excursions that leave guests feeling both privileged and delighted. In short - Blue Zissou creates the perfect conditions for life-changing interactions between expedition guests, the destination and host community.

Mozambican officials in Planning meeting
Senior Government officials and community leaders attending a Blue Zissou capacity building and Expedition ship planning meeting


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