Seattle-based UnCruise Adventures has stepped up discussions with Congress on behalf of the U.S. Overnight Passenger Small-Boat Operators Coalition. The coalition serves as a united voice to increase the visibility of domestic small boat operators, spotlight the industry’s differences, and address the outmoded definition of cruise lines.
The coalition was launched in March after UnCruise Adventures CEO Dan Blanchard recognized the need to bring the industry together to create a new definition for small boat operators
The impact of Covid-19 on travel and cruise operators calls for a new strategy to cope with the current situation, the coalition said. The group feels that making clear what the differences in cruise ship size and the respective challenges of small boat operators are is a virtual necessity.
Seven companies make up the coalition and weigh in on how regulation, growth, and cost drives their current efforts. The coalition members are all U.S. flagged, U.S. based, and almost exclusively U.S. crewed operations. The coalition is made up of UnCruise Adventures, Alaskan Dream Cruises, American Cruise Lines, American Queen Steamboat Company, Blount Small Ship Adventures, The Boat Company, and Lindblad Expeditions.
The coalition is working with officials to redefine the small boat industry which will affect future endeavors and how this industry rebounds and rebuilds.
“The ability for small size cruise companies to continue to create their own definition will be key to their vitality and growth going forward,” said Blanchard, who was the architect behind consolidating the coalition. “We have come together to advance the recognition of the domestic contribution of U.S. small boat operators and to effectively educate the public.”
The industry challenges and characteristic advantages of small boats are part of governmental discussions to reclassify cruise line terms and regulations. UnCruise Adventures and the other coalition members are more aligned with the adventure travel industry than with the large ship world but many in the industry and the general public don’t recognize the differences.
A unified front is fundamental for small boat operators to have a larger voice in the future of travel and to be defined according to their size. “We have weathered turbulent water before,” said Blanchard. “Outside of educating people, we understand that instilling passenger confidence in travel as a whole is a large responsibility. We are deeply grateful for the incredibly dedicated small boat owners, our crew, and our guests, without whom the adventure wouldn’t be worth it.”