Q-urating A Unique Experience

The Q Experiences is taking an exclusive 200-only people trip to ice crowned continent – Antarctica. We speak to the Founder and Managing Director Vasim Shaikh on why he chose to curate a journey to this destination.

 Vasim Shaikh, Founder and MD, The Q Experiences.
Vasim Shaikh, Founder and MD, The Q Experiences.

A TYPICAL health freak, Vasim Shaikh has travelled to 40 countries and 7 continents and has just returned from a seven-day biking tour in Portugal. “Travel is my passion and now my profession. Unique experience has always been my interest and that’s what drives me to share it with my clients,” he says.

A family-run business, Ruby Tours in Pune turned Shaikh into a passionate traveller. “When my father started the agency about 17 years back people used to travel in groups. We wanted to change the way Indians travelled. We started customising and curating holidays. I wanted people to experience new things. That’s when the idea of The Q Experiences was born in 2012. At Q, we weave a cumulative story of experiences that would make the best memory for our traveller. Gradually, we started with the customisation and experiential holidays for FITs. Cruise is our latest innovation,” says Shaikh, Founder and Managing Director, The Q Experiences.

Curated journeys are constant endeavour at The Q. They believe that no two itineraries can ever be the same, which is why the team of specialists customise unique travel experiences that essentially lead to the brand message of ‘Luxury Travel Reimagined’.

So why just Antarctica? “In my conversations with people, I have gathered stories of six continents - Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America. Where was Antarctica? On an average, 35-40,000 people visit Antarctica every summer which lasts from November to February and only 100 Indians travel to this continent. That is the reason why I want to take people to Antarctica, to explore and know what exactly happens in the 7th continent,” says Shaikh.

Recently, the Q Experiences has announced an exclusive tour for 200 people to the White Continent- Antarctica. Starting off from Ushuaia, the capital of Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, and the southernmost city in the world – from December 9-19 – the 11-day trip promises to create an experience of a lifetime and will take the 200 travelers across the temperamental Drake Passage and into the land of ice.

Talking about the cruise and the tour itinerary which is a unique guide to the continent, Shaikh explains some of the most breathtaking glaciers of Neko Bay and Paradise Bay, anchoring at Port Lockroy, sailing to the largest colony of Chinstrap Penguins at Deception Island and Weddell Sea. “With the launch of ‘The White Continent’, the unique expedition takes you to a new level of luxury travel and focus on rare destinations that Indians are yet to explore,” he says.

The travelers on board will travel on a gorgeous yacht flying the flag of India, a 460-feet of utter luxury with 132 elegant state-rooms and suites designed by the French interior designer Jean Philippe Nuel. To ensure a superior gastronomic experience to the travellers, Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar is on board curating the finest of Indian regional cuisine. The team of a catering centre of excellence run by Alain Ducasse Enterprise is also on board to enhance the global cuisine.

The capacity of the ship is 264 pax but Shaikh insists on taking 200 guests because Antarctica does not allow more than 200 passengers in one go. For MICE groups, there are special rates with team building activities planned in Antarctica.

The group departure is facilitated from Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai and for some it is a pre-tour or 7 day tour in South America. “This year we have requests from CXOs and families, children gifting this unique tour to Antarctica to parents and honeymooners on board,” he says.

In promoting the experiences that people have had with Q, Shaikh feels that, “Those who travel with us want to relish more and something unique. Indians are looking at unique itineraries. Therefore, I think there is a huge scope for cruise tourism in India.”

So what’s the next destination Shaikh plans to curate and he quips, “The next big thing is Arctic. It is unexplored by Indians and something extraordinary to offer the next year.”

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