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Lonely Planet’s wild ride steers into cruise port guides

June 13, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Lonely Planet has moved for the first time into cruise-port guidebooks aimed at helping cruise travellers discover the best onshore experiences – a development which comes amid reports that the renowned, Australian-founded travel guidebook brand may again be up for sale.

Lonely Planet chief executive Daniel Houghton is departing, about five years after Tennessee-based NC2 Media bought Lonely Planet from the BBC.

In 2013, self-made American billionaire, Brad Kelley, purchased Lonely Planet from the BBC, reportedly for USD 77 million. Kelley surprised the publishing world by appointing Houghton (described at the time as “an unknown 24-year-old former wedding photographer”) to run Lonely Planet from Franklin, Tennessee.

Six years previously, in 2007, the BBC bought Lonely Planet from its Australian founders, Tony and Maureen Wheeler, for USD 210 million.

US travel industry site reported recently that in addition to Houghton’s departure, it had learned “that parent company NC2 is said to be pursuing a sale of Lonely Planet, which launched in 1972”.

Skift quoted a Lonely Planet spokesperson saying: “We can confirm that Daniel Houghton has stepped away from his role as CEO of Lonely Planet in order to take on a new CEO role with another digital company.

“We’d like to thank him for everything he did at Lonely Planet over the last five years and it’s a testament to his leadership and dedication that Lonely Planet is in the strong position it is today as one of the world’s leading travel brands. The rest of Lonely Planet’s leadership team remains in place and will be continuing with business as usual.”

“Business as usual” entails Lonely Planet’s new Cruise Ports series, published this month with guides to Alaska, Scandinavia & Northern Europe and the Caribbean leading the launch.


As Lonely Planet pointed out yesterday, cruise travel is on the rise.

“According to CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association), the Australian cruise market grew by 4.4% in 2017 with more than 1.34 million Australians taking an ocean cruise last year. Australasia also accounted for 5.4 per cent of global cruise passenger numbers in 2017.”

Featuring colour maps, highlights, reviews and tips on how to save time and money, Cruise Ports guides, written by Lonely Planet’s cruise travel experts, are designed to be an essential resource to help travellers personalise their cruise experience.

“Whether traveling solo, as a couple or a family, each book features all you need to know to plan your trip – from essential information to local life and cultural insights to month by month events.

“In addition to the best shopping, eating and things to do in each port, Cruise Ports offers advice on how to choose the right cruise for you. With Lonely Planet’s Cruise Ports, both experienced and beginner cruisers alike will have everything they need to have a richer, more rewarding trip.”

Last month, Lonely Planet published Global Coffee Tour, working with a worldwide network of coffee-loving travel writers (and well-travelled coffee journalists) to select “great cafés, roasteries and plantations that caffeine-addicted travellers can visit in 37 countries across Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Oceania”.

Lonely Planet’s new Cruise Port series starts with:

  • Top 10 Alaska Cruise Ports

Seattle, Vancouver, Ketchikan, Sitka, Juneau, Haines, Skagway, Whittier, Seward and Anchorage

  • Top 12 Caribbean Cruise Ports

St-Martin/Sint Maarten, St Kitts & Nevis, Curacao, Barbados, Bonaire, Aruba, St Thomas & St John, Grand Cayman, Grand Turk, Antigua, San Juan and Cozumel

  • Top 12 Scandinavia & Northern Europe Cruise Ports

Berlin, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Oslo, Bergen, Stockholm, Helsinki, St Petersburg, Tallinn, Reykjavik, Riga and Gdańsk.

The guidebooks retail for AUD 29.99.

Written by Peter Needham

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