Hectic, frantic and sometimes fearful!!!
That is the life of a travel agent right now.
The rules of travel have changed in the past month, as travel companies and travellers alike are faced with new developments from the Coronavirus.
What I am seeing is the incredible resilience of you the traveller, to continue to travel. On Thursday 27th February, Princess Cruises went on sale with a ship which was redeployed to Australia six months early.
The response was such it crashed their booking system. At one point we were on hold for more than two hours, only to be told sorry the system is not working... aaahhhh!
The Future Of The Cruise Industry
The whole cruise industry is doing what it has never had to do before on this scale. Asia was the fastest-growing cruise market in the world. Repositioning several cruise ships out of season is very challenging.
Perhaps a real life story will show you what I mean. I cannot do this story enough justice, except to say it took about 15 minutes for it to be shared to us.
Last Saturday night Royal Caribbean Cruises notified their Australian team, that Splendor Of The Seas would be arriving next Saturday in Sydney.
Now just to make it more interesting they were advised this cruise would be special, as it was Royal Caribbeans way of thanking all the volunteers who were involved in the bush fires.
8000 plus people were contacted and offered an all-expenses-paid cruise.
The only condition, they needed to be able to travel next Saturday!
That was the easier part of the organising. Next was how to turn the ship around resupplied and refuelled. This was a particularly difficult challenge, because it uses a special fuel which was not readily available.
Long story short, it will arrive in Sydney at 5 pm and sail at midnight with 4000 passengers.
Now, remember this is happening while they are working through the many other obstacles the Coronavirus is throwing up.
Thank You To The Travel With Purpose Team!
It would be wrong of me to not mention our team Nilla, Kelly and Danielle. The incredible work they are doing to re-book and find an interesting option for clients is something very special!
Kelly even came in on Thursday, on her day off to keep up with the constant changes. There will be a very nice celebration once we are through this episode in our lives. That's a promise!
Last week I was on Voyager Of The Seas at our annual cruise conference. If you were to ask me what was my main take away, it is simple...
Cruising is now so complex you need a full-time specialist to be sure you are getting the best advice. There are 200 cruise ships of all sizes and shapes.
Another 100 either in construction or on the drawing board and committed to by the cruise lines.
Seriously, who thinks they can navigate through that assortment with out expert guidance? It is why 80% of all cruises worldwide are booked with a travel agent.
I warn you, don't use just any travel agent, make sure they can prove to you their expertise. While on the cruise I made a list of the 21 things I learnt, which will be very valuable for anyone either taking a cruise or considering a cruise. Now I was hoping to share those points today...
Unfortunately, that is not happening. I will come in over the weekend and create the list. If you are interested to receive this very valuable list then please respond to this email. I will make sure you are the first to get it next week.