Manager, Barrhead Travel, Dumfries
Barrhead Travel manager Daniel Neise had so many new experiences on Travel Weekly’s Cover Stars trip that he hasn’t stopped talking about it. It was the first time he had visited the Bahamas and Miami, his first cruise and first Virgin Atlantic flight
Q: Why did winning a place on the Cover Stars trip mean so much to you?
A: It was a dream come true for me to become a Cover Star; I had always wanted to go to the Bahamas but never thought it possible and I had never been on a cruise, only on ship visits. I wanted to go to the Bahamas more than Miami but Miami turned out to be my favourite part of the trip. I had never flown with Virgin Atlantic before and not been on a 747 so I was more excited about the flight than the trip!
Q: How did the trip on Norwegian Escape change your perceptions of cruise holidays?
A: It was a completely different atmosphere than I expected; it was really lively and there were a lot of young customers on board. I was aware of ‘free and flexible’ dining on NCL’s ships, but I didn’t expect there to be as many young guests or for it to have such a party atmosphere. The Spice H2O club was just like being in Ibiza. It was open-air, and there was a massive screen and good music. It has made it so much easier for me to sell. I learnt so much from being a customer, like the embarkation process and the excursions.
Q: What did you enjoy about Miami?
A: We got a tour of the Fontainebleau Miami Beach – it was the only hotel I had heard of in Miami because films such as The Bodyguard and The Specialist were filmed there. We had a look at the hotel’s biggest suite, which had amazing views. It’s a beautiful, iconic hotel and so many famous people have been there. We stayed at the Eden Roc hotel, where the views of the beach were stunning. On our last night we went to the Hard Rock Cafe and on the way home we asked to get dropped off on Ocean Drive so we could walk along it and see the art deco buildings all lit up.
Q: You don’t like shopping. How did you cope with the mall visits?
A: I only bought a couple of T-shirts so while the others were shopping I sat outside in the sun! The malls were a dream for shopaholics, there wasn’t a shop you could think of that wasn’t there!
Q: How was the photo shoot?
A: I hate having my photo taken so I tried to avoid the camera as much as I could. But I didn’t succeed and even on the first night the flash was going off constantly. I had my photo shoot on the first day on the ship, so I was lucky to get the Miami skyline behind me. I was very nervous, especially when I was told I was having make-up, but it was alright in the end. I had a crowd of people watching below deck who thought I was someone famous. I quite enjoyed it, it was a lot more comfortable and relaxing than I expected it to be, but it was good to wash the make-up off after!
Channelling Norwegian Escape’s godfather and sartorial mastermind Pitbull, Dan is Miami cool with his stylish Hugo Boss jacket and shirt from Bloomingdales the Outlet Store and American Eagle Outfitters jeans. Dan’s style was created at Sawgrass Mills & The Colonnade Outlets located 15 minutes from Fort Lauderdale Airport and 30 minutes from Miami International. Sawgrass Mills is a Simon Shopping Destinations property. www.simon.com.
Dan's sales tips
Fun for foodies: NCL’s ‘free and flexible’ dining means you can eat to your heart’s content.
Cheers!: Advise clients to book drinks packages as they represent really good value.
Stay and cruise: If clients cruise out of Miami, make sure they spend a few days in the city.
2013 to date: assistant manager and manager, Barrhead Travel, Dumfries
2012-2013: sales consultant, Going Places and then Thomas Cook, both Dumfries
2000-2012: sales consultant, then assistant manager, and manager, Lunn Poly/Thomson, Dumfries
Dream come true
Every day at work Daniel looks at a screensaver picture of the Atlantis Hotel in Nassau in the Bahamas. So to wake up and see the real hotel from the balcony of his cabin on board Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Escape was one of his biggest highlights of the trip.
“It is such an iconic hotel and I have it as my screensaver on my computer so I look at it every day at work! I always wanted to go so seeing it for real was amazing, one of the highlights of the trip" said Daniel.
The stop-off in the Bahamas gave the Cover Stars the chance to visit the Blue Lagoon for a relaxing day on the beach – Daniel’s favourite holiday pastime.
“It was a great chill-out day on the beach; it was out of this world. I just spent the day lying on the beach, I didn’t even go for lunch!”
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