Travel Consultant, PR World Travel, Manchester
Jane has worked in the travel industry for 25 years but has only been back behind the counter for just over a year after a stint outside the sector. Being a Cover Star gave her a chance to refresh her product knowledge and experience a few ‘firsts’
Q: Going on the Cover Stars trip must have meant a lot as you had only been back behind the counter for a year.
A: To win a place on Cover Stars within a year of starting back as a travel agent was fantastic, and it gave me real confidence. I have always been in customer service-focused roles so I am confident talking to clients young and old.
It was the technology that I found really hard. It’s also 15 years since I have been on the counter and the holiday resorts have changed so it took me a good five months before I felt okay back in the job.
Our shop is 25 years old this month so we are doing a prize draw and our bit for charity. We are planning to get an exercise bike in the shop and use it to ride the distance from John O’Groats to Land’s End between selling holidays over the course of the year.
Q: Why did you apply to be a Cover Star?
A: I have only been on one cruise and it was about 20 years ago. We stayed in bunk beds on a cruise through the Norwegian fjords, so the cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line to the Bahamas was what first caught my attention.
I have never been to the Bahamas. The Virgin Atlantic flight also attracted me. I am celebrating 25 years in travel and I have never flown with Virgin. Another reason I wanted to go was because I have fond memories of Miami. I went on my honeymoon there in 1999.
Q: What got the trip off to a great start?
A: The first morning at the Eden Roc Miami Beach Resort hotel was amazing. You could stand in the shower and look out at the view out the window. It was amazing. It was also lovely to revisit Miami and see some of the places such as Ocean Drive that I saw when I was on my honeymoon.
Q: What was your first experience of a modern cruise ship like?
A: I knew it was going to be a fun ship and it was really lively but I didn’t realise how much choice there would be. I loved standing on the balcony in my cabin and watching the view as we went in and out of the ports.
I will definitely find it easier to sell a cruise now because I can talk about my own cruise experience. It was a mini cruise but it gave me a real taste of what it’s like. The choice of restaurants was amazing. The cabins were big and comfortable and the way it was laid out was modern and stylish. The shows were also great.
Q: How did you find the Bahamas?
A: It was lovely coming into the Bahamas and seeing the iconic Atlantis Hotel. There were four or five big ships in dock. We got into a small boat to take us to the cove. It was red-hot and we spent the day on the beach. Now I’ve been I would like to see more of the Bahamas.
Q: It was your first Virgin Atlantic flight. Did you enjoy it?
A: Normally I would be on a flight with my daughters so to have time on my own was nice: I didn’t know which film to watch. The food was really lovely and the flight didn’t feel as long as I thought it would because of the entertainment and service: there was always food or an ice-lolly being brought round. The seat pitch was also generous.
With her beautifully bright coral Banana Republic scarf, Jane is spring/summer-ready at Miami and Fort Lauderdale’s top shopping destination – Sawgrass Mills and The Colonnade Outlets.
Jane also models a faux-fur-collared coat from Banana Republic, a monochrome jumper from J.Crew and trousers from the Ann Taylor Factory Store.
All clothes were chosen from a handful of the 350 stores, 60 of which are exclusive to South Florida. Hair and make-up was provided by Master Cuts and Bare Minerals.
Jane’s sales tips
Get personal: Find out if clients are celebrating a special occasion and offer something different.
Fun for families: Suggest NCL for families or young couples who enjoy a lively experience.
Room with a view: For clients who want the wow factor, consider the Eden Roc Hotel in Miami.
Fun, fun, fun
Jane had no idea that going on Norwegian Escape was going to be so much fun. As soon as she stepped on board she was wowed by the amount of fun activities available .
“There were so many things to do. There was a huge amount of activities –especially for families and young couples. I would recommend NCL to them.”
Jane’s personal highlight was the ship’s slides.
“I loved going down the slides. You can go down on your own or with friends in a rubber ring. Part of the slide was see-through and it’s like you are sliding out to sea for a split second! It’s such a laugh,” recalled Jane, who also enjoyed the nightlife on board.
She added: “The outdoor nightclub Spice H20 was amazing. They even got the kids involved and got them up on stage in neon tops; it was really fun.”
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