Cruise-loving Tamsin Gladwell has been in travel for 12 years, but had never set foot on an NCL ship. So the opportunity to sail on board Norwegian Escape was too good too miss
Q. Why were you keen to be a Cover Star?
A. I was in my second year as a homeworker and wanted to do something completely different. The photoshoot was outside my comfort zone – I think I was the most nervous of the Cover Stars doing that. Working from home means you don’t need to put make-up on; I have booked holidays in my pyjamas. This was a chance to ‘be me’ for a few days. I hadn’t been to the Bahamas, so that was a big draw. I also love cruising, but hadn’t been on an NCL ship.
Q. What were the highlights of Miami?
A. The Eden Roc hotel. We got an amazing reception when we arrived – they went all out to make us feel welcome. We each had our own room, which made a difference from the normal agent educational; I’m used to sharing a room with a stranger, so this was a real treat. There was a bottle of red wine and biscuits in the room, so I took full advantage. The bathroom had a sliding door and you could sit in the bath and enjoy a view of Miami beach; it was so close, it felt as if you could touch the sea. When I went out on to the balcony, there was the Miami skyline lit up on one side and the sea the other. I felt so emotional, I could have cried. The hotel is within easy reach of all the major areas in Miami. We went to Ocean Drive in South Beach to see all the trendy bars and to the shopping malls. You could also take trips to the Everglades National Park. It would be a brilliant place to stay for anyone on honeymoon or celebrating a special occasion.
Q. Did you shop until you dropped?
A. It was coming up to Christmas, so I did buy lots of toiletries, soft toys, a Michael Kors handbag and clothes for the kids. We went to two Simon Shopping malls: Sawgrass Mills and The Falls. They offered a real mix of brands and bigger sizes – and it’s half price compared with shops at home. It’s worth mentioning the shopping to clients.
Q. Did you manage any star-spotting?
A. We went to the beach and also to the Fontainebleau Miami Beach hotel, which is popular with the Kardashians. We didn’t see any famous faces, but we took a behind-the-scenes tour at the Fontainebleau, and saw everything from the kitchens to the penthouse where the Beckhams and the US president stayed.
Q. What was your first trip on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship like?
A.Norwegian Escape is so new, you could still smell the paint. I hadn’t realised the cruise would have such a party feel. As we departed Miami, everyone was up dancing; there was a fantastic atmosphere on board. The food and service were amazing, and waking up to see the Bahamas from the cabin balcony was such a contrast from our stay in Miami. It was time to chill out and that’s what we did on our trip to Blue Lagoon Island. We took a small boat from Nassau to the crystal-clear lagoon. But there were four or five cruise ships docked there that day, so we were all running to find space on the beach.
Q. You were dreading the photoshoot. How was it in the end?
A. They obviously did their research, as they chose to photograph me in a bar, holding a glass of wine. But 9am was a little early for me, although I was tempted. I did feel awkward, as people were wandering by and kept stopping to ask whether I was famous – no, I’m just a travel agent from Cornwall. I even had an audience at one point. I didn’t know how to smile for the camera. I had to really push myself to do the photoshoot, but everyone was so supportive. This trip is one of the best experiences I have had.
Tamsin’s sales tips
Consider the Eden Roc hotel for honeymooners or clients celebrating a special occasion
Miami has great weather all year, so could suit clients travelling outside the peak season
Suggest a mini-cruise twinned with a city stay in Miami to honeymooners
Tamsin’s look was created at J Crew Factory at Sawgrass Mills, a Simon Shopping Destinations property. J Crew is the ideal choice for any day-to-night tailored look, as elegantly modelled by Tamsin – and at 25% to 65% off, you can look a million dollars without breaking the bank. Tamsin’s hair and make-up were courtesy of Mandara spa and salon onboard Norwegian Escape.
An agent who had never been on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship before the Cover Stars trip, Tamsin is now poised to make her first booking.
The Cover Star enjoyed a short cruise on Norwegian Escape out of Miami, taking in Nassau in the Bahamas.
“The trip has made me much more confident about selling Norwegian, now I’ve been on one of its ships,” she says. “I have had a few enquiries from honeymooners and I’m now on the verge of selling them a Norwegian cruise, so the trip is definitely paying off.”
As well as the restaurants and the popular Spice H2O club, she enjoyed trying out the water slides.
Tamsin, mum of Joshua, three, and Molly, six, adds: “There are some great wet-play areas for younger children, and there are two big-drop slides. I went on a slide where you could sit in a big rubber ring. It was brilliant.”
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