Travel Republic reservation agent Sarah Lyon had never been on a long-haul trip before becoming a Travel Weekly Cover Star and being swept off to Florida. She loved the US experience so much, she’s heading back to the Sunshine State on a work visit.
Q: What were the key highlights for you of the Cover Stars trip?
A: The itinerary was jam-packed with many activities that I hadn’t done before such as an airboat ride. Simply walking along South Beach in the evening was an experience in itself. Having dinner at the Hard Rock Miami was an added bonus, as it is a tradition of mine to visit the Hard Rock Cafe in every city I travel to. Having my hair done on board the ship by the amazing hair stylist in the salon was bliss. The Blue Lagoon excursion was a time for us all to chill out, which was so needed after the non-stop days in Miami.
Q: Were you wowed by the hotel you stayed in?
A: The Eden Roc is up there with the best. I actually recommended the hotel to a group of my friends who went to Miami this summer, and they couldn’t thank me enough for sending them there. The views from the room were something you would dream of waking up to. You could lie in the bath, or on your bed and face the sea and practically feel the sand in your toes.
Q: What is your best memory of Miami?
A: I honestly couldn’t name a best memory of Miami as there are so many to choose from, but I was lucky enough to go out on an Everglades airboat adventure in Sawgrass Recreation Park, near Fort Lauderdale, which was lots of fun and very educational.
Q: How was the shopping experience at the Simon centres?
A: I loved the shopping experience in The Falls. I got myself some Aldo sunglasses, which everyone commented on this summer. When I saw the shop chosen for my outfit, I instantly fell in love. The moment Caroline from Simon Shopping Destinations picked up the fur gilet for me, I squealed with excitement, as I had been eyeing up a few at home and wanted one for the winter.
Q: How did Norwegian differ from other cruise lines you’ve experienced?
A: Norwegian was my first-ever cruise, and seeing a ship that huge in front of my eyes was breathtaking. The cabin was lovely, with a real cosy, homely feel, and the views from the balcony as we left Miami were awesome. I loved the Brat Pack show on board the ship, followed by the nightclub on the top deck, dancing until the early hours.
Q: How has going on the trip helped you sell the destinations?
A: I have gained product knowledge and confidence to sell the destinations as I feel I have a clear idea of locations and hot spots to sell. Visiting the Bahamas and Florida in November has helped me recommend these destinations to customers who want some winter sun.
Q: What made you enter the Cover Stars competition in the first place?
A: A colleague of mine had been a previous Cover Star and told me about her trip. When I read the destinations, my jaw dropped – it was a bucket-list dream for me. I can’t wait for my Travel Weekly cover to go on the office wall.
Sarah welcomes in the autumn with her skinny black jeans, blush top and matching shearling, compliments of White House Black Market at The Falls. Sarah’s look was created at The Falls, Miami – a Simon Shopping Destinations property – and hair and make-up styling provided by Norwegian Escape’s Mandara Spa team. The Falls, located just 30 minutes from South Beach and downtown Miami, is a unique shopping experience, centered around a million-gallon waterscape and lush tropical gardens that features more than 100 boutique designer stores. simon.com
Sarah’s sales tips
Suggest that clients in Orlando on a theme park holiday visit Miami for a change of scene and to experience the beach, bars and shopping.
I would recommend both Miami and the Bahamas as winter-sun destinations.
I’d also recommend the Eden Roc hotel to all customers as it has a perfect location, and the views from the rooms are an added bonus.
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Flying high on my first long-haul flight, Sarah says: “The flight was amazing. It was my first long-haul flight, and it set the standards high. The cabin crew was so friendly, and their service was amazing. A wide selection of movies for all tastes and ages helped the flight go a lot quicker.
“The menu was really decent, and it was an added bonus to be served a fab ice lolly on board! On the inbound flight a few of us got to sit on the upper deck with extra legroom, which helped me rest for the long journey home.”
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