Touring holiday specialist Shaun Davies, of Chester Travel Connection, sailed on his first cruise when Travel Weekly whisked him out to Miami and the Bahamas as one of our 2016 Cover Stars. Here he recalls feeling like a celebrity on Norwegian Escape and buying winter clothes in 30C heat.
Q. What was the highlight of the trip?
A. The thing I remember most vividly is the ocean view from the room at Eden Roc. Waking up and walking out on to the balcony to see the stretch of brilliant beach as far as you can see was something I won’t forget. It’s iconic. The only view I can compare to it is on the Gold Coast of Australia.
Q. What else did you like about Miami?
A. We went to the Fontainebleau Hotel and spent a day around the pool, which was absolutely amazing. We also went to South Beach and I loved seeing all the different colours and the vibrant music down there. One of the highlights for me was leaving Miami on board the cruise ship. Everyone on the beach was waving. It was the first time I’ve ever been on a cruise and being on the top deck when we set off from Miami was incredible. It made you feel like a celebrity. Everyone wanted to see you. The great thing about Miami is that you can either go for a relaxing beach holiday or go for a lively holiday if you prefer the downtown atmosphere.
Q. How was the photoshoot?
A. It was strange because I’m not used to that attention. People were taking photos of me on their phones. Because we were in Miami they must have thought I was famous. I wasn’t sure how to take it; I’m a guy’s guy so I was a bit reluctant to start with but I settled into it. I think my friends will rip into me when they see it but it’s all a laugh.
Q. What made you apply for Cover Stars in the first place?
A. I knew I would get a bit of stick but I have always wanted to go to Miami and have never been on a cruise before. Having a makeover and going on a shopping spree for clothes was another bonus. Who could say no to that?
Q. What clothes did you get?
A. Well, it was November at the time so I needed some winter clothes. I bought a really nice trench coat and a jumper, even though I was there in 30C weather. When I had the pictures taken I had to keep going inside for the air conditioning.
Q. Given that this was your first cruise, how did you find it?
A. I had a great time. I’m really pleased I’ve been on a cruise and it’s actually helped me sell more cruises this year. Going with Norwegian Cruise Line means I really know their product. The ones I’ve sold have been in the Mediterranean but I can talk about what it’s like on board an NCL ship and things like their drinks packages.
Keeping warm while looking cool, Shaun welcomes in the winter with this stylish jacket, scarf and jumper combo from All Saints at Sawgrass Mills. Sawgrass Mills, Fort Lauderdale, offers a fantastic collection of designer boutiques, high street fashion favourites and outstanding outlet stores offering up to 70% off every day. Shaun’s hair was styled by HSI Professional Hair Bar at The Falls, which is 30 minutes from South Beach and downtown Miami and features more than 100 boutique designer stores.
Shaun’s sales tips
If you’re selling to Eden Roc Miami Beach, make sure you mention the Nobu restaurant. The Japanese food there is incredible. People who are not even staying at Eden Roc go there to eat.
Tell people visiting Miami that it’s close to the Everglades as well, which is a really nice excursion. Miami is great for a stay both pre and post-cruise.
Mention Sawgrass Mills to any customers who have expressed an interest in shopping. It’s the largest retail shopping spot in the States and we visited it on the trip. You could add that visitors might well spot a celeb or two.
All hands on top deck
Shaun says: “Now I’ve been on a cruise, a piece of advice I’d give to all passengers is to get on the top deck when it leaves the harbour. Then they can wave at the people on the coast.
“I’d also tell customers on cruise ships to get their drinks packages sorted early because everyone just rushes to the bar.
“Off Miami beach, you could see such lovely turquoise water, it was brilliant.
“Cruising, I think, is still more for older clients but it’s a beautiful way to explore in luxury.”
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