It’s the time for looking back on the highlights of last year and for looking forward to what to expect from 2010. I have asked some of the leading figures of the UK cruise industry for their memories and predictions.
We’re not manning the lifeboats, but we’ll still have women first, thank you. So here are the responses from Carol Marlow, managing director of P&O Cruises, and Lynn Narraway, UK managing director for Carnival Cruise Lines and Holland America Cruises.
CAROL MARLOW
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What was your highlight of 2009?
Well, there have been a few. Sailing into Sydney on Queen Mary 2 in February, with crowds out to see us come in; hosting Queen Victoria’s World Cruise Dinner in Singapore in March – spectacular! Meeting Sir Ben Kingsley at our Cunard charity function with The Princes Trust in London in May, laying the keel for the new Queen Elizabeth in Italy in July, starting my new role at P&O Cruises in early August and then completing the purchase of a wonderful converted barn in the country later that month; travelling on all the P&O Cruises ships, and meeting passengers, crew and officers. A good year!
What do you expect to be the highlight of 2010?
The inaugral celebrations of Azura. She will be a fine ship, and her Godmother, Darcey Bussell, is a very fitting choice. Azura will offer a classic cruise experience, yet on a very modern ship.
Where did you take your main holiday in 2009?
I went to Northern California, to rescue a flooded house….and then went back again when all was fixed. The second trip was more pleasing than the first! No personal holiday on a ship this year due to that, but I’ve been working my way around our P&O Cruises ships, so that has been most enjoyable.
Where are you planning to vacation in 2010?
I don’t know yet, but I hope a cruise will figure in our plans. In 2008 I took my mother and my partner on Cunard’s Queen Victoria and we had a ball! Next year hopefully a Cunard transatlantic, and a P&O cruise.
What’s your dream destination?
I love Italy – all over – and Sydney, Australia…but there are so many places to visit which are the stuff of dreams – that’s why cruising suits me down to the ground – you can explore several of them in just one holiday.
What is the biggest pressure of work?
Not enough time for lunch! But at least I stay fairly slim. More seriously though, there are pressures from all different areas of the business, which all demand time and energy, but that is what makes the role so interesting. I especially like spending time on board with officers, crew members and our passengers, so that takes a lot of planning with my home diary, to keep a balance.
How do you relax?
Walking along the river near to our house, dog-spotting, or relaxing in the converted barn we have recently bought – magic!
LYNN NARRAWAY
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What was your highlight of 2009?
For Holland America Line, our first ever ex-UK mini-cruises from Dover this summer, which were a great success, and then the Carnival Dream inaugural in New York in November. We won the Travel Trade Gazette “Sales Team of the Year” award for the second consecutive year! Winning for the first time in 2008 was amazing, Winning again is an outstanding acheivement! On a personal basis, my 25th wedding anniversary, which we celebrated with family and friends.
What do you expect to be the highlight of 2010?
For HAL again, our first ever programme of full ex-UK cruises from Dover on the Eurodam – and the launch of a new sister ship, the NIeuw Amsterdam in July. We will be launching a new easy-to-book online booking tool for travel agents early in 2010 – which will enable them to book Carnival fly/cruise packages without having to contact our call centre.
Where did you take your main holiday in 2009?
We spent our summer holiday on the Isle of Wight, and a Christmas and New Year family holiday to Australia.
Where are you planning to vacation in 2010?
My daughters really wants to cruise in Alaska and do some of the exciting shore excursions like dog sledding and zip wiring – however my husband’s dream is to go flotilla sailing – or cruise in South America.
What’s your dream destination?
Not too fussy, as long as I am with my family.
What is the biggest pressure of work?
As the business grows I am having to learn to delegate more – which I find hard as I really like to be “hands on”. I also wish there were more hours in every day.
How do you relax?
I like to spend time with friends and family, go ice skating and cycling and I do lots of reading on the train while commuting.
Tomorrow: Stephen Park, of Norwegian Cruise Lines