Jo Rzymowska, Associate Vice President and General Manager UK and Ireland for Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, looks back on 2009 and predicts what will be setting 2010 alight.
What was your highlight of 2009?
It has to be the launch of Oasis of the Seas. Who’d have thought you could be at sea and find a real park longer than a football pitch with over 12,000 real trees, shrubs and plants? Or that nearby there’s an ice rink, rock climbing walls and surf simulators. This is a ship that really has to be seen and experienced to be believed. Watching everyone’s reactions as they saw the ship for the first time, and hearing the amazing feedback from travel partners and the media, made the launch a pretty impressive affair!
What do you expect to be the highlight of 2010?
Following on from the incredible launch of Oasis of the Seas, we are launching the sister ship, Allure of the Seas in late 2010 – there are no other ships like these two and they really are changing the face of cruising. The great thing about these amazing vessels is that they raise the profile of cruising in general. That’s great for the industry and we are already seeing the benefit in terms of increased UK bookings.
For me personally, the launch of Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Eclipse in April is going to be very exciting. This will be the first Celebrity Cruises ship to be based from Southampton for a summer season and we will be showcasing it to thousands of British and Irish travel professionals. As part of the launch we will hold the Celebrity SunWalk (the joint venture between Celebrity Cruises and Walk the Walk breast cancer charity), which is a fantastic fund-raising initiative. We are looking at a great party welcoming our newest ship to the Celebrity Cruises fleet and her new home in Southampton.
Where did you take your main holiday in 2009?
My main holiday was in Majorca. It is my favourite island, having worked there as a holiday rep in the 1980s (showing my age!) Majorca is a much maligned island – it has sea, mountains, a beautiful capital city and great bars and restaurants.
Where are you planning to vacation in 2010?
Onboard lots of cruise ships! I am planning on doing a Nile Cruise in February and one of the four-night short cruises to Cork onboard Celebrity Eclipse. I am going to try an Eastern Mediterranean cruise onboard Celebrity Equinox in July. It’s my big 50 birthday this year so lots of reasons to take lots of holidays.
What’s your dream destination?
Dream destination not yet visited is Cambodia and Vietnam.
What is the biggest pressure of work?
So much to do and never enough hours in the day…. But really the biggest pressure is if sales do not come in. 2009 was such a good year for us in the UK and Ireland so let’s hope 2010 will be too.
How do you relax?
Swimming, walking in Richmond Park and Kew gardens and fun nights out with my partner and friends, laughing a lot!
- Thanks to all the cruise industry bosses who have contributed to this blog over the past few days. A Happy New Year to all of you.