One of the most interesting things about holding an occasion such as the Holland America Grand World Voyage send-off is the time to connect with the guests who we’ve been planning this amazing trip for months!
It’s a chance to set the tone for a fun, carefree travel experience and one of the many benefits we love being able to provide. It’s fun for our guests to meet each other, it’s fun for us to see their excitement and it’s a bit of a last minute check-in before sailing away for 113 days!
Our Dedicated Team
Our fabulous team of Holly Fraser, Teresa Tennant, Bridgett Quinn, Sara Falduti, Maggie Blehert and Annie Scrivanich were on hand to welcome everyone, give them their gifts, help them find any last minute whoops I forgot items and just chat (they have some of the most fascinating travel stories!).
Plus, the 2018 World Cruise Hosts, Tom Mullen, Wendy & Steve Bodenheimer, John & Jean Peterson and our Grand South America Hosts Henk & Lucia Barnhoorn and Kevin LaGraff & Susan Atkins were available to not only mingle among guests, but for our family dinner on Jan. 2nd. It was the first time that we have had so many hosts together and was very special!
Many of our guests are repeat sailors, who know these hosts well and love the chance to reconnect. Meanwhile, it provided a moment for new cruisers and solo cruisers to find a point of connection and comfort before leaving.
Welcome to Fort Lauderdale
Upon arrival at the hotel, most guests were immediately welcomed curbside by us, their luggage sorted to be stored to be taken directly to the ship or to their hotel room.
The Porte Cochere main entrance is a short, level walk to our Cruise Specialists hospitality desk and a few additional steps to the front desk, which meant finishing off that first leg of travel was fast and easy!
As we greeted our clients they received their Cruise Specialists World Cruise embroidered items, shore tour tickets, hand-written bon voyage cards and additional details regarding their stay in Ft. Lauderdale (like an afternoon shuttle to the nearby mall for forgotten items!).
Bon Voyage Dinner
The early evening found us enjoying drinks and dinner with everyone.
While we’ve always enjoyed the fun of connecting again with our repeat guests, it was wonderful to see 34 new faces and over 63 solo travelers! It contributed to a relaxed, friendly atmosphere throughout the evening, as everyone felt ready to connect and embark on this adventure together.
We were honored with the presence of Orlando Ashford, President of Holland America Line and Gerald Bernhoft, Director of the Mariner Club and John Lovell, President of Cruise Specialists at our evening festivities and at the ship during embarkation for our President’s Club guests.
It’s truly a unique gift to show our guests, just how important they are to Holland America. The cruise line really values the group that we bring onboard and goes out of their way to ensure everyone has the best experience.
Then suddenly it was time for the big day! This is most definitely one of the things our guests say sets their experience apart from traveling with anyone else.
First, we ensure they get to board as early as possible.
Second, we’ve got an organized charter bus system to transport them.
Third, they don’t need to think about their luggage, we’ve got that handled!
Most guests were transferred to the ship between 10:00am-11:00am, ensuring they all boarded the ship early and avoided long lines during embarkation. So, our group arrived at the ship happy and relaxed.
There’s so much more to this send off than the logistics, it’s truly a night of fun, connection and enjoyment. We can’t wait to hear the stories from this years Grand Voyage and help future guests create their own wonderful memories.
Start planning for your own 2020 World Cruise >>
(That’s right most 2019 sailings are already sold out!!)