Over the weekend, Cruise Specialists, America’s leading World Cruise and Grand Voyage agency, hosted a very special party for 120 of its clients. They were being feted prior to embarking on a 78-day cruise on board the ms Amsterdam to Asia and the Pacific, including China, Indonesia, Japan and Vietnam, along with Australia and Fiji.
Cruise Specialists hosts a party for guests of this cruise in particular because the voyage – Holland America Line’s Grand Pacific & Far East Voyage – starts in Seattle, on Cruise Specialists’ “home turf.” Cruise Specialists was founded in 1987, just a few miles from where the cruise departed. Thus, this cruise is a fantastic opportunity for the travel agency to show its clients just how much they are appreciated. With most of the agent-client relationship taking place over the phone, the send-off party is a chance for these expert cruise counselors to visit with their clients in person. It’s very much like a reunion.
In fact, as I circulated through the party on Saturday evening, the theme of “reunion” or “village” seemed to emerge. An impressive two-thirds of these clients had previously traveled on voyages hosted by Cruise Specialists. The agency provides voyage hosts on lengthy cruises like this to serve as a resource exclusively for their guests aboard the ship. Not only are there Grand Voyages to Asia, but also South America, the Mediterranean, Africa and even Grand World Voyages. These intrepid travelers sport Cruise Specialists customized logo wear from past Grand Voyages like badges of honor. They mingle with the staff and voyage hosts, who they’ve gotten to know very well over the past 25+ years. And of course, they share travel stories.
Cruise Specialists had three motorcoaches for the transfer from the hotel to the pier on Sunday morning. On the ride to the pier, I chatted with one client who was traveling solo, but not really alone. A couple of years ago, she sailed on the Holland America Line Grand World Voyage. And now here she was, looking forward to meeting up with a core group of four others she knew from the World Cruise, who would be part of her “travel village” for the next 78 days. They, along with the 100+ other Cruise Specialists clients, have been provided an exclusive menu of tours to choose from, so they’ll make even more memories as this amazing journey proceeds through the heart of Asia and in to the South Pacific.
Other signs of the high-touch level of service provided by Cruise Specialists were evident throughout the weekend. Many of the Cruise Specialists cruise counselors and other staff were at the Seattle-Tacoma airport on Saturday morning, meeting and greeting their clients as they arrived at baggage claim. They personally escorted them to the hotel shuttle, and a hospitality desk was in full swing at the hotel all day. Plus, after the motorcoach ride to the airport on Sunday, Cruise Specialists staff was at the cruise terminal, circulating with clients as they waited to board the ship, and ensured everything went off without a hitch.
It was an honor to spend a weekend with this group of clients and the cruise counselors who understand how much travel can enrich one’s life.
You can see more details about the 2014 Grand Pacific & Far East Voyage here.
In 2015, Holland America is not holding a Grand Pacific & Far East Voyage, but for an in-depth cruise of the South Pacific, Cruise Specialists is offering a hosted 5-day Tales of the South Pacific Cruise, departing September 2015 on the ms Amsterdam. To see details, click here.