In this new series of articles, we profile the winners of the 2018 Cruise Stars Awards. This time, it’s the turn of Crystal Cruises’ senior sales and marketing manager, Elaine Gillard.

How did you feel about being recognised as Overall Cruise Line Star at the awards?

Amazed, overwhelmed and truly thankful. It’s a very humbling experience to be recognised by your peers for doing a job that you love. The cruise industry is extremely unique and I am thankful to be part of it.

What do you think were the main factors that contributed to your win?

I believe that my genuine love of cruising and my dedication to increasing Crystal Cruises’ presence in the UK, both with the trade and among consumers, played a big part. I also have to give a special mention to the entire team here – no one person can do what they do without the support of others, and our team is one of the best in the industry; I simply couldn’t do what I do without every single one of them, so I’d like to pass on my thanks to them all.

What tips would you pass on to colleagues in the cruise industry to help them to be even more successful?

Be passionate about what you do – if you love it, then you will enthuse the team around you and it will be apparent in how you communicate with your trade partners and consumers. Grab every opportunity that you can to learn – this industry is growing and changing at such a pace. There is always something new, whether it’s with your particular cruise line or another; take it all in – it can only help you grow and get better at what you do.

Alaska, cruise, CLIA, cruising, cruise stars
Alaska is on Elaine’s wish list.

What has been your best experience in the cruise industry to date?

Winning my Cruise Star, of course! There have been many magical moments, though, throughout my career so far – my first cruise will always be up there, as that was a really amazing experience. I’ve also had the opportunity to meet some fantastic people – Jerry Springer at the Advantage Conference was a real highlight for instance. What an inspirational man he is.

What innovations would you like to see being introduced by cruise line operators?

Wow, that’s a difficult one – as soon as you think of something, it’ll be on the next amazing ship to launch. I have to say that I’m really excited to see Crystal Endeavor launch in 2020 – true expedition in true luxury and with some very cool toys, too; I think it will be something really special in the expedition market. 

What’s your dream cruise destination?

I’ve been very fortunate to visit many incredible places over the years, but the list just keeps on getting longer. The top ones still left to visit are Japan, Alaska and the Galapagos Islands.

What on-board amenity do you enjoy the most?

I’d love to say the gym but that would be a lie! It’s got to be the restaurants. On a cruise there are so many fantastic restaurants offering so many different cuisines. Umi Uma on board Crystal Symphony is my absolute favourite restaurant both at sea or on land. I also love a walk around the promenade deck on a day at sea – it’s a beautiful sight.

How do you see your career progressing from here?

I love what I do, so just more of the same hopefully, including lots more travel and working with more of our trade partners to increase Crystal’s business here in the UK.