Cunard’s sales director Gary Anslow talks to Gary Peters about the challenges facing cruise sales over the next 12 months and his quest to complete a sprint triathlon.

What do you like best about the cruise industry?

The growth opportunity. Penetration is still relatively low and as an industry we have a huge opportunity to bring new guests into cruise – every traveller and holidaymaker is a potential guest, even if they haven’t considered cruising before.

What are you looking forward to most about your job over the next 12 months?

Working with our partners to maximise Shine Rewards Club, and recognising and rewarding brand engagement and training as well as Cunard sales.

If agents sell just one Cunard itinerary this year, which should it be?

A World Voyage on Queen Mary II, for the very simple reason that it’s one of the world’s great travel experiences. However, a three night short break, one of our new Alaska itineraries, an iconic Transatlantic crossing or a Baltic cruise are all decent alternatives.

Can you give us a description of the typical Cunard customer?

We’ve defined four guest types to help agents identify potential guests and support a confident conversation:

  • ‘Cunarders’ are our very loyal guests who will also be loyal to their agents
  • ‘Cruisers wanting more’ are regular cruisers who haven’t chosen Cunard before but who would relish seeing Cunard’s luxury experience
  • ‘Non cruisers who would love us’ are experienced travellers considering their first cruise and for who Cunard would be the perfect luxury experience
  • ‘Those wanting the very best’ are guests from across the board who want the ultimate in luxury, our Grill Suites
Queen Mary 2, cruise, Cunard,
Queen Mary II


Tell us one thing about your life outside of Cunard that people may now know?

I’m training for a sprint triathlon – whether my body will allow me to do it is another question…

What is the biggest challenge facing cruise sales?

The amount of new capacity scheduled for the next few years is remarkable. Cunard’s fourth ship goes on sale in 2020 and sails in 2022 – between now and then significant capacity will launch from other lines.

The challenge is to generate the demand to fill that new capacity. The new-to-cruise sector is key in this. The guests are out there – as an industry we now need to persuade them to join us without compromising the premium our collective product warrants.

What are the key trends in cruise at the moment?

I think it’s about growth across all measures, a focus on exemplary on board service, and investment in the guest experience and ever more engaging itineraries.

How does Cunard work with the travel trade?

We have an 18-strong team dedicated to our UK trade partners. Our business managers and partnership development managers support sales development through joint activity, product training and brand insights.

In addition, hosts a series of online ‘Academy’ product training modules. Our ship visit and fam trip programme ensures that agents know and understand Cunard and then, of course, there’s Shine Rewards Club.

Why has Cunard joined Shine Rewards Club?

Shine Rewards Club opens up a wealth of opportunity for us and our agent partners. Recognising and rewarding brand training is key for me – Cunard is well known, but perhaps less well understood.

By recognising agents for completing our academy modules, we drive engagement that will enable better conversations between agents and guests, and it will increase Cunard’s consideration and lead to better conversion (and of course we’ll then reward the sale). By pooling Cunard points with P&O Cruises points, we also create even more reasons to join Shine Rewards Club.