Travelserv travel consultant Simon Waldron, who attended a Cruise Challenge event this year and won a cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas, shares his experience on board and explains why agents should sign up for the Cruise Challenge.
What did you enjoy most about your cruise on Wonder of the Seas?
It is very difficult to single out one thing that made our cruise on Wonder of the Seas enjoyable, as it was really a fantastic trip from start to finish.
However, at the end of the day it has got to be the dedication and friendliness of the crew, from the dancing and singing welcoming us into the restaurants to the numerous towel sculptures we discovered each night in our cabin.
What surprised you on board?
I have to admit, pre cruise, I did fear there would be long queues and people everywhere but how wrong I was.
From our embarkation, where our bags were whisked away to our cabin, and we were checked in with no queue (even though we were half an hour early) to the excellent layout of the ship making it very easy to navigate – it all worked well.
The spacious cabins highlighted the experience that Royal Caribbean has in meeting and exceeding customer needs, including mains and USB sockets in the bedside lights.
One of best surprises was being able to sleep with the balcony door open every night, thanks to the incredibly smooth sailing provide by such a large ship, even on the night when there was a storm.
How impressive was the entertainment on board?
It was world class. The intense show in the Aqua Theatre has got to be one of the most spectacular shows I have ever seen, closely followed by Voices in the Royal Theatre, and there were plenty of other attractions around the ship, such as musicians and an afternoon family party on the Boardwalk.
There are dining options to suit just about everyone. The Windjammer self-service restaurant serves a very wide range of dishes while providing spectacular views from deck 15, and the Solarium Bistro provides a more relaxed eating space with a different self-service selection every evening.
The quality of the food and service was excellent.
How did the experience compare to other cruises you have been on?
As a relative newcomer to cruising, I do not have many other cruise lines to compare Royal Caribbean to, but it certainly comes out top for everything I would want for myself and many of our clients.
Now you’ve been on Wonder of the Seas, what type of client would you say is the ideal Royal customer?
We talked to a range of customers on board – singles, couples and families of all ages – and because of the excellent design and diverse range of activities, everyone was thoroughly enjoying their cruise.
While it does not fall into the luxury cruise category, we think that Royal Caribbean has come up with the ideal getaway for the mass market.
And finally, would you recommend the Cruise Challenge to other agents and why?
I would highly recommend the Cruise Challenge to all travel agents who are selling, or wanting to sell, cruise holidays.
With so many changes going on in the industry, the event is a great opportunity to get the latest updates. It is also a great way to share knowledge and speak to suppliers, culminating in a really fun gameshow.
- The Cruise Challenge, organised by Cruise Trade News, is a unique travel agent training event, fusing education and entertainment. Visit the Cruise Challenge website for more information on how to get involved.