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Top cruise advisor insights: Megan Catterall, LUXE by itravel

Megan Catterall has won a swag of awards during her 40-year career in travel, most recently as one of the the Top Platinum Sales Achievement recipients at the itravel conference. She specialises in luxury travel and cruise and has an impressive following of devoted clients.

Megan Catterall has won a swag of awards during her 40-year career in travel, most recently as one of the the Top Platinum Sales Achievement recipients at the itravel conference. She specialises in luxury travel and cruise and has an impressive following of devoted clients.

Working from the office in her beautiful family home in North Narrabeen, on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Megan Catterall is one of 10 expert advisors for LUXE by itravel, the luxury division of Australian owned and operated company the itravel Group.

Catterall grew up on the Northern Beaches and has worked in retail and corporate travel in Sydney, Las Vegas and London. She loves organising travel and special events for her clients, who come from all over Australia. 

She is just as passionate about the opportunities for learning that both travel and professional development offer and is a huge supporter of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA)’s training program.

“I am a CLIA Masters Program graduate, which applies to fewer than two per cent of all travel advisors.

“My business has, and continues to be, based on referrals from current clients, friends and industry partners, and I am thrilled to be working with Steve Labroski, itravel’s Managing Director and his team.”

What do you like most about working from home?

Megan Catterall on board a Crystal ship
Megan Catterall sailing with Crystal.

Although I work from home for LUXE by itravel I see most of my clients in their homes or in coffee shops. I love the flexibility of working at any time of the day – I can catch up on emails and accounts on my phone when I’m on the bus to the city or start work at five in the morning if I have a ship inspection or function to attend.

What attracted you to a career in travel?

Megan Catterall
Megan Catterall on board Regent’s Seven Seas Explorer.

Although my parents and siblings didn’t go overseas when we were children, my grandparents travelled a lot. Seeing them off at the airport was a family day out – they were always beautifully dressed and Nan would wave to us from the tarmac like a movie star! I remember throwing streamers when they left Sydney’s Overseas Passenger Terminal on cruise ships. It was all very glamorous.

In my teens I did work experience with API Travel before working for them full time. Later I joined the wonderful Landmark Travel in Manly, where I learned so much from Gerd Wilmer, the founder of the company.

My first overseas trip was on a famil to Bali and Surabaya, when I was 18. I climbed Mount Bromo on a donkey – I loved it! And the first cruise I took was in Alaska with Princess, which was equally memorable.

Can you tell us about some of the awards you have won, and what they mean to you personally?

Steve Labroski and Megan Catterall at the iTravel conference in March 2024.
Steve Labroski and Megan Catterall at the itravel conference in March 2024.

My CLIA Masters certificate is displayed alongside my other industry and marketing awards, and I am incredibly proud of them all. I worked for Andrew Ross’s corporate agency TravelForce for almost eight years and won AFTA Corporate Consultant of the Year in 1998, which was a huge career highlight. 

Another special one was the CLIA Marketing Award in 2019. I was the only solo advisor up against entire companies. That was for a promotion putting Rolls-Royce and Silversea Cruises together – the ships are named after the cars but nobody else had put the two brands together this way before.

I love thinking outside the square and looking for new opportunities – there’s plenty of scope for creativity in our industry.

What sort of ‘above and beyond’ services do you provide for your clients?

Megan Catterall sailing with Viking.
Megan river cruising with Viking.

I love looking after my clients and I know them really well. If a client calls about a particular cruise and I say, “No, that’s not the right one, this is what I would recommend,” they adore me for my honesty and they trust me.

Caring about the details is essential. For example, I print all the documents for my clients, personally deliver them and go over everything so they understand the trip from start to finish. 

Being a member of Virtuoso also allows you to add extra layers of service, savings and connections.

It is interesting to hear about some of the things that go wrong when people think they can save a few dollars by booking cruises online themselves. The most common problem that arises is with documentation and visas – it’s part of our job to be on top of every aspect of a trip and there’s a lot of detail – that word again! – involved.

What do you see as the major trends in luxury cruising?

Megan_ Catterall_Kimberley_Ponant_Le Laperouse
Megan in the Kimberley with Ponant’s Le Laperouse.

People are looking for travel experiences that make them feel special. They want to travel far and wide, but even though they can afford to do what they like, they’re not necessarily confident about travelling. 

I’m seeing a lot more women going on luxury cruises on their own, and also grandparents paying for extended families to take a fabulous cruise together.

How often do you travel, either for leisure or business?

I was lucky enough to be away for almost 12 weeks last year. When you’re running your own business time-management is key, I must add.

What are some of your favourite cruise destinations and what’s still on your travel wish list?

Megan Catterall in the Kimberley with PONANT
Megan Catterall in the Kimberley with Ponant.

Europe would have to be a standout. I loved the Viking river cruise my husband and I took recently – there’s nothing like docking right in the heart of a village or city. After doing our own thing, walking and cycling during the day, we went out again after dinner every evening to make the most of being so close to everything.

The Kimberley is a must-do – it’s a stunning region and I did a wonderful cruise there with Ponant last September. I’d like to experience more luxury expedition cruising, Antarctica and the Arctic are right up there on my bucket list!

What’s next on your cruise agenda?

I love selling Seabourn and I’ve been invited to sail on Seabourn Pursuit, the new expedition ship heading our way. I’m sailing from Guam to Honiara over 14 nights in May, through West Papua and some magical islands. 

I was so excited about this itinerary that I invited some of my clients along and they are travelling with us. The more the merrier – I sure love what I do! 

For more information, visit luxebyitravel.au