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Hurtigruten Takeover_

"Travel Advisors only need one word to sell Carnival": Jennifer Vandekreeke

They've got giant, green water slides, locally sourced alcohol & staff trained to make coffee the Aussie way - it's not hard to sell a cabin on a Carnival ship but if you're ever struggling...

They’ve got giant, green water slides, locally sourced alcohol & staff trained to make coffee the Aussie way – it’s not hard to sell a cabin on a Carnival ship but if you’re ever struggling…

… then just use this one small yet effective word the Queen of Australian cruising aka Jennifer Vandekreeke recommends – fun.

In a Q&A with KARRYON, Carnival Cruise Line’s Vice President for Australia said that ‘fun’ is the only word Travel Advisors need to think about when pitching to their clients because it’s what the brand stands for.

“If you like free-spirited, family fun, then we offer the holiday that delivers this,” she explained.


When it comes to sales, Vandekreeke said Travel Advisors are “critical” to the cruise line’s success, and the team couldn’t be more appreciative of everything they do to promote the ships to their clients.

“We love our Travel Agents.”

Jennifer Vandekreeke, Carnival Cruise Line Vice President Australia

Consultants looking for more advice on how to sell Carnival Cruise Line can follow the line’s agent-only Facebook group, ‘Carnival FunZone’. There they’ll receive the latest news, hear about ship tours and more.

Read on for more of our chat with Jennifer Vandekreeke:


Congratulations on making it through another year (although the wave season is still going strong), what announcement or moment over the last 12 months are you particularly proud of?


Our team is incredibly proud of the faith that Carnival Corporation has put in our Australian team by committing to a greater presence for Carnival in Australia.

We are incredibly excited about Carnival Splendor’s arrival in Australia! When she arrives in December 2019, Splendor will be the newest and largest ship home-ported year-round in Australia.


How are sales for her first season?


In terms of sales, Carnival Splendor had the best performance of any of our program launches to date.


How do you think she’ll shake Carnival Cruise Line’s presence in Australia?


We’ve always been about free-spirited, family-friendly fun. With Splendor, we will take things to a whole new level with an even crazier green thrill slide in our Green and Gold water park, a bigger aft deck Serenity Retreat and a huge RedFrog Pub for Music Manila to rock every night.


What point of difference do you expect Aussies will love most about the new vessel?


Before arriving in Australia, Carnival Splendor will receive an extensive dry dock and be upgraded with some of the FunShip 2.0 features that Aussies already know and love on Carnival Spirit and Carnival Legend. These features include RedFrog Rum Bar and Tequilla Bar, Guy’s Burger Joint and an Alchemy Bar.

Splendor will also receive a more expansive RedFrog Pub, a special request for our Music Manilla band as we know how popular they are here. The Serenity Retreat is also being moved to the aft of the ship (from where it is now on the ship) as we know how much Aussies love this adult’s only chill out space.

We’re also pretty excited about the spa themed, Cloud Nine accommodation, featuring complimentary access to the spacious Cloud 9 Spa’s thermal suite and thalassotherapy pool. This will be something new for the Aussie market is sure to be a bit hit for those looking for some extra R&R on their holiday.

Finally, we have to mention the water-park again! We’ve become famous for Green Thunder, the fastest and steepest water-slide at sea. And now, Carnival Splendor’s Green and Gold waterpark will take the concept of a green thrill slide to a whole new level.

We’re looking forward to sharing more details on this and other features being added to Carnival Splendor in early 2019.

Stay tuned!


From an outsider’s perspective, the decision to send your first ship to Brisbane in 2020 was particularly big, why did you decide Carnival Spirit was the right ship for Brisbane’s brand-new port?


We had originally planned on sending Carnival Legend to Brisbane in 2014, instead of Sydney. Queenslanders love cruising and they have been particularly supportive of Carnival since our arrival.

We had to wait a bit longer than expected to get a terminal that could handle a Spirit class ship, and we’re really excited to begin sailing out of Brisbane in 2020.


Beyond local sailings, has having a strong presence in Australia helped build Carnival Cruise Line’s fly/cruise sales from the market?


The most popular itinerary abroad for Aussie cruisers is our Mexican Riviera offering from Long Beach, Los Angeles. It is super accessible with one direct flight and Carnival guests are promised a spectacular holiday exploring crystal-clear beaches, delicious food and on-land adventures. From the underwater scenery of Cabo San Lucas, sparkling nightlife of Puerto Vallarta and La Paz to the energising fun of sports fishing, Mexican Riviera cruises inspire a feeling of a true getaway.

Carnival Panorama will be home ported in Long Beach, from December 2019. She will be the first brand-new ship deployed on the West Coast of the USA in 20 years. She will offer indoor and al fresco food and beverage concepts, including the Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse, Library Bar, and Bonsai Sushi. Also featured are the ground-breaking attractions SkyRide, a bike-ride-in-the-sky attraction, a massive WaterWorks aqua park, and the SportSquare open-air recreation space.


Carnival Cruise Line does a great job at working closely with Travel Advisors, how do you hope to further improve this relationship in 2019?


We have a small but passionate (and slightly crazy) sales team who work so hard to build relationships with the travel agent community. They love what they do, and we think this will continue to come through in 2019.

We hope that Travel Agents will be as excited as we are about Carnival Splendor’s arrival. Plus, our Queensland BDM, Mark, is sooooo pumped about Carnival Spirit sailing from Brisbane in 2020 that he’ll be shouting this from the rooftops over the next year.

We want to do all we can to keep the relationship with our Travel Agents strong, so we highly recommend any travel agents that don’t have a direct dialogue with us get on to Carnival FunZone on Facebook and let us know anything more we can do to help them in 2019.


Carnival Australia is working closely with Port of Brisbane to build Carnival Spirit’s new home; what information are you privy to of these plans & how are they coming along? Also, what’s one point of difference you’d like at the port?


While I can’t divulge all the details, I can share that we are working in close partnership with the Port of Brisbane to ensure we deliver a world-class cruise terminal for the Sunshine State.

The best cruise terminals are welcoming and efficient, and that should be our goal for Brisbane.


Carnival Cruise Line in the US recruited the great Shaq O’Neill as a celebrity ambassador, can we expect to see him on Carnival Splendor when she arrives?

We love Shaq, but he sadly won’t be working for us directly in Australia.

We are sure he’d love a trip to Oz, but there are no plans for him to come over. But don’t worry, we’ll be planning an awesome arrival for Carnival Splendor. Just you wait! We’re already pretty excited about the Agent over-night.


Are you keen to get onboard Carnival Splendour when she arrives next year?