Once you’ve worked in travel you’ll never leave – RCL Cruises’ Peter McCormack could claim that except he intends to leave after nearly five decades.

Peter McCormack announced his retirement early last month after 46 years in travel, a decade of which was spent leading the sales team at RCL Cruises.

Before he could officially hang up his spurs, we caught up with him for a quick Q&A. Read on to find out what he’s enjoyed about working in cruise, his favourite ships and that modest employee discount for life:


Congratulations on making it nearly five decades in the travel industry! What’s your secret to surviving the stress and pressure?


I have always enjoyed what I do and have been lucky enough to work for some incredible brands, so fortunately for me, I have never suffered from stress or pressure!


You made the move from touring into cruising around a decade ago, why did you decide to move into cruise?


I had actually moved on from touring some years prior to working in the cruising world and had been working for a large direct travel company in the interim.

I had always loved working in the travel industry and so I was delighted when I was offered an opportunity with RCL Cruises. It was an offer I could not turn down and not once did I ever look back.


How does it differ from working with tour operators?


There’s not a lot of difference, it’s still all about building relationships with your trade partners regardless of which part of the industry you’re working in.

This has never changed, over the many, many years I have been in sales, analysing of sales territories with spreadsheets and algorithms will never replace good old fashion regular sales calls and building trust and offering service to your trade partners.


How much has the cruise industry changed since you began with RCL in 2009?

I believe RCL Cruises has been at the forefront in changing the face of the cruise industry in Australia and New Zealand.

With the introduction of amazing new ships to the area, we have given the cruising public a range of great options to choose from, which has benefited Travel Agents as well.

It has also meant that our competitors have had to upgrade their product to compete, consequently offering consumers a much more satisfying cruise experience.


How do you see the industry evolving further in the next decade?


It will just get bigger and better as more exciting cruise product gets launched over the next few years.


The three RCL Cruises’ brands are known for having everything one could possibly need or want to do at sea, but what’s one thing you’d like to see the cruise line introduce on future ships (realistic or fantasy)?

This is a tough question to answer and there have already been so many extraordinary enhancements added to the ships across all our brands – Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara. Everything from Flowriders to simulated sky diving, ice-skating, rock climbing walls, bumper cars, glamping and a whole lot more.

What’s more, the local market can look forward to enjoying some of the incredible first-to-market features onboard Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas when she arrives in Sydney later this year.

I guess companies can just keep coming up with great ideas to enhance the experience onboard.


How many cruises would you say you’ve done over your time in travel?

In the 10 years I have been with the Royal family, I have had the pleasure of cruising on our ships 43 times, across Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara.


Which cruise was your favourite?


I enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere of the Azamara brand, with its smaller ships, more intimate ports and the ability to stay overnight in many ports as well.

But in all honesty, I must admit that I have loved every single one of the ships as they were all different and offer something equally as extraordinary!!


Which ship are you keen to check out during retirement?


I cannot wait for Celebrity Eclipse to come to Australia in December 2020, she will look amazing after she has been revitalised. I also want to take my partner on a Royal Caribbean Oasis Class ship as she has yet to experience this amazing product.


What opportunities do you think are still untapped by the cruise industry?

Many consumers have the wrong impression of what today’s cruises can offer them, so tapping into the new to cruise market is one of the industry’s greatest opportunities.


Is RCL setting you up with an employee discount for life?

Yes, a modest one!