Inspired by their overnight experience on the MV Astor to celebrate the launch of its inaugural summer cruise season from its new home-port in Fremantle, TravelManagers’ personal travel managers Michelle Nikolich, representative for Bayswater and Natalie Zagar Representative from Yakine each recently experienced a five-night family cruise holiday.

“Following the overnight famil I knew the MV Astor would be an ideal family holiday and we certainly weren’t disappointed. Being a small ship with only 620 berths, it was so personable and the children made lots of friends over the four days. Children are such a conversation starter with people and the cruise was good fun,” says Zagar.

An outstanding highlight of the cruise for both Nikolich and Zagar was the incredible cuisine at all dining venues onboard.

“We had the option to dine at the buffet which we did most nights with the kids or a la carte at the Waldorf restaurant. The cruise we went on happened to be a themed wine, food and fitness cruise. We were lucky to have Vince Garreffa from Mondo Butchers and Chris Taylor from Fraser Restaurant on board to do cooking demonstrations, which for us was the absolute highlight. The lamb they cooked on the pool deck was to die for, a ten out of ten,” says Nikolich.

The personal approach and genuine commitment to service from the staff is clearly evident especially in a smaller cruise vessel.

“The service was fabulous and all staff worked tirelessly all week. The staff will greet you by name and they also remember the little things that make all the difference. We had lunch at the Waldorf Restaurant and my daughter kept eating the olives. The waiter counted she had 53 olives. At our next visit the same waiter came over and asked if she would like some olives, of course she said yes and he bought over a bowl to her. My daughter still talks about the nice olive man,” says Nikolich.

Nikolich proves firsthand experience makes all the difference, with MV Astor cruise bookings already secured.

“Being able to talk about the facilities and on-board amenities with absolute confidence is invaluable. I secured a five-night cruise booking for a surprise 60th birthday where they booked the Astor Suite, the best cabin category on the ship. Talking about the cruise with passion and knowledge gained from my inspection and own personal holiday along with my own photos I believe solely secured my clients booking the Astor Suite,” says Nikolich.

TravelManagers’ recognise the significant contribution home-based consultants make to the cruise sector and the need for ongoing education.

“TravelManagers is taking very positive steps to educate personal travel managers and promote the value of cruising and developing strategies and techniques in converting cruise enquiries. CruiseManagers, TravelManagers’ specialist cruise division, is a growing success. We encourage any opportunity for personal travel managers to experience products for themselves as we know the benefits of increased sales and product knowledge is key,” says Gazal.