Monday, 15 August 2022 – For the small team at locally based company Cruise Vacations this Woman’s month is especially significant. This Woman owned and run team have every good reason to celebrate their achievements. The first Woman’s month for two years where it is ‘Business as Usual” at this boutique cruise specialist agency.
It was as early as January 2020 that they started to feel the impact of the Pandemic, initially with their Asian cruise bookings being cancelled, little did they know that it would be almost two years before they would be able to send passengers on their luxury voyages again.
At the end of 2020, Gaynor Galbraith Neill, local entrepreneur and cruise expert took over the business. Prior to that she had been employed by the Company since the mid-90’s and run it as General Manager since 2010. “We were in a very unique situation at the time” she explains. “Fortunately thanks to the support of our incredible Cruise Principals and our sound business model, we had refunded or re-booked all of our clients within three months of cancellation, but we found ourselves in a position where we still had a great deal of future bookings and new bookings being made, but during an interim period where no-one was able to travel”.
With the global cancellation of all cruise lines in April of 2020 followed by hugely restrictive travel bans, this small specialist agency took a decision to stick together and weather the storms ahead until travel resumed. “Ironically, possibly one of the advantages was that we just did not know what the road ahead looked like, so we couldn’t be fearful of it, we just had to take one day at a time”, and that proved to be the winning solution.
Also deeply aware of the devastating effects on the travel industry as a whole, the Cruise Vacations team decided to support their valued travel partners by initiating a “Nomination Scheme” whereby clients could book their cruise through them directly while their Travel Agents were un-operational with the small team caretaking those bookings until the travel agents were back in the saddle.
The ladies are very open when they tell you “there were days where it was utterly overwhelming” but Gaynor alongside her colleagues, Ilse Stols and Kirsten Botha made a point of being strong for one another. Remaining mindful, positive and optimistic. “We added our very special brand of humour, looked for all of the positives – and found them, when one had a bad day, the others would hold them up. It was a very difficult time but we have drawn closer together as a team and we are now seeing our business stronger that it ever was before. We couldn’t wait for the day when we could say ‘it was all worth it’ and now we can do exactly that”.
Now more than two-and-a-half years since their first passengers were cancelled due to the Pandemic, these ladies are working around the clock to keep up with the volume of enquiries, they have contracted two additional sales support staff and are excited about the road ahead.
Cruise Vacations are the officially appointed sales agents in South Africa for a range of boutique, luxury and award-winning cruise lines. Silversea Cruises, Scenic Cruises, Scenic Eclipse, Emerald Cruises, Emerald Yachts and Star Clippers as well as the luxury small ships of Katarina Line. These small ships offer a luxury platform for guests who enjoy the finer things in life while deeply and immersively traversing the globe.
For more information on Cruise Vacations: https://www.cruise-vacations.co.za
Follow Cruise Vacations:
Twitter : @cruisegsa
*Please note that Cruise Vacations is the officially appointed representatives in Southern Africa for a range of award-winning ocean and river cruise lines. For more information or to book one of these cruises please contact:
Gaynor Galbraith Neill, Managing Director, Cruise Vacations Tel: +27 11 5140564 Gaynor@cruise-vacations.co.za