Agent books group of 100 with Ambassador Cruise Line

Christine Jones, a homeworker with The Holiday Village, has booked a group of 100 for a multigenerational cruise on Ambassador Cruise Line’s Ambience.

The sale came from a loyal customer who had contacted her about a seven-night cruise to the fjords, departing from Tilbury on August 6, 2022.

The sailing is one of two multi-generational voyages scheduled for next summer, which will offer activities and entertainment for children and families.

There will be 28 families – 56 adults and 44 kids, ranging from 10 to mid-60s – with at least one NHS worker in each family.

They come from Manchester, Birmingham and Brighton and chat together on WhatsApp and Facebook.

Chester-based Jones said this is the biggest single booking in her 30 years as an agent.

She said she had previously made a 12-strong group booking for the lead customer when she worked for Freedom Travel Group, which went into liquidation after the collapse of Thomas Cook.

“They were due to travel in October 2019 and Thomas Cook went under in September 2019,” said Jones.

“I was devastated. It was the worst feeling ever, after 20 years of working for the same company.”

She said she was stressed about her customers who were due to travel in the aftermath of the collapse – but the client’s cruise was honoured and the group had a great holiday.

The client contacted her again in July 2021 to book with Ambassador Cruise Line, which launched in May.

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The initial booking was for 68 people but it grew as friends of friends were added to the group.

“It was lovely that he got in touch with me again. Everyone in the group was keen to get away on holiday after working hard the past 18 months,” said Jones.

As well as the 100-strong booking, the client has also recommended her to a friend who has made two further group bookings.

She praised the work of Oliver Tillson in Ambassador’s groups department, and business development manager Deborah Rixson, who were helpful and patient with the administration and changes.

They also sent her a gift as a ‘thank you’ for the booking.

“I’d like to thank them both for the lovely thought and for their help and support throughout the booking process,” commented Jones.

“Being able to get hold of someone at Ambassador Cruises straight away has made it a lot easier to deal with.

“The past two years have been so tough and stressful, first with the Thomas Cook collapse and losing so much with them.

“I was lucky to find and join The Holiday Village and with help and support from Paula Nuttall and her team, I finally started to pick up the pieces and get on with booking holidays again.”

However, she took another hit to her confidence when the pandemic hit.

“I wasn’t sure if I could go through another blow so soon, but I couldn’t leave my customers with no one to speak to, especially after staying loyal to me after the Thomas Cook collapse,” she said.

“I have carried on through the pandemic full-time, being around to help my customers with any questions and to make the many changes, refunds and amendments for them.

“I feel my customers have been grateful for that and have appreciated the work I have done for them – most of them realise I was not getting paid for doing it.”

She said her client liked the fact that the money is held in a trust account so it’s protected.

Since its launch, Ambassador has been working with agents to offer commission plus information and marketing material.

It will also offer opportunities for agents to see Ambience before the ship’s inaugural cruise next April.

Benefits for groups include a 5% discount on Early Saver Fares and Ambassador Fares on selected sailings for full paying adults.

Deborah Rixson, business development manager for southern England, Wales and groups, said: “The desire to cruise again is evident. People want to sail with their friends and family who they’ve not been able to see for so long.

“We’re so happy that we will be able to provide onboard experiences for them that’ll create lasting memories, including hosting special group welcome cocktail parties and preferential dining arrangements. We offer a friendly support service to all our group bookings to ensure every question is answered and every little detail is catered for. We can’t wait to welcome groups onboard Ambience in April 2022.”

Booking 25 adult passengers means the group gets one additional free place and there will be two additional free places if a client books 50 adult passengers.

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