Travel Weekly caught up with Crystal Australasia’s senior vice president and managing director, Karen Christensen, to talk about the cruise line’s approach to sustainability, its continued support of The Travel Awards, and more.
Why is Crystal Cruises continuing its support as principal sponsor of The Travel Awards?
Crystal was very proud to be the inaugural principal sponsor of The Travel Awards, and what a fantastic first year it was. These awards highlight an ever-growing and dynamic industry, which is the result of incredible work by travel agents, travel industry groups, tour operators, tourism boards and all those that make up Australia’s travel sector. Awards like these, decided by experts in the field and travel advisors who actively work alongside Australian travellers, are great to be a part of.
What is Crystal most looking forward to at this year’s awards?
We are most looking forward to celebrating our industry’s top-performing trade partners who are the backbone of this growing industry, as well as suppliers recognised across all aspects of this field.
Environmental sustainability has been a big talking point in the cruise space this year. How is Crystal improving its sustainability practices?
Yes, and it’s an important conversation to have. The world is precious, and Crystal is continually enhancing our environmental management systems to minimise and reduce environmental impact. Crystal’s commitment to complying, and in some regards exceeding, worldwide environmental regulations is key to our keeping ‘Crystal Clean’ mission. This covers areas including greenhouse gas reduction, fuel reduction programs, energy and water conservation, and recycling. Most recently, coinciding with World Oceans Day this year, Crystal announced that all plastic straws had been eliminated across the entire fleet. This initiative, part of our Crystal Cares program, ensures that we are continuing our focus of caring for our world in meaningful ways.
On a conservation level, Crystal recently announced a partnership with ORCA, a leading conservation organisation dedicated to the protection of whales, dolphins and porpoises. ORCA is placing wildlife experts on board Crystal Symphony at the end of this month to train Crystal’s bridge crew in the protocol for collecting scientific data about the animals’ behaviour as well as best conservation practices.
(Sustainability is the focus of this year’s Travel DAZE conference. Find out more here).
How is Crystal continuing to build its relationship with travel agents? How important are they to the company?
Crystal globally understands the importance of the luxury travel advisor community and has been heavily supportive of the trade. When we opened the office in Sydney, we had a big task of building the awareness of Crystal and the cruise line’s multiple experiences, from ocean and river to yacht and expedition. The travel advisor was an important part in this, as they can be great ambassadors for a brand that they have confidence in, and an established distribution channel. We’ve always asked, ‘how can we build your Crystal business and profits?’, and looked at the relationship as a true partnership. Our team of business development managers tailor sales and marketing plans with agents to drive this.
What does the future hold for the cruise industry and, in particular, Crystal?
The future for the industry is an exciting one – we have seen an incredible period of growth and Australian travellers especially have benefited from the amount of choice now available to them. For Crystal, this time next year, Crystal Endeavor will launch under the Crystal Expedition Cruises brand with her inaugural season in the Asia Pacific. From in-depth exploration of the Great Barrier Reef, to immersive New Zealand voyages, to Antarctica via the Ross Sea in early 2021, departing from Hobart and Christchurch.
Crystal is also currently finalising plans for the new ‘Diamond Class’ ships, which will elevate the company’s ocean offering with more choices and new experiences that will take luxury to the next level.
The Travel Awards are designed to celebrate wholesalers, destinations, airlines, tourism boards, cruise lines, retailers and the myriad of other companies that make the travel industry so amazing.
Judged by more than 50 of Australia’s most experienced travel industry alumni and experts from the marketing sector, 37 categories cover the full gamut of the travel industry.
We also have some new and updated categories this year, so be sure to review the criteria document closely before submitting your entry (or entries).
And, of course, the highly coveted Grand Prix Award will shine a light on one company making the biggest, most impressive splash in the industry.
This year, the Travel Awards will be held on Friday 29 November at The Venue Alexandria in Sydney, marking the perfect time to celebrate a year of hard work and to recharge your batteries for another year ahead.
Click HERE to secure your spot at the awards and take advantage of the early bird ticket special! The dress code for the sit-down-dinner affair is black tie.