Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG) luxury travel brand Travel Associates has opened the doors to its latest cruise foray with the launch of its Cruise Boutique concept.
Celebrating the release at Aria Restaurant on Tuesday, Danielle Galloway, Flight Centre Travel Group general manager for premium leisure brands, told attendees it was a perfect time to introduce the brand.
“With new ships, new ports and new cruise destinations coming online continually, we couldn’t think of a better time to launch the Travel Associates Cruise Boutique brand in the Australian market.”
Galloway added she expected the Australian cruise sector to reach its “2017 peak” leading into the new year, citing forecasts for homeport and international sailings.
In May, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia revealed a total of 1.35 million Australians took a cruise last year, an increase of 0.9 per cent from 2017.
However, the rate of growth was down from the 4.4 per cent shown in 2017 from 2016.
At the time, CLIA Australasia president Sture Myrmell said “All of the expected reduction in growth will probably continue into 2019, but the future of the Australian cruise market remains very positive.”
Galloway said the new specialisation would cater for “a very specific customer requirement”.
Designed to offer clients “absolute” cruise expertise and “unrivalled” service, Cruise Boutique will provide curated cruise and travel expertise for ocean, river and expedition cruises from “numerous” premium partners.
Moreover, the company is bringing notable expertise to its line-up of advisors, with clients guided by agents with an average of 10 years in travel and hundreds of hours spent each at sea.
Travel Advisors revealed many of its advisors are past and present CLIA masters or ambassadors, Princess Commodores, and alumni of training programs from HAL, Regent, Uniworld, Silversea Academy, Seabourn Academy and RCL to name just a few.
“I am incredibly proud of our team of advisors within this specialisation,” Galloway said. “Rather than ‘armchair’ cruisers, these experts live cruise.
“They are passionate, knowledgeable and spend their own holidays cruising, not to mention the familiarisations, ship inspections, conferences and accreditation they undergo to hone their skills.
“Travel Associates Cruise Boutiques can provide the kind of counsel and ‘purple ribbon’ client service that no other travel group can match,” she said.
Owned by the Flight Centre Travel Group, the majority of Travel Associates consultations are done by appointment, which the company said will provide “clients with a completely bespoke approach to their travels, regardless of budget”.
Featured image: Janette Wall, Rachel Kingswell, Kathy Pavlidis, Julia Leary, Marieke Tucker, Danielle Galloway, Anna Burgdorf, Alison Lord, Debbi Clarke, Lisa Wright.