Jools Holland has said he aims to bring “intimacy and atmosphere” to Saga’s upcoming new build ship Spirit of Discovery through a new venue which he will front and perform in.
The pianist and TV presenter will be the face of The Club by Jools, a jazz-inspired steakhouse bar onboard the ship, which launches in July 2019, as part of a five-year partnership with the over-50s specialist.
Speaking at a dinner for trade and media in London last night (September 18), the ex-Squeeze musician said the charm of the venue would be its size.
“I’m very fortunate that we do tend to play in a lot of big venues and [The Club] is tiny – about 120 people - which means I can only fit myself, my drummer and three or four singers, so the atmosphere and the intimacy of that is going to be really enjoyable for the audience.
“We’re all going to go away having had a great evening – there will be all sorts of music.”
When asked by TTG during an audience Q&A session if he used the trade to book his own tours and holidays, Holland said he would be "lost without my travel agent".
“She is absolutely marvellous, I wouldn’t book any other way - she’s incredibly efficient," he described.
Earlier in the evening, Saga announced it would christen the 999-passenger “boutique” vessel in Dover on July 5 next year with Robin Shaw, chief executive of Saga Travel predicting the line would “set a new standard” for ex-UK cruising.
“[Spirit of Discovery] is going to be a real statement of small and bespoke. Our ship is a one-off,” said Shaw, while teasing that Discovery’s sister ship, Spirit of Adventure (launching in 2020) would be “very, very different in terms of design and the way she feels”.
Speaking to TTG, Shaw explained how Saga had sent the same design brief for Adventure as they had ordered for Discovery to different design firms, with it being interpreted in “completely different ways”.
“[Discovery and Adventure] are in the same ilk but they are very, very different. We’ve termed it as they are sisters but not twins.”
Shaw added that he believed agents had “a huge role” in making Spirit of Discovery a success.
“Undoubtedly, our trade sales are doing really well. It’s something that we have to grow and agents have a huge role for communicating to the vast majority of people who still book cruises through them – that’s how people still do it."
Last month Saga reported year-on-year growth for cruise trade sales in excess of 80%.
Describing the value of Saga’s partnership with Holland in attracting trade interest, Shaw said: “Jools is a fantastic hook [for agents] because he’s an individual who transcends generations and having him here tonight is fantastic.
“He’s a natural entertainer and I think he’s going to be a huge assets for the business.”