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Travel industry news

10 Apr 2019

BY Tom Parry


Crystal training tour line’s ‘largest ever’

Crystal Cruises has launched its largest ever series of agent training events to offer a “more focused view” of its expanding product range.

Crystal Endeavor among ice floes

“We wanted to do more than just your average speed dating night and spend enough time talking about each new development”

The line held the first event of its “Knowledge Crystalised” tour in Elstree, Hertfordshire, earlier this month, while Mark Spillane, sales and marketing director for Crystal Yacht and Expedition Cruises, joined agents in London and Chester last week to give an update on its first expedition vessel, Crystal Endeavor.

Elaine Gillard, senior sales and marketing manager, told TTG an additional 12 events were slated throughout the year, explaining that due to Crystal’s increased product range, appearing as part of larger roadshows did not always allow its team to go into the details needed with agents.

Crystal currently has a fleet of three ocean ships, with a new “Diamond-class” ocean vessel on order, and five river ships; Endeavor arrives next year, with an option for two more expedition models.

“We wanted to do more than just your average speed dating night and spend enough time talking about each new development,” said Gillard.

She added Crystal was aiming for about 30 agents at each event – the next due to be held in Bristol on May 9 – with higher attendance targeted for larger cities. The tour is also heading to regions such as the Channel Islands, while monthly webinars will be held.

On his first visit to London last week, Spillane said part of the purpose of his trip was to “reassure guests and travel partners” over the build process for Endeavor, currently under construction in the MV Werften shipyard in northern Germany.

Spillane said Endeavor was “well on track” but admitted there had been “some questions in the industry about new-builds in the expedition segment”.

“This is understandable as for a lot of lines it’s a new sector to work in and delays can happen,” he said.

He added the delays to Scenic Eclipse – due in August, almost a year late – had been mentioned by some consumers and trade partners.

“My interpretation is that there is concern in the market, especially with all the news [surrounding Eclipse] so it’s a challenge, but we are in a good place,” said Spillane.

He added the line would be inviting UK agents to the upcoming float out of Endeavor, which he predicted would be held this September.

The line would also look to showcase the vessel to British trade in September 2021 when it arrives in London.

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