Cruise Whit­sun­days an­nounces new era

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

THERE is light at the end of the tun­nel af­ter what has been a long and hard year for Cruise Whit­sun­days, ac­cord­ing to ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Chris Ja­cobs.

At last Wednes­day’s agents’ night, Mr Ja­cobs said Cruise Whit­sun­days had gone through a “very big year” since buy­ing Fan­tasea’s Whit­sun­day op­er­a­tions in 2012.

“How many busi­nesses more than dou­ble in size from one day to the next? It was more gru­elling than any of us an­tic­i­pated so it is re­ally nice to be at the end of that first year,” Mr Ja­cobs said. “We had to drop off – we know that. We had a fall in stan­dards around the place [and] it was just cri­sis man­age­ment each and ev­ery day get­ting those peo­ple from A to B...[but] now we’re get­ting back to the stage where we are polishing things again,” he said.

“Our goal [now] is to be, not just the lead­ing op­er­a­tor in the Whit­sun­days, but also on the east coast and help bring more vis­i­tors here.”

The com­pany’s new CEO Nick Hor­tle went into de­tail about more than $11 mil­lion worth of in­vest­ments made across the fleet. Mr Hor­tle said Cruise Whit­sun­days had bought two new ves­sels, Sea Odyssey and Co­bia, as well as com­pletely re­fur­bish­ing Charmer, which was barely recog­nis­able in its new con­fig­u­ra­tion as Sea­horse.

For the book­ing agents, their cus­tomers and lo­cal res­i­dents, Mr Hor­tle said this would trans­late to “great re­li­a­bil­ity in our sched­ules and great com­fort for pas­sen­gers”. With its fleet now up to scratch, Cruise Whit­sun­days will of­fer ad­di­tional new prod­ucts, in­clud­ing a Hamil­ton Is­land golf club pack­age and the long awaited re­turn of Reef Sleep.

Mr Ja­cobs said the for­mer Fan­tasea prod­uct had been com­pletely re-in­vented, with its new un­der the stars op­tion of­fer­ing guests the chance to sleep in pre- mium swags on the Great Bar­rier Reef.

“It used to be pre­sented as a 4.5 star ho­tel prod­uct, which it never was – you slept in a cabin and you couldn’t see the sea,” he said. “[But] the great op­por­tu­nity out there is you’re on this pon­toon on the Great Bar­rier Reef, 40-plus miles from shore and any man­made light so the stars and ev­ery­thing out there is spec­tac­u­lar.”

Reef Sleep will op­er­ate from April 1- De­cem­ber 31. For more in­for­ma­tion visit www.cruise­whit­sun­days.com.

HEAD­ING THE TEAM: Cruise Whit­sun­days' new gen­eral man­ager of op­er­a­tions Gary Kilby, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Chris Ja­cobs, re­gional sales man­ager Aus­tralia Jacky Flem­ing and new CEO Nick Hor­tle, are ex­cited about tak­ing Cruise Whit­sun­days for­ward one year af­ter pur­chas­ing the Fan­tasea op­er­a­tion in the re­gion.

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