“There’s a cruise out there for ev­ery­one”

Woman & Home - - INFLUENTIAL WOMEN -

WENDY ATKIN-SMITH, 50, IS THE MAN­AG­ING DI­REC­TOR OF VIK­ING CRUISES UK (VIKINGRIVERCRUISES.CO.UK). WENDY LIVES NEAR EP­SOM IN SUR­REY WITH HER HUS­BAND, NICK, A BUILD­ING SUR­VEYOR.

CRUIS­ING TO­DAY IS MORE POP­U­LAR THAN

EVER. PEO­PLE WHO BOOK A CRUISE WANT TO MEET LIKE-MINDED PEO­PLE, EX­PLORE NEW DES­TI­NA­TIONS AND CON­TINUE LEARN­ING. ONE OF OUR MOST POP­U­LAR CRUISES IS ON THE DOURO RIVER IN POR­TU­GAL – IT’S A BEAU­TI­FUL JOUR­NEY. RUS­SIA IS ALSO POP­U­LAR – OUR CRUISE GOES FROM MOSCOW TO ST PETERS­BURG. THERE IS A CRUISE OUT THERE FOR EV­ERY­ONE.

OUR CUS­TOMERS ARE LOOK­ING FOR AN EX­PE­RI­ENCE, AN AD­VEN­TURE THAT THEY CAN RE­MEM­BER FOR­EVER. SO NOT JUST KEY SIGHTS AND TOURIST SPOTS BUT ALSO EX­PE­RI­ENCES SUCH AS TRUF­FLE HUNT­ING IN BORDEAUX, HAV­ING TEA WITH A RUS­SIAN BABUSHKA OR TAKING A KING CRAB SA­FARI IN NOR­WAY.

RIVER CRUIS­ING IS NOW BIG BUSI­NESS. REWIND FIVE YEARS, AND THE MAR­KET WAS MUCH SMALLER – PEO­PLE JUST WEREN’T AS AWARE OF WHAT IT IN­VOLVED OR THAT IT WAS EVEN AN OP­TION. WE AT VIK­ING HAVE BEEN PART OF THIS REVOLUTION WITH OUR STATE-OF-THE-ART LONGSHIPS THAT IN­CLUDE VERANDAS AND THE LARGEST SUITES ON

THE RIVERS OF EUROPE.

CRUISES ARE ALSO AN EX­CEL­LENT WAY TO MAKE NEW FRIENDS. WE KNOW OF MANY CUS­TOMERS THAT STILL TRAVEL WITH PEO­PLE THEY MET ON A CRUISE MANY YEARS AGO. IN FACT, THERE ARE A NUM­BER OF CUS­TOMERS THAT I HAVE TRAV­ELLED WITH, WHO

HAVE SINCE BE­COME MY

FRIENDS OVER THE YEARS.

AS A CHILD, I WAS OB­SESSED WITH TRAVEL BROCHURES – I STILL AM! I HAD A GREAT DE­SIRE TO SEE THE WORLD AND THOUGHT WORK­ING IN THIS IN­DUS­TRY COULD HELP ME. I’VE SPENT 10 YEARS AT VIK­ING AND HAVE DONE VIR­TU­ALLY ALL OUR RIVER CRUISES AND AM WORK­ING MY WAY THROUGH OUR OCEAN CRUISES.

I WENT ABROAD

FOR THE FIRST TIME WHEN I WAS 16. I GREW UP IN LIN­COLNSHIRE AND CHILD­HOOD HOL­I­DAYS WERE SPENT IN SKEGNESS. AT 16, A FRIEND AND I BOOKED A HOL­I­DAY TO LLORET DE MAR IN SPAIN. IT WAS A COACH TRIP – WHICH WAS ALL WE COULD AF­FORD – BUT WE WERE DE­TER­MINED TO GO ABROAD. WE LOVED IT AND THOUGHT WE HAD BEEN MAS­SIVELY IN­TREPID.

I WOULD TELL MY YOUNGER SELF NOT TO WORRY ABOUT NOT HAV­ING GONE TO UNIVER­SITY.

I LEFT SCHOOL AT 16 AND IT HAS NEVER HELD ME BACK. I HOPE THIS CAN IN­SPIRE PEO­PLE AROUND ME – THAT YOU CAN COME FROM ANY­WHERE AND STILL ACHIEVE GREAT THINGS.

ONE OF MY FAVOURITE PLACES IS SOUTH­ERN IN­DIA – I LOVE THE COLOURS AND THE PEO­PLE, AND THE FOOD THERE IS THE BEST I’VE EVER HAD. I’M DES­PER­ATE TO DIS­COVER NORTH­ERN IN­DIA, AS WELL AS JA­PAN, PLACES WHERE THE CUL­TURE IS COM­PLETELY DIF­FER­ENT TO OURS.

SINCE I TRAVEL SO MUCH – ONE WEEK OUT OF EV­ERY FOUR – IT IS NICE TO HAVE WEEK­END BREAKS WITH MY HUS­BAND IN THE UK. WE’VE JUST RE­TURNED FROM NORTH NORFOLK WITH OUR TWO SPRINGER SPANIELS.

I’M HOPE­LESS AT RE­LAX­ING. I LOVE MY JOB

TOO MUCH. BUT I DO LOVE WALK­ING MY

DOGS, AND HAV­ING TWO CREA­TURES THAT ARE DE­PEN­DENT ON ME GIVES ME A NEW PER­SPEC­TIVE ON THINGS OUT­SIDE OF WORK. I’M NOT ONE OF THOSE PEO­PLE WHO TAKES THEIR PHONE TO BED, BUT

I DO CHECK MY EMAILS CON­STANTLY, NOT BE­CAUSE I HAVE TO BUT BE­CAUSE I want TO! W&H

CAS­TLE KATZ ON THE RIVER RHINE

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