On location aboard Crystal Bach
Managing director and vice president, Crystal River Cruises
Today’s issue of CW is coming to you courtesy of Crystal Cruises, aboard the Crystal Bach currently cruising Germany’s Rhine River.
CRYSTAL Bach arrives in Basel, Switzerland today, as the southernmost point of its Rhine River itinerary.
The vessel spends two nights here, allowing for extended shore excursions as well as dining at some of the city’s top restaurants.
After our Basel sojourn the cruise wraps up with a full day of cruising back to Frankfurt, enabling passengers to view the Rhine in ultimate comfort.
Cruise Weekly caught up with cruise fanatic Walter Littlejohn in Europe this week and he gave us some fascinating insights into his life and career.
1. What motivates you in your career?
I have a huge passion for cruise ships and the travel industry in general. At the age of 14 I decided I wanted to be an executive in the cruise business, and everything I have done has been working towards that goal.
2. Most common assumption people make about your job?
Like anyone in travel, people assume I lead a glamorous life - there’s a certain mystique about it. However at the end of the day exceeding guest expectations is not easy, with a lot of hard work behind it that people don’t usually see.
3. What is the key to building great relationships with travel agents?
I spent 14 years as a travel agent myself with the aim of really understanding what is involved in cruise distribution. Having been an agent and being able to empathise is a huge benefit for me. The key needs of a travel agent are simple - they need partners they can rely on and good products to deliver to their clients. If we can do those things well, the rest is easy.
4. Biggest challenge facing the industry?
I hate to use the term ‘Fake News’ but I believe there is a danger for the industry if our audience doesn’t get the right facts. If our message about services or destinations is miscommunicated, customers are likely to have the wrong expectations.
5. What was your best fam trip?
The cruise I’m on ( Crystal Bach Jewels of the Rhine) and the next one I’ll be taking - I just love cruising!
6. What is your favourite cruise destination?
Actually I really like being on board. As a kid I used to take lots of “cruises to nowhere” out of New York just to experience the ship. It really is a utopian vacation experience.
7. Name a celebrity you’d like to cruise with?
I’d love to cruise with Heidi Klum. Actually it might happen one day - maybe she could become the godmother to one of our ships? I have made some overtures...
8. Favourite thing to do in port?
I like to eat some of the authentic local cuisine, experience the destination like those who live there.
9. When you’re not at work how do you spend your me?