Carnival Legend Mixes Fun With Quality In Vancouver
with Ming Tappin
Get ready for some fun - Carnival Legend's atrium with DJ and bar is the centre of activity.
Quality is not sacrificed for fun - meals served in the dining room are worthy of any shoreside restaurant.
Expansive corner balcony suites cater to those who want a little pampering on their cruise.
Tracy Cheng, Phil Westoby, Cuc Nguyen & Aibie Hernandez from Expedia CruiseShipCenters headquarters.
The Carnival Legend arrived in Vancouver May 16th from Hawaii, before repositioning to Seattle for the Alaska season. 70 agents were invited onboard to tour the ship, get a product update and enjoy lunch in the dining room. The event was hosted by Colleen Flynn - Carnival's Director Trade & Community Relations on behalf of local BDM Cindy Chau, who was away at a conference.
Carnival Cruise Lines nicknamed their fleet the "Fun Ships" for good reason. Stepping onboard the Legend, one can immediately see why. From the soaring atrium with a DJ spinning tunes, glittering lights and elaborate showrooms to the engaging and lively crew, you know this won't be a sedate cruise. But all of this isn't at the expense of quality - onboard Carnival, spacious suites, pampering spa, attentive service and fine dining all exist, although you might be pulled by the waiters to dance Gangnum Style in between courses. Carnival has been stigmatized for having party ships, so they have toned down their newer vessels a notch to appeal to a broader spectrum of clientele.
Not surprisingly, some agents I spoke with who, on seeing Carnival for the 1sttime, were a little overwhelmed by the "busy-ness" of it all, and remarked how different Carnival's look is from other cruise lines. This is a terrific example of how each cruise line is unique, and thus the importance of the agents' part to learn these differences and recommend the right cruise line to the right client. Most importantly, agents need to keep an open mind: do not dismiss any product if it is not suitable for oneself, as it may be perfect for someone else.
I chatted with Phil Westoby of Expedia CruiseShipCenters Headquarters who came onboard with his Product team. We both lamented that Carnival's group policy isn't as robust as the other brands, with bulk deposit requirements and tighter group amenity rules. The good news he shared with me is that individual Centers do book affinity groups with Carnival, which is a great way to increase business as they generally take off when there is a common interest amongst travellers.
Our host Colleen further elaborated on Carnival's dedication to help agencies grow their business whether in groups or FIT. The Trade & Community Relations department was created to bring Carnival training and events to smaller cities across North America who may not have the presence of a dedicated BDM. This has been very warmly received and keeps her team of 5 very busy on the road. In addition to the regular Carnival Conversations campaign which features interaction with the travel trade, Carnival is certainly making the effort to reconnect with the agent community.
Ming enjoying a good conversation with Colleen Flynn - Carnival's Director, Trade & Community Relations.