60 seconds with... Windstar Cruises' Megan Saunders

Q. How has the year started for Windstar Cruises?

A. Our sixth and final ship, Star Pride, returned to service earlier this month, which is such a big milestone. Bookings-wise, there is a lot of resilience in the market.

We recently appointed The Cruise Line as our new GSA in the UK. There are a lot of opportunities in the Med because some US clients are still tentative about coming over so there’s some incredible pricing that we probably won’t see again.

Q. Are you planning to get more agents on your ships?

A. We don’t do any direct business in the UK market, all of our business comes through the trade.

We hosted a couple of fam trips last October and we’re planning some more for this month ( June) and August. We’ll have about 30 agents on board in June, which is the biggest activity we’ve done in the UK.

Q. What is your trade strategy for this year?

A. We’re still in that brand awareness phase, so it’s all about training. It’s helping agents understand what our offering is, where we sit in the market and what kind of clients are suitable for a Windstar cruise.

The best way to do that is to get on board and experience it for yourself. We’ve also got a fantastic course on Online Travel Training, which is directed to the UK trade. Our Advisor Hub has some great resources too.

Q. What are the key messages for new customers?

A. It’s a relaxed, luxury, small-ship experience. We don’t carry more than 350 passengers across the fleet and that means we go to some incredible destinations so our itineraries are really immersive and destination-focused.

We have watersports marinas on the back of every ship, so even in Alaska guests can get off and go kayaking by the glaciers.

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