People Making Waves / John Dennis of Cruise & Maritime Voyages Discusses New Ships & Upselling

ShipsAhoy sits down with John to learn about what’s new with Cruise & Maritime Voyages!

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By: Ilona Kauremszky

John Dennis of Cruise & Maritime Voyages once battled the elements in beautiful Rouen in Northern France on a cold, winter day experiencing a torrential downpour that sent this cruise guy into mucky terrain. 

“Mother Nature is what Mother Nature is and we still found a way to enjoy the place,” he recounts vividly about a FAM trip tour that ended with the finest coffee in a charming café.

ShipsAhoy sat down with the vice-president of Americas for updates, selling tips and casual info.

1. What’s new with the brand? 

We’ve become a real specialist in regional cruise line operations and have grown beyond the U.K. We just opened a Mexico office.  Our sixth ship the Vasco da Gama launches next April.

2. What is unique about the brand?

We are a British-based cruise company with the majority of cruises out of the U.K. and are primarily a northern European operator.

3. Do you have any new itineraries?

Next January we have our third cruise around the world, a 120-night voyage starting in London. It’s exceptional value for the consumer’s vacation dollar which separates us from the pack. Next April, the Vasco da Gama will have a 46-night repositioning cruise from Singapore to London sailing throughout Asia, going through the Suez and visiting the Mediterranean before it begins its European voyages.

4. What sets you apart

We are a mid-ship operator for aspirational cruisers at an entry level. We deliver good vacation value. It’s more from an enriching standpoint and not the bells and whistles of the bigger ships.

5. Do you have any agent incentives?

We continually have special programs and FAM trips. Give us a ring and we’ll figure out how we can grow our business together.

6. Why your ships, and not the other brands? 

The best way to see Britain is with a British cruise line.  The destinations we go to are traditionally smaller than our competitors so we get into different ports of call.

7. Do you have any selling tips?

Qualify the passengers directly. Many agents might think because it’s not a brand new ship it might not be suitable but what we see is the consumer flocking to our brand. The ship is secondary and the destination is primary.

8. Do you encourage upselling? 

Yes.  Doing the British Isles and Scandinavia like Iceland and the fjords of Norway are bucket list items. Why not have them splurge a bit more to enhance these experiences with a balcony view cabin? For Canadians the British Isles and Iceland, because they are seasonal, agents need to organize and promote early.

9. What’s been your favourite trip? 

I sailed around the British Isles. It’s incredible. You see the diverse landscape of Britain, Scotland, and Ireland and get to experience different historical contexts in incredible itineraries.

10. What’s something travel agents don’t know about you?

I like to play guitar, 70s and 80s Blues and Rock like Led Zeppelin.

11. What would you like to see happen within the cruise industry? 

The market to continue to grow and to grow sustainable so we take care of the oceans that have taken care of us for so many years.

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