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WANTED


A newly retired couple would like a Caribbean cruise this year, but are unsure which ship or itinerary would be most appropriate.


They prefer activities and entertainment that suit older passengers or families, and like West End-style shows. They would also


prefer shore excursions that explore culture and history. They are looking for a one-week cruise but are flexible about dates. BUDGET: £4,000


THE VERDICT


The Althams Travel agent scored well on all aspects of the visit and impressed the mystery shopper, although there was scope for upselling, as the quotes were below budget. The shopper liked the cruises offered by the agents at Tivoli Travel and Wallace Arnold, but they would have scored higher if they had asked more questions and matched the budget more closely – they were well under budget.


WINNING AGENT


DEPUTY MANAGER kathryn stopford


We are getting more cruise enquiries, from all age groups. I went on a Royal


Caribbean cruise a few years ago, so I could explain about the entertainment. We also have training and webinars to keep up to date. I joined Althams 33 years ago. We have lots of experienced staff here.


SCORING SYSTEM


10% Appearance/first impressions 25% Customer service 25% Advice and product knowledge 25% Holiday details 15% Overall experience


OVERALL: I was thrilled with the attentive, friendly and upbeat service from an agent who made me feel that the cruises would be great fun.


91% 38 5 MARCH 2020 travelweekly.co.uk


althams travel services 26 CROSS CHURCH STREET


IMPRESSION: The shop was well maintained, with eye-catching window posters and well-organised brochure racks. In their uniforms, the staff looked part of a team.


SERVICE: I was served straight away and the agent asked lots of questions about what we wanted. She offered me a drink, then researched itineraries, entertainment and excursions. The options were all suitable and she tried to close the sale in a friendly manner. I was given a business card and received an email afterwards.


QUOTES: Both options were for seven-night cruises in March with Royal Caribbean International, flying with British Airways from Manchester, via Heathrow. The first was on Oasis of the Seas, with a night in Miami, sailing to Sint Maarten, Puerto Rico and Haiti. The price was £3,074, which the agent said was great value for money. The second option was on Freedom of the Seas, with two nights in a hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico, from where the cruise would depart. The itinerary would take in Sint Maarten, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Antigua, Saint Lucia and Barbados. It cost £3,570.


THIS WEEK’S WINNER


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