Welcome to Travel Maestro’s 2012 monthly interview series with some of the top travel professionals in the travel industry. We hope you will enjoy this “insider’s view” from some of our favorite luxury travel authorities.
Our January interview is with Kate Otto of Regent Seven Seas Cruises. For the last 9 ½ years Kate has been Director of Sales for the Mid-Atlantic, Ohio & West Virginia regions and prior to that she covered New York and Florida.
1) How long have you been working in the cruise industry and how did you land in this career?
This month I will have been in the cruise industry for 30 years, the last 19 with Regent. It wasn’t what I went to college for but I ended up in the sales department of Sun Line Cruises in Rockefeller Center NYC. I loved the job and the location, so it stuck.
2) What sets Regent apart from other luxury cruises? What does Regent do better than any other cruise line?
Regent is the most inclusive luxury cruise line out there. We even include an array of complimentary shore excursions, a complimentary pre-cruise hotel night and two-for-one rates with no gratuities. Regent cruises include complimentary wine, bottled water, soft drinks and premium liquor throughout the cruise. Guests can dine when and with whom they want with open dining in the main dining room, but can also choose alternative dining options without any extra fees.
3) Who is the typical Regent cruiser in terms of age, travel experience, lifestyle, etc.?
The average guest age is 58, although we have guests from nine to 90 and we are seeing more family groups that include young adults. The Regent client is well traveled but not necessarily a past cruiser – believe it or not, 16% of our clients are first time cruisers. Regent clients love to dine well, drive nice cars (like BMW) and like to travel with others who appreciate the same. They do not like the structure of large ship cruising with constant announcements and lots of schedules to keep.
4) What is your personal favorite activity on a Regent cruise and why?
Although it is an additional cost, the Canyon Ranch spa is fantastic! Covington travel has many dates that offer shipboard credit which can be used for this. Here’s a tip, though: sign up for your spa treatments early in the cruise to get appointments on at-sea days or your preferred times. Our spas are very popular!
5) What is the most unusual place or adventure activity you have experienced in any of your travels?
It is a toss-up between something thrilling and an exclusive cultural experience. I took a helicopter ride to Dog Mountain and a mush ride in Skagway, then I got to hug a puppy who was being trained by another mush dog. I also got to view an original Van Gogh painting from an arm length away in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. Both were amazing!
6) This question doesn’t have anything to do with your career, but I find people’s answers interesting… If you could have dinner with anyone, past or present, who would it be and why?
I’d have to say that I’d choose Harrison Ford because I’ve always loved his movies and his love for flying.
7) What is your all-time favorite vacation destination that you’ve visited? Where is still on your bucket list?
My all time favorite destination is the ancient city of Ephesus, Turkey which was once the capital of the Asian state of the Roman Empire. The antiquity is breathtaking. My bucket list still includes Australia, New Zealand, China, Vietnam and South America.
8) What is the one item that you simply must pack when you are traveling?
I always take comfortable black pants, top and light sweater with my black, flat slip on shoes. Black goes anywhere, can dress up or down and mix and match with other pieces. Comfort, especially in walking shoes, is imperative when traveling.
9) Can you give us an insider’s tip on cruising that will help us get the most out of our experience?
My first suggestion is to always “do the math.” When you do a true comparison, you will find that some cruises aren’t really such a great deal when you add in all the many extras that you have to pay for on board and during the cruise. If you were to pick a hotel to stay in for a week’s vacation, would you choose an all-inclusive? Also, always book as much as you can before you travel. For example, you can pre-book all your shore excursions and dining with Regent. If you are staying before and after the cruise, I would strongly recommend that you have Covington Travel arrange for a private tour. There is nothing like an exclusive tour of the city or privileged access to a special site you might never see again!
Thanks for sharing your favorites and insights, Kate! For more information on Regent Seven Seas Cruise itineraries, availability and all-inclusive pricing, contact Covington Travel’s Master Cruise Counselors today.