IN THE HOT SEAT
Richard Meadows was named president
of Seabourn following the company’s
move from Miami to Seattle earlier this
year. He served as Seabourn’s senior vice
president of sales and marketing from
2001 until 2005. Meadows also is executive vice president of marketing, sales and
guest programs for Holland America Line.
He spoke with cruise editor Donna Tunney about Seabourn’s newest ship, the
450-passenger Seabourn Quest, which
entered service June 20, and his vision for
age to tell the Seabourn story. The new
site is a major step forward for us.
Q: As Seabourn president, how will your
management style affect the operation?
A: I’ve been a fan and past guest of Seabourn for many years. Before becoming
president I was in a leadership role for
five years. It’s a brand I know very well
and that I respect. I have many long-standing relationships and friendships
at Seabourn, and I’ve been able to rekindle those. Collaboration is alive and well
at Seabourn. For me it’s coming home.
Q: Now that the Seabourn Quest, the
third and final Odyssey-class ship, has
entered service, what’s next for the
A: It’s been quite a period
of growth for us: 200% in
three years. We will build on
the brand and work with our
agent partners to help them
be more successful.
Q: How do agents figure into
the line’s future?
A: They are a critical component to our success and our
future. In the luxury end of the market,
what agents can do is distill the value
of a Seabourn experience. There are so
many aspects of this product that need
to be articulated, about what makes
Seabourn unique. Agents are very well
suited to do that for Seabourn. In our
pre-inaugural events for the Quest, we
much time to the
trade because we
wanted them to
have a chance to
see the Quest.
been a number
of major things
that happened recently at Seabourn
that are a big benefit to agents. For one
thing, Seabourn now is using the Polar
reservations system. All inventory is being managed at Polar Online. It’s the
leading agent cruise reservation system
out there and has a host of features
that are really incredible.
We also relaunched Seabourn.com,
which has a number of enhancements
such as virtual tours, videos, deck plans
and other tools that agents can lever-
Q: Will you take a hands-on role in operations?
A: I will absolutely be hands-on, but
I also respect the talent we
have on the hotel side, the
nautical and technical sides,
and the sales and marketing
side. It’s an open-door way of
communication among the
team to build the best product.
Q: How do you split your time
between Holland America
Line and Seabourn?
A: I am handling the responsibilities simultaneously. Certainly there
will be times when I will be more focused on one brand over the other:
They are two very different products.
Seabourn has its own office space within the Holland America Line office, and
I will divide my
between the two
During a panel discussion,
while making a
point about how
much Royal Caribbean values
travel agents, Freed said that there was
an agent in the audience who had received $50,000 in business from Freed’s
own friends and referrals.
“I don’t want to deal with my friends
direct, because it’s a lot of work,” Freed
said. “And I value the work that a
travel agent does.”
In a light moment during the
panel discussion at the
Norwegian Cruise Line’s Andy
Stuart was asked which
bad habits travel agents
should change. “Booking
Carnival,” he quipped —
and then he very quickly said
he was “just joking.”
Fellow panelist Freed rejoined: “I
wasn’t going to be quite that direct. …
But I was going to say the bad habit is:
stop selling those suppliers that aren’t
really supporting you in a big way.”
Sheehan’s family called their summer
home in North Carolina “Breakaway,” to
symbolize the escape from the pressure
and work of everyday life.
That feeling, he said, also makes sense
for the line, which he said continues to
“break away” from the company it was a
few years ago and “break away” from the
cruise industry as a whole, with a differentiated product.
So how did Marriott boost aware-
ness of its collection of nine
beach resorts in the Carib-
bean and Mexico? Answer:
Facebook, flipflops and a
pedicure in the park.
Marriott told its Facebook
fans to “like” Facebook.com/
print out an invite and then
show up at New York’s Madison
Square Park for a free mani/pedi and a
shot at a sweepstakes prize for a resort
At the end of the day of the “Step Into
Summer” event last week, the Facebook
page has grown to nearly 2,000 likes,
with enamored attendees posting comments like “This is an awesome way to
kick off summer” and “Just another reason why I love Marriott!”
At the Vacation.com conference in Las Vegas
last week, many of the 1,000 or so attendees were
abuzz as they wondered: Whom had Royal Caribbean International’s Vicki Freed annointed as her
travel agent? A
r h ya r u f n
Norwegian Cruise Line boss Kevin
Sheehan’s name is already in bright
lights on a cruise ship: O’Sheehan’s Pub,
on the Norwegian Epic. And it turns out
‘I will absolutely be hands-on, but I also respect the
talent we have. It’s an open-door way of communication.’
Q: Has the luxury cruise season
in Europe been
affected by the increase in airfares this
A: People are still traveling, luxury
guests are traveling. They, in particular,
understand the value inherent in travel,
and when you put the cruise component on the table, the air is a piece of it.
They are still out there boarding planes
and coming to sail on Seabourn ships.
Our guests are coming from all over the
world, including the U.K. and throughout Europe.
Larry McCarthy, director
of national accounts for the
Globus Family of Brands, is
moving into a new position
with the company: director
of travel industry relations.
In his role, McCarthy will
be responsible for ensuring that Globus maintains a
high profile with key industry associations.
tions and developed various
business segments for the
property, including groups
and incentives, destination
weddings, Internet market-
ing and customer relations
Costa Cruises named Buhdy
Bok vice president for China. He previously worked
for Singapore Airlines.
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Friends & Colleagues
Tim Gallagher, the long-time vice president of public
relations at Carnival Cruise
Lines, is leaving the company “to pursue other opportunities,” the company said.
Jennifer de la Cruz was
promoted to senior director
and will assume leadership
of the public relations team.
Myrtle Dwyer, director
of sales and marketing for
Half Moon, a RockResort in
Montego Bay, retired after
more than 30 years at the
During her tenure,
Dwyer held several posi-
Bob Friedman has joined
Abercrombie & Kent as vice
president of sales.
Most recently, Friedman
was a consultant focused
on brand building through
product placement for
brands across the travel, leisure, sports and entertainment sectors.
(SUBMIT YOUR STORIES AND PHOTOS: Gerry Bourbeau, Travel Weekly deputy managing editor, at email@example.com.