I am so excited to have the opportunity to interview the one and only Richard Cross today! Richard is TV presenter extraordinaire for the exceedingly popular Vision Cruise not to mention all round cruise expert and guru. Richard has also been so supportive of my blogging and vlogging adventures since day 1, so what better opportunity to thank him and get the low down on his experiences in front of the camera as well as his cruises experiences.
Richard, thank you for joining me, and my eternal gratitude for all your support over the last couple of years. To start, I have to ask, what did you do before becoming a TV presenter?
Thanks Jamie, no problem at all! Well I have been in the cruise industry for 10 years now, I started back in 2008 with Vision Cruise (although known as Liverpool Cruise Club then) my role was E-Commerce Developer. Within this role, I oversaw the introduction of online pricing live availability, online cruise bookings, and e-shot marketing. We saw a gap in the market and hence our TV channel was born in 2010!
How did you find yourself working as a TV presenter for Vision Cruise?
We decided from day 1 to have the majority of the presenters on the channel to be employees of the company. This meant that we were already established in the industry; we knew about the trends and were the first to pick up the latest cruise news. With us all working in the business, we are able to keep our eye on cruises and trends all day and then we can bring you the very best deals on TV! We had some screen tests in the office – and the rest is history!
Your genuine love for cruising is almost infectious – what is so addictive about it?
I think for anyone who has been cruising before, they know why it is so addictive! It’s all about visiting new places all in the one holiday. You arrive at the cruise port, get on board (super quick check in), unpack just the once and then the floating resort takes you to all these different places in different countries all in the one holiday! Cruise ships have so much to do now on board from water parks to enrichment programmes there really is something for everyone. The crew also go out of their way to make the cruise experience special, you can go back on a ship a year later and they will remember you! And with a cruise holiday it is so inclusive – with no need to worry about having to pay for food as it’s included in the price of the holiday!
You seem to have cruised with so many lines and on a real range of ships. Do you have any favourite destinations or ports of call you can recommend to us?
I am really lucky – at the last count I have been on over 45 different cruise ships – everything from small ships to large ships and to adventure ships to ultra-luxury cruise ships. I get to visit them and cruise on them most of the time for filming and research, there really is a ship out there for everyone; it’s just about finding the right ship for you. My favourite destination is the Norwegian Fjords, having cruised there 5 times so far. It’s so peaceful and tranquil, the scenery really is stunning, it’s great for a first time cruise experience. I was lucky enough on one Norwegian Fjords trip to see the Northern Lights, they truly were amazing. My favourite ports there would be Bergen (for its funicular railway & legendary fish market) and Olden (for its stunning scenery).
The future of cruising is looking very rosy right now. What cruise developments are most looking forward to?
Yes definitely, more and more people are embarking on a cruise for the first time, we can see this with all the new cruise ships that are currently under construction. I am really looking forward to the new developments from P&O Cruises with their two new ships launching in the next couple of years. Plus I am really excited for the developments with MSC Cruises, Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises with their recent ship builds and ships on order. Looking back 20 years ago, who would of thought you would be able to sky dive or ride a go kart on a cruise ship – I wonder that will be next!
I have to be honest, I always book direct with cruise lines, but I know so many people who would only book through an agent and they often try to persuade me! What is unique about booking through a company such as Vision Cruise?
I will be really honest, it is never better to book with a cruise line direct! Cruise lines often provide to agents like us at Vision Cruise special exclusive deals. In the past couple of weeks, we had cruises that are half the price of buying direct from the cruise line, we sometimes get special exclusive prices, extras like on board credit or we add our own additions too. With our own TV programmes, we have the buying power to get really good deals at low prices, so I would always recommend giving us a call at Vision Cruise to see what we can do. As an agent we are great for packaging up cruise & stay holidays, this is something again that is becoming more and more popular now. As an agent we also have opportunities to cruise with myself or my colleague John on our Cruise with Cross or Join John hosted cruises! Also when booking with Vision Cruise we have our own loyalty scheme, the more cruises you do the more benefits you get, it’s totally combinable with the cruise line programme too so you will still be getting all those benefits as well – and we have a monthly cruise giveaway, where you could be cruising for free – yes you heard right!
Can you share with us which voyages you have planned for the not too distant future?
Yes, I shall be cruising to the Norwegian Fjords in July this year and also in September I shall be cruising the Kiel Canal. I haven’t done the Kiel Canal yet so really looking forward to it! We often get put on cruise ships to film last minute, so there could be many more before then!
And lastly, what’s your favourite way to spend an evening on board?
Well it will start off with a pre-dinner drink in the bar, then its heading to the main restaurant for a waiter-served 5 course meal (some cruise lines have 7 courses!). After dinner its heading to the theatre to watch the main show (this could be a guest entertainer or the onboard show team), then a quick visit out on deck to watch the sunset and feel the sea breeze as we set sail into the ocean. Then it’s back inside to enjoy another drink (or two) in the lounges and bars around the ship.
Richard, thank you for inspiring so many people to take their first cruise, to continue cruising and being so prevalent and supportive on so many platforms out there. We all wish you the very best for the future – represent and enjoy every moment in the studio and at sea!
You can catch up with Richard and his fellow presenters right here at https://www.visioncruise.co.uk/tv/ and join Richard online: Facebook http://www.facebook.com/richardcrosstvpresenter on Twitter @richardcross7 & read his ship blogs and see ship reviews at http://www.richardcross.tv
For more on Travel Blogger Jamie’s blogs, interviews and holiday information, follow Travel Blogger Jamie here, on twitter @travelblogjamie, on instagram travel_blogger_jamie and my holiday channel on You Tube at https://www.youtube.com/jamiesholidaychannel. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy of my media pack.