‘We are certainly well ahead of expectations and we are excited about our future growth in Australia,’ Shanks said.
As reported here, UK-based Imagine Cruising recently announced it was acquiring Holiday Planet, a leading travel company in Perth, subject to Australian Government approval. That approval has since been received.
The company has been running a massive print campaign in
Sydney and Shanks said it has been an effective way to introduce the brand.
‘We are able to do justice to the extensive content and value we include in press advertising,’ he said.
‘In the UK we are the leading cruise advertiser with the major publications and we have been able to apply that expertise in Australia.’
A former president and md of Cunard Line, Shanks said Imagine Cruising works with all the leading cruise lines including Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Princess, Holland America Line, Silversea, Costa, Norwegian Cruise Line, MSC and P&O in the UK and Australia and is Cunard’s largest agent worldwide.
‘As a new brand in Australia, to be able to say we have the backing of the Emirates Group is a very powerful endorsement,’ he said, referring to the 51% ownership of Imagine Cruising by global air services provider dnata, a division of Emirates.
‘Emirates has developed a very successful series of flights from Australia to almost every popular cruise destination around the world and we use the carrier whenever we can,’ he said. ‘However, we do not work exclusively with Emirates and can offer customers flights with whichever airline they prefer.’
He said Elle Hudson, the md of Imagine Cruising in Australia who is based in Brisbane, will cover the Sydney market. She has been with the company for six years and launched its international offices in Cape Town and Dubai.
‘With Elle in Brisbane and now Holiday Planet in Perth we are able to service any part of the country from those two offices,’ he said.
When asked to name one cruise and stay holiday that would appeal to Sydneysiders, Shanks nominated ‘Ladies Day at Royal Ascot and a Baltic Cruise.’
Departing June 18, 2018, it includes two nights in London, three nights in Windsor, a four-course lunch, all drinks and afternoon tea at Royal Ascot and a 14-night Baltic cruise from Southampton aboard Celebrity Silhouette. All flights, transfers and taxes are included and the package costs from $8,999.