The managing director of Cruise Direction has spoken of his pride after winning a regional business award just a year after the company launched.

Paul Frost, who has been in the travel industry for 16 years, fulfilled his lifelong dream of running an agency when he set up Cruise Direction last year.

The bespoke tailor-made cruise specialist now has 16 staff members after launching with only two.

Cruise Direction took home the best new business award at the Hertfordshire Business Awards on Thursday.

Frost said: “Winning this gives us a bit of recognition for the hard work over the last 12 months.

“We are all extremely proud to be recognised outside of the travel industry. It gives the team a pat on the back.

“People in the travel industry have flocked to say ‘well done’. We have made a lot of sacrifices to make this happen. We have been working six or seven-day weeks for the last year.

“That is why winning this award means so much.”

Cruise Direction moved to new offices in Letchworth, Hertfordshire, earlier this month.

“Our aspirations are to keep producing new and unique product offerings for the consumer and our business partners,” Frost said.

“The company’s growth has been controlled. The growth responds to demand rather than trying to force it but it is a tough market.”

Frost insists travel agents still have a major role to play when it comes to selling cruise.

“I think the travel agent has a very important part to play in selling cruise,” he added. “We pride ourselves at being able to make tailor-made holidays that are unique in the market place.

“There is a big call for that as demand grows with more and more new ships. People have to think outside the box to satisfy consumer needs.

“There are a lot of people who want to go on a cruise and get straight off, but there are also some people who are more adventurous.

“People are looking to experience the world more than ever before.”