Cover Stars: Ellie Armstrong

Hays apprentice Ellie Armstrong on taking 20 pairs of shoes on the cruise, swimming with pigs and selfies with Peter Andre. She spoke to Ben Ireland.

Q. Had you been to Miami or the Bahamas before the Cover Stars trip?
A. My mum and dad were married there, so it is a special place for our family and I had been to Miami as a kid. I’ve been to the Bahamas too, on a cruise with Disney, as my sister was working on the ship. I’ve also cruised in the Mediterranean with Marella Cruises. But I couldn’t remember much about Miami and the Bahamas, and there have been lots of changes. I applied to Cover Stars as it is a great opportunity to learn – and be on the cover of Travel Weekly.

Q. What were your first impressions when you arrived in Miami?
A. We stayed at Eden Roc Miami Beach, which is iconic. The hotel was amazing.
I couldn’t believe the size of my suite – it was massive. We had views of the beach from our balconies, and I liked the contemporary decor. On the first evening, we went shopping in Dolphin Mall, but then I had an early night as I needed to be up early the next day for my photoshoot in the hotel.

Q. How was the shoot?  
A. We had a quick breakfast and then we went around various locations: in the hotel, overlooking the sea and by the pool. I could feel the sun was already strong in the morning, and it was strange being the centre of attention.

Q. What did you think of Norwegian Sky?
A. We were given a tour of the facilities: theatre, gym, sauna, pools, restaurants, entertainment and classes – even a basketball court. The ship would suit any client – from older couples to families to younger people – as there is so much to do. You can relax on your own, or get involved with the activities. They had games and quizzes – we ended up doing a conga around the ship. There was a sail-away party with music, DJs and dancing, and another night there was a party where we all wore white and there were ice sculptures. You need to pack plenty of shoes – I took 20 pairs. My cabin was spacious, and it was lovely to sit on the balcony as we sailed into port.

Pictured: Bethany Brandwood, Laura Garner, Ellie and Katrina Watt

Q. What shore excursions did you do?
A. We visited Grand Bahama Island, Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian Cruise Line’s private island. In Grand Bahama, we took a guided tour to see animals in a nature reserve, and took a trip in Nassau to learn about local culture. In Great Stirrup Cay, we had a private cabana, and it was very chilled as it’s all on NCL’s all-inclusive basis. We went swimming with pigs, which was lovely. There are about 12 pigs and you can feed them apples. I was nervous at first, but it was really worth it and I got great pictures for Facebook. It was the highlight – bizarre, but memorable.

Q. How was the flight?
A. We flew with British Airways in economy on the way there and premium economy on the way back. I would 100%, recommend an upgrade as you get bigger seats and more room.

Q. What have you done since you’ve been back?
A. Our agency gets a lot of business from Facebook, so I posted about the trip on there as we have lots of cruise customers. Not many people would think about taking a four-night cruise to the Bahamas, but I would recommend it, especially for first-time cruisers or hen parties. I was also invited to the Travel Weekly Globe Travel Awards in January, and shared a table with the other Cover Stars – it was great to meet up again. I also got to wear a ball gown and had a selfie with Peter Andre.

Ellie’s tips

Upgrade customers to premium economy on the airline and a balcony cabin on the ship.

Find out about shore excursions – there are lots of options and you can add more commission.

The Bahamas is lovely, and warm and sunny all year round. Even in late November when we went.

About our sponsors


Travel Weekly Cover Stars 2019 is running in association with headline sponsor Norwegian Cruise Line, travel partners American Airlines and British Airways and hotel partner Gold Medal.

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