Miami and the Bahamas were dream destinations for Joe Field manager of Hays Travel Boscombe, who was made to feel like a star on a Norwegian Escape trip combining the best of cruise, shopping and beach holidays

Q. What is it like to win a Cover Stars place?
I didn’t think I’d have a chance of winning but applied because of the destination – Miami was somewhere I wanted to go and I had never been to Florida or the Bahamas. I was absolutely shocked to get a place; I have never been so excited. It was a dream come true and it’s definitely up there in my top trips. We were treated like royalty.

Q. How was your Virgin Atlantic flight?
I had a really good experience of Virgin Atlantic economy and on the way back was upgraded to premium economy. This has more leg room and a better cabin experience; you get a drink before take-off. I would recommend premium economy to customers because of the extra comfort and enhanced food menu.

Q. What was the trip’s real wow factor?
The Eden Roc hotel was an absolute ‘wow’ as soon as I walked into reception. It even had an amazing smell! I’ve already sent clients there. I loved the art deco vibe of Miami mixed with a modern style. There’s a fantastic pool and beach area and children’s animation stand with toys. I’d book the Eden Roc for my holiday; it’s only 15-20 minutes from South Beach.

Q. Have you had a makeover before?
It was the first time I’d done anything like that. I was over the moon with my outfit: I got the most gorgeous blue suede shoes. I daren’t wear them now; they’re in the wardrobe and I keep looking at them. I was quite nervous on the day, but we were made to feel like stars. I felt like the bees-knees and they took my photo on deck of Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Escape. I was made to feel so special.

Q. How was the shopping?
At Sawgrass Mills we were given a book of discount vouchers and we shopped til we dropped. Everything is so much cheaper than in the UK and I couldn’t resist buying presents for loved ones at such amazing prices. The next day we visited The Falls, where I chose my outfit. We learnt all about the mall and its benefits to our customers, such as the discounts. We were given free suitcases to take our outfits home in.

Q. What were your first impressions of NCL’s Escape?
I’ve cruised quite a bit but this was my first time with NCL and I was blown away. Escape is a huge ship holding 4,250 passengers. I loved the freedom of the Freestyle cruising concept. It was very laid-back and the food was fantastic. We went to a dinner show (a theatre and restaurant combined) on the first night, at the Supper Club. It was a mish-mash of 1980s bratpack films and an old-style Hollywood musical. The performers were of a very high standard and came into the audience so you felt part of the show. It was also quite raunchy – just for adults! – and a highlight of the cruise. We danced the night away at the open-air H20 Club; I didn’t expect to find anything like that on board. It was a real chill-out experience. Another highlight was opening the balcony doors in the morning and seeing the Atlantis hotel. It was the most fantastic view – just “wow!”

Q. Did the day at the Blue Lagoon give you an appetite for the Bahamas?
It was a day to chill and was stunning. I would love to go to the Bahamas again. We sat on the beach and I felt really recharged by the end of the day.

Joe’s outfitCoverstar Joe

Joe gets ‘summer ready’ in this smart casual combo. The shirt and jeans are from Abercrombie & Fitch and the look is completed with handstitched suede shoes from elegant men’s luxury boutique Aziari located at The Falls.

Joe’s look was created at The Falls, A Simon Shopping property. Featuring over 100 stores, including Bloomingdales, The Falls is a unique shopping experience where guests can stroll around the open-air shopping, dining and entertainment locations while surrounded by a million-gallon waterscape and lush tropical foliage.

Joe’s sales tips

• Dynamically package a seven-night cruise with a hotel stay for customers wanting a 10-night holiday.
• Sell the shopping! Tell clients to look at Simon’s shopping malls website to see which malls there are.
• Suggest clients buy an all inclusive drinks package on board and pre-book a dinner show.

Cover Stars trip led to £10,000 booking

Since returning from the trip, Joe has not only begun dynamically packaging Miami cruise-and-stay packages, but has also made a £10,000 Norwegian Cruise Line booking. “I would not have thought of doing that before,” he admits.

“I’ve come into my own since I got back and have done a couple of bookings. If you look at flight costs to Miami and do one night pre and post a cruise and dynamically package it, you can probably get 10 days for £1,200 – it’s fantastic value. It’s the best of both worlds, combining a cruise with a fantastic beach stay. I’m now more confident in dynamic packaging.”

Joe’s experience on board Norwegian Escape has given him the knowledge to sell NCL. He adds: “I recommended NCL to one client who has a teenage son and sold the benefits of the teen club, resulting in a £10,000 booking on Norwegian Jade for a Christmas cruise.”

About our sponsors

Travel Weekly Cover Stars 2016 is running in association with headline sponsor Norwegian Cruise Line, travel partner Virgin Atlantic and makeover partner Simon Shopping Destinations.