Holland America Line has named Karen Farndell (pictured left) of Princess Cruises as UK director of sales and marketing, following the announcement in February that the HAL and Seabourn teams were to be separated in the UK.
Current director of sales for HAL and Seabourn, Wendy Lahmich (right), will move wholesale to Seabourn as director of sales for the UK, taking on sales for Europe as well.
Lahmich will continue to report to Lynn Narraway, who was promoted to UK and Europe managing director for Seabourn earlier this year. Narraway reports to global vice-president of commercial operations, Tony Roberts, who was promoted into the role from his position as Princess senior vice president for the UK and Europe.
Farndell, who is currently senior sales manager at Princess, will report directly to HAL vice president of international sales Nico Bleichrodt, who is based in Rotterdam, when she assumes her new role on September 19.
The announcement ends months of speculation about the HAL brand in the UK, with Bleichrodt saying: “Previously, there was a 50% share in time between HAL and Seabourn. Now it will be 100% of the time on Holland America Line, which will give us greater focus on the UK market and to help drive our ambitious plans.”
He said there were no more new builds planned for the line, but there was an opportunity to “bring a bigger international audience to HAL”.
And he added the brand would continue to focus on its core Alaska, Exotics (South America) and Australia & New Zealand business, but that there was more potential to untap in Europe.
Bleichrodt acknowledged there was a lot of competition out of the UK for European sailings but said deployment was set for the next two years. But he said he could “never say never” regarding the possibility of ex-UK departures or homeporting in Britain beyond that.
Commenting on Farndell’s appointment, Bleichrodt said he wanted her to be “the face of HAL in the UK”, and said she joined with more than 20 years’ experience in the cruise industry, and from Princess where there were great similarities, such as Alaska and European deployment.
“We are thrilled to welcome Karen to head the Holland America Line UK sales and marketing team. Karen will bring her wealth of experience in sales and marketing from her time with our sister company, Princess Cruises, and our objective is that having a separate and dedicated team for Holland America Line in the UK will provide a greater focus and success for the brand,” he said.
Farndell added: “I am really excited to be joining Holland America Line and to become involved in all the opportunities that this new role will offer, working closely with all our UK travel partners. HAL is an amazing brand, with a long and successful history, and I look forward to being part of the company’s 150th anniversary in 2023.”
Business development manager Lucy Davies and senior business development representative Emma Paolino will remain with Holland America Line and report directly into Farndell. Aaron Myers will remain with Holland America Line as UK and Ireland manager of product, pricing & demand, also reporting to Farndell.
At sister brand Seabourn, Lahmich be joined by direct reports Dani Scannella as business development manager, and business development representative Charlotte Pinkus.
Carly Perkins will be Seabourn’s senior marketing manager UK & Europe, with Adam Scholey as trade sales specialist. There will also be a Seabourn Europe team, based at the company’s Rotterdam office, all reporting into Narraway.
Both Holland America Line and Seabourn are currently recruiting for further new roles within the UK teams. Bleichrodt said he was looking for a marketing manager and another BDM position.
Narraway said: “For now, it is business as usual for both brands as we finalise this new structure, which is likely to start taking effect in the autumn.
“We want to make sure that the transition into having separate teams for Seabourn and Holland America Line in the UK is as smooth as possible ensuring that our agent partners receive the same excellent service from both incredible brands.”