Basseterre, St. Kitts: Lights! Cameras! Celebrities! Red Carpet!
These are the things one would typically expect to see at an awards ceremony, but the recent distribution of awards for exemplary service in hospitality - which took place aboard the Emerald Princess cruise ship while she docked at Port Zanté for the last time this season, was anything but typical.
Rather than being a large glittering affair requiring formal attire, it was a small intimate occasion during which the senior most crew of the Emerald Princess assembled in one of the ship’s staterooms to meet and mingle with representatives of the two local tour companies consistently rated by the guests of the cruise line as the most outstanding in their category.
Blue Water Safaris
One of the companies receiving the award was Blue Water Safaris - which has been offering catamaran tours in St. Kitts-Nevis since 1998. Known for operating with a high level of professionalism, the crew of Blue Water Safaris are trained first responders certified in CPR, who manage to combine their refined skill sets with a relaxed approach to providing some of the most distinctive tours of the federation’s pristine aquatic environment.
About Princess Cruise
“One of the best-known names in cruising, Princess Cruises first set sail in 1965 with a single ship cruising to Mexico. Today, the line has grown to become the third largest cruise line in the world, renowned for innovative ships - and an environment of exceptional customer service … Since the line's beginnings, Princess has frequently paved the way in the cruise industry, evolving to meet the needs of today's vacationer … In the mid-1990s the company pioneered the concept of putting passengers in control of their own cruise experience - in order to create a personal vacation.”
History/Nature of Award
It was this ability to personalize the vacation experience that led to the request by the cruise line for feedback from their guests about their shore-side excursions - so as to ensure that the outstanding degree of customer service the passengers enjoy aboard any of the Princess Cruise ships, continues on land. Since 1996, Princess Cruises has awarded ‘Tour of the Season’ awards to both low and high volume operators (those who can accommodate up to 50 persons are known as low volume operators and those who can accommodate 100 or more persons are known as high volume operators) in their Caribbean ports of call, as a means of acknowledging the invaluable contribution that the tour providers make to the overall enjoyment of their passengers’ travel experience.
Thursday, 12 April, 2012 marked the third occasion on which Blue Water Safaris received this most esteemed designation from the Princess Cruise line (the other times being for the 2001-2002 season and the 2004-2005 season).
Captain of Blue Water Safaris’ ‘Swaliga’ Jonathan Winterburn, first mate Ian ‘Rumpy’ Lake, crew member Javid Samuel and Office Manager Shauna Lynch were present to receive the award from the Emerald Princess’ Commodore Romano who, accompanied by the cruise line’s Passengers Service Director & Shore Excursions Manager, praised Blue Water Safaris for their exemplary service to both the guests and crew of the ship over the years.
Left to Right: Roxana - Shore Excursions Manager, Peter - Passengers Service Director,
Javid Samuel, Shauna Lynch, Ian ‘Rumpy’ Lake, Jonathan Winterburn, Commodore Romano
As a further expression of good will, immediately after the brief but warm ceremony, the visitors to the cruise ship were treated to a tour of the ‘bridge’ (which area contains all of the equipment used to control the ship), before being served an exquisite lunch. At the conclusion of the day’s excursion, both the ship’s officers and the tour operators reaffirmed their commitment to giving the visitors to St. Kitts excellent service and parted with an anticipation of more good things to come by saying, “see you next year”.