After graduating and spending a year backpacking, I decided to combine my love of travel and the opportunity to have a meaningful career and so embarked upon a life within the travel industry. For the last nine years I have been working for luxury cruise specialist Mundy Cruising, which specialises in deluxe ocean and river cruises, adventure cruises and world cruises.
What is it that you do exactly?
My role is Sales & Marketing Director, but as we are a boutique family run and owned travel agency I get involved in a number of additional areas which makes for a fun, exciting and challenging job. This does mean there is no typical day.
Key to the role and to the business is looking after existing clients and offering them not only fantastic service but also even more choice in travel. Our clients so often say “I’ve been everywhere…” and I also increasingly hear that they want more experiential holidays. This led to the inception of Mundy Adventures, which showcases holidays to off the beaten track destinations best accessed by water. The website shows adventure cruises to places such as the Arctic, Antarctic, Galapagos, Papua New Guinea, Russian Far East and Sea of Cortez to name but a few. This is of particular personal interest as I love unusual destinations and this has enabled me to share these with current and prospective clients. In keeping with the luxury experience that is core to what we do, all the ships we use are the best quality imaginable…would you have thought that you can be on the ice in Antarctica and then 10 minutes later be in your suite having a chilled glass of champagne poured by your butler!
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
The opportunity to travel is the most enjoyable part of the job, but it is also an important part of the job to ensure that we understand the product and put the right client on the right ship. I have been incredibly lucky to stay on some of the finest ships in the world. To narrow this down to a top three, in reverse order, number three is Seabourn Quest. She’s a contemporary and beautifully designed ship which balances the feel of a yacht with the facilities of a cruise ship. Number two is Crystal Symphony. The amenities are excellent with several dining options, an excellent gym and spa and the service is second to none. My favourite has my time on SeaDream in the Caribbean. Carrying just over 100 guests, this mega yacht has an elegant but totally casual style. We dined al fresco every night, jet-skied from the marina and took the ship’s bicycles to explore the tiny islands we visited. It was a truly unforgettable experience.
The best destination I have visited is without doubt Antarctica. I was blown away by the scenery and wealth of wildlife… truly spectacular. Never have my expectations been so completely surpassed. Being feet away from penguins, seals and whales and the immersion in the beautiful wilderness was an awe-inspiring experience.
What’s been your most memorable dining experience to date?
Head and shoulders above any experience was an evening spent dining aboard Crystal Serenity in the Nobu Matsuhisa restaurant, Silk Road. We had the tasting menu which included blackened cod and wagu beef. Everyone sat in silence and devoured the dishes, feeling guilty because the food was so beautifully presented. I have subsequently eaten the same dishes in his land-based restaurants and I have to say Silk Road easily held its own and what’s more all of this is included within the cost for the cruise.
Have you rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous, either through your work or your travels?
We do have a few celebrity clients, but I couldn’t possibly divulge the details! However, I have had a few travel-related encounters with celebrities over the years. In my travelling days I worked in a prestigious restaurant in Sydney in order to save money to continue to travel. I had the pleasure of serving the actor Keanu Reeves and the even greater pleasure of turning Jerry Springer away because the restaurant was full. The most memorable encounter was at a charity day a few years back. We have been a loyal supporter of a certain charity for the last seven years and as the sponsor of the category “Dog with the Waggiest Tail” myself and celebrity judge Elizabeth Hurley picked the winner! More recently my Managing Director was having lunch on Antigua and Roman Abramovich (and entourage) sat down on the table next to them. We move is some very varied circles!
What currently ranks highest on your travel wish list?
This is a really difficult question. I decided that I should write a wish list a few years ago. I do travel a lot with work and for my own holidays, but unfortunately my list is getting longer rather than shorter. I spent nearly sixth months in Australia, but never had the opportunity or time to visit The Kimberley in Western Australia. It is the stunning rugged and isolated landscape that is the real attraction. The area is almost completely unspoilt and boasts deep gorges which can be explored by Zodiac, spectacular waterfalls and some amazing tidal movements which mean that twice daily coral reefs appear to lift out of the sea as the tide drops incredibly quickly. In fact, the region is so isolated that the now famous Bungle Bungle Range was only discovered in the 1980s. Orion Expedition Cruises has a 10-night voyage between Darwin and Broome and this for me would be the ultimate trip – in fact we have some reviews of this exact voyage within The Telescope, our online magazine
Thank you for taking part in our interview, Jamie. Antarctica is on my wishlist to visit one day. I have explored the Arctic a little with trips to Greenland and would love to see how Antarctica compares.