I have been in the travel industry for over 20 years. I started my career as a trainee travel agent for an independent travel agency in my hometown of Grimsby and then went onto work as a travel agent in Vancouver, Canada before returning to manage a travel agency back in the UK.
During this time, I completed all my formal training, gained vast experience and knowledge of the travel industry and customer service and I also got to travel extensively around the West Coast of Canada and USA, Mexico and also Europe and the UK.
In 1999, I took a change in career direction and went back to university where I gained a First Class BA (Hons) degree in Tourism. This led me into teaching Travel and Tourism courses at the local college and university, a job I loved and found very rewarding to see the students go onto work in various roles in the travel industry. However, I decided to go back to the travel industry myself and with three young children I wanted to find a job that would allow me to get a better work life balance and in 2012 I set up my own Cruise Specialist agency.
Why GoCruise with Sharon Allen
My love for cruising began in 1995 when I was working as a travel agent in Vancouver, Canada. I had the perfect opportunity to see all the different cruise liners come in on their way to Alaska, and that feeling of wonder and excitement has stayed with me. So, when I decided to set up my own business, becoming a cruise specialist was my perfect job.
I have been in the travel industry for over 20 years, however I started my own cruise business in 2012. I am continually developing my skills and knowledge in this dynamic industry because I feel it is important to keep up-to-date with all the new innovations, itineraries and developments to ensure I offer my customers the best service possible. I enjoy the training programmes available, regularly attend travel industry events and my favourite aspect has to be the ship visits.
I truly believe there is a cruise to suit everyone, but the key is finding the right cruise. I listen to my clients to understand what they are looking for from their holidays and then match their needs with the right cruise option, after all with such a wide range of ship sizes, itineraries, staterooms, dining and activities the task of finding the perfect cruise can appear daunting.
My main method of my contact with clients is over the phone or by email, but I also offer a mobile service whereby I will meet up with clients either at their home or at my office in Grimsby. This personal service is useful for those who have not cruised before, those planning a more complicated trip or those who just want the personal service.
I have been fortunate enough to experience a range of different cruises over the past 20 years, and cannot pick a favourite cruise line or destination.
From cruising the majestic Inside Passage to Alaska and enjoying the wonderful scenery and wildlife on the Legend of the Seas, to sailing into the history and romance of Venice on the inaugural sailing of the Regal Princess, sampling the Italian atmosphere on-board MSC and the British culture on P&O the opportunities on a cruise are endless.
I have enjoyed several cruises with Norwegian Cruise Lines with my family and we like their freestyle cruising and their range of entertainment and dining options especially along the Waterfront on the Breakaway and Getaway.
Royal Caribbean International are one of my favourite cruise lines because of the variety of ships they offer, and the innovations they bring to the industry. From the traditional style of cruising on the Majesty of the Seas to the truly modern cruise ships in their Oasis and Quantum class with their innovative designs and huge range of activities and entertainment.
In the luxury cruise market I have been on-board Crystal Symphony, Crystal Serenity, Seabourn Sojourn, Oceania Nautica and Marina. The personal service and attention to detail offered by these luxury ships is outstanding; superb food, world class entertainment, smaller ships offering unique ports of call, world class accommodation and staff that go above and beyond anything I would have expected.
I love cruising because of the superb value it offers, the variety of amazing itineraries available, the choice of cruise lines on offer, the different size of ships, the endless choice of dining and activities and the breath-taking entertainment on board…I can’t wait for my next adventure.