IF anyone needed to know how important cruising is to our travel partners and their livelihoods go no further than Robina in Queensland and the home of the Bob Wood Cruise Group.

Bob Wood Cruise Group is an inbound tour operator headed by Kiwi Jay McKenzie and it is a shore tour wholesaler for cruise lines including Carnival Australia. 

The Group represents a host of small to medium sized businesses that provide our guests with the onshore experience during a cruise. 

President of Carnival Australia and P&O Cruises Australia, Sture Myrmell, had the pleasure of meeting Jay and her team on a visit to their office in Robina. Where once there was a team of 25, it is now down to 15. 

Jay describes what it was like on a typical pre-pandemic cruise day for her team: 

“For the cruise operations team, we wouldn’t be in the office. On the various port days, we would be running from left right and centre. We would be at airports, ports and hotels and hardly ever home. It is the same with our other side of the business with our land tours. The phones would be ringing off the wall with our international clients. We would be dealing with the airlines and the coach companies. Our phone at the moment it is lucky if it rings a half a dozen times a day whereas during a normal season all the lines are busy and everybody is on the phone. Previously, there weren’t enough hours in the day so it is totally different. It is quite bizarre.” 

Jay is particularly concerned for people who were new to travel when covid hit and now worry for their long term career prospects.

Her team appreciated Sture’s and the acknowledgement of the value that we place on their contribution. And, as Jay says, they can’t wait to see the cruise ships and their guests return: 

“We can’t wait. But we are realistic though. If we could see a couple of domestic ships before the end of the year that would be absolutely fantastic and we would get the champagne out when that happens. Internationals may come probably in 2022-23 season I would suggest so our domestic cruising and maybe Trans-Tasman is going to be really important for the restart and the sooner that can happen the better.”

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