In 1997 after working in law enforcement for 25 years, I decided that sending people away and not seeing happy faces when they were told that they would be “guests of the Commonwealth” was starting to take a toll on me. I really wanted to do something that I enjoyed, made people feel good and when they returned home, they might even call and thank me for sending them away.
After a great deal of research, I purchased a Cruise Holiday franchise and opened my agency on Mass Ave in East Arlington, Ma. During those 8 years I learned (and continue to learn) a lot about the travel industry and in specific the cruise industry. I cried and mourned the loss of some cruise lines as they closed their doors, I rejoiced at the news new ships were being christened. I have seen cruise lines change and modify operations often for the better of the client. I have lived through 911 and all the travel changes. I have experienced air lines cutting routes, and rejoicing that the cruise lines have realized that the Northeast was, is and will continue to be a strong market. New York, Baltimore and Boston are strong cruise ports and for many of us only a short drive away.
As the travel agency changed I opted to make some major changes in my business, I moved my operations from a brick and mortar location in Arlington to my home. Changing my company name to Cruises by Capt. Jack. Being a home-based travel agency raised a few unique issues, did I work in my jammies today or dress for success? Working from home didn’t mean I should do those errands usually accomplished on Saturday or on the way home from the office. Working from home did mean, not having to fight the morning rush traffic, lower blood pressure, less morning and evening stress, OK this is good, and actually getting more done because I was in a much better work environment. I am on first name basis with many of the area coffee house managers as I often meet clients at these locations and plan cruise or land vacations over much better coffee that I was able to make in the office.
I continually strive to keep abreast of changes in the cruise and travel industry, maintaining my professional designations with many cruise lines, attending educational seminars offered by local, regional and international tourism boards, all so that I can either give current information to my clients or know where this information is available. Many of my clients have been with me since I opened my doors on Mass Ave in Arlington some just joined my family last week or last year. I work hard to make all my clients feel like they are part of my family, many have my cell phone number. I have worked with clients to rebook missed flights at 12 midnight while cruising in the North Atlantic between England and Iceland or spoken with a client at 11 in the morning to see if they might want to join me for lunch because their birthday or anniversary was in the very near future. I try to let all my clients feel like they are family or at least great friends, who can trust and know that I will treat each vacation as if it were their first and were the trip I would want to take.