By GERRY BARKER
Photos by Gerry Barker
ABOARD VALIANT LADY_Virgin Voyages recognized top-selling travel advisors with its first-ever First Mate Spectacular Soiree and Golden Ink Awards during a four-night cruise on its newest ship, Valiant Lady, which departed Miami on Jan. 4.
Virgin invited the top 100 North American “First Mates” who had the most bookings between Nov. 1, 2021, and Oct. 31, 2022, to a complimentary cruise and celebration of their success. Agents, along with representatives from the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA), plus trade press, assembled in The Manor for the ceremony.
The top "First Mates" got awards in several categories from John Diorio, Virgin's vice president of North American sales, and Sabrina Newman, manager of trade engagement and co-host of Virgin Voyages’ "The Monday Sip" podcast.
During the cruise, agents were treated to a cocktail reception and received special Virgin swag, as well as a private party at Virgin's Beach Club on Bimini. "This is something we've wanted to do for some time," Diorio told me, acknowledging the important role travel advisors play in their business.
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