What makes a trip successful?
My daughter and her PA finally managed their trip on a mini cruise to Rotterdam. They returned home after 2 nights away and deemed the trip a success and a great adventure. So what made this such a trip so successful? Was it good planning? A positive approach from an energetic PA? Did a ‘this is a great opportunity’ approach from parents help? Possibly all of the above, but the response and welcoming attitude of staff and passengers is what really made the difference.
Once my daughter and her PA returned from the trip I sat with the PA for a coffee and chat. She said that the trip was great, ‘boss and amazing‘ were her actual words. From her perspective, as the PA, I asked what made the trip so successful. She said that having been to Rotterdam on a mini cruise a couple of times with friends and family meant that she knew roughly what to expect and had an idea of the layout of the boat and things to do once on board. The fact that I was organised and the budget allowed for a room upgrade, and breakfast served to the table were really helpful. The PA said that it was the small things that made all the difference. Staff were helpful and friendly. The assistance I had booked was great, with help to get themselves and the small amount of luggage to their cabin, and not being left to find their way. A quick tour of where the lifts were and the best access points for the entertainment in the evening saved them scouting around later.
After dinner, they headed to the music entertainment, my daughter loves music and was over the moon to discover it was a real band, rather than a disco. Here the PA said is where the magic happened, staff ensured they were seated comfortably and near the dance floor, should they want to dance, and said that the PA could ask staff ‘keep an eye on’ my daughter if she had to leave her for a few moments. But it was their fellow passengers that really made the evening, they asked if they could dance with my daughter, included her in sing alongs and asked the band to play a song for her. The PA said it was such wonderful experience for the both of them.
By the time they went to breakfast the following morning, they had staff and the odd passengers saying good morning and knowing their names. The PA said what a difference it made.
The day in Rotterdam was a success too, and the coach transfers completed with no hassle and they were given plenty of time to board the coach and as requested seats at the front were reserved for them.
The return cruise was good too, being greeted by name again by the staff and any assistance offered, but a quieter night sitting upstairs watching the dancing was needed as both the PA and my daughter were somewhat tired. Disembarking at Hull was also smooth and assistance again was readily available for helping with luggage to the car.
The PA was definitely tired on her return, but smiling at the great time they had had and her sense of achievement in that at the age of 20 she had taken my 17 year old daughter on such an adventure. She admitted that she hadn’t really thought it would go so well, but also reflected on how ‘full on’ it had been. It hasn’t put her off, but we do need to look into a second PA going too, as there was so little ‘down time’ due to my daughter’s needs and engaging personality. She said that it really was the response from fellow passengers and helpful staff that made the trip.
Sitting here I too am reflecting on how to improve the next trip, and I will look at a second PA and how that would work, I’ll remember that a bigger room is much better, that served tables are easier than a buffet. The one thing I can’t plan for is how well the assistance will work out and how warm and friendly the fellow passengers will be. One thing’s for sure, there will be more trips!!!