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HOW DO YOU TRAVEL? Anna Gregori, Celestyal Cruises


How many people can say they've encouraged Sir Richard Branson to wing-walk with Pamela Anderson in his arms? You're about to read about one...

Celestyal Cruises Vice President Brand and Customer Journey, Anna Gregori.

Dreamy Mediterranean cruise brand Celestyal Cruises continues to go from strength to strength with new itineraries, including its much-vaunted week-long Three Continents voyage, not to mention new ships in the form of the shiny Celestyal Journey. 

The line added further muscle in recent months with the addition of Anna Gregori as its new Vice President Brand and Customer Journey.

Gregori is no stranger to travel, having previous headed up Commercial Transformation for Virgin Atlantic Airways. Her new role brings with it responsibilities including growing the Celestyal Cruises brand further in line with the company's strategic agenda and ensuring the company continues to resonate with the cruising public.

Anna was so eager to set sail on her latest Celestyal Cruises voyage, Traveltalk even caught her casting off the mooring ropes herself. But before she could, we grabbed five minutes to learn more about her travel history and how excited she is to be steering the company to new and exciting phases of growth.

 

So Anna, do you pack light or take the whole wardrobe?

I pack thoughtfully, and make sure each piece of clothing can multitask; a pair of shoes needs to fit several outfits and a silk headscarf doubles as a silk pillowcase for the airplane or hotel.

In reality, this actually means that I start by packing light and then panic-add ‘essentials’ to the suitcase until it only just closes.

Are you packed well in advance or a last-minute crammer?

Well in advance, with a list. Always a list!.

My suitcase will be out a few days ahead and packed at least 24 hours before I travel. I experienced a very last-minute flight change in Tokyo a few years ago, and the horror of hurriedly
scooping my belongings into the suitcase after a rather lively night out with my team still haunts me!

What keeps you entertained on a long-haul flight?

I am a terrible companion on a long-haul flight!

If it’s a work trip, I will be tapping away on my keyboard and enjoying catching up on my to-do list. And, if it is a vacation, I’ll have a glass of bubbles to toast the journey, pop on my lounge clothes and ear plugs, and wrap myself in a blanket to get as much sleep as I can. Having worked for an airline for many years, I find the sensation of flying, and even turbulence, rocks me gently to sleep!

Besides your phone, what essential technology do you travel with?

My AirPods and MacBook. Travel is my excuse to indulge in a good book or two, but despite trying electronic tablets, I still favour the classic paperback books to read on the go. And then, I like to leave the books in the hotel library or onboard the ship in my cabin for the next person to enjoy the stories on their travels.

Have you ever lost your bag while travelling? Did you see it again?

Many times. I now pack essentials into my hand luggage and have invested in a set of AirTags to track my bags.

Although recently, I arrived into Milan ahead of a month-long vacation touring Italy. After disembarking the aircraft, my phone notification confirmed my suitcase was still at London Heathrow.

I had already marched to the customer service desk, finished filling in a lost baggage report and was mid-heated discussion with the airline agent when my husband wheeled past me with my distinctive yellow case. Seemingly, AirTags are not always a reliable tracker for your bags!

What is the most amazing place you’ve been in the world?

I am half Cypriot, and so to now work for a Greek heritage company is a dream. Having  experienced the Greek Islands and Eastern Mediterranean from our ships, dipped my toe in the local hospitality and gazed in wonder at the Santorini sunset from our deck, I have to admit that the experience has made me desperate to do more.

The azure blue of the waves, the gentle breeze from the deck as we leave port, and the thrill of waking up in a new destination each morning is sure to keep me captivated for some time.

And for some quality family time, nothing beats a staycation in Cornwall, southwest UK ,with my husband and our puppy.

And finally, what is your most hilarious or unbelievable travel story?

I have hosted and taken part in quite a few PR events in the travel industry, which are quite the source of unbelievable stories.

I did sometimes wonder whether encouraging Richard Branson to wing walk with Pamela Anderson or Dita Von Teese in his arms was the best idea as we landed into Vegas, but we certainly had a lot of fun!

Probably one of the most unbelievable stories was landing an aircraft into an Indonesian military airport to collect a premiership football team from their pre-season training tour. The aircraft was empty, except for essential crew and the PR team.

On landing, we peered out of our windows to see the military personnel still digging the sides of the runway to accommodate our rather wide commercial airliner! With few options to land after a 13.5-hour flight, I am pleased to say that the landing was more graceful than any of us had imagined on the approach.


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Written by: Matt Lennon
Published: 24 August 2023

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