David Morris | President
For more than 35 years, David Morris sailed to the top of his profession with Cunard, Crystal and most recently, as Exec VP Sales & Marketing Worldwide for Silversea Cruises. “Starting DMI has put all the pieces together where I could further expand my expertise, while bringing companies an added level of sales and marketing experience.” Throughout his career, David has maintained contacts & friendships with the “Who’s Who” of industry, both inside and outside of travel. These relationships are key to his unique ability to revitalize existing business and cultivate new business where it had not previously existed. His work on behalf of philanthropic foundations and organizations is legendary.
Marilyn Conroy | Executive V.P.
Marilyn emigrated from England to begin a 20 year career with Cunard in the Hotel division covering London & the Caribbean. She subsequently held a position in the shipping division, which at the time included 17 vessels including such liners as the QE2. She was appointed VP Sales which made her the youngest female VP in the cruise industry. Her success continued with Crystal Cruises as VP Sales, and then at Silversea Cruises as Senior VP Sales. Marilyn excels in developing and training field sales organizations to achieve goals & skillfully executes the management of multi-million dollar sales and marketing budgets.
Travel Research Online (TRO): You both run David Morris International (DMI), who is promoting Saga cruises here in the US. What do you think Saga has to offer the US market?
David Morris International (DMI): Saga will introduce two new builds, Spirit of Discovery in 2019 and Spirit of Adventure in 2020. Each ship will have 540 all-balcony cabins with approximately 109 of those dedicated to the solo traveler throughout each stateroom category. This sets Saga apart from all the other brands. Saga cruises combines the traditional British service and atmosphere (not stuffy) on a ship that has all the benefits of a large ship (i.e. multiple restaurants, all modern features, spa, gym), yet only carries 999 guests. Saga offers incredible value with no surcharges on board – which even includes gratuities, wine with lunch and dinner and a chauffeur driven car to and from the ship within 75 miles.
TRO: Saga is known for its sophisticated and intimate atmosphere on its ships. How does Saga create these environments that draw so many people?
DMI: Saga hires the best design teams, hands down, that help create the atmosphere onboard. The design team for the new builds have designed areas for the Coleridge’s and Four Season Hotels in the UK.
TRO: Saga focuses on the “Over 50” market. Does this change how Saga markets its cruises?
DMI: Yes we market to the “aging baby boomers” not the millennials. Let’s face it, 50 is not old, but you will find the features on board cater to this age bracket – we don’t offer rock climbing walls.
TRO: Saga now has VIP door-to-door travel service available. How does this work, and how did it come about?
DMI: We offer Private VIP car service within 75 miles of the ship on the day of embarkation and debarkation so if clients want to spend time in London before their cruise out of Southampton the car will come and get them in London. If the distance is more than 75 miles, then the car will be shared. It came about as we wished to give our clients a seamless experience and, let’s face it, a private car and driver is a lovely way to begin and end a cruise. Again, when you look at all the benefits included in the price of a Saga cruise, they truly are offering a tremendous value to their guests.
TRO: DMI has worked with other cruise lines to increase their exposure in the cruise markets. How does the work DMI puts into these campaigns help the cruise lines grow?
DMI: If I look at all of our associates there is well over 100 years of industry experience. It’s that proven track record that helps our clients get to the market fast and in the right channels. DMI is known to only represent top of the line products, not necessarily the most luxurious, but always offering the best value within its category. We are careful to always present the product accurately and fairly.
TRO: How does Saga work with travel agents to improve the traveler’s experience?
DMI: We have partnered with Auto Europe who doesn’t just handle the reservations for Saga Cruises but also offer clients air, car, and hotel add-ons if they wish. Auto Europe has tremendous buying power with the Airlines, car companies and Hotels and are therefore able to offer very compelling prices which are commissionable to agents.
TRO: Is there anything you can tell us about the near future of Saga, and where it’s headed?
DMI: Saga is currently building two new ships and based on the response to these ships, which has been overwhelmingly positive, I am sure more ships will be forthcoming.