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Nicola Harper and Ian Benjafield join Ambassador Cruise Line

Ambassador Cruise Line, has recruited Nicola Harper for the newly-created role of Head of Distribution and Ian Benjafield as Head of Communications as it expands its commercial team.

Harper will report into Chief Commercial Officer, Phil Gardner, with Benjafield reporting into Gordon Nardini, Chief Marketing Officer.

Harper joins the premium-value cruise operator on 10 October 2022 and will assume leadership of the Ambassador trade team. She will work closely with Head of Reservations, Dave Eastwood, on a transition plan for the management of the contact center through October before he takes on a new role as Head of Inventory and Trading, also reporting into Gardner.

She brings more than 15 years’ travel industry experience to the role covering ancillary products, tour operations, bed banks and homeworking, working closely with both trade and contact center teams.

Harper joins from Aquilium Travel, where she held the position of Head of Operations and Strategy. She embarked on her travel career as a Senior Retail Manager at TUI UK before moving to Attraction World as National Account Manager. Subsequent roles include Trade Partnerships Manager at Thomas Cook and Head of Sales at Beds With Ease.

“I am delighted to welcome Nicola to Ambassador in the newly-created role of Head of Distribution,” said Gardner. “As brand awareness and interest in our premium-value product continues to grow, our focus on creating and fostering trade partnerships has never been so important to us. I look forward to working with Nicola as we continue to develop a brand and a business that stands tall in the UK cruise market.”

Benjafield joined the business on 19 September 2022 as Head of Communications with responsibility for corporate, consumer and internal communication. He has more than 25 years’ experience in the travel industry, working across destination, tour operating, airline, retail, cruise and hotel comms. Previous roles include senior positions at brands including Disneyland Paris, TUI UK, Thomas Cook and Travelodge, and agency-side travel PR at Finn Partners.

Benjafield will be working alongside Rooster PR, who were appointed as Ambassador’s PR Agency in August 2022 following a pitch process. Rooster PR has been tasked with handling media relations, press trips, thought leadership and creative campaigns for Ambassador.

Nardini said: “As Britain’s newest cruise line, we have so much to say. We know our guests, trade partners and media want to hear from Ambassador about our company developments and the great experiences and memories we are creating on board. The appointment of Ian, with his varied experience and deep understanding of the travel PR landscape, comes at a pivotal time for the company as we continue on our current growth trajectory and look to share our story more widely. With the support of Rooster PR, Ian will also be key to the launch of Ambassador’s second ship, Ambition, to the market in May 2023.”

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