Features — 22 November 2013 — by Kareem Clarke
Major cruise line awards 2 local tour companies

Two of Belize’s local tour companies were prestigiously rewarded this morning, albeit aboard a visiting Princess cruise ship which was docked 5.5 miles off the coast of Belize City.

Both Bacab Eco Tours and Chukka Tours were accredited by Princess Cruise Lines for the sophisticated services that they offer — for the Horseback Safari Ride, and for the Xunantunich Maya Ruin Marimba Tour respectively.

The tours are a part of local expedition packages that are regularly sold onboard the Princess cruise ships which dock in our harbor on scheduled visits.

Bacab Eco Tours’ horseback ride was singled out as outstanding in the Low Volume Tour category for Belize for the 2012-2013 cruise season, while the High Volume Tour of the season in the Port of Belize was won for the second time in a row by Chukka Tours for their Xunantunich Maya Ruin Tour. Both tours obtained high ratings and positive passenger comments and were tagged as excellent-value tours.

Dana Ionescu, customer service director for Princess Cruise Lines, commended both tour operators for their exceptional work during the 2012-2013 cruise season. While addressing the awardees, she said, “The effort made by you and your staff regarding the operational efficiency and overall quality of these tours is commendable. And Princess would like to acknowledge all your efforts, dedication and passion in offering our passengers a very good experience and assist[ing] them to escape completely.”

Teody Tornito, shore excursion manager on the Princess cruise ship, also applauded the two local tour companies. “Congratulations for the good effort, good sales and good relations with Princess. Whenever our passengers make a request [for a local tour] and they get a reply as soon as possible, we are able to give more satisfactory service to those passengers that want to escape completely in any of our ports,” Tornito said.

In accepting the award and in response to the comments, Lourdes Smith, the marketing and sales director at Bacab Eco Tours, said, “I want to take this opportunity to thank Princess Cruise Lines for taking on our tours, and we look forward to doing a lot more tours with Princess Cruise Lines, particularly Caribbean Princess this year. And it has been a pleasure working with you all and that you promote our tours as well as you do.”

Chukka Tours’ human resources manager, Martha Molina, said, “We are extremely excited; this is the second year we won this award. This award is actually for the Xunantunich Maya Ruins Marimba Music and Lunch Tour. It was the first time we offered this tour, and so it is really exciting to know that we came out on top. We hope to continue; and of course customer service and safety has always been our focus.”

After the award ceremonies, the press and the awardees were given an extensive tour of the decked-out vessel – which consisted of a breathtaking fourteen floors of spas, night clubs, restaurants, lobbies, gift and jewelry shops, bars, a gym, a full-sized theatre, and much more – truly a high-class floating paradise with all the relaxing ambiance and amenities one can think about.

The ship has 1,100 crew members and can accommodate up to 5,000 passengers at a time.

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