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East Midlands Chamber News

Yvonne set for cruise company launch

Yvonne Pearce was only nine when she got her first taste of holiday cruising but, on her own admission, she was hooked.“I couldn’t wait until I grew up and could explore all the places on the ship where children weren’t allowed,” she says.Today, Chesterfield-based Yvonne, an experienced world-traveller, is poised to go one better.She’s about to convert her part-time cruise company interest into a full-time business.With support from Business Link at Derbyshire Chamber, Yvonne is to launch herself as an internet-based independent cruise specialist trading as ‘Cruise Ahead Ltd’.She will offer worldwide cruise holidays from UK ports and fly-cruises with the big name cruise companies on three star to six star liners for anything from three-nights to three-months.‘Cruise Ahead’ will arrange special cruises for families, those looking for sporting activities, formal and casual holidays, cultural voyages, themed cruises and fun ship breaks.In the longer term, Yvonne plans to concentrate on the business and corporate cruising markets.“We shall provide a service that is truly tailored to customer-need,” she says. “The emphasis will be on giving a high level of friendly and personal service to every customer at every stage.” Before going it alone, Yvonne tackled a special travel-training course and passed the ABTA primary and advanced certificates with flying colours.For advice on how to run her company, Yvonne turned to Business Link and enrolled on its Business Start programme. Business adviser David Smith quickly identified the need for specialist IT support and brought in colleague Jon Egley, a specialist in all aspects of information technology and e-commerce.Jon helped Yvonne to identify the right equipment for the company and to plan her website, a vital part of the company’s operations since the business would be completely web-based.To improve her IT knowledge, Yvonne tackled Business Link’s First Steps programme and then enrolled on an intensive three-day web marketing course at the Chamber.“The support I received from start to finish was magnificent,” says Yvonne. “Without David and Jon I would not be where I am today. Jon’s enthusiasm and expertise were invaluable and I have absolutely no doubt that a lot more new businesses could benefit from his skills.”