Travel Radio Interview: Sandy Fenton
Written by: Paul Motter
I will be a guest on Sandra Fenton’s Triple AAA Radio Show for a full hour Saturday, April 24th. It will air at 3:00 p.m. Eastern time and can be heard on the WHP580 radio station and on the Internet at Let’s Talk Travel with Sandy Fenton.
Sandy is an avid cruise enthusiast like me, with over 80 cruises under her svelte waistline. So this hour promises to be an in-depth exploration by two experienced cruisers into the true nature of cruise travel, especially a thorough dissection of cruise lines and which ships offer the best and worst experiences. Between the two of us we have taken over 200 cruises on just about every cruise line common to U.S. cruisers.
To get the ball rolling before the show, I interviewed Sandy about her cruise experience. This interview should be enough to assure you this is one hour of radio you do not want to miss.
Paul Motter: Hello Sandy, when did you take your first cruise and what ship was it on? Tell me about your first impressions of cruising.
Sandy Fenton: The year was 1985 and the ship was the QE2. We were the youngest – and poorest – passengers on a 9-night Caribbean sailing roundtrip from Philadelphia. It was glorious and left an amazing impression on me. But what I remember most was meeting and talking with the other passengers and so many of them saying they wish they had started cruising when they were younger (like us) and could get around better… They regretted waiting until “the kids were grown or they could afford it”. The minute we got home I started a “cruise fund” and began saving for our next cruise vacation.
What cruise came next?
The ultra-luxurious Royal Viking Star, roundtrip NYC to Bermuda in 1988. Actually, I believe that particular sailing cost as much money -maybe more – than many cruises today.
Tell me how you became a travel expert for the media?
I’ve been in broadcasting since 1981 but I started this same show that you will be on April 20th, “Let’s Talk Travel with AAA”, in September 1993. Amazingly, it has continued to have a “sold-out” sponsor status and popularity all these years, and I am very grateful for that.
What attracted you to cruising in the first place?
I just loved the whole idea of a luxurious and pampering floating vacation – and of course there was the TV show The Love Boat.
How many cruises have you been on?
Either 83 or 85… I’m always getting mixed up with the exact number, and I sometimes waiver on whether to count 2-night inaugurals sailings.
How do you feel about the advent of mega-ships? Love them or hate them?
Both. For a multi-generational family cruise with kids and teenagers bigger is definitely better. When it is just my husband and me, we prefer small or mid-size.
What’s better for you; a great day at sea or an exciting port of call?
Because I am so crazy-busy all the time, a relaxing day at sea is Heaven on Earth to me.
What cruising regions stand out as your best experiences?
So many, actually all have been wonderful – but I would say my very favorites would be the fjords of Norway, Scandinavia, Alaska, Canada, Bermuda, Northern Europe – I love them all.
Is there a cruising region you have not seen but intend to see someday?
I am definitely going to see Asia someday, but it takes a lot of planning and time away from home.
What is your favorite luxury cruise line?
I have cruised onboard Regent Seven Seas the most and it is a great match for our lives. Having said that, what’s not to love about Seabourn and Silversea?
What is your favorite Premium cruise line?
We’re just back from Celebrity – and I am a huge fan of theirs; also Holland America and Princess are excellent premium choices.
And your favorite mainstream cruise line?
We’ve had terrific cruises (especially with the family) onboard Royal Caribbean.
What about specialty cruises: expedition and river cruises, for example?
We loved our Hurtigruten cruise from Bergen to Kirkenes.
[ ed. note: Hurtigruten is a Norwegian expeditionary cruise line, and Bergen and Kirkenes are in Norway].
Is there a specialty cruise you hope to take someday?
I want to see Scottish Hebrides islands.
Other than cruises – what other vacation experiences do you like?
I love grand hotels and resorts for a combination of luxury and history. I’m also a fan of all-inclusive resorts. Traveling throughout the United Kingdom and staying at luxurious (without being stuffy) comfortable country Manor House Hotels was brilliant.
Do you believe a cruise can show people the world?
What do you tell people who want to try their first cruise as a single traveler?
Just go and participate as much (or as little) as you want. I think cruising is an ideal vacation for singles, particularly women – you are so safe and so well taken care of.
Have you ever tried a music cruise?
Yes, we were on a Jazz Cruise several years back and it was terrific.
What ship has the best onboard entertainment program in your point of view?
Having done the Atlantic crossing several years ago, I do believe the transatlantic entertainment/lectures onboard QE2 was the overall best experience.
Our CRUISEMATES show will be broadcast on Clear Channel WHP580: Saturday, April 24th, 3pm-4pm – live. The show will then be “streamed” on Sandy’s website for future listening: http://www.whp580.com/pages/LetsTalkTravel.html
Readers can listen to the show live on the Internet by going to www.whp580.com and then click on the link to “Let’s Talk Travel.”
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Posted: March 23rd, 2010 under Paul Motter.