We interviewed Simone Clark, Managing Director of Iglu.com for her insight into the travel industry and advice when it comes to booking a cruise

Simone, how long have you been in the travel industry?
I’ve been in the travel industry since I was 22 so a very long time.  I started off as a rep on campsites and then in ski resorts.  My first UK based job was selling villa and ski holidays for Crystal holidays and I stayed with them for a long time – from them being a small and rapidly growing independent company to being part of the Tui group when I left.  I then spent some time at Sovereign holidays before coming to Iglu around 6 years ago.

What is special about Iglu?
It’s very fast paced and efficient – we’re all based in one room and there’s a real buzz.  We have always focussed on getting customers the best cruise (and ski) deals along with offering expert advice and great service

Simone Clarke
Simone steers the ship

Why is cruising so popular?
There’s a good choice for everyone and it’s incredible value for money with great food and entertainment on board and you get to visit some beautiful and exciting places. Cruises from the UK are extremely popular as people are really enjoying the no-fly option (no taxes, unlimited luggage, no strikes, no delays and no waiting in airports). Also the quality of the ships and food is extremely high.

Who is cruising well-suited to?
Everyone! It’s just about ensuring that you get the right advice and travel on the right ship/cruise line.

Some people prefer the vast array of things to do on the bigger ships whereas others like the intimacy of the smaller ships – plus you can then decide how formal you want to be.

There are great children’s facilities on many of the ships too.

What are Christmas market cruises proving so popular?
The Christmas markets cruises are great as they are short and really good value – a great way to try cruising and seeing if you enjoy it. Read our guide to this year’s hottest Christmas Markets here

What interesting developments are around the corner for the cruise industry in 2011?
Well this year sees the launch of Allure of the Seas, the brand new huge Royal Caribbean ship.  MSC cruises have just announced that they’ll be sailing from Abu Dhabi, which will be incredibly popular and P&O cruises are launching Adonia, offering a fly cruise programme.

Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Princess will all have many more ships in Europe than ever before.

Do you have any booking advice for would-be cruisers?
Listen to people’s advice about which cruise line to travel on – if you can afford it, book a balcony cabin – this way you’ve still got your own space.

Any top tips for cruising?
If you don’t want be part of the crowds then it’s possible to avoid them altogether by making your own way round the ship – leave the ship either early or later than everyone else and wander around the ports/cities creating your own adventures.  Be open minded – try different things and entertainment that you don’t normal sample at home – you’ll find something new to enjoy.  On American ships – the steaks are always great!

What was your favourite cruise, and why?
I don’t have any one favourite as they’ve all been great. I had a superb Med cruise on Emerald Princess, a beautiful ship with lots of interesting ports – particularly Istanbul and arriving into Venice.

Last year I enjoyed a Scandinavia & Russia cruise on Celebrity – great food and itinerary as I hadn’t been to any of the ports before. I particularly loved Copenhagen and Stockholm.

This year I opted for P&O Cruises and travelled up the fjords – so spectacular and P&O were superb value for money.

Are there any countries you haven’t visited yet that you’d like to?
Lots – I’d love to try an Exotic cruise in the Far East and also Alaska at some point.

For the latest booking information visit www.iglucruise.com or phone on 0208 254 3557