Kathy Batchford

In what year did you start working for Fred.\ Holidays?

I started working for Fred. Olsen Travel in 2006 at the Ipswich shop and moved to head office in 2013. My background of working in travel extends more than 30 years.

What is your particular area of expertise?

I love cruising and have an extensive range of knowledge within this field. From ocean cruising to sailing the rivers of Europe and expedition cruises to boutique experiences; we offer a huge variety.

Which countries have you visited?

I’ve been really lucky with the number of places I’ve been able to visit, both through working with Fred. Olsen Travel and leisure travel. I’ve been all over North America and to various Caribbean islands and it’s easy to see why these are so popular. Australia and New Zealand are both fabulous and a real nature lover's paradise. Mauritius is very special to me as it is where I got married. It’s a real tropical paradise.

What would be your dream holiday destination?

I love nature, so for me it has to be the Galapagos Islands. I don’t really enjoy going to zoos, as I’d much rather see animals in their natural habitat and I genuinely believe there is no better place to go. South America in general is high on my list of must-visit destinations, and a journey to the Chilean fjords would be amazing.

Describe your favourite cruising experience

It has to be the time I cruised with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines through the fjords. Seeing the mountains emerge from the sea was absolutely breath-taking and Flam in particular was a real highlight.

Describe your favourite Christmas market experience

Bremen is very special when it comes to German Christmas markets. The smell of gluhwein fills the air as you walk through the stalls and there really is plenty to do and see. As well as the Christmas market, the cathedral is a must-visit landmark. It’s also very accessible, with easy flights from the UK and easy connections from the airport to the city. Everyone was so friendly and it really leaves you feeling all Christmassy.

Describe your favourite summer land-based holiday

As previously mentioned, Mauritius is very special to me personally. The weather is really good and the scenery is amazing. We stayed at the Shandrani hotel, which was really special and we can offer this to Fred.\ Holidays customers. What’s more is that it’s surprisingly affordable and very safe and easy to travel around the island. The food is gorgeous and the people are so friendly. It’s such a special place that my husband and I are returning for our fifth wedding anniversary.

What would you recommend for families?

Royal Caribbean is a great choice when it comes to families. They can offer Dreamworks Experience, which allows younger passengers to meet up with their favourite characters from popular films such as Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon. They also have the FlowRider surf simulator and climbing walls – both of which can be enjoyed at no extra cost. Alternatively, Disney Cruise Line is another fantastic option. On board Disney Magic, they have a recreation of Andy’s room from Toy Story. It makes me want to want to be a child again!

What would you recommend for couples?

Italy is the perfect option when it comes to romantic destinations and holidays. The Italian lakes are absolutely stunning and so tranquil – perfect for an intimate holiday. We could package together something that involved a stay in the lakes, a self-drive around the Dolomites mountain range, and a hotel stay in Venice.

What makes Fred.\ Holidays different to other tour operators?

We are bespoke. We can arrange flexible holidays that other agents simply aren’t able to. The quality of our customer service results in people making repeat bookings time after time.

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