John Watson - Travel Counsellor & CLIA Cruise Master.
I specialise in cruise and tailor-made holidays crafted with care.
Travel Counsellors was founded in 1994 and I have been a part of the company since 2004. During this time, I have made many customers’ dreams and aspirations a reality, from simple city breaks to full worldwide cruises.
Caring for my customers is at the heart of everything I do and this is why 80% of my customers choose to book time-and-time again with me; plus also recommend me to their friends and family.
I have been fortunate to share my passion for travel by working in travel related roles all my adult life. Prior to joining Travel Counsellors, I was a manager for a well-known high street travel retailer.
Travel Counsellors are the only travel agency to be awarded the Queens Award for Enterprise and have been voted "Best Travel Agency" by readers of The Guardian and The Observer newspapers, four out of the last five years.
Your money is 100% safe and is protected financially by ATOL and the unique Travel Counsellors Trust, giving you total peace of mind. No other travel agency offers you this full protection.
My specialist area is in cruise holidays offered by all the world’s leading cruise lines and I am an accredited cruise agent with ‘Master Status’ - the highest accolade given by the Cruise Lines International Association, the world’s largest cruise industry trade association.
Chances are that I have first-hand knowledge of a ship you might like to try, so speak to me before you book that trip of lifetime! This could be aboard a ship with just 50-100 like-minded passengers to the Galapagos Islands, a cruise in search of the Northern Lights or aboard the very latest mega-ships. Many of my clients have also taken advantage of the growth and convenience of 'No fly cruises' or 'EX UK Cruises' from regional UK ports.
I also offer tailor-made holidays to your specification including city breaks, beach holidays, long-haul and escorted tours.
My own travels have taken me as far afield as Thailand, Malaysia, Borneo, Kenya, the Caribbean Islands and the USA - not to mention a whole host of favourites closer to home.
Many thanks for taking the time to read my profile and I look forward to making your travel aspirations a reality.
Visit my Facebook page for travel news & inspiration:
Whatever your holiday needs I'm here to help you, so please either fill in and send the form below or simply give me a call and I can get things started for you:-
Sent in by Doreen Barrett
Havant, 03 September 2018
John has organised two cruises for me and I am very pleased with his attention to detail in getting me everything I require to make them a success. I have no qualms about recommending him to friends and family.
Sent in by Eunice Fitzpatrick
Deal, 03 July 2018
John was very helpful booking our holiday, nothing was too much trouble.
Sent in by Ian Gamble
Swansea, 29 June 2018
I would rate him more if I could. Every cruise cabin John has booked for us has been wonderful. He's offers a very personal and first name terms service which I find brilliant.
Sent in by David Taunt
Swindon, 03 October 2017
John is extremely knowledgable and helpfull making the whole experience of booking very easy.
Sent in by Sharon Boyle
Gillingham, 06 February 2017
Enjoyed dealing with John , he is obviously very experienced, he gave up good info but allowed us to ask him questions and then make up our own mind. After we had booked he gave good tips about the area we were going to based on his own experiences.
Sent in by David Butler
Worthing, 03 January 2017
Great service, tenacious in searching for what we need / want.
Sent in by Jean Farrant
Dorset, 02 November 2016
We have booked through John several times over the past few years and always found him helpful, well informed and willing to go that extra mile on our behalf.
Sent in by Ian Gamble
Swansea, 19 February 2016
John is extremely helpful in ensuring everything will go smoothly in the booking process and we get the best possible value for money for our holiday.
Sent in by John Thompson
Ilkley, 22 September 2015
We were recommended to use John by a couple who we met earlier this year on our first cruise. They sang his praises so much that I contacted him when we returned. We have just booked our second cruise in June next year through John who has been fantastically helpful in finding a cruise to suit us. His attention to detail,prompt replies,and expertise have been really very good. We are also in touch with him in order to find other holidays also.I would imagine that we will use John's qualities going forward.
Sent in by Susan Dixon
Fareham, 27 February 2015
John was very helpful and very informative about the cruise, I would definitely use you again!
Sent in by Peggy Deves
Poole, 27 February 2015
John has helped us get the best offer for our cruise and did help me with question relating to my husband's illness. A very big thank you to him,
Sent in by Helen Etherington
Southsea, 23 January 2015
Brilliant service honest and upfront. Always feel especially having children that we are being recommended places that are suitable and good. Highly recommend you to anyone. Thank you!
Sent in by John Green
Worthing, 05 January 2015
We have always been impressed with the careful service we have received from John. This year, we have returned to him for our short cruise because he makes it so easy.
Sent in by David Le Poidevin
Poole, 27 October 2014
I have rated John as 10, but would go even higher if that were possible. Normally I would not put above 9, but for John it really has to be 10 plus. A few years ago we took some friends with us whose booking was far from simple but John handled it with great care and efficiency. He seems to handle our bookings as if we were the only people he had to deal with and always recognises us and stores our details efficiently. We would always recommend him to anyone else.
Sent in by Robert Barrett
HAVANT, 18 July 2013
So far John Watson has proven to be very helpful. Since we have no experience of cruise holidays it has been very nice to have someone to take us through the preparations. Thank you John.
Sent in by Susan Miller
Basingstoke, 11 March 2013
John is always very helpful and prompt in reply either to your phone calls or e-mail and I would certainly recommend to friend or relatives.
Sent in by Mary-Ann Bennett
Hereford, 11 March 2013
John was very helpful, he clearly has plenty of cruise and ship knowledge, which is very reassuring for a single traveller like me. He always phoned back at the time he said he would and was very reliable in this regard, which is much appreciated.
Sent in by Paul Jillings
Dover, 11 March 2013
Excellent service from start to finnish. Very helpful and great knowledge.
Sent in by Marina and Andrew Emberson
Southsea, 11 March 2013
We have been using Travel Counsellors for many years now after a friend recommended them to us. John Watson has always dealt with our enquiries quickly and efficiently and always goes the extra mile to ensure we get the best possible holiday. He has now extended that service to both my daughter and son and their familiy. We never hesitate to give our friends John's phone number as we know they will be in safe hands.
Sent in by Ann Price
Deal, 11 March 2013
I have enlisted John Watson's assistance for several years now and he is a truly professional first rate travel counsellor.
Sent in by Louise Etherington
Southsea, 26 September 2012
We come to John for all our cruise holidays plus other trips. We receive a first class service and will always recommend him to friends.
Sent in by David Field
Gloucestershire, 26 September 2012
John has a kind and thoughtful way of working. He is clear about the details and sometimes there are many. He is at the end of the phone to help with any last minute problems and we never feel rushed. A good man in the right job is worth a lot. Kind regards, David and Sally Field.
Sent in by Steve, Sandra and Lucy Daly
Warrington, Cheshire, 10 February 2012
We have used John for the last two years in booking our holidays he was recommended by my parents who have used John for years. Last year I lost my Florida holiday when XL went bust. That was on a Friday morning, by 6pm the same day John had booked me a replacement holiday. He worked so hard for and me and my family making sure we got a replacement holiday and we enjoyed two weeks in Florida. This year John has arranged a West Coast American tour which was tailor made for the family. I find John to be extremely proffessional,knowledgable and a pleasure to deal with And thank him for taking the hard work out of booking a holiday.
Sent in by Ernest Weatherall
Ilkeston, 04 January 2009
I told my friends how good and impressed we were at the top quality of service you gave us on booking our holiday and will ring you when we select our next holiday cruise.
Sent in by Daniel Daly
Warrington, 05 June 2008
I would like to recommend Mr John Watson as a travel agent as we have been with him for a number of years. We have always had first class service from John and we always get the best of holidays, nothing is too much trouble for him. We think he is very polite and well mannered and treats you with respect. He is also, in our opinion a friend and is very honest with his service we would certainly recommend him to our friends.
Sent in by Phil Parry
Woodbridge, Suffolk, 04 March 2008
John has been very successfully organising a range of holidays for us for over several years. These have primarily been cruises but he also recently organised a holiday for us and our extended family (8 adults plus children) to Jamaica for Christmas and New Year. The different cruises have spanned the globe and included a combined overland/cruise trip to China and the Far East. His extensive knowledge of options available and a willingness to root out all possible scenarios, combined with a complete understanding our requirements, has been invaluable in planning all our holidays and ensuring our complete satisfaction at all times. We are delighted with the service received from Travel Counsellors in general and John Watson in particular.
With independent access to thousands of travel suppliers around the world, I've got an eye for added value. Take a look through my latest selections below. But even if nothing particularly catches your eye - don't worry! Let's chat and I'll take the hassle away from tailoring a perfectly personalised holiday just for you.
Contact me on 01304 897830
I absolutely live and breathe travel and I love to write about my experiences! Please take a look through my posts - you might find your own holiday inspiration.
07 February 2018
The best part of my job is talking to my customers about their travel experiences from around the world. And, being able to be part of the process of creating lasting memories with loved ones is especially humbling at times. A recent trip that I organised for one of my customers was a cruise voyage from Bridgetown, Barbados to Colon, Panama. Having previously organised a couple of Caribbean cruises with Regent Seven Seas for my customers, they now wanted to experience the intimate delights of Silversea – the leader in ultra-luxury cruises. Silversea, unfortunately on this occasion could not offer my...
29 November 2017
Celebrity Silhouette is one of the two newest Celebrity ships, originally launched in 2011. For the first time she will be sailing EX-UK from Southampton for summer 2018 replacing the Celebrity Eclipse which proved a big hit with British passengers over the past several years. I took the opportunity to jump aboard Celebrity Silhouette at Dover in 2016 to discover what’s new about this particular ship compared to her sister ships which I’d sailed on previously. Celebrity Silhouette is the fourth ship to be launched in the beautiful Solstice Class from Celebrity Cruises – the upmarket sister brand owned by Royal Caribbean...
15 August 2017
We chose to holiday this year as a family in the Ile de Re – a small island located off La Rochelle, on the West coast of France. I had long wanted to visit this island after seeing it on a travel show many years ago. It is a sort of a French version of the Hamptons, where the Parisians often escape to. I recall seeing the pretty villages where every door appeared to be painted washed out shades of blue, green, or grey and thinking how beautiful it looked. I also like the fact that it is a little off...
20 May 2017
I was excited to be invited along to the Port of Dover for Saga Cruises 20th Anniversary Celebrations in May 2017 aboard Saga Sapphire as part of a trade only organised visit. A weekend which saw a host of celebrations, festivities and fireworks. I was fortunate to dine this evening on the table of Captain Julian Burgess and Chief Operating Officer of Saga Cruises, Stuart Mcquaker, who gave us an update on the company’s progress and ambitions for the future especially with their exciting news of a brand-new purpose-built ship called Spirit of Discovery, launching in 2019. I must say that I...
17 February 2017
I took my family to Disneyland Paris during the February half-term school break for a couple of days. As a self-confessed Star Wars fan it was an ideal opportunity to witness Disney’s ‘Season of the Force’, celebrations ahead of the launch of the re-vamped Star Tours and Hyper-Space Mountain experiences. One of the main experiences I was really looking forward to seeing was the never-seen-before night time state-of-the-art projections, special effects, music and live Star Wars Characters. My children (or padawans as they are known in the Star Wars universe) also enjoyed battling Darth Vader live on stage in front of a packed...
30 December 2016
I enjoyed a family short break this Christmas to visit Bruges in Belgium. Bruges makes an ideal short break destination at any time of the year and is easily accessible from the UK by road, rail and via ship, from Zeebrugge - for many of the taster cruises often on sale. The 'Markt Square' at the center of Medieval Bruges becomes a magical winter wonderland for Christmas with an outdoor ice rink and Christmas Market, with stalls selling a variety of gifts, local produce, beer and mulled wine. One must do is to take one of the horse-drawn carriages on a short tour...
16 December 2016
John Watson recently become the first travel agent in South East Kent to be awarded ‘Master Status’ by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA UK & Ireland), the world’s largest cruise industry trade association. Recognising John as being at the pinnacle of his knowledge in the industry, the CLIA Master Accreditation has only been awarded to approximately 50 individuals in the UK, and recognises John’s dedication to training and development in order to provide excellent service and expert advice to his customers. Having been in the travel industry for over 20 years and the last 12 years as a Travel Counsellor, John...
24 November 2016
If you are a first time cruiser or even a seasoned cruiser and about to make one of your larger or possibly even the largest purchase in your life other than your house in terms of a world cruise, would it not make sense to make your booking with someone who can offer you trust, care and expertise? As an Ambassador for the Cruise Lines International Association’s (CLIA UK), I have the distinction of achieving one of its highest accolades, demonstrating my commitment to cruise having studied widely on all aspects of cruise holidays and the ability to share knowledge and...
03 September 2016
I spent a week this August with my family and friends in France travelling to the Dordogne with its meandering river situated in South–West France, my first time to this beautiful region. We opted to self-drive with a convenient Eurotunnel crossing, stopping overnight in Chateauroux to break up the eight hour drive from Calais. You can also fly into one of three nearby airports or take the train from Paris. History buffs would love the rich history of the area including over 1000 castles and forts, which seem to appear at almost every turn and the UNESCO World Heritage caves of Lascaux. A...
23 May 2016
Having been aboard a number of Royal Caribbean cruise ships in the past I was excited to discover what their 25th ship, costing a whopping $1 billion to build and christened ‘Harmony of the Seas’ would offer. Those not familiar with Royal Caribbean should note that they are a US owned company and offer family ‘resort style’ premium cruises – think Florida holidays but at sea! Harmony of the Seas is almost 4 football pitches long and weighs in at just less than 227,000 tons, almost double the size of many newer ships in recent years and can carry almost 5500 passengers...
23 July 2015
I took the opportunity to jump aboard the Disney Magic in July 2015 to discover what upgrades they have made since the ship emerged 'Re-imaged' to quote Disney from an extensive refurbishment in late 2013. Before we take a look at what's new I thought I'd explain a little about the ship. Disney Magic is undoubtedly geared up for a fun family experience with Disney providing the back drop of their special blend of magical entertainment you can expect if you have ever visited one of their parks around the world. The theme of the Northern Europe cruise picks up on...
23 April 2015
I was fortunate to be invited to participate in the launch celebrations of Royal Caribbean's latest innovative ship - Anthem of the Seas which you could describe as a technological marvel! Emma Wilby (the ship's Godmother and a fellow travel agent) who sings in the Military Wives’ Choir in Kinloss, performed Katy Perry’s hit song "Firework" alongside the Welsh choir 'Only Boys Aloud' before officially naming the ship and christening it with a bottle of fine champagne. Having sailed aboard a number of Royal Caribbean ships in the past, I felt walking around the ship that the brand had grown up slightly....
08 March 2015
I was excited to be able to view Britannia, P&O Cruise’s newest ship ahead of her official naming ceremony by Her Majesty The Queen to see what was on offer for UK passengers from Britain’s favourite cruise line. The most striking thing about the ship for me, apart from her size at 141,000 tons is her livery which now sports a bold new Union Flag (the longest version of the Union flag anywhere in the world, at 94 metres). You can tell from the moment you walk aboard the ship and see the spectacular ‘starburst’ hanging down in the atrium that the...
27 October 2014
I recently just returned from a trip to Analipsi, near Kalamata, in the Southern Peloponnese of Greece, an area well known for its olive production. My hotel for week was the Messini Beachclub, a hotel run exclusively by Neilson who specialise in providing activity based holidays which include sailing, windsurfing, tennis, mountain and road biking through to a myriad of fitness classes. The hotel, which recently opened in 2014 features a modern, minimalist design, reflected through the architecture and the rooms and is set on a gorgeous sandy beach. To the rear of the hotel, it is mostly agricultural land with...
22 May 2014
I was lucky to find myself in Barcelona for a few days this year, one of my favourite cities. I've been here a couple of times before but always for fleeting visits mostly when joining cruise ships. There’s so much to do and see in Barcelona - this fabulous city by the beach. This time though I wanted to visit Casa Batlló, a renowned modernist building located in the centre of Barcelona and one of Antoni Gaudí’s masterpieces. Locally called the ‘House of Bones’, this whimsical building was once a private residence of a wealthy family built originally over 100 years ago....
19 May 2013
I'm not normally one to return to a destination time after time as there are so many stunning places around the world I'd love to visit. One exception to this rule for me is Vassiliki on the island of Lefkada (Lefkas) Greece. It's a well known 'mecca' for windsurfers and this the main reason I return although not the only one. The resort or village of Vassiliki is very small with just a few hotels mainly catering to the windsurf and sailing crowd with a small pretty harbour at one end with a ferry service which serves a few nearby islands including...
05 September 2011
I had the opportunity to spend some time aboard the Seabourn Sojourn and thought I’d share with you some of the distinctions that you can expect to find on board. Seabourn offers an all-suite accommodation with 90% of the suites featuring a private veranda, where you may even dine, served course by course by gracious staff. Your suite also includes a generously sized bathtub and a large walk-in wardrobe. Bedding will be finest Egyptian cottons with fluffy duvets, bathrobes and exclusive bath products by Molton Brown. The complimentary in-suite bar will be stocked with your favourite wines and spirits. For the ultimate upgrade,...
16 August 2009
This was the Watsons' first family foray into the world of cruise holidays to join my in-laws in celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary. We chose to cruise from the Port of Dover as this is our local port and only a few miles down the road which meant that we could leave our front door and effectively be on holiday 45 minutes later. With no long drive to the airport, car parking and long check-in prior to boarding a plane with two young children, this was a godsend for our family and undoubtedly one of the reasons many people love to cruise...
13 July 2009
Oceania Cruises has a great reputation within the industry for their passion for cuisine and are often dubbed a ‘foodies cruise line’, by the media, so I was keen to discover this for myself aboard a visit on Regatta. Oceania Cruises sit in the upper premium sector of the cruise market - not as exclusive or inclusive as Silversea or Regent Seven Seas Cruises but a step up from say Celebrity Cruises or Holland America Line. You will experience a more refined personal service, open dining in the main restaurant with speciality dining included, luxurious accommodation with a Queen-size 'Prestige Tranquility Bed',...
14 November 2008
I'm often attracted to certain destinations as a result of an iconic landmark or a piece of architecture, you only have to think of the Sydney Opera House as a classic example. One place I've always had a wish to visit was the Art Deco District at South Beach Miami. Featured in countless films and TV shows over the years, I had the opportunity to visit at the start and end of a Celebrity Cruise trip. We went out as group the first evening to a great local restaurant for some super seafood, myself opting for some delicious scallops, we all had...
27 June 2008
This was the first time that I had been invited along to a Holland America Line ship launch and overnight on board one of their ships. First impressions were very good from the welcome aboard champagne and then to be shown to our stateroom by one of the ships crew. Holland America Line if you are not familiar with them is a US based cruise line with a long Dutch heritage going back over 140 years. They offer a premium cruise experience in an understated classic elegant style, yet with a modern twist. They are also renowned for their expansive art collections...
31 January 2006
Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines invited me along to preview their latest acquisition which they have named Boudicca after the great British warrior queen. Originally built in 1973, sailing as Royal Viking Sky, the ship represented the pinnacle of cruising in her day. Her classic liner style hull made her perfect for long sea voyages to exotic destinations and as such is a very capable ship in all conditions. By today’s standards, the ship is classed as a small/medium size at just under 22,000 tons carrying just around 800 passengers. Her size allows her access to ports-of-call and best docking rights where larger...