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Local Tour Operators Recognized by Princess Cruises

May 10, 2007 –- Some people who operate little seagoing craft got awards from big seagoing craft Thursday, as Princess Cruise Lines presented awards to local tour operators Cruise Ship Excursions and Fun Water Tours.
The awards were presented with much fanfare and the presence of Captain William Kent aboard the 3,200-passenger Caribbean Princess docked at the newly extended 900-foot Crown Bay dock.
Purser Leia Leal, Princess cruise ship excursion director, presented its high-volume award to Nissa Bodron, of Cruise Ship Excursions, along with her two tour operators, Alfred Christopher of St. John and Kenneth "Kitch" Williams of St. Thomas. The award was for the company's St. John Trunk Bay Beach & Snorkel tour.
Jim Trilling, who runs the catamaran Dancing Dolphin, received the low-volume award, and one extra award for his popular tour guide Joe Morgan.
Leal explained the "low volume" classification relates to the relatively low number, 49, of guests that can be accommodated on the catamaran.
The high-volume Cruise Ship Excursions can carry close to 300 passengers on its Island Girl ferry.
Morgan was grinning, happy at the accolades that were coming his way. He brought his five-year-old daughter, Peyton, along for the occasion. Morgan says sometimes he will take her on tours with him. "She's very good in the water," he said. Morgan moved to St. Thomas from Colorado about six years ago, to get his captain's license, and has been at his present job for the last two years.
Leal said, "It's unusual to get so many compliments from the passengers about one particular guide. We send out hundreds of tours a week, but at least two or three passengers each week would tell us how much they enjoyed Joe's tours."
Bodron was equally delighted to be in on the action. "We run lots of tours, but the St. John tour is always a popular one." She gave credit to Christopher and Williams for their expertise in handling the passengers. "They are wonderful with our guests," she said. Williams is a familiar face in the tourist industry on St. Thomas. "More than 20 years ago, I was running Gray Line Tours out of the old Caravan Hotel, now the Windward Passage."
He said not too long ago, he was sent to work the Crown Bay dock, and he wasn't happy about that at first. "Now," he says laughing, "I wouldn't go back to working at Havensight. We have room for people to sit here, and a place for them to get out of the rain, too. It's just much nicer."
The Caribbean Princess made its maiden voyage to Crown Bay last October, the first in a series of year-round visits by the Princess Lines.
The visits are the result of an agreement the V. I. Port Authority signed with the cruise line in July, which also covers port calls by Princess affiliates P & O cruises and Cunard, owner of the Queen Mary 2 (See "Caribbean Princes Receives Royal VIPA Welcome at Crown Bay").
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