Travel advisors will have more experts to work with when researching and booking Explora Journeys trips for clients.

MSC Group’s new luxury small ship cruise line recently announced that it has added seven new people to its U.S. commercial team, as well as filling eight new positions in Europe.

“All of these new appointments in our Commercial team have deep luxury hospitality experience, are very well known, highly respected and have an unwavering commitment to the luxury travel advisor community,” said Chris Austin, chief sales officer for Explora Journeys, in a press statement. “They are passionate and proactive consultative sellers, highly responsive to any advisor request, and are totally focused on mutual success.”

Explora Journeys’ new U.S.-based commercial team members include:
  • Christopher Cestari, Business Relationship Lead, North East USA: Based in New York, Cestari was formerly with Crystal Cruises as Senior Business Development Manager. Prior to this, he was Director of Sales at Hotel Plaza Athenee New York for 15 years.
  • Kathy Lu, Business Relationship Lead, South East USA: Lu is based in Atlanta; she formerly worked at Crystal Cruises as Regional Sales and Strategic Business Development Manager for three years. Previously, Lu worked for three years as the cruise line’s International Sales Support Manager.
  • Jonathan Hamel-De Lara, Business Relationship Lead, West USA: Formerly with Marriott International Luxury Brands as West Coast & Canada Director of Global Luxury Sales and Leisure for seven years, Hamel-De Lara is based in Los Angeles.
  • Mary Gallo, Business Relationship Lead, Central USA: Prior to joining Explora Journeys, the Chicago-based Gallo worked at Seabourn and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Luxury Brand portfolio for much of her career, along with two other luxury hotel groups.
  • Tomas Baca-Cruz, Business Relationship Expert for the Americas: Based in Miami, Baca-Cruz was formerly with Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection as Strategic Account Manager for Eastern United States, Canada & Latin America.
  • Nathaniel Navarro, Sales Excellence Lead: Another Miami-based hire, Navarro previously worked with Royal Caribbean International as Account Executive, National Accounts for four years; he also wes Team Lead Royal Guest Experience Manager for four years prior.
  • George Barraza, Air Services Lead: Based in Miami as well, Barraza was formerly with Crystal Cruises as Luxury Air Services Manager for six years. Prior to that, he worked with Royal Caribbean Cruise Ltd in the corporate and air services team.

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