POI: Marla’s Handmade Props Add Charm to Global VIP Cruises

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Wait, why does Marla get to play with pool noodles at her desk? Why is she putting messages in a bottle? What does this have to do with working at a travel agency? Well, you see, this is all necessary for our travel agents and our cruise guests.

Marla has one of the most unique positions in the company. She not only strong-arms many of the behind-the-scenes tasks of Global and its partners, but she crafts props and decorations for themed cruises hosted by our travel agency.

“I’ve never had a day that’s been the same as the one before,” Marla said. “And that’s what I love about this job.”

The Global Connections Travel Agency has hosted Global VIP themed cruises for years from wine-tasting to ballroom dancing, all featuring some entertaining theme and decorations to match. Shortly after Marla started, Travel Manager Lori S. decided to stop buying expensive decorations and make them all in-house.

“The homemade aspect makes it more personalized for the guests and adds a bit of charm,” Marla said.

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Chains for the pirate cruise.

Most people don’t know how much work goes into these events. They make it sound so easy: Lori finds crafty ideas on Pinterest and Marla replicates them. Anyone can find a craft online, the execution is the hard part. Plus, it wasn’t like Marla had a lot of background on the subject (she used to paint and make pillows as gifts, but that’s the extent of it).

She has yet to find a project she cannot accomplish, but still, some of these take a lot of time and skill. How much time does she dedicate to these projects? “However long it takes,” she said.

And Marla is happy to try anything. She remembered the pool noodles, which she turned into horse props by adding googly eyes, a harness and some hair. The cruise guests adored them. On another cruise, Marla made flowered hairbands and the men and women were all over them. They weren’t expected to run out so quickly.

Currently, Marla is hard at work on a Pirates of the Caribbean dancing cruise, setting sail this October. She started working on pirate props months ago, creating chains out of foam, lacing together flags, turning invitations into messages in a bottle and making treasure chests out of fruit cartons. She is in the process of one of her most difficult projects: building the bow of a ship out of cardboard.

DSC_0066However long these projects are, Marla wouldn’t have it any other way. She basically has her dream job.

“I always thought there would be a job out there that combined doing fun things and serious responsibilities in one position,” she said.

It’s not all arts and crafts at the Travel Agency reception desk. Marla performs many of the behind-the-scenes responsibilities for the cruises like collecting shore excursion information and creating itineraries. She also carries a heavy load as the liaison for anyone calling or visiting the Travel Agency, helping other Global Connections departments with various tasks and is a member of the Committee of Awesomeness.

It’s that balance that makes Marla love coming to work every day. Burnt out from her previous job, she came to Global Connections with the motivation to work hard. The arts and crafts are just the cherries on top.

“I didn’t expect to be working on these types of projects,” she said, “but I knew working for a travel agency would be fun.”

If you ever stop by the Travel Agency and see Marla working on a project, be sure to show your appreciation on a job well done! And check out our upcoming themed cruises to see what she’ll be working on next!

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