Hi all. YES new exclusive interview today! And today it’s with Anna Koss from Germany, who runs the blog ‘The World of Cruise and Travel‘, which as the title suggests, is about travel and indeed the world of cruising. I discovered her blog earlier this year and have really enjoyed her posts. It’s great to learn a bit about the world of cruises. 2020 has not been kind to the cruise industry, with images of cruise ships being broken up being shown on the news here lately, but one day (we all hope) 2020 will be a distant memory, and cruises will be back. A good friend of mine used to work on cruise ships and loved it. So it’s great to get a little bit of opinion and more about cruises – I have NEVER been on a cruise in my life by the way! So anyways, I’m sure you’ll enjoy my interview with Anna Koss!
- Hi Anna! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview. Would you mind starting by telling us who you are and where you’re from, and of course the name of your blog?
Hi Andy, thanks for inviting me to this interview. I feel very humble to be part of this. 🙂
I am Anna and originally from Berlin, Germany. I moved to London, UK back in 2009 and was going to stay for only one year to do some work and travel. But as so many others I just never left.
I travelled from an early age and am into all things travel, but am particularly excited and passionate about cruising. Hence my blog is called The World of Cruise and Travel.
In my spare time I enjoy meeting friends, travelling around the UK and exploring my adopted country some more and I really love crafting. I like making things myself such as jewellery, Christmas cards, candles and so on.
- When did you start your blog and why did you decide to start a travel blog?
I started my blog back in August 2018. I was brand new to blogging and really just got the hang of it towards the end of 2019 / beginning of 2020 to be honest.
I always travelled around the world, even when I was a little kid thanks to my parents. They grew up during GDR times and never had the chance to see the world when they were around my age. So, when the wall came down they took the opportunity. I was very fortunate to see and experience so much when I grew up. That passion for travel never went away and inspired me to start my blog.
Also, I always do a lot of research before I go on holiday and tend to find great insights and tips from websites and blogs. That helped me in the past to make the most of my holiday and avoid some pitfalls. I thought to myself, hey I want to do the same and help others. And that is how my travel blog came to be.
- What do you like to write about and why?
My blog is mostly about my travel adventures. But I also like to share some cooking and baking recipes, crafting ideas related to jewellery and some bits and bobs that I just like to share. I have a section on my blog called Randomness and that is where all those bits and bobs end up 🙂
- What have been some of your favourite destinations?
I have been to the US around 15 times or so and I actually lived there for one year as an exchange student when I was 16. The US is high up on my list as there is so much to see and do and I just love their theme parks. They are the best.
I love Asia as well. The people, the culture, the food, the architecture, everything is amazing and so inspiring and beautiful. Japan and Singapore have been my favourites and I really want to go back to both as I feel like I have not seen enough.
In terms of cities, I think I was pleasantly surprised by Budapest. It is one of these hidden gems that people should not miss. If you ever go, you must make time for a hot spring / bath visit.
- Who do you see as the audience for your blog?
Hmm, I never really thought about that too much I must say. I just like to share my experience and hope that people find it helpful. I guess my audience would be people that like travelling as much as I do and people that are interested in cruising as well.
- What advice would you give to someone just starting out blogging?
Do not get discouraged and just keep going. It took me a lot of time to grow a bit of a following. I got frustrated after a year that I am spending a lot of time and effort and it seemed that no one liked my content. But I just kept on going and slowly my blog got noticed more and more and I grew my following and engagement bit by bit. Also, writing blog posts takes a lot of time. The more you write the easier it will get. But most of all just have fun!
- What is the hardest thing about running a travel blog?
I think being yourself. At the beginning of my blogging journey, I looked at other travel bloggers and what they were doing, how they were writing, what pictures they were using and so on. I tried to copy their style, but that is no good. It doesn’t work. You need to be yourself.
A lot of us have been to the same or similar destinations, but we all have experienced it in a different way and that is really what we need to share.
- How has your world changed due to Covid-19? What restrictions are in place where you are right now?
I am living on the outskirts of London and we were in full lockdown pretty much all the way from March to June. It was hard at first, but I managed to find a routine, which really helps.
Since July, the country has opened up again. Of course with certain restrictions in place such as wearing face masks, limited visitor numbers for attractions, using hand sanitisers pretty much everywhere and so on.
But I must say, at least it feels this way for me, life seems to be going back to some sort of normality a little bit. We can do certain activities again and that makes a huge difference.
- How do you think travel will change due to the pandemic?
That is a good question and I have no idea! I think people will opt more for domestic holidays at the moment, but I am keen to get out there once Covid is over.
We just need to see which companies will still be out there as I think we will see some companies ceasing to exist or with limited operations. On the other hand, this might bring opportunities for new companies that want to enter the travel industry.
- What place would you really like to visit and why?
I would love to go once in my life to one of those really fancy, luxurious and all-inclusive hotels with a really great view and private swimming pool. Like the once you see in luxury magazine.
I always feel like a busy bee and I need some relaxation from time to time. I also love swimming. When I go on holiday, I always look for a hotel with a swimming pool. So, getting pampered would be great in a fancy and luxury hotel and exotic location. And of course you can always go and explore the island as well, which is a bonus. I think those hotels that I am referring to are in Bali, which I have not been to.
- Anna, if I’m right and sometimes I am… you’re from Germany. Do you blog much from your home country, and what do you think the travel highlights are there?
Yes, you are absolutely right. I have sadly not posted much about Germany yet as I do not have any pictures. They are all at home in Berlin with my Dad, but I am planning to get them at some point to put posts together and showcase my home country and especially my hometown Berlin. I like using my own pictures instead of just downloading some from the internet.
I encourage everyone to come to Germany. And by the way, there is more to us Germans than just Lederhosen, Bratwurst and Oktoberfest.
Berlin is of course a good starting point, but people never consider going to the Baltic Sea or visiting cities such as Leipzig, Dresden, Rostock or Hamburg. Do some research or reach out to me if you need some inspiration on where to go in Germany as there is soooo much to see and do. I really love the Baltic Sea and those villages around there as I have spend a lot of my childhood there and I have lots of good and fond memories.
- Anna, your blog obviously focusses a lot on cruises. How do you think cruises are going to fare after Covid-19 is under control? And what is it about cruises that you love so much?
First of all I would like to say that the cruise industry has been unfairly targeted in the past months by the media. I am sure there were some Covid cases in hotels, resorts etc that were not reported on or talked about in the media. Also, I am sure that there were people that went on flights with Covid, got on cruise and had the symptoms a few days later while on the ship. When that happens, the cruise lines gets blamed and attacked, but what about the airlines? There is more space on a cruise ship than on an aircraft. A lot of the rules just do not make sense and are not fair to the cruise industry.
Anyways, what’s done is done, but of course those news about cruise ships being floating petri dishes and so on have had a negative impact on how people, especially first time cruisers and the older generation, think about cruising in 2021. Future cruise bookings are really important right now to keep the cruise lines afloat, but of course it is really tricky to book anything in advance right now as we still do not know what is going to happen in the coming months.
The cruise lines are struggling right now also due to government restrictions, but many cruise lines managed to secure some extra funding and lunching their 2022 itineraries as soon as they can to encourage bookings. Some cruise lines are also retiring some older ships earlier than planned, which will help them. They are downsizing a little right now.
I believe the bigger players will survive, but the smaller once might go out of business or will struggle to survive. Some have already gone into administration such as Pullmantur Cruises or CMV.
- If you could go anywhere on a cruise, where would it be? What are you favourite cruise lines and why?
I really want to go to Antarctica. I went to the Arctic last year on an expedition cruise and saw polar bears and now I want to see the super cute penguins and amazing ice shapes. I think I need to see both pole regions.
And I really would like to try a river cruise one day. I am not sure where to, but it would be a different type of cruise that I have note tried yet.
My first cruise was with Carnival and I have sailed with them three times since. They are definitely my favourite cruiseline. I always had a great time with them. Plus, the food is the best and they are very affordable.
But I also sailed with Hurtigruten twice, once to the Arctic and once to Norway and the staff were the friendliest and most caring out of all the cruiselines I sailed with. I felt so comfortable on board and almost like I was at home. So Carnival and Hurtigruten are my top.
- Please recommend three posts from your blog you’d like people to read (and why!)
Hmm that is difficult, but I think these three might give you a glimpse and good starting point into what my travel posts are about.
- Finally, how can people find you on the net and social media? Please include blog address, facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube and any other channels you use.
Please feel free to reach out to me in any way if you have any questions for me, comments, just want to say hello or pretty much anything else. You can find me on several platforms, including:
- Finally (again!) what are you hoping or dreaming for in 2021?
A HUGE thanks to Anna for detailed answers, and it’s really interesting to read about her thoughts on cruising and more. And thanks YOU dear reader too for popping by today! Take care wherever you may be, and as always, May the Journey Never End!