As one of the original team members for Oceania Cruises, James Rodriguez has always had a passion for travel and in particular for the cruise industry. In 1999 he started working at a travel agency, specifically in eCommerce; later he went on to work for Crystal Cruises in the Sales department. And ever since the start of Oceania Cruises, in 2003, he has worked in Sales and Marketing.
James believes travel truly changes people’s lives for the better. “It opens minds and hearts, and if I can help facilitate that in any small way my work becomes more than just a job.”
As a Chief Marketing Officer for a cruise line, you must sail quite a bit. How many cruises have you been on?
I cannot even remember how many cruises I have been on. I’ve been cruising since 1997 and changed my career (he worked in Human Resources for a consulting business) to work in the cruise industry, because I loved it so much. The only area that I have not cruised in is Asia. That would be my next area of exploration.
What would you say is your favorite region to visit, and why?
My favorite region to cruise would have to be the Greek Isles and the Mediterranean. I was a Theology minor in college, and this area of the world is filled with rich history that really makes the areas I studied come to life.
As someone who has been on so many cruises, and is so knowledgeable in the Travel Industry, which region would you recommend to someone going on a cruise for the first time?
You have to start in the Mediterranean. This area gives you a taste of Europe from Spain, France and Italy to the deep blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea. You really get to see several different cultures all on one cruise, making you fall in love with the whole idea of what a cruise is supposed to be.
Would your recommendation change for someone who is an experienced traveler, like yourself?
Yes. Once you have been on several cruises and have gotten a taste of those “bucket list” ports, the experienced cruiser starts looking for more exotic locations that they may have never thought of visiting. For example, our British Isles cruises offer exotic stops in Greenland and Iceland. You also don’t want to miss the exotic locations we take you to on one of our Asia cruises, such as Myanmar or Mumbai. Unlike first timers, who want to see as many ports as possible in one cruise, the experienced cruiser knows the hidden secret of a cruise vacation – days at sea. If you have taken several cruises, you know just how peaceful a full day at sea can be. It nourishes your soul and rejuvenates your passion for travel.
In your opinion, what do you think are the benefits and/or highlights of cruising in the spring time?
Spring affords travelers the ability to visit certain ports before high travel season kicks in. This means less lines and the ability to experience everyday normal life in many ports. This gives you a deeper sense of culture and flavors of each region.
So when is your next cruise, and where will you go?
I am taking my kids for the first time to the Mediterranean this summer. It will be a special trip for me, because, as I said before, I believe travel opens people’s heart and mind. I am excited to see how this experience expands my children’s view of the world they live in.