our team

Meet our experts in everything travel.

Phil Smethurst

CLIA Master Cruise Specialist

Phil is the co-founder of Bicton Travel with his mother Carole and manages our Bicton Travel Premium division, creating bespoke travel experiences for the luxury traveller. He has cruised on most of the worlds cruise lines and says small ship and expedition style cruising is his favourite.

Phil has immense knowledge of the world’s airlines, luxury cruise ships and exotic destinations. Whilst he cannot choose one particular favourite city he ranks Amsterdam, Berlin, Milan, Rome, Singapore and Sydney as some of his favourites. For a relaxing vacation, his go-to destination is the Amalfi Coast, and he has enjoyed fabulous beach breaks in The Seychelles and The Maldives. For the adventurous, he recommends an African Safari and has himself travelled in Botswana, Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe. A recent trip to the Patagonia region of Chile was also an adventurous experience he would highly recommend.

Phil Recommends:

Destination: Amalfi Coast
Ship: Le Lyrial
Hotel: Huvafen Fushi (The Maldives)
Tip: Slow down, spend more time in fewer places

Carole Smethurst

Director & Godmother of Amastella
CLIA Master Cruise Specialist

Available by Appointment: Mon – Wed from 9am to 1pm

Carole is the owner of Bicton Travel, Bicton Travel Premium and Cruisefinder.com.au. She moved to Australia from the UK more than 25 years ago and established Bicton Travel after working as a consultant with Traveland. She specialized in cruising and is recognised as one of the foremost cruise experts in Australia. She has cruised the world extensively and in 2010 established Cruisefinder.com.au as an online cruise agency to cater for the ever growing internet market. 

In June 2016 Carole was honoured to be Australia’s first travel agent to christen a new river vessel. Carole is now proud Godmother to APT’s Amastella. Carole has most recently awarded and inducted into the CLIA Hall of Fame. The CLIA Hall of Fame Award is a formal recognition to honour an individual whose efforts and accomplishments represent a significant contribution to or noteworthy achievement that has positively impacted the development of the cruise industry.

Carole Recommends:

Destination: Antarctica
“trip of a lifetime”
Ship: No favourites but like small, fully inclusive ships and go for itinerary over ship
Hotel: Marincanto, Positano
Tip: Travel with an international adaptor plus a small Powerboard….you won’t need a separate adaptor for every device

Nadia Redman

Luxury Travel Advisor
CLIA Master Cruise Specialist

With over 20 years’ experience in the travel industry, Nadia has established herself as a luxury travel advisor. Her love of discovery and adventure has led her to travel the globe extensively. Specialising in Europe, Italy, as her number one destination, she shares a great love for this country where her family comes from. Having cruised on several vessels Nadia enjoys the small ship life on the likes of Ponant, Silversea and Regent Seven Seas.

Nadia Recommends:

Destination: Uganda
“An experience like no other”
Ship: True North
Hotel: J.K. Place Roma
Tip: Do what the locals do. Step out from the main tourist hubs to experience the true culture of the destination

Jasmine Kyle

Team Leader
CLIA Accredited Cruise Specialist

Jasmine says, Travel makes one modest… You see how little space you occupy in this world, and how much you must explore and learn. Her expertise lie in a multitude of Travel arrangements, however her passion is in assisting with procuring luxury, off the beaten path experiences for herself and her clients and helping them to discover, explore, learn what a wonderful world we live in.

Jasmine Recommends:

Destination: Malta
Ship: Silver Muse
Hotel: Hotel Esprit Saint Germain, Paris
Tip: Invest in a Portable Charger and ensure it’s charged before leaving each day, that way you won’t miss out on capturing stunning moments

Connie La Macchia

Travel Advisor
CLIA Accredited Cruise Specialist

Connie has worked in the travel industry for 25+ years and some of her favourite memories are traveling through South America, photographing Machu Picchu, witnessing Aurelia Borealis, and relaxing on the Croatia islands. These memories, and many more, fuel her passion to craft personalized travel experiences for others. Connie’s bucket-list is as vast as the planet is huge with Egypt, Alaska and Cuba high on the list. Whilst away her favourite pastime apart from sight seeing is discovering the food and wines of the local areas she visits.

Connie Recommends:

Destination: New York City
Ship: Seabourn Sojourn
Hotel: Dreams Luxury Suites Santorini
Tip: Tip Allow plenty of time of Travel Visas to be processed and returned before departure.

Julie McMillan

Travel Advisor
CLIA Accredited Cruise Specialist

Julie has worked in the travel industry for over 25 years, most of this time was spent working in England for a major cruise retailer. She has travelled extensively around Europe and America and cruised around numerous destinations including Norway, the Mediterranean, Baltic and the Caribbean. After living in Stockholm, Sweden for several years she joined us at Bicton Travel in 2015.

Julie Recommends:

Destination: Prague
Ship: Oasis of the Seas
Hotel: Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai
Tip: Always consider a cruise when travelling with children, both my girls have been cruising since they were 6 months old, it really is a relaxing holiday for Mum and Dad.

Dani Armstrong

Travel Advisor
CLIA Accredited Cruise Specialist

Dani has a passion for making her clients holiday dreams come true. She specialises in international holidays like road trips and touring through the USA, European destinations such as Spain, Southern France, and Eastern Europe. Having grown up in the Middle East, Dani can also assist with areas like Egypt and UAE. If you are looking for a local holiday, she has travelled to Broome multiple times and has experienced Kimberley cruising.

Dani Recommends:

Destination: New York
Ship: Crystal Symphony.  The most incredible, luxurious experience with attentive service, beautiful food and gorgeous ship
Hotel: The “Taj” group of hotels in India is a once in a lifetime experience not to be missed
Tip: Arrange and pay for as much as possible prior to departure, so all there is left to do on holiday is relax and enjoy!

Byron Horne

Team Leader
CLIA Master Cruise Specialist​

Byron has only been with Bicton Travel for 4 years, however, his experience in travel spans over 26 years. His first love is cruising! Byron has spent over 200 nights at sea spanning over 30 cruises across various Cruise lines such as Holland America, Viking, RCI, Celebrity and Cunard just to name a few. Byron has been spoilt by experiencing ultra-luxury cruise lines such as Regent Seven Seas, Crystal cruises and Silversea expeditions.

Byron Recommends:

Destination: New York
Ship: Crystal Symphony.  The most incredible, luxurious experience with attentive service, beautiful food and gorgeous ship
Hotel: The “Taj” group of hotels in India is a once in a lifetime experience not to be missed
Tip: Arrange and pay for as much as possible prior to departure, so all there is left to do on holiday is relax and enjoy!

Lee Van Dongen

Travel Advisor
CLIA Master Cruise Specialist

Lee is passionate about the cruising industry, excelling in putting together cruising packages that are diverse & personalised. Lee has extensive knowledge with the Carnival Corporation & Royal Caribbean International brand of cruises, including Princess, P&O AU, Royal Caribbean, Cunard & Carnival AU.

Lee Recommends:

Destination: Poland
Ship: Royal Princess
Hotel: Hotel Tulip, Rio
Tip: Where possible prepay your gratuities. One less thing to worry about.

Tanya Bancroft

Travel Advisor
CLIA Accredited Cruise Specialist

Tanya’s passion for travel started with Bali then lead her to work for an Indonesian Wholesaler for 14 years. Tanya joined Cruisefinder in 2018 and did her first cruise on Carnival Legend. Since then she has also sailed on Majestic Princess and Ruby Princess. Cruising is her new passion and she looks forward to doing many more and increasing her knowledge on all things cruising.

Tanya Recommends:

Destination: Bali
Ship: Carnival – Great for families!
Hotel: Samaya Seminyak
Tip: If you can pre book the tours you would like to do to avoid missing out and being disappointed.

Fiona Armaro

Accounts & Administration Manager
CLIA Accredited Cruise Specialist

Fiona began her career in Travel as a Reservations Consultant with a major Australian Wholesaler. Her people skills led her to Bicton Travel in 2002. Since starting a family, she now works behind the scenes handling the company accounts and works closely with the administration and management team.

She has travelled to USA, Mexico, Hawaii, Tahiti, New Zealand, Mauritius, Maldives, Europe and extensively in Asia. Fiona has cruised from Fremantle onboard Superstar Virgo, Sun Princess to Asia, Rhapsody of the Seas from Honolulu to Sydney, around New Zealand onboard mv Discovery, in Asia onboard Cunard QE2, the Mexican Riviera onboard Sapphire Princess, cruised Europe on Carnival Magic and the South Pacific onboard Pacific Princess and P&O Pacific Star. She most recently cruised with Silversea onboard Silver Discoverer in the Kimberly which is her highlight to date and thinks it should be on everyone’s bucket list. Family adventures with her young family are next.

Fiona Recommends:

Destination: Venice & Kimberly Region
Ship: Carnival Magic
Hotel: Gili Lankanfushi – Maldives (formally Soneva Gili)
Tip: Travel is the only thing you buy, that makes you richer

Barry Downs

Sales & Marketing Manager
CLIA Accredited Cruise Specialist

Barry started his travel career in 1997 in the French Alpes. For the next 6 years, he divided his summers between the Mediterranean beach resorts and winters to the ski resorts of France, Switzerland and Andorra. Moving to Australia in 2003 he joined Holland America Line as State Sales Manager and later National Sales Manager.

Having spent more than 40 days cruising on the “Dam Ships” he has also personally experienced, Carnival (5 ships), Windstar, Ponant (3 ships), Tauck, Silversea, Celebrity, Celestyal, Star Cruises, Dream Cruises, Hurtigruten, P&O UK, Royal Caribbean & Norwegian. Barry’s favourite recent cruise experience was a self-drive Le Boat holiday in the Venice Lagoon. His top 3 ocean ships are Wind Surf, ms Amsterdam, and Le Ponant. Barry joined Bicton travel in 2013

Barry Recommends:

Destination: Cuba & Spain
Ship: Windsurf (Windstar Cruises)
Hotel: Port Aventura Hotel – perfect for a family pre-cruise stay (Barcelona)
Tip: When cruising always budget for at least one speciality dining experience in the onboard signature restaurant.

Alex Cork

Marketing & Product Assistant
CLIA Ambassador Cruise Specialist

Alex started working at Bicton Travel in 2017 as a receptionist with no prior travel expertise. He quickly developed a passion for travel & our Journeys Packages. Pursuing this he moved into the role of Product Assistant. Alex’s favourite destination is Canada, with his highlights being the Rocky Mountaineer Train, the Peak to Peak Gondola in Whistler, and eating breakfast with Grizzly Bears on Grouse Mountain.

Alex Recommends:

Destination: Canada & Alaska
Majestic Princess
Hotel: Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
Tip: Don’t plan too much, allow some free time for spontaneous activities

David Armstrong

I.T & Digital Marketing Manager
CLIA Ambassador Cruise Specialist

David recently became Bicton Travel’s IT & Digitial Marketing manager, he has travelled extensively throughout Asia, Europe, Kenya, North & South America with his highlight being a Bunnik tour through Peru, Buenos Aires, Macchu Pichu and Iguazu.

David’s next travel destination is Uganda to experience the once in a lifetime experience seeing the Gorillas in the wild!

David Recommends:

Destination: Peru
Ship: Viking Orion
Hotel: Taj Palace Mumbai
Tip: Make sure you let your bank know you are travelling. There is nothing more annoying on holidays than spending hours on the phone to the bank back home because your card doesn’t work!