For Azamara Cruises’ Eva Horne, a career in travel has always been her true calling.
In fact, Horne – who works as Azamara’s Strategic Business Development Manager for Western Canada – started out working on a different kind of ship upon graduating from high school.
“My first job was working the Information Kiosk on BC Ferries, on the ferry which sailed from Port Hardy to Prince Rupert,” Horne recalled. “The Love Boat was big then, so it was as close to being a Julie McCoy as I could get!”
Growing up in an active family, Horne developed an early love for activities such as hiking, fishing and skiing, a passion which after graduating from university, lead her to move to Whistler, where she soon became a certified ski instructor for the popular resort. While Horne spent those winters on the slopes, her summer months were occupied leading tour groups for Tauck, guiding travellers through national parks across North America.
“It really was the best of both worlds! I did this for 15 years,” Horne said.
After shifting to some part-time consulting work while she raised her two children, Horne – who hails from Squamish, BC – returned to the travel world full-time, holding a variety of sales roles before joining Azamara, where she is responsible for the strategic business development and brand awareness for the line in Western Canada.
“I have a big geographical territory but amazing partnerships and loyal fans that love selling our brand,” she told PAX. “I am a traveler at heart; we all are, driven by the same curiosity and passion, so making that emotional connection with agents is easy. Best of all, I am having fun doing it.”
This week, PAX checks in with Horne on Icelandic delicacies, buying artwork in South Africa and that one piece of jewellery she’ll never forget:
PAX: What are some essential items you always travel with?
EH: A warm wrap, noise-cancelling headphones, a good book, Elizabeth Arden’s 8-hour Cream and a note from my kids which they wrote when they were young that I never leave home without.
PAX: What are some of your favourite vacation spots?
EH: Antarctica: this was a life-changing trip for me. It’s hard not to become completely caught-up in trying to understand the ecological role of every living creature in a rapidly-changing environment. I traveled to Antarctica with my son and this trip had a huge influence on the person he has become as well.
South Africa: Last March as part of Azamara’s Land Journeys program, I experienced Cape Town and then a combined Safari, Wine and Victoria Falls itinerary. For me, being in the presence of a heard of wild, majestic elephants was an experience that I will never forget. I cried; it was one of the most surreal travel experiences of my life.
Amalfi & Dalmatian coast onboard Azamara: I just finished this voyage with my family onboard the beautiful Azamara Pursuit and it was incredible. We went into intimate ports the big ships just can’t and had loads of time to completely immerse ourselves in destination. We loved Croatia and who doesn’t love the Italian coastline? We didn’t want the trip to end.
PAX: What’s your favourite airport and why?
EH: Vancouver, as it means I am almost home. Copenhagen would be a solid second choice.
PAX: What do you love about your job? The travel industry?
EH: I love my work. Travel is a people business and I am a definitely a people person with an adventurous spirit. Being able to represent a company that brings so much more to travel than just being a destination provider is so important. It’s such a privilege to be a part of the A-Team at Azamara. Everyone at Azamara is laser-focused on ensuring that destination immersion is a priority and to me that is what is so important when you travel.
Connection is key and working in my territory for more than a decade has enabled me to establish long-standing friendships and relationships and to be able to really connect with my accounts. I never take it for granted.
I also really love that in Western Canada, sales reps are a super-close bunch; we are all partners in travel and a real road family. It’s very special.
PAX: What was the first vacation you ever took?
EH: My first real vacation was to San Francisco with my family. I remember strolling the Golden Gate bridge hand-in-hand with my brother and dad. We also went to see the sea lions at Fisherman’s Wharf and I remember walking through Chinatown and having so much fun exploring all the nooks and crannies in the little shops tucked into the narrow streets. I remember shopping for trinkets and then eating dim sum – and then throwing it all up as we drove Lombard Street! It was indeed memorable.
PAX: What’s the biggest splurge you’ve ever made on a trip?
EH: I purchased skis on a trip to Austria that at the time cost me a small fortune; or maybe it was the beautifully carved cow-milking stool from Vermont, or the elephant art piece made out of car parts from South Africa, or the gorgeous ballet tutu for my daughter from Paris, or the wool blanket from Iceland. I don’t know which was the biggest splurge as really, they were all splurges but worth every dime as they are all special to me.
PAX: Most memorable food/meal you ever ate while travelling and where you ate it?
EH: Smoked Icelandic Lamb in Iceland. It was delicious. I couldn’t bring myself to try whale, horse or puffin.
PAX: What’s your biggest travel pet peeve?
EH: I have two: exorbitant hotel parking fees are increasingly common and increasingly frustrating. Paying $65 for a single night of parking is absolutely ridiculous – unless it’s heated underground parking and I am in Winnipeg in February.
Slamming hotel room doors also really bothers me – there is nothing worse when your neighbor slams their hotel room door at 5 a.m.
PAX: What are your hidden talents?
EH: I love food; I’m a very passionate home cook and prepare farm-to-table meals from scratch whenever I am home. However, I am not a baker so when we entertain, it will always be ice cream for dessert. I can hold my own on any ski hill and I’m comfortable on my road and mountain bike. I can also play the trumpet and make a very real sounding crow call.
PAX: When flying, window shade up or down?
EH: Down, unless there is something to look at.
PAX: What's your funniest travel anecdote?
EH: As a tour director, I could literally write a book on all the funny travel stories; here is one that I still grin about to this day:
I had a solo passenger once that was very quiet and introverted. I was finally able to get her to open up and engage in conversation at a group dinner, as she was wearing a really unusual piece of jewellery. Perfect icebreaker and conversation starter… or so I thought.
I commented on the piece and told her it was really pretty but unique. She told me it was a very special piece and dear to her and she never took it off. When I asked her where she got it, she replied “that it was made for her by her son who was a dentist and it was made from the gold of her late husbands’ teeth”… all three of them: not three teeth, but three late husbands. It was a great piece of jewellery.
PAX: What should travel agents should be aware of right now in regards to Azamara?
EH: At Azamara, we are big fans of destination immersion and in-depth travel experiences that connect your clients with the heart of local culture. Whether they are greeted with a cool towel, a warm smile or a glass of sparkling wine after a rewarding day spent on shore, our staff and crew are always ready to welcome your clients home, back to their beautiful boutique hotel at sea. We have hospitality in our DNA and with our inclusive amenities for all guests, our bespoke AzAmazing Evenings event and more time in port, your clients will love sailing with us.
Our latest offer, which is valid until Oct. 31, is our very popular double upgrade with some exciting new enhancements. Clients can book for the price of an interior cabin and get a veranda!
Our last-minute voyages offering CAD @ PAR pricing is something you always want to have handy to offer to those clients that can travel close in. They are really incredibly well priced and a terrific way to get first-timers to try Azamara. It won’t be their last!
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