with Brenda Yeomans, Strategic Market Manager/Canada: Celebrity Cruises

Open Jaw

Where were you born? In Regina, Saskatchewan. I’m a prairie girl!

How long have you been in the business? 35 years! 

How did you get started? I was travelling the world and worked two years based in Australia as a stewardess on the Fair Star, sailing the South Pacific. “Stewardess” meant doing check-in, kids’ programs, performing, serving drinks – you name it!  It was a wonderful experience.  And I have been with the Royal Caribbean family now for 33 years.

How many people work for you? I have six in my sales team across Canada.  

What’s the best part of the job? Oh! The best part? Forging relationships with all these travel partners and having them create these dream vacations for their customers. For me it’s all about the people.    

What did you want to be as a kid? I was always athletic, so I thought I might become a trainer. I’ve been a lifeguard and have also taught fitness classes.

What was your first ever job? (laughs) Working at Ponderosa, a buffet steak restaurant.

What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done? Being pregnant with twins and trying to prevent their being born prematurely - they were eventually born at 29 weeks. Kate and Logan are now 13, perfectly fine and taller than me!

Any guilty pleasures? Chocolate!

Favourite hotel chain?  I personally really like the Fairmonts. And when travelling on business the Marriotts are good for us.

What’s on your tablet? Photos, videos, jazz, pop, R&B. Pretty much anything except country!

What do people not know about you? That I was the first female cruise director with RCCL. I would even sing with an orchestra and try to be comedian!

Any hobbies or interests? I’m a big runner – including in races – and swimmer. Skiing, sailing, anything outdoors.

Apart from something to eat, what was the last thing you bought? Tights for my daughter.

When were you happiest? When I found out I was pregnant with the twins. They were a gift. A miracle.

What would you tell your 20 year old self? Be brave. Take chances. Experience everything and…make it happen!

Who do you most admire in the industry? Our CEO Richard Fain. He’s an incredible leader who has taken our company from four small ships to 12 in the Celebrity brand alone, not to mention our Azamara and RCL brands. He truly makes you feel a part of the family, it’s not just talk. 

What skill or talent do you admire in someone? Being able to take risks.

What’s at the top of your bucket list? It was Galapagos, but I’m going there this month!

Ever had a brush with fame? Oh yes, lots! When I was cruise director we had a celebrity entertainment program with Phyllis Diller, the Temptations, Don Rickles…all those old Vegas acts.  One of my favourites was Petulia Clark.

What keeps you awake at night? Trying to think how I can make my kids’ lives more enriched and how to guide them better.

How do you spend your frequent flyer points? Taking my kids travelling!

What is your greatest extravagance?  Do you call going on vacations an extravagance?  That – and front row Blue Jays tickets for my kids! (laughs)

How do you stay fit when you travel? I always pack my shorts, runners, watch, iPod.

If you could change one thing about the industry what would it be? To make travel accessible and affordable for everybody.  I believe there’s so much to see and experience.

If you could sit next to anyone on a long-haul flight, who would it be? Oprah Winfrey. She’s come so far and she’s done so much.

Do you have a favourite charity?  Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto.

What will be the biggest challenge for the industry in the next 12 months? Here in Canada, the perception that the Caribbean is not ready to return to.

What do you hope to be doing in 10 years? Oh man! Sailing around Croatia. Travelling somewhere, on some sort of adventure!


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