For Vicky Lubyk, director of sales, Western Canada at Paul Gauguin Cruises, the travel bug bit early.
“I met a gal who was a travel agency manager while I was in high school,” Lubyk recalls. “I thought she was cool and I wanted to be just like her. That was in 1981.”
Joining Marlin Travel just months after completing high school, Calgary-based Lubyk is a veteran of this industry (save for a short break early on to attend a culinary program at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology), starting out as a travel agent and eventually moving to the supplier side with Encore Cruises in 2003, followed by Cruise Strategies in 2007.
It was at Cruise Strategies that Lubyk first represented Paul Gauguin along with other brands, before joining the South Pacific-focused line exclusively in 2013.
“My number one priority every day,” Lubyk explains, “is to follow up with travel advisors that have made bookings the previous day to thank them and ask if I can help them to close the sale if the bookings are on option. After that, I am open to anything and everything that introduces our brand to the public and travel advisors and helps close sales.”
Today, PAX checks in with Lubyk on exploring the South Pacific, Mediterranean barbecues and bumping into old friends in unexpected places.
PAX: What are three essential items you always travel with?
VL: My passport/Nexus, credit card and iPhone.
PAX: What are some of your favourite vacation spots?
VL: French Polynesia, of course! Fakarava (pronounced fah-kah-RAH-vah) is one of my favourite places and I like to mention it in presentations because the word always gets a laugh out of the audience. My husband tells me it isn’t funny anymore, but travel advisors and consumers still laugh when I say it, and I still find it funny! I also love the south of France and Greece because the food is great, and the people are lovely.
PAX: What’s your favourite airport and why?
VL: That is a tough one. I am stumped because nothing appeals to me about being in an airport. So, I would have to say any airport that has a WestJet lounge so I can work in peace.
PAX: What do you love about your job? The travel industry?
VL: It really is all about the people! I knew I would love working with the travel advisors in Western Canada, but the camaraderie between all of the other sales representatives is a bonus. If you know the people that work at Paul Gauguin Cruises, you know I am blessed to work with each and every one of them. I truly love Paul Gauguin Cruises!
PAX: What was the first vacation you ever took?
VL: My first flight was the summer after I graduated from high school. I travelled to Los Angeles with four other girls for three weeks. I had never even seen a palm tree or the ocean until then. I can’t imagine how many flights I have been on since. I do know I have sailed on more than 75 cruises. So even though I got a late start, I am making up for it.
PAX: What’s the biggest splurge you’ve ever made on a trip?
VL: Travelling to Vietnam and Cambodia with AmaWaterways – it was worth every penny!
PAX: Most memorable food/meal you ever ate while travelling and where you ate it?
VL: When I was on the Silver Spirit sailing out of the Bay of Kotor through the fjords, they had a lavish deck barbeque. Lesley Paull and Rhonda Sveahun from Paull Cruises were on that cruise too!
PAX: What’s your biggest travel pet peeve?
VL: People on airplanes that talk too much.
PAX: What are your hidden talents?
VL: I am a pretty good cook - at least I try to be! I am obsessed with reading recipes and watching food TV, so I suspect some of it has rubbed off.
PAX: When flying, window shade up or down?
PAX: What's your funniest travel anecdote?
VL: To demonstrate that I don’t talk much on airplanes, I once flew from Calgary to Toronto and when we stood up to disembark the aircraft, my best friend since childhood was in the seat in front of me and I didn’t even realize it!
PAX: What should travel agents be aware of right now in regards to Paul Gauguin?
VL: We sail to the unparalleled wonders of Tahiti, French Polynesia and the South Pacific. Our luxury, small ship offers five-star amenities and features all-inclusive value with luxurious, oceanview accommodations with 70 per cent featuring a private balcony; superior service distinguished by true Polynesian hospitality; gourmet dining, complimentary beverages including select wines and spirits; and onboard gratuities, and your roundtrip air from Los Angeles.
A luxury spa, fitness center, pool, expansive outdoor decks, a watersports marina, and an optional PADI certification scuba diving program are also featured.
On Aug. 8, 2019 it was announced that Ponant has acquired Paul Gauguin Cruises and with this strategic alliance we look forward to delivering even more unique, luxury, small-ship experiences to our guests.
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