With Neil Dudley, AmaWaterways BDM

When it comes to river cruising, you’d be hard pressed to find an ambassador who loves the product as much as this guy!

Where were you born? I’m one of those weird people who was actually born in Toronto. 

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How long have you been in the business? Over 25 years, starting on board Royal Caribbean, then ATP, Goway, Boomerang, Scenic and now AmaWaterways for about two-and-a-half years.

How many people work for you? I’ve have one inside sales person, Stacia Curchy Rocheford, who is wonderful.

What’s the best part of the job? You know what? I love to do presentations.

What did you want to be as a kid? I wanted to be a journalist, which is why part of my university degree is in political science and journalism. 

What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done? Skydiving in Australia, after a few drinks.

Any guilty pleasures? Tim Hortons donuts. I miss them when I’m travelling – though the home-made donuts on Ama are a pretty good substitute!

What’s your favourite airline? Air New Zealand. Spectacular service, beautiful aircraft.

Favourite hotel chain? I love the Fairmonts, all that old school charm and customer service. 

What’s on your tablet? Nothing, really.  I’m not a huge reader and don’t play a lot of games except one Harry Potter game I play to kill time in airports. 

What do people not know about you? How sporty I am. Curling, softball, tennis, volleyball, I love it all.

When were you happiest? These last few years with Ama have been the happiest.

What would you tell your 20-year-old self? “You’ll make the right decisions. Don’t second guess your career.”

Who do you most admire in the industry (outside of your own company)? My old boss Nicole DeWilde. She guided me to reach outside my comfort zone and she put her trust in me.

What skill or talent do you admire in someone? The ability to be a good public speaker.

What’s at the top of your bucket list? (laughs) Still South America. That and Antarctica I’ve still not hit.

Anything you won’t eat? I’m allergic to chocolate and everybody has the biggest sympathy for me!  

What keeps you awake at night? I can fall asleep anywhere anytime. Not an issue.

How do you spend your frequent flyer points? I love to travel to places I’ve not been before.

What is your greatest extravagance? Travel, even though I do a lot for work. 

How do you stay fit when you travel? I try to swim whenever I can.

If you could change one thing about the industry what would it be? From a selfish point of view, more competition in the airline industry here in Canada.

If you could sit next to anyone on a long-haul flight (and stay awake!) who would it be? I’m a big tennis fan, so Roger Federer.

Do you have a favourite charity? MS and breast cancer.

What will be the biggest challenge for the industry in the next 12 months? More driven from the U.S. side, but during election years travel is affected and that will affect international travel. It may mean more availability for Canadians.

What do you hope to be doing in 10 years? I can see myself still with Ama because the owners of this company are beyond kind and supportive.

Travellers waiting at the Canada - U.S. Border. Photo courtesy of the Houlton Pioneer Times.
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