8 Questions With…  Meg Daly, Northeast Regional Sales Manager with Windstar Cruises

When you grow up smack dab in the middle of the country, more than one thousand miles from the nearest ocean, does that make you less or more likely to work in the cruise industry?  For this month’s 8 questions subject, the answer is most definitely the latter!  We’re thrilled to introduce you to a veteran of the travel and luxury cruising industry, Meg Daly.

CIRE: Hello Meg! Please introduce yourself and tell our readers a little bit about Windstar Cruises.

MEG: Welcome aboard! I’m Meg Daly, your Regional Sales Manager for Windstar Cruises. Windstar offers port-intensive itineraries, visiting both off the beaten path and popular destinations in over 60 countries.  Our ships carry less than 350 passengers, ensuring a luxury, boutique experience.  We offer two different ways of cruising: on our Wind Class sailing vessels or on our All-Suite Star Plus Class vessels.

CIRE: What sets Windstar apart from other cruise lines? 

MEG: We are an award-winning, small ship luxury line, that offers exceptional, personalized service.  Our tagline is “180 Degrees from Ordinary!”  We have six ships ranging in size from 148 passengers to 342 passengers, making them nimble enough to access small tributaries and unique destinations and ports.  Our ships are a perfect size for private charters for corporate off-sites and incentive groups.  We offer fabulous destinations and we’re always scouting for new places to go. Windstar Cruises gets you closer into a destination and brings the destination onboard as well, from local folklore to local culinary, even shopping with the chef in local markets. And we’re the official cruise line of the James Beard Foundation. 

CIRE:  James Beard! That’s a pretty prestigious partnership!  We’re big foodies here at CIRE.  Where do you live, Meg?  Is there a signature dish that you recommend?

MEG: I live in northern New Jersey, on the Hudson River directly across from NYC.  I have to say, New Jersey has a mighty yummy hot dog! One place you must try is Hiram’s, in Ft Lee, New Jersey. They’ve been in business since 1932.

CIRE: LOL!  Love it!  From James Beard to Hiram’s!  Did you grow up in Jersey?

MEG: I was born in Bankston, Iowa, population 28. I’m a farmer’s daughter, growing up in a rural farm community, only a mile or two from the famous “Field of Dreams” featured in that Kevin Costner movie.  Our farm has been in the family for over 100 years, and we still raise cattle, and grow corn and soybeans.  My parents were married in Treasure Island, California when my dad was in the Navy. When he completed his military service, he went back to the family farm where he and his dad farmed the land, and that’s where my parents settled and raised 6 children.  As a young girl growing up in Iowa, my parents always took my brothers and sisters on a vacation every summer. Traveling by station wagon, we went to many national parks, cities, state fairs, baseball games, rodeos… We always got to stay in a hotel with a pool, which I loved! That was so much fun, swimming in the pool, eating in the hotel restaurant, plus I had a camera and always took photos. I guess that’s where it started for me, looking back.

CIRE: Those childhood experiences really do leave an impact, don’t they? Was there any other experience that influenced your career path in travel?

MEG: My Aunt Nellijean who lived in San Clemente, California was a travel advisor and had her own travel agency. She used to come back to Iowa and visit and she would always show slides of her world travels. I just loved it when she would visit. From hearing her travel stories and my parents taking us all around the United States, that’s how I got on the path for travel! After finishing high school, I went to hospitality management school in Minneapolis at the McConnell School. Students from all around the world attended and I was thrilled to meet new friends and start my career in the travel industry.  I had great teachers and role models, who really helped and guided me along the way.

CIRE: After all the slide shows and travel stories from your aunt, where is YOUR favorite vacation destination? 

MEG: Tahiti. I am just awe struck on how beautiful, lush, and breath-taking the beaches are.  I’ve been to Bora Bora and Moorea and now I want to go back to explore the Marquesas, which is a tropical paradise in the South Pacific. I truly love the French Polynesian culture and history of these unspoiled South Seas Islands. Windstar Cruises is celebrating our 36th year sailing from Papeete year-round. I’m getting itchy and I want to go back to Tahiti and the South Pacific!

CIRE: Us too!  Let’s plan a trip to Tahiti!  Until then, what’s next for you?

MEG: Hmmm, right now I don’t have anything planned but I just returned from a great destination, experiencing the Winter Mediterranean onboard Star Legend in February. It was incredible, visiting many beautiful places in Rome, Nice, Marseille, Livorno…  What a great time of year to visit and explore this part of the world. It’s a must do! No crowds, and we actually sailed right into these beautiful cities. I walked so much and enjoyed the sights and had some great food and drinks along the way, too.

CIRE: With your beloved aunt being such an influence on your love of travel, what advice do you have for young people?

MEG: All I can say is keep traveling and seeing the world. Have fun making memories. There sure is a lot out there.  And always keep your passport up to date!

CIRE: Words to live by! Thank you, Meg! Looking forward to our next get-together…maybe hot dogs at Hiram’s?!

CIRE Travel is a full-service travel agency headquartered in New York, NY.  Our expert corporate travel planners, honeymoon travel agents, and luxury travel planners support clients across the country and around the world.

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