MEET HOTEL DIRECTOR TONY MARKEY
Some people are naturally curious and eager for new experiences. Tony Markey is like that. Born with itchy feet, as his mother would say. That's why we're excited — and not at all surprised — to announce that Tony has accepted new roles as Food & Beverage Manager and Relief Hotel Director on the Azamara Journey.
Q: What are you most looking forward to in your new role?
The challenge of new responsibility, working outside of my comfort zone and putting into practice all the departmental learning I have been undertaking for the last 9 months while at home.
Q: What will be some of your duties in this new role?
Managing the Food & Beverage Department, overall use of the budget, public health inspections, working with the chef & the team to ensure the Azamara quality is always there & brining my own sense of humor to the role!
Q: What made you consider making the change from Cruise Director to Food & Beverage Manager/Hotel Director Reliever?
I have been Cruise Director for more than 16 years and achieved everything I ever set for myself. Although I still obviously enjoy singing & being entertaining, it was the actual day to day managing of the people in my department that drove me. This was recognized by ship management and I was asked whether, when there was an opportunity, if I would ever consider moving away from entertaining and into a more direct management role.
The Hotel Director role shares many of the attributes of a Cruise Director with guest contact, but my department will now grow from 21 to all of the entire hotel division. A little daunting!
Q: What are one or some of your most favorite memories from being the Cruise Director?
Wow! So many great & memorable times. From the entertaining side I have got to sing my favorite songs that have touched people in an emotional way. Songs like Danny Boy can mean so much to so many. Also being able to push the boundaries & sing Bohemian Rhapsody is just good for the soul. But I think it is the people I have met that I will remember forever. I have been fortunate to meet & chat with Sir Roger Moore, Lech Walesa, Lord Trimble, Walter Cronkite, Mr & Mrs Dupont, Ladybird Johnson, Annie Liebovitz, Cliff Richard and the Beach Boys!
Q: What are you most looking forward to when we can travel again?
Ultimately, returning to amazing destinations such as Australia and Vietnam but also to the out of the way ports I love.
This can be Sorrento or Pisco. I never take our destinations for granted & never really have since I first cruised back in 1988.
Q: Once safe, where do you want to travel first?
I had a ‘significant’ birthday last year & had 2 weeks in New York & Washington booked. Sadly the lockdown stopped that so it is on hold until we can travel but that is still top of my list.
Q: What is your favorite part of working with Azamara?
Easy. The people. Both guests, crew and our Miami office. After so long at sea & working for so many companies it is easy to say none have ever offered what Azamara offer. The best & hardest working & happy crew who I get to know personally as well as incredible, interesting & well travelled guests. when you take the time to sit & chat with them you can learn so much. Also I have never worked for any company where the president is just a call or an e mail away. I know I can e mail Carol Cabeza at any time and she will reply personally. That simply doesn’t happen elsewhere.
Q: Is there somewhere Azamara travels that you think is underrated? What makes this place so special?
The west coast of South America. to stop in Pisco & then fly over the Nazca lines is stuff of dreams. Or to dock in la Serena, Chile to visit the Cerro Tololo observatory. Relatively untouched & a place of world class memories.
Q: As we're sure you know, Azamara guests love seeing you around our ships. Will guests on the Journey still have an opportunity to see you in your new role?
The role of food & beverage manager is to oversee the entire Food & Beverage department but during the evenings I will be walking each restaurant & chatting (socially distanced) to guests. As well as wandering the ship when I can . Not just to talk about food but how the day has been, good tips for tours etc. As Hotel Director it is all about being out there and making that connection with guests. This is definitely where my Cruise Directot background and not being a shrinking violet will pay dividends.
Also, of course, every single morning I will be on the gangway as always to greet our guests as they head out to explore.
Q:If you could choose one song to sum up your journey with Azamara, what would it be, and why?
A relatively unknown Broadway song from a show called "A New Brain". It is my theme song i guess: I’d Rather Be Sailing.
Q: You've been sailing the world consistently since 1988; what have you missed most during this year ashore?
Lockdown has been difficult for everyone I know but since i am used to living in a relatively enclosed environment with my lovely wife Christine who sails a lot with me, it has been fairly easy to cope with and I have kept busy learning new skills and recording lots of songs in my home studio. Since accepting the new position, I have also been studying public health, food safety, galley operations and so much more and taking many certification courses to prepare.
More recently, I finally decided to write my book! All my many experiences put down in my Autobiography called Everything Happens For A Reason, which is a Kindle book on Amazon worldwide. It was a very fulfilling experience.
But I have really missed the different cultures and accents I live with day-to-day. Each morning walking from my room, to my office and stopping at the Mosaic for a macchiato. I can speak with six or seven nationalities and maybe 20 accents. I love that about cruising and it can be a humbling experience. Oh yea, and I miss my bed moving at night!