Forbes Magazine by: Debbi Kickham
February 24, 2020
Mary Jean Tully has worked in the travel industry for 35 years, and is founder and CEO of Tully Luxury Travel, based in Toronto, with a global clientele. For the past 20 years Mary Jean has consecutively achieved Conde Nast Traveler’s Specialist award, and is a top producer for Regent, of booking passengers on their ships. And she’s on a first-name basis with all the CEOs. Her business, Tully Luxury Travel, has one location, with 83 employees, and the average tenure is over 18 years. She is a luxury travel designer extraordinaire. Regent Seven Seas Cruises calls her “one of the most powerful women in travel.” Last year her company’s sales were more than $136 Million, with $12 Million on Regent alone.
I had the pleasure of conducting an exclusive interview for Forbes.com with Mary Jean, as we sailed together on the inaugural of Regent Seven Seas Splendor. She told me the latest-and-greatest about this ship and the cruise industry in general.
Tell me about some of the things you love about Regent Seven Seas Splendor.
I love the culture onboard the ship – the culture of the crew and how they care about the company and passengers. They accommodations are exceptional, probably the largest in the industry. The attention to detail on the ship, from artwork to décor, is second-to-none. The variety of restaurants and dining venues is exceptional, yet as large as the ship is, it’s easy to find a quiet little space to call your own. The gym in the spa area is above and beyond. They actually have a cold room so it is the latest trend. Even the makeup mirrors in the room are phenomenal. Everything is the newest, latest and greatest. As a woman I would have only liked another hook in the closet, in my suite, to hang an additional robe.
What are your favorite little luxuries aboard this ship?
I love the choice of the amenities – L’Occitane or Bottega Veneta. Even the little capsules you put in the shower for aromatherapy. The hair salon is amazing. There’s even a barber for men, for a cut and shave.
Tell me about your favorite restaurants on Regent Seven Seas Splendor.
I love Pacific Rim, but I absolutely adore Prime Seven. It rivals any steak/seafood restaurant anywhere. I love the King crab legs, and the fish is awesome. The bone-in-ribeye is sensational, if you eat meat. I don’t eat dessert. And the décor – I feel like I’m in a beautiful New York steakhouse with great lighting and beautiful artwork.
What, in your opinion, are the things that Regent as a corporation, is doing right?
Coming out with new ships – their reservations are not complicated, and the message they send is concise. It just flows – from before you get on, to when the client gets aboard. Sailing on Regent is dignified – and not stuffy.
What is your definition of luxury?
Luxury is defined by you. For me, find a quiet spot on the deck, and I sit with my book. Or having a nice meal. Or I go back to my room and watch a movie. Whatever my mood is that day.
How many cruises do you take in a year?
Four a year from seven to 10 days. I’ve taken hundreds of cruises in the last 35 years and they keep getting better and better.
Do you have any cruise-industry insider tips?
The cruise lines care about your health and safety at the highest level. Everything is about your safety, cleanliness, they take care of the ocean, and they go above and beyond and care about every aspect of your trip. Plus, there’s no other restaurant in the world (Compass Rose) where 300 people can walk in at the same time and experience no hassles.
What do you never travel without?
My phone. My earbuds. Caudalie’s Beauty Elixir – it’s a spray that I use on the plane. And I bring an eye mask, and it takes the puffiness away.
What was it like staying in the Regent Suite with the $250,000 Hastens bed? Tell me about that.
It was fabulous. I never slept better. I typically don’t sleep more than five hours a night – and in this bed, I slept 10 hours a night. It was an amazing bed. If I hadn’t experienced it myself for 10 nights, I wouldn’t believe it. I had four spa treatments per day – it’s included with the suite. Private car and driver in every port. Spectacular butler. The bathroom will blow you away.
How do you stay thin, cruising as often as you do?
So many healthy choices. Vegetarian food. Fresh fruits. And the spa is incredible. I tell them not to bring bread to the table.
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