The journey trade this week remembered Cruise Planners’ Vicky Garcia as a passionate advocate, champion of range and good friend to all.
Garcia, 56, the longtime COO of Cruise Planners, died Sunday after an extended sickness.
“Vicky Garcia introduced ardour and momentum to all the things she was concerned in,” mentioned Camille Olivere, chief gross sales officer of Avalon Waterways and the Globus household of manufacturers. “Whether or not it was a brand new advertising and marketing technique or LGBTQ rights, or her charitable reason for selection, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), she was unwavering in her commitments.”
In truth, Olivere mentioned, Garcia was personally accountable for elevating thousands and thousands for the LLS.
She was additionally hailed as an advocate for these throughout the journey trade.
“She was pushed to assist different individuals succeed as a result of she knew in her coronary heart that if she helped different individuals succeed, then by default, she would succeed,” mentioned Vicki Freed, senior vp of Royal Caribbean Worldwide. “It was by no means about her first, it was at all times about different individuals first, and that’s vital as a result of some individuals take a really egocentric have a look at their very own success. They are saying, ‘Oh, I will be the one who accomplishes this.'”
However that was not Garcia, Freed mentioned.
“She had a distinct view,” Freed mentioned. “She felt, ‘If I might assist different individuals change into profitable, I by no means needed to fear about my very own success.’ And he or she labored laborious.”
From left, International Journey Assortment’s Beth Butzlaff, Cruise Planners executives Michelle Payment and Vicky Garcia, and TV journey character Denella Ri’chard. Picture Credit score: Denella Ri’chard
Garcia’s work ethic and dedication to her causes was admirable, mentioned Todd Hamilton, senior vp of gross sales for Norwegian Cruise Line.
“Not solely did she construct this extremely profitable enterprise together with her robust work ethic, however she cared so deeply for others and her philanthropic contributions to varied communities really showcased what an amazing individual she was,” Hamilton mentioned.
Katina Athanasiou, senior vp of gross sales for Silversea Cruises, recalled Garcia as genuine and sort.
“Vicky’s authenticity will eternally be engraved in my reminiscences of her,” she mentioned. “She was boldly trustworthy, good, and whereas she was at all times truthful, she was definitely by no means shy to ask the powerful questions.
“Vicky’s kindness was her shining mild, and he or she really cared about others and at all times needed to do good for them,” Athanasiou added. “She was an advocate for this trade and a trusted voice to so many. I’m going to overlook her immensely. She shined brightly each personally and professionally and I used to be honored to know her.”
Denella Ri’chard, a former cruise line government and the host of tv present “Touring with Denella Ri’chard,” hailed Garcia as an advocate for range and inclusion within the journey trade.
“Vicky was one of many sweetest, kindest individuals which you can meet, particularly when it comes to being a champion for range when it comes to girls empowerment, when it comes to the LGBT group and when it comes to being a minority,” Ri’chard mentioned. “She advocated for all of these.”
She was additionally an advocate of range and inclusion when it wasn’t at all times on the forefront, Ri’chard mentioned.
Variety, fairness and inclusion “wasn’t the trending subject of the day,” she mentioned. “For her, she lived it. She introduced so many individuals up together with her, and I used to be certainly one of them.”
Whereas Garcia labored laborious, she additionally had enjoyable, her colleagues and buddies mentioned.
“She labored laborious and cherished her household, particularly her spouse, Carol,” Globus’ Olivere mentioned. “She additionally cherished an amazing social gathering and a high-quality vodka martini. She is certainly one of a sort who impressed and befriended so many within the trade. She leaves an enormous void and can be remembered eternally.”
A legacy of positivity and kindness
Michelle Sutter, vp of North American gross sales and chief of employees at Holland America Line, final spoke with Garcia on Garcia’s birthday in June.
“She mentioned to me, ‘Michelle, there’s just one technique to be, and that is constructive — and that is the best way I am selecting to take a look at this and selecting to navigate by this time.’ Now, fast-forward realizing what she knew and that that was nonetheless her mindset, to me is simply testomony to how she lived her life usually.”
Vicky Garcia with Michelle Sutter of Holland America Line. Supply: Michelle Sutter
Sutter spent most of her profession on the Canadian aspect of the enterprise, however when she transitioned to the U.S., Garcia was one of many first people to exit of her technique to welcome her.
“If we are able to all honor Vicky’s reminiscence by main with positivity and kindness, that is an amazing legacy for her,” Sutter mentioned. “And that is what I will personally take away — to aspire to steer with kindness and positivity.”
Andrea Zelinski contributed to this report.