Part 2 of our series on movers and shakers in the cruise industry
By Patti Pietschmann Travel Diva
Richard (Rick) Meadows, president of Seabourn is one of the nicest people in the cruise industry I am privilege to know. Even with his hectic schedule he is always available to us inquiring reporters.
In a recent telephone interview Richard reveals the origin of his interest in the cruise industry, “I grew up in an airline family. My dad spent his career with TWA one of the preeminent airlines of the time. As a travel adviser in college I immediately gravitated to the cruise industry. It was kind of a natural evolution. I sold a lot of cruises and got the cruise bug. I really enjoyed it. “It’s a dynamic industry, something is always happening and changing,” he says.
An industry mover and shaker
‘Richard has worn many hats during a 35-year career with Carnival Corporation. He’s held such posts as president of Cunard and concurrently executive vice president of Marketing, Sales and Guest Programs of Holland America Line. Today he focuses exclusively on presiding over Seabourn.
Man doesn’t live by the sea alone
Man doesn’t live by sea alone. Richard enjoys taking cruises on Seabourn and other lines. But his favorite vacation is to head for his cabin in Washington State. “I can just drive there and not have to get on a plane,” he says. With three business trips abroad coming up to check on progress of Seabourn Venture he’ll be on planes a lot.
“What I love about this industry is it has a breath of choices for the consumer. You can choose whatever you’re interested in from mega to small. There’s a powerful element of choice.”
It’s better we have such a broad spectrum to choose from. Richard predicts a bright, positive future in cruises. More people are beginning to understand the value and experience of cruises. The vacationer wants to collect experience and cruises make this possible.
Cruises vs land vacations
When asked who or what is Seabourn’s main competition Richard’s answer was surprising. “It’s not really other cruise lines but rather big luxury hotels and resorts.” “We need to get that luxury market to discover cruising.” It’s important to articulate that traveling by ship is compelling and on Seabourn all inclusive.
Like most cruise lines, Seabourn continues to evolve and improve. I asked Richard what he feels is Seabourn’s biggest gain or improvement over the years? His reply, “We are known as being the best. Quite a number of things to point to like our new ships Encore and Ovation.” “We also credit great partnerships with people such as Chef Thomas Keller, with Dr. Andrew Wile, working with Sir Tim Rice(lyricist) who helped to raise the bar on entertainment on our ships. Thanks to Rice Seabourn offers a signature show for each ship.
“We are also the official cruise partner of UNESCO so we can do things in destinations that are more immersive. Our DNA is focusing on being the best and providing ultimate service.”
As president of Seabourn. Richard Meadows has overall executive responsibility and leads all business and global operations for the award-winning luxury cruise line. He has held this position since 2011, when the company moved its headquarters to Seattle from Miami.
Between 2014 and 2016, Meadows also served in an additional leadership role as president of Cunard – North America, and assumed operating responsibility for the iconic Cunard brand throughout the North American continent.
His other titles include senior vice president of Sales and Marketing for Seabourn; vice president of Corporate Marketing at Carnival Corporation; and vice president of Sales and Marketing with Windstar Cruises–a former subsidiary of Holland America Line. He was also served director of sales for Carnival Cruise Lines.
A busy man
Richard still wears many hats. He’s an active advocate for the cruise and travel industries, a member of the board of directors for the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) in North America and a Fellow of the Culinary Institute of America. He also serves on the board of directors member for Seattle’s Fifth Avenue Theatre.
Richard was appointed by former Washington Governor Christine Gregoire and served on the Washington State Tourism Commission. Her definitely earns his mover and shaker status.