What’s it actually prefer to be a cruise director



Valerie Perry is among the many first group of cruise and journey administrators for Holland American Line. Credit score: Valerie Perry

Whereas passengers are exploring ashore and taking advantage of their onboard, cruise ship workers are exhausting at work ensuring your crusing goes easily. Right here Valerie Perry, cruise and journey director at Holland America Line, lets us on in what her job entails and shares her insider tips about find out how to take advantage of out of a vacation at sea

Typically you’ll discover that loads of crew had taken cruises rising up however I wasn’t certainly one of them -– hadn’t even watched The Love Boat.

I used to be a video technician and was at a commerce present the place Royal Caribbean had been exhibiting. That they had a job going and I gave them my demo reel. As I handed it over, I assumed ‘I’ll by no means hear from them’ however they known as me the subsequent day. I used to be employed – and on a ship 4 months later.

I labored for Royal Caribbean for 4 years for them and moved to Nationwide Geographic. I used to be at their headquarters, working of their stay leisure programme. After six years, I began to assume ‘Perhaps it’s time for a change’. After which, in 2019, Holland America Line (HAL) created the ‘cruise and journey’ director place.

The function focuses extra on enrichment schooling and lifelong studying than a conventional cruise director function. There’s nonetheless the enjoyable and video games however you possibly can take a bit extra away out of your vacation too. Now our leisure host does the trivia video games and bingo, and we’ve a sports activities host for Pickleball. It means I get to focus extra on the data and mix my life at sea background with my Nationwide Geographic background. It’s the proper function.

I noticed the place marketed and was truly going out of city to go to my pal in London for every week for my birthday however knew that I needed to apply earlier than I left. So I stayed up late one evening making use of, then took off to London. I got here again and did the interview course of – after which a month later, I began. I used to be the primary cruise and journey director again crusing in Alaska in the summertime of 2021.

Holland America Line has been exploring Alaska since 1947. Credit score: HAL

Do you assume that extra cruise traces will observe go well with and introduce a cruise and journey director function?
I believe it depends upon what their visitors are searching for, whether or not they like that lifelong studying facet and are searching for extra info.

For us, it makes good sense. However for different cruise lines – I imply if you’re going there searching for the occasion expertise, you won’t care about whales.

Do you’ve a favorite itinerary?
Alaska is my favorite total. That’s what we, as a cruise line, are recognized for. We had been the primary cruise line in Alaska and have been crusing to the state for 76 years. Alaska affords such a special cruise expertise from wherever else.

The best way you possibly can simply see nature and wildlife and mountains from the ship – I haven’t skilled that wherever else. Actually, I can’t get sufficient of Alaska – there are such a lot of completely different cruises on provide from the traditional ‘Inside Passage’ itinerary to land and cruise excursions. Regardless of crusing just about in every single place on the planet, it’s undoubtedly my favorite itinerary.

Except for Alaska, Canada, and New England cruises are at all times a spotlight. You’ll sail from Boston to Montreal with a cease in Quebec Metropolis.

Boston is New England’s largest metropolis.

What’s essentially the most rewarding a part of a life at sea?
Seeing individuals’s desires come true. And getting them enthusiastic about their cruise expertise – the place they’re going; what they will see and many others. Right here at HAL, we obtain plenty of repeat prospects however on our Alaska ‘Inside Passage’ itinerary, we additionally get loads of first-time passengers.

I met a person final week who had been dragged onboard by his brother and sister-in-law. He informed me that had by no means wished to cruise – he hadn’t thought it was for him – however now he was hooked.

Conversely, what’s essentially the most difficult a part of a life at sea?
Being away from dwelling may be exhausting though you do develop accustomed to it. And my dad and mom had been onboard earlier this week; I’ve mates coming in two weeks – and extra mates after that.

The problem on this specific function is studying the data for every specific vacation spot. In Alaska, I’ve achieved it 4 seasons in a row so I’m good to go.

Nevertheless final winter I used to be doing Hawaii and French Polynesia and there’s not loads of port info on what to anticipate in these tiny little locations. To this finish, loads of backend analysis went into it to creating certain passengers knew what they wanted to know. And, after all, typically you attain a vacation spot and it’s utterly completely different from what you had been anticipating so you must cope with that.

The Hawaii archipelago is made up of eight main islands and 129 different smaller islands and islets.

Any suggestions for individuals seeking to observe in your footsteps?
On this particular function, public talking is big as a result of we’ve talks that need to be delivered. Cruise and journey administrators want the boldness to talk clearly and concisely in order that they are often essentially the most useful they are often to visitors.

Nevertheless you get into the trade goes that will help you out – only a few individuals get employed as a cruise director. Work your manner up and in addition recognise that it might not be a straight line.

Once I was a broadcast technician at Royal Caribbean, I used to be filming the morning present and every single day I assumed ‘I might do that man’s job. I might love to do that.’

However to do this, I might have needed to demote myself and work 10 years to possibly get promoted – and I couldn’t try this both as I had monetary commitments.

In the long run, I took a circle path by going to Nationwide Geographic – after which I got here again in as soon as I had the talents. However having that ship expertise proved actually useful as I used to be conscious of how the whole lot operated – and knew that I cherished being at sea.

Do you’ve any packing tricks to share?
I’m a horrible packer so I’m in all probability the worst individual to ask! For Alaska, it’s all about layers – it could possibly be pretty heat or freezing chilly however regardless, you’ll want rain gear. And binoculars: individuals don’t assume to deliver binoculars on a cruise however in Alaska you’ll want them for wildlife watching.

For me particularly, I have a look at how lengthy the cruises are. This contract, I’m solely doing a seven-day cruise so I solely want seven outfits. Once I was doing 35-day cruises, it was far more durable. However I even have a schedule of what outfit I put on on what day now, which makes life simpler.

In case you might invite anybody to a HAL cruise, who would it not be and why?
Samantha Brown, the American journey host. She was on Eurodam final 12 months however I used to be on Nieuw Amsterdam.

Most just lately, Samantha was onboard Rotterdam however I used to be onboard Eurodam so I hold lacking her and would like to rectify that.

Samantha was a number on the Journey Channel for 15 years however is now the co-owner of her personal manufacturing firm together with her husband and has her personal present, Samantha Brown’s Locations to Love. I’m an enormous fan.

Samantha Brown is a journey knowledgeable and the host of Samantha Brown’s Locations to Love. Credit score: Samantha Brown

About Kaye Holland

Kaye is a London-based wordsmith who has written for a spread of
publications together with The Occasions, The Unbiased, The I, Tradition Journey,
The Solar, and ABTA amongst others. In June 2022, Kaye joined the Actual
Response Media the place she appears – along with Lucy Abbott – after the
World of Cruising web site. Wish to get in contact? Kaye may be reached at:
[email protected]


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