What is your background? How long have you been in the cruise industry?
I feel old when I say this – 23 years. Over the years I have worked for 2 different cruise lines, Royal being the second of the two. I spent 13 years with my first cruise company and have been with Royal for the past 10 years.
What goes into becoming a Cruise Director?
I started as a bar waiter. The best part I find with working on a cruise ship is the ability to move and build a career, without going to say College to learn the craft. Especially when it comes to entertainment, personality drives. The ability to connect with people and make them feel good at a moment.
How many staff fall under your umbrella?
On this particular ship (Harmony of the Seas), 220.
What goes into planning entertainment for a cruise?
Quite a bit! You need to understand your demographic of the guests you will be entertaining. You look at average age, itinerary, length of time in a port of call, number of sea days and percentage of repeat guests. You then take all that data to help plan out the cruise.
There are building blocks to how we plan a cruise. Some don’t change such as the production shows. Because of the staging and lighting. The talent will change but not the show.
You can change your trivia, theme parties. If we know we will have more Latin guests we can add in a Latin party and take out something else.
How often do you change main production or is it fixed with the ship?
It stays fixed with the ship. Typically a show will stay with a ship for 10 or more years. The main reason is because of the investment and the popularity.
Based on the talent some parts of the show may change due to the skill level of the talent.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I do not have just one, haha. I like sitting an planning the program, then going out and seeing it make sense. The guest are enjoying themselves. I like to see that all come together.
But I also like to lead parties. Give my energy and infuse myself with the crowd.
The third is I like to watch others group. I like to teach others on the ship.
How long in advance is planning for a sailing?
We plan about a month in advance. As example we also plan for holidays. Such as Easter some will come on-board and we will have a Priest or a Rabbi.
Most of that will be planned out by the team at the head office in Miami.
A side from the main attractions what events stand out as crowd favorites?
Karaoke – You can put it anywhere and there will always be at least on person on the microphone singing.
The Quest Game Show – Anything that you can take the guest and have them be part of it. Competitions and team events are great!
What is the average day in the life of a Cruise Director?
Ahaha, I can go an average of 12 hours a day. The longer days are sea days. On sea days I also walk around and interact with the guests.
What do you offer towards solo travelers for activities?
We offer singles get together, as well as a singles lunch. We then let them self plan with the rest of the activities on the ship. Depending on the amount of solo travelers we identify on the ship we can add more activities during the sailing to include them.
What type of clientele does Royal cater themselves towards?
It depends on the ship and time of year. Pricing has a huge influence in all sailings based on the ship. With Harmony we are a newer ship with newer amenities so there is a premium for that. Overall Royal as a brand I feel is from everybody.
What is something unique that has happened on board or something you haven’t seen since?
Last year I have the opportunity to see a ship get refurbished. Mariner of the Seas we took her into dry dock and seeing the transformation. I had no idea how they built ships. All the transformation was fascinating to me. I had no idea you could take an old ship and basically turn it into a whole new ship almost from scratch.
Do you stay on Harmony of the Seas or switch around?
I am switched every few months. I will be on the Mariner then to Symphony.
I would like to thank Ricky as well as Royal Caribbean for setting up this one on one interview. Gave a great first hand feel to how the entertainment on the ship is put together.