Like everyone in the entertainment industry, our talented teams are eager to get back to doing what they love onboard Marella Explorer and Marella Explorer 2.
In their own words, they miss the sea, the guests, the crew, the activities, and the ever-lasting experiences that come with working on a cruise ship.
We brought some of the team together for a catch-up, so you can get to know them a little more, read about what they’ve been up to in lockdown, and discover some of their cruise favourites.
Here, we’ve got: Davey (Senior Entertainment Host), Lisa (Entertainment Host), Rachel (Assistant Cruise Director), Rhianna (Entertainment Host), Morgan (M Club Host), Dan (Entertainment Host), Lale (Senior Entertainment Host) and Jasmine (Entertainment Host).
Getting to know you a little bit first, tell us about your entertainment career so far…
Davey: I’ve been working overseas for TUI for 15 years, with many of those years representing The Entertainment Department across different brands such as Thomson Family Life and First Choice Holiday Villages. I was lucky enough to join Marella Explorer 2 for winter in what was my first cruise contract, and soon after my new adventure started I knew cruising was for me!
“Over the years, ted have always given me the opportunity to develop and grow as a person and as a performer, and I cannot wait to develop onboard and see where the cruise industry can take me.”
Lisa: I worked for Haven Holidays for many years at several holiday parks around the UK; and then I moved to Blackpool to be an Entertainment Manager of two hotels, which was great experience. In 2015, I started my life at sea with Royal Caribbean and spent several years with them. I then thought land life was for me, but I quickly realised that wasn’t the case, so I re-found my sea legs and joined ted in 2019 onboard Marella Explorer 2.
Rachel, your experiences are slightly different – can you tell us a little more about you and your career to date…
Rachel: It all started after I finished my degree in Event Management at University. I knew I wanted to do a job within the events sector and travel the world at the same time, and therefore, working for a cruise line in the entertainment department just seemed like an absolute dream job. As soon as I got my degree, off I went to sea, and six years later I’ve never looked back! I started out as cruise staff and worked really hard to climb the ladder – I’m now an Assistant Cruise Director.
“I think if you set out a goal and know which direction you’d like to go in, hard work really does show and, with a little bit of patience, you will get there. It is such a rewarding experience working from the bottom up.”
What would you say is your favourite part of your job with ted and Marella Cruises?
Rhianna: Wow… where do I start?! Waking up in a new location every day with beautiful views is one. I love entertaining different guests all night in multiple venues. One minute I can be assisting people in the theatre, next minute I am hosting a gameshow or watching people release their inner Whitney at karaoke. And getting dressed up every night is lovely.
Lale: I love waking up to a beautiful new place each day and wondering where I’ll go and who I’ll meet that day. Every day is different working on a cruise ship and even when you revisit the same ports there are so many different things to do and see. Excursions with the guests and crew are always fun.
Dan: I love the fact that you work with people from all cultures, nations and walks of life.
Jasmine: My favourite part of my job at sea is definitely meeting all the new guests each cruise. They probably entertain me more than I do them!
“I wish they could all stay on forever; we’d all social dance and knit our socks off (yes, I love to knit!).”
So, have you spent lockdown knitting, Jasmine?!
Jasmine: I’ve actually been thoroughly enjoying putting my hand to cooking! It’s a home comfort for me. I’d love to say I exercised daily and started jogging but I’ve mostly spent my time in the kitchen, learning new recipes.
Has anyone else learnt anything in the kitchen during lockdown?
Rachel: I’ve learnt that I can make a mean banana bread (with the rest of the world, too!).
Away from the kitchen; what else have you learnt during lockdown? It doesn’t have to be a skill as such.
Rachel: On a serious note, I think we’ve learnt that not everything will go as planned, as much as you try and prepare for it. By adapting to new situations we become stronger people. Being resilient when things are constantly changing is key and I guess the whole world had to adapt during this pandemic.
Rhianna: I have spent two months of lockdown in Latvia where my boyfriend lives. I have tried to learn the language – I still have a long way to go! – but it is quite possibly the hardest language ever. Learning languages and different cultures is something I have always loved, so being on a ship with crew from all over the world is brilliant.
Dan: I’ve learnt how to make graphics and visuals from a technical perspective, and I’ve learnt how to read poetry too. It’s always good to add another string to your bow, and another skill that will help during these times.
Lisa: During lockdown I’ve learnt that my job is my everything and there isn’t anything I’d rather be doing – I miss it dearly. Also, I’ve learnt that my love for animals hasn’t changed so I’ve been working temporarily as a pet sitter. Being paid for furry cuddles; love it!
Lockdown has been a time of self-reflection for some. Are you appreciative and more grateful for anything now?
Morgan: I’m so much more grateful for my family now, especially my mum. Normally I’m only home for a short amount of time before jetting off again but during this time it’s been lovely to be home and spend time with my family and my little dog.
Rachel: I agree; definitely family! Including extended family, too. As part of the crew on a cruise ship, we’re usually away all the time and, even when I come home, I end up going on holiday or travel more.
“This is the longest I’ve spent at home in probably 10 years.”
While you spend most of your time away from your family, you become a family onboard with crew and guests. Is that something you really miss about not being at sea?
Davey: As crew, you sleep, eat and breath work, so the relationships you build onboard last a lifetime. Not only do you make life-long friends, you get to see amazing places and experiences with them.
“Not everyone loves their job, but I can honestly say that crew on the ship love it and are so passionate about their work, making sure passengers have a special experience.”
Lisa: I miss the sea, and I miss the people… the crew and guests are definitely like a little family. I miss waking up in a different port every day – you really can’t beat this. And I miss looking out of my window thinking I might see dolphins today. Ask anyone; I’m always looking for dolphins!
You mentioned the different ports there. Morgan and Lale, one for you: Name your favourite port and why?
Morgan: I’ve visited so many beautiful places but it’d have to be St Maarten. It was the first port I got off the ship and has remained my favourite one since!
Lale: The island of La Palma is stunning. The architecture and the streets are so quaint I couldn’t help but fall in love with it. It’s very ‘Instagrammable’ with many tiled entrances, cobbled streets, and a beautiful beach. There is also a rainforest there that we ventured into – it was so calm and peaceful.
And one last question for you, Lale: If you could sum up working at sea in one sentence, what would your answer be?
Lale: The adventure of a lifetime – you’ll see places and make friends that you will keep and cherish forever.
Don’t stop dreaming.