- Kimberly Wells began engaged on cruises as a performer in 1987 when she was 20 and fell in love.
- After a hiatus on Broadway and the House Purchasing Community, Wells returned to cruise work in 2020.
- She shares the professionals of engaged on cruises: the individuals, the locations, and the cons: no days off.
This as-told-to essay is from an interview with Kimberly Wells about working as a 57-year-old cruise director. It has been edited for size and readability.
I sang and danced my approach into my first job on a cruise ship at age 20, working as a part of the leisure workforce in 1987. I fell in love throughout that first voyage, with a person and with a lifestyle. After that contract ended, I knew I had to determine a approach to keep aboard. I grew to become a health director, then a social hostess.
My largest ardour is the stage, and I could not say no once I obtained the decision from Broadway. I labored in New York Metropolis for 10 years, earlier than changing into a number on the House Purchasing Community.
My job with HSN ended a pair years in the past, and I wasn’t able to retire.
I would stayed involved with associates and my former bosses within the cruise business and made some calls. I used to be shortly related with Holland America, who flew me out to audition for a cruise director position in April 2020. I bought the job however, attributable to COVID, needed to sit via a two-year ready interval earlier than returning to the seas.
Now, as of 2022, I am the cruise director for Holland America, working aboard a number of ships, together with most just lately on Zuiderdam.
A day in my life as a cruise director
Because the cruise director, I am the primary and final face that any visitor sees on any crusing. They function the principle connection level between ship crew and friends, protecting all passengers in control on all accessible leisure and goings-on in addition to the nuts and bolts of days at port.
My day begins at 6 a.m. I hit the ship’s health club, then I am out on the ground at 8 a.m., grabbing a espresso and chatting with friends earlier than my first assembly at 8:30 a.m. Then I host a espresso chat to fulfill friends, make my first announcement of the day to all of the passengers, after which the day simply retains on – increase, increase, increase – from there.
My superpower is that I can go from zero to full glam make-up in half-hour. I do that most nights, hitting the ground proper earlier than an occasion, and greeting friends.
Each night time, I give what’s known as the “as we speak, tonight, tomorrow” speak that recaps the day and let the friends know what to anticipate for the night time and the subsequent day.
Then I introduce the present, be it a comic, magician, or dance present. Then I take down the present. I am going to repeat that with each night efficiency. Then it is again to my cabin by midnight.
What most individuals do not realize is that cruise ship staff do not ever have a break day throughout their contract. We solely have hours off. The toughest a part of this job is studying to energy nap. You additionally get nice at arranging your schedule so that you’ve downtime.
Every single day irrespective of how drained I’m, I work out, meditate and observe yoga as a result of these issues give me power internally. If I wish to recharge additional I am going to get facials and massages within the ship’s spa the place the remedies aren’t free however are closely discounted for employees.
I really like touring to new locations
My final three contracts have taken me to Alaska, the Caribbean, and New England.
On my first cruise this season in Alaska, we had been touring the Margerie Glacier and noticed so many child seals. We witnessed one seal give beginning. I am unable to await my subsequent contract: a 73-day cruise round Africa.
We begin within the Caribbean, go via the Panama Canal, and go on to spend practically three months exploring Africa. I have been to Africa earlier than, however that is such a novel alternative to see a lot of it.
As a lot as cruising is in regards to the locations, it is also in regards to the individuals
I really like this facet of my job as a result of I am a individuals particular person. I stay for making magical moments for others.
One time, at Half Moon Cay, Holland America’s non-public island within the Bahamas, a visitor was planning a proposal. I would organized for him to trip a white horse down the seashore to fulfill his girlfriend. We would set every part up after which bought a name that he’d forgotten the ring on the ship.
I needed to leap on a young again to the ship. He gave housekeeping his room quantity and protected information and so they had been capable of carry the ring to me. I ran down that seashore to get it to him simply in time. It was wonderful to be a part of that.
The crew part of the ship is its personal world
There is a hall that runs your complete size of the ship within the crew quarters. Alongside the corridor, now we have barbershops, pop-up outlets, therapeutic massage remedy, ladies making jewellery – you identify it. We’re a metropolis on the ocean, with plenty of variety. My final ship had 55 nationalities on board.
This job retains me busy, but it surely’s rewarding daily. Only a few weeks in the past, my associates from again residence in Minnesota shared that that they had 5 toes of snow, and I used to be on the seashores of the Galapagos. Greater than the locations we see, I really like that I make so many associates via this job. I am nonetheless related to many individuals I met throughout my first week on board.