Jamie Rudland, Groups & Affinity Account Manager at Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, spoke to Allan Tait about his job.
JR: What exactly does your job entail?
AT: As Cruise Director my main responsibility is the entertainment onboard Black Watch, although I get involved in other areas too.
JR: How long have you been with the company?
AT: I’ve been with Fred. Olsen for around fifteen years. I began as a member of the cruise staff on Black Watch, became Deputy Cruise Director and then 2 or 3 years ago became Cruise Director.
JR: Tell me about day to day life in your job.
AT: Every day is different, that’s the beauty of it! If we’re coming into port in the morning, I’ll make an announcement to the guests, giving them useful information, which includes a local weather report, although I do sometimes get that wrong! In the afternoon I write The Daily Times which gives the entertainment programme for guests and get that to print. Then, my favourite time, in the evening I’ll be checking on the entertainment.
JR: What sort of planning do you need to do?
AT: Head Office will send me the cabaret sheet in advance, with singers, musicians, comedians and guest speakers, which I need to pre-plan with chefs and other departments about 10 days ahead.
JR: What did your first job with Fred. Olsen involve?
AT: I started as a host, doing deck quoits, bingo, shuffle board and quizzes, and I spent time talking with guests. It’s really important to ‘tread the boards’ like this and learn about all the activities on the ship.
JR: How would you sell a cruise to someone who’s never been on one?
AT: Instead of going out to see the world, the world comes to you on a cruise ship. Every morning you wake up in a different place, whereas on a land-based holiday, you wake up in the same place each day. If you’re on deck ine the morning as the ship comes into port, it’s absolutely wonderful.
JR: And why choose Fred. Olsen to cruise with?
AT: I highly recommend it for the friendliness of the crew and the guests. Also the size of the ships: as they are not huge, they can get into smaller ports. Many of our guests are loyal to us for these reasons.
JR: What is the biggest challenge in your job?
AT: I can spend hours putting together an entertainment plan, then something goes wrong – the weather, staff go down – and you have to work around it. My crisis management skills have become very good over the years!
If you’d like to see and hear Alan Tait as well as read about him, watch a short video of Alan talking about his role on board.
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