Ever wanted to go behind the scenes and see what magic goes into providing fabulous cruise experiences?
All the glitz and glam, the fantastic entertainment, and the wonderful destinations?
We like to daydream about what it would be like to work on a cruise ship. We imagine it would be like going on vacation every day.
When, in reality, we’re sitting at our coffee-stained desk, living in fear that one of our sick colleagues will come near us, Glen 20 bottle at the ready.
Which is why we’re super jealous of Carnival Spirit Cruise Director, Eli Sharplin.
We had a chat with Sharplin so we can live vicariously through him while fighting the office dog for custody of our shoes.
Travel Weekly: Your job must take you to some fabulous places, what’s your favourite destination?
Eli Sharplin: It’s hard to go past Alaska, as it is one of the most stunning places I have ever been to.
New Zealand is also stunning and a favourite for sure.
Mystery Island is also a top port alongside Hawaii, Venice, Barcelona or Vancouver.
The world is such an eclectic mix of amazing places, it is really impossible to choose.
This year I will visit 8 countries and ports I have never been to yet, so the adventure continues.
TW: What is an average day like for a Cruise Director?
ES: No day is the same for me, which is part of the fun!
As the Cruise Director, my role entails anything from hosting evening shows, running themed pool parties and game shows, attending receptions, organising entertainment crew and making public announcements.
A typical day usually involves some paperwork, announcing the port of call for the day, and hosting a range of onboard activities.
If we’re in port, once I’m done I tend to head to the beach for a swim or snorkel.
The evenings are usually full of fun with a number of shows and games onboard to organise for guests.
Once I’ve finished, I spend time catching up on paperwork before getting a good night’s sleep.
TW: Tell us a little bit about what goes on behind the scenes: what goes into creating a fun and entertaining experience for passengers?
ES: We have 920 hardworking crew on board, so there is a lot that goes into every day.
The team in the galley start in the wee hours of the morning in order to get a hearty-hot breakfast ready on-time to the backstage crew and cast, who rehearse in the afternoon in order to put on a top-notch show that evening.
TW: If you had to pick one thing, what’s the best part about your job?
ES: It’s hard to say because it’s more of a lifestyle than a job.
Although, being exposed to so many different cultures amongst the crew, and cruising to many different locations is pretty amazing.
The travel is great but the best part for me are the experiences.
I have so many “pinch me” moments that I just need to take a step back and look at what I’m doing and be grateful.
TW: What attracted you to the cruise industry?
ES: I initially watched a documentary that followed a group of dancers who worked on a cruise ship.
It looked like a great way to travel and explore the world, meet people, have some fun and included being able to save some money at the same time.
So naturally I thought, where do I sign up?
TW: We’ve heard you’ve worked with numerous celebrities, have you ever been star struck? Who was your fave?
ES: I have worked with many celebs from Hamish and Andy, who broadcasted their entire show for a week on Carnival Spirit and The Backstreet Boys as well as to Lucy Lawless, who plays Zena The Warrior Princess.
From Soap Opera stars to the cast of The View.
I think my favourite was working with Hamish and Andy.