As one of the most visible crew members aboard cruise ships, the cruise director is given the hefty responsibility of overseeing the management of all onboard activities and entertainment events offered on the ship for the entirety of the sail. While most travelers are enjoying their fun in the sun on the decks, cruise directors are busy at work ensuring that all cruise activities run smoothly to keep guests entertained and pleased with their stay. If you are considering this dynamic career option in the tourism and hospitality industry, read on to learn more about the typical day in the lives of cruise directors.
Job Description for Cruise Directors
As dedicated hospitality professionals that work far beyond the normal 9-to-5 schedule, cruise directors are specifically in charge of ensuring all guests’ welfare and comfort throughout their time aboard the cruise ship. Rather than the technical side of the cruise that is handled by the captain’s crew, cruise directors are in charge of overseeing the social activities for making sure all passengers are having a great time. Cruise directors are often responsible for coordinating entertainment shows, directing stage managers, hosting special ceremonies, communicating with the dining crew, monitoring guest responses, improving customer service, maintaining travel logs, and budgeting for entertainment events. Cruise directors must wear many hats, including greeter, event planner, master of ceremonies, customer service manager and cheerleader.
How to Become a Cruise Director
Although educational requirements tend to vary depending on the cruise line, the majority of cruise directors have obtained at least a bachelor’s degree. Regardless of the major chosen, it is helpful for cruise directors to bulk up their undergraduate schedule with plenty of courses in hospitality, leisure studies, tourism, business, management, finance, and maritime activities. That being said, having actual hands-on experience in the hospitality and tourism industry is as important as schooling. Cruise directors have the tendency to transfer into this role from similar hospitality jobs at hotels, motels, lodges, restaurants, and inns on land. Furthermore, cruise directors usually must climb the ladder through the ranks on a cruise ship before landing this advanced position and have to work as an assistant for a number of years before promotion.
Required Skills for Cruise Directors
Due to the interpersonal nature of the job, cruise directors must possess solid communication skills and an outgoing personality in order to be able to effectively interact with hundreds of people on a daily basis. After all, cruise directors often must serve as master of ceremonies for entertainment events and make announcements on the public address system daily, so public speaking skills are a must-have. In order to be successful, cruise directors must combine their organizational skills and attention to detail with a fun-loving personality that welcomes guests. Since it is common for performers to back out or equipment to malfunction, cruise directors should also be extremely flexible to always implement a “Plan B” strategy that will keep passengers delighted. Overall, cruise directors are vital crew members of every cruise ship that are given the task of guaranteeing that each passenger enjoys their vacation to the fullest. Although passengers often believe the role looks like all fun and games, cruise directors are trained to be extremely skilled business managers, entertainers, and hostesses with a wide range of responsibilities. While competition for earning jobs as a cruise director can be extremely competitive, it is possible to be promoted from staff positions after gaining extensive experience in the hospitality management industry.