Make sure to check out Part I before starting Part II!
The entertainment staff on cruise ships have always had a large impact on my trips. From cruise directors to activity hosts, I have found that their energy and excitement can make or break a passenger’s cruise. They are the voice of the cruise ship and sometimes even of the entire cruise line.
The people who hold these positions are required to create deck parties, keep passengers hyped up, host game shows (including the ever-famous Bingo), and so much more. They need to keep passengers informed by making important announcements and writing detailed daily newsletters. Most importantly, the entertainment staff needs to socialize with passengers and encourage them to socialize with other passengers.
While some of these cruise line employees cannot always leave a mark on every passenger, they have definitely influenced my life. Looking up to these people, a job as an activity host on a cruise ship has always been in the back of my mind. The idea of living on a cruise ship sounds truly exhilarating, even with the tiny rooms and crazy work hours. I would love to be able to host deck parties and other shows, while also connecting with the guests.
After looking into job postings for these positions, I can say that they are difficult to obtain. Passion is not the only criteria. Requirements almost always include having DJ skills, emcee skills, and a theater background, all of which I do not have. Demo reels are a must and I am not quite sure that a video of me emceeing family movie night would really work. You would think think that knowing how to do business, how to use excel, and how to communicate with passengers would be enough, but that just is not true.
Even though I do not have real emcee experience, I was a camp counselor for many years. While there, I also earned the titles of Color War Sponsor (Special Event Counselor) and Transportation Counselor. All of these positions are similar to being an entertainment host. To start, a Transportation Counselor must communicate effectively with children between the ages of 3 and 13 and all of their parents and babysitters. Timing of the daily route must be completely mapped out and bus information must be consistently updated and organized. On the hour long bus ride each way, campers must be entertained by games that the counselor creates or music they find. Second, as a camp counselor, I was in charge of making sure that the children were entertained for 8 weeks straight, for about 6 hours a day. Getting to know each camper was a must and I did this for 7 years. Lastly, as a Color War Sponsor, I was in charge of budgeting for and creating a special events-filled week. I had to create songs and dances and teach them over a megaphone to 100+ children in a week’s time. It was all about motivating the campers to have more fun with their peers while doing the activities I had created. The position was definitely one of my favorites.
With this past experience, another shipboard position that I am interested in is the Youth Staff. The position is somewhat similar to the entertainment hosts, except it mainly deals with children and teens, rather than adults. With my past experience at camp, you would think that my skills would match the requirements well, but the cruise lines think differently. Although I have a degree in marketing, most of the lines require a degree in education or some kind of sports.
I would jump on the opportunity in a second if for some reason either of these positions were available for me. Being an activity host on a cruise ship is my dream shipboard job. I may not be the best dancer, but I can ensure you that people will enjoy my dancing. I want to help people have fun, just as the entertainment staff on my past cruises did for me.
Check back for Part III soon!