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AFT VIEW


passengers, it is important the agency ensures the recruit is made aware of the differences between being a passenger and being a ‘worker’ on board as there are dif- ferences, some subtle, some not so subtle. Not the least of the differences is the


fact many cruise lines place speakers on ‘supernumerary’ or crew manifests, both of which necessitate different documentation requirements. At the crew-manifest end, the differences are more pronounced as the speaker ‘signs on’ the ship’s Articles, like other crew members do, and is subject to the same rules and regulations. This is not to say the differences be- tween being a speaker and passenger are all on the down-side. There are benefits as well, as the guest speaker usually has a free cruise plus peripheral advantages like bar and other on-board discounts – things that no passenger enjoys – and these are definitely not to be sneezed at. Having said that, the notion of a ‘free


holiday’ needs dispelling right away – there is no such thing. The pre-cruise work involved can be daunting, necessitating many hours of research and painstaking preparation – anyone who believes they can stand up and ‘wing it’ will never make it up the gangway.


Once aboard, there is no one to hand- hold – all concerned, from the Cruise Director downwards, are far too busy and, at any event, will expect the speaker to be the professional he or she is believed to be.


100 WORLD OF CRUISING I Winter 2011-12


“There’s a lot of DIFFERENCE between being A PASSENGER and being


A WORKER on board ship”


Furthermore, it must be remembered any- one prepared to stand proud of the parapet can expect to be shot down, particularly if perceived to be telling porkies (or deviating from the facts)! The speaker is public prop- erty aboard, and the only real privacy to be found is in one’s cabin after lights out.


B


ut it is a rewarding experience and most love it: the adrenalin rush that goes with facing a large audience in a multi-tiered auditorium can be mind-blowing and there are few things more satisfying than leaving the stage amid loud applause or having passen- gers approach to say how much they’ve enjoyed the talk or talks.


On the other side of the coin, it is


always a little worrying if no such plaudits arrive but, as I’ve said, if one sticks one’s head over the parapet...! In the case of our agency audition sessions are held weekly at our offices in


Sussex where we have a small ‘theatre.’ Participants are expected to attend for the whole day and are invited to comment on each other’s presentations, thereby creating a live (and oftimes critical) audience, and most enjoy the experience. Those that pass are invited to register with the agency and can confidently expect to cruise as speakers in the future. Those deemed to be border-line are offered tuition in presentational skills, and those who fail are thanked for their interest. Through this process, we now have a database of some 1,500 speakers, provid- ing variety for the 1,100 vacancies filled aboard some 45 different ships every year. Yes, Guest Speaker Programmes are indeed a worthy way to use up some of those long sea days... (Anyone interested in becoming a guest speaker can contact The P&R Agency on 01825 750700) 


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