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Working in travel


Matt Tasker guest services host, Cruise & Maritime Voyages


I have a Btec travel and tourism Level 3 and an HND in travel and tourism management.


I’ve worked as a waiter and in retail, and had work experience in offices and


customer service roles. I got a customer services job at Cruise & Maritime


Voyages’ head office following a two-week work experience placement. After six months, I was asked about working on board. My role sees me welcome guests and deal with queries, ensure social activities run smoothly, deal with cruise sales and help with embarkation and disembarkation. Sometimes I escort on-shore excursions. I arrange services such as gift packs, birthday/


wedding celebrations and delivery of flowers. I also sort table invitations for dinner and take part in the officers’/captain’s table if requested. One day you can be in the middle of the ocean and


the next you will be in a port or country. I get to travel the world while working, so I can gain


experience and get rewarded for it. You need to have good customer service skills and be


able to work under pressure to solve problems quickly. We work seven days a week on a cruise, but you get


free accommodation, all your food and drinks, and the chance to travel to places you wouldn’t otherwise visit.


Natalie Billington PR manager, MSC Cruises UK


I’ve done many jobs, from perfume promotions to working as a drama workshop


facilitator in a prison. My first travel role, aged 21, was as youth staff on P&O’s Oriana. I graduated


with a degree in theatre and performance on a Wednesday and boarded the ship on the Friday. Next, I was cruise staff for Princess Cruises, teaching Zumba and ballroom dancing, and hosting shows and games. I did a world cruise that visited 28 countries. Then I worked for two PR firms. A recruiter who knew I’d


worked on cruise ships told me about the MSC Cruises role. It was a huge advantage having worked on board, as I understand the industry from a different perspective. I travel a lot, visiting our ships and leading the creation of content. We are currently promoting MSC Magnifica, which will homeport in Southampton in 2018. I am responsible for communications to UK consumer


and trade media. I meet journalists, respond to enquiries, draft press releases and promote new products, ships and itineraries. I’m super-lucky, as I travel around the world


overseeing broadcast filming and content creation. We took Jane McDonald on MSC Meraviglia, which involved working nights and weekends. But it was so much fun that it was worth it.


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